Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts presents Side by Side: John Guthrie/Isabel Riley

Contact: Ellen Carr, 617-353-8783 |
Contact: Jean Connaughton, 617-353-7293 |

(Boston) – The Boston University School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents the exhibition Side by Side: John Guthrie/Isabel Riley, curated by Beth Kantrowitz of bkprojects, on view Wednesday, February 10 through Friday, March 26, 2010 at the 808 Gallery at Boston University. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, February 12, 6:00-8:00pm with the artists present.

The exhibition explores the question, if two artists work side by side for 18 years, does their art strike up a conversation with each other? In the case of John Guthrie and Isabel Riley, the answer is yes, despite differences in their materials and methods. The two Boston artists have shared a studio for almost two decades with no wall dividing their respective workspaces. At first glance, the similarities in their work are not at all apparent, but closer inspection reveals their affinity.

Starting with blank white paper, black watercolor, pencil, and a ruler, John Guthrie creates drawings that gyrate, dance, and pulsate off the paper. Salvaging remnants of wood, linoleum, fabric, rope, vinyl, and tape, Isabel Riley fashions modernist, Bauhaus-style sculptures that remind us of our own personal histories while simultaneously evoking the history of industry and technology.

Despite their raw materials, the artworks that are produced, each on their own side of Guthrie and Riley’s shared studio, have much in common: grids, wood, puzzles, highly controlled lines, and an air of mystery. It is this energy that flows between these nonexistent walls that creates an architectural rhythm that keeps the artists separated but also closely entwined.

Isabel Riley received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1992. Riley has exhibited her work throughout New England and New York including solo/two person exhibitions at the former Gallery at Green Street, Boston, MA, Triple Candie, New York, NY, and the Genovese-Sullivan Gallery, Boston, MA. Recently she was included in the group exhibition “Threads” at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA. Riley received a Somerville Arts Council grant in 2005 and a grant from the Artist’s Resource Trust, a program of the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, in 2009.

John Guthrie received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1992. He has been shown his work in solo exhibitions at the Mercaldo Gallery, FP3 Gallery and Judy Goldman Fine Art in Boston, MA, Tinku Gallery in Toronto, Canada, and Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA. He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions including at the Laconia Gallery, Mills Gallery and Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston, MA. Guthrie’s work has reviewed in Boston Magazine, the Boston Globe, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research and Art New England among many other.

Beth Kantrowitz
is an independent curator based in Boston. Through her organization bkprojects, Beth has curated exhibitions for diverse spaces including “Winter Wonderland” at Beehive, Boston, MA, “Stitch,” a site specific installation by August Ventimiglia, at Babson College, Babson Park, MA and “The Lobby” for a corporate building in Watertown, MA. Prior to forming bkprojects, Beth served as co-owner and co-director of Allston Skirt Gallery in Boston, MA, which presented cutting-edge contemporary art by established and emerging artists for over ten years.

On view concurrently in the 808 Gallery is the group exhibition Traces & Places featuring the work of Hannah Burr, Jennifer Kaufman, Chris Nau, Laurie Reid, Nancy Murphy Spicer and Tucker Schwarz, curated by SVA Exhibitions Director Lynne Cooney

The Boston University School of Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts is a community of artists within a great university and in a city that offers diversity within a vibrant arts culture. Founded in 1954 as a professional training school at Boston University, the school offers an intensive program of studio training combined with liberal arts studies leading to the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The first-rate teaching and mentoring of its regular faculty is supplemented by a vibrant program of visiting artists, guest lecture series, and exhibitions. The School offers introductory and advanced classes in painting, sculpture, graphic design, art education, ceramics, photography, glassblowing, and printmaking. A solid background in art history, contemporary critical analysis, and liberal arts complements the studio arts courses.


To request press tickets, high resolution photos, or additional information, please contact either:
Jean Connaughton at 617-353-7293 or
Ellen Carr at 617-353-8783 or

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