Dear So-and-So: A Pen Pals Art Show

School’s Out Forever by Mary E. Lewey and Helen Popinchalk
5″x5″; paper collage, silkscreen printing, neon spray paint
Courtesy of the artists.

Dear So-and-So: A Pen Pals Art Show

at The Distillery Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
22 November-29 December 2019
Opening Reception: 7 December, 7-10PM

“Dear So-and-So” is a show that celebrates artistic collaboration in an innovative way. Co-curators Mary Lewey and Helen Popinchalk selected a group of artists working in a variety of mediums to be a part of the “Dear So-and-So” experiment. Invited artists were asked to choose a partner (AKA pen pal) and work together, call and response style. For example, one person begins a collection of new work and then turns it over to their partner, trusting them to build upon it. Ideally, the exchange would occur at least three times over the course of one year.

Lewey, a collage artist, and Popinchalk, a printmaker, initially concocted the idea as a way to collaborate with each other. Suspecting that other artists might be intrigued by the creative prompt, outreach began and “Dear So-and-So” was born. Twelve artist pairs worked in this back and forth manner, documenting each step as their works progressed and developed. Some partners were located across town from one another while others were in a long distance creative relationship.

“Dear So-and-So” features the finished collaborations between each artist duo. Artists and partners include:

  • Allison Tanenhaus & David Bojay // abstract glitch art and new media
  • Cicely Carew & Tolani Lawrence-Lightfoot // digital collages derived from monotype prints and floral arrangements
  • Cyrille Conan & Kenji Nakayama // graphic paintings with elements of hand-lettering
  • David Borden & Christian Borden // bricolage sculptures
  • Jack Byers & HAMER // monochromatic ink on paper
  • Jay LaCouture & John Rainis // collages made from layered screen prints
  • Jennifer Lamontagne & Bri Custer // organic shapes made from embroidery and watercolor paper-cuts
  • Joe Banda & Jake Cassevoy // illustrative paintings mixed with wood block prints
  • John Skibo & Chloe Isadora Reison // paintings and sculpture exploring notions of masking, shrouding, and covering up
  • Mary Lewey & Helen Popinchalk // layers of paper collage, screen printing, and paint expressing a shared love of nature and nostalgia
  • Sarah Trahan & Andrew Sliwinski // digital drawings made from a dialogue between the artist (Sarah) and a custom-built machine learning system
  • Tim Hansen & Conny Goelz Schmitt // geometric sculptures made from deconstructed vintage books and enamel on copper shapes

(text adapted from the curator’s press materials)


The Distillery Gallery
516 East 2nd Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02127 USA
(781) 789-2325

Monday-Friday, 9AM-6PM and by appointment