, Salem, MA


September 5, 2013

Painting outside the box

Some famous people are featured in Ann Strassman’s exhibit at Endicott College — Mick Jagger, Ted Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth — but none of them get the star treatment.

That’s because most of the paintings in her show were created on flattened cardboard boxes, the kind that are used to ship refrigerators, washing machines and other large appliances.

“I paint on cardboard because I don’t want people to think art is precious,” said Strassman, who has a studio in Boston and studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Her exhibit, “Ordinary and Extraordinary People, Conversations on Canvas and Cardboard, Portraits by Ann Strassman,” will be in Endicott’s Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery until Sept. 27.

While the rough and ready qualities of cardboard challenge our preconceptions, they also contribute to the creative process, Strassman said.

“I like working with junk on the surface,” she said. “I like surfaces that aren’t clean and have a history of themselves on it.”

That includes the folds and tears in packing boxes, along with the labels pasted on their surfaces, and even the material printed on their sides, such as brand names, assembly instructions and icons that show workers how to handle a box.

“I think especially when you have machine-made graphics to contrast with the strokes an artist makes, I like the contrast, visually and philosophically,” Strassman said.

She is mostly interested in the visual impact of these elements, but “occasionally something will jump out, and I’ll say, I want that to be there; it contrasts or goes with the image,” she said.

Viewers, then, may be forgiven for searching for meaning in the words “sub-zero” crawling behind Albert Einstein’s head, or a word like “warning” nestled in Mick Jagger’s hair.

The physical properties of cardboard also play a role in the way Strassman’s paintings are made.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Assistant’s gruff attitude needs to be smoothed out Dear Abby: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brown-noser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people

    April 18, 2014

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, April 18

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Poundstone2 Wait, wait ... it's Paula Paula Poundstone often makes fun of her own awkward appearance, which she emphasizes by wearing men's ties and wide-lapel suits. "Is it me, or do I have the worst posture in the history of the world?" she asks in one routine. "I hope to eventually go

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • mainstage 'Servant of Two Masters' designed to keep you laughing The Mainstage Theatre at Salem State, which will shut its doors in June, opened 30 years ago to the sound of laughter. With performances this weekend and next of Carlo Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters," it's going to close that way, as well. "

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fishes North Shore Entertainment Calendar Music MUSIC AT GULU-GULU. Shows are at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted, at Gulu-Gulu Cafe, 247 Essex St., Salem. Thursday, April 17, David Simmons Annual Theme Night, a Simon and Garfunkel Tribute; Friday, April 18, Lowman, alternative; Saturday, April

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140415_SN_HAND_READERSEYE The reader's eye Name: Corey Kramer Hometown: Beverly Description: "I pass by this view every day on my way to school. This photo was taken at Endicott Beach. I enjoy taking photos of nature, which does not require human recognition to show its beauty. I have done ve

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker