Suffolk University Gallery

Imagination on display

The Suffolk University Gallery is the Art & Design Department’s main exhibition space. Located on the sixth floor of the Sawyer Building, the gallery presents exciting exhibits and related programs that reflect our increasingly visual and image-driven world. The gallery aims to engage the whole Suffolk community while adding to larger conversations taking place in Greater Boston's cultural arena. Exhibits of student work from all departments, as well as themed curated exhibitions, provide an important link between and for students, faculty, and visitors.

Current Exhibit

Expansive Baroque: Zoe Friend
December 3, 2020 – January 22, 2021

Baroque Age is often used to designate the period between 1580 and 1680 in the literature of Western Europe, between the decline of the Renaissance and the rise of the Enlightenment. Derived from the Portuguese barroco, or “oddly shaped pearl,” the term “baroque” has been widely used since the nineteenth century to describe the period in Western European art and music from about 1600 to 1750.

Zoe Friend’s sculpture is a contemporary take on the concept of exuberance and great drama which is embedded in the visual art and music of the period. In its most typical expression, Baroque painting is characterized by rich, deep color, and intense light and dark shadows. Friend’s work is made up of a myriad of materials and parts, all devoid of local color.

Like contemporary artists Petah Coyne and Liza Lou, her works echo this movement—think painters like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Diego Velasquez, sculptor Antonio Bernini (among his many works, the St. Peter’s Basilica seems to have a strong correspondence with Friend’s sculptures), and even the elaborate food preparation for the upper classes of the period, when the fork was invented.

Zoe Friend’s work is best described as maximalist monochrome baroque-inspired assemblage. She says “I work in a language of disposable plastic objects executed in the language of early natural history dioramas. My focus is on the consumer sublime and where our relationship with Nature intersects with societal detritus.” These notions of excess are captured through the lens of the baroque, a highly decorative and maximalist language of motifs largely borrowed from and inspired by Nature. In her work, this imparts a contradiction between the highly ornate and sumptuous motifs and the lowly trash-material from which they are constructed. The excess of consumption is expressed in this banal and problematic monochromatic matter. The assemblages are stripped of familiar color cues allowing the viewer to experience form before the materials.

We are pleased to present Zoe Friend’s first solo gallery exhibition.

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Visitor Policy

In response to COVID-19, we have had to make adjustments to reduce in-person visits to the gallery. This temporary visitor policy means that this exhibit will be limited to the Suffolk community, by appointment. To maintain a safe environment, only four visitors will be allowed in the gallery at a time. All visitors will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. We look forward to the time when this temporary policy will no longer be needed.

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Sawyer Gallery Virtual Tour

Gallery Hours

Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., by appointment.
To make an appointment contact Deborah Davidson by email or at 617-816-1974

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Past Exhibits