Tonight: Aviary grand opening with 'Sound on Sight: Photography of Boston Rock'

Photo by Mark William Pearson of Neptune

Around 8:15 a.m. on December 6, LINDSAY METIVIER was walking from her home in Jamaica Plain to her job at Boomerangs when she noticed a sign in the window of florist Petal & Leaf: “For Rent.” The 25-year-old Mass Art grad always pictured herself opening a gallery, and on that morning the concept seemed particularly tangible; later that day, she called the number on the sign, and two days before Christmas, the keys to 48 South Street were hers.

Tonight, less than three months later, AVIARY, her new 600-square-foot art space celebrates the opening of its debut exhibit, “Sound on Sight: Photography of Boston Rock.” The cross-generational show brings together photographs created by a wide spectrum of 18 Boston musicians -- from members of Mission of Burma and Damon and Naomi to Hallelujah the Hills and Peace, Loving.

For the Burlington, Vermont-bred photographer, Boomerangs assistant manager, and high school photography teacher at Gann Academy in Waltham, Aviary is a dream come true. For years, her boyfriend, Mark Pearson of Neptune – who co-curated the exhibit with Metivier and Jon Strymish -- talked to her about putting together a show of visual art by musicians, so a music-meets-photography exhibit is a fitting way to begin her five-year lease. Aviary will host new art shows monthly, along with a regular schedule of musical performances. (The gallery already hosted Animal Hospital and David Daniell on February 11; tonight, Milo Jones plays at 9.)

When the Phoenix met up with Metivier on Tuesday night, she was getting ready to hang the last prints, and marveling at the just-installed counter in the corner. Fifty-three photographs filled four beige and sage green walls, ranging from a photo of Elliott Smith taken by JJ Gonson of Feeding Frenzy, to photos taken in Africa by Chris Brokaw of Come, and a shot of the Whitehaus porch by Peace, Loving’s Kate Lee. A few, including frames of Polaroids shot by Viva Viva’s Chris Warren, were still resting on the dark-stained wood floor. Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills’ three photos lay on a cluster of mismatched antique tables in the center of the gallery.

“Between me, Mark, and Johnny, we know a lot of musicians in three different generations,” explains Metivier. Each artist framed his or her photos themselves, making little distinctive clusters within the gallery’s four walls. Amongst Metivier’s favorite are four shots by Naomi Yang of Damon & Naomi, one of which is the cover of a book the duo will release this fall.

Such a show might seem to be bridging the distant worlds of rock-and-rollers and gallery-goers, but the two worlds are actually not so far apart. “The two worlds aren’t as separate as you’d think... a lot of these musicians are actually professional photographers also,” Metivier says. “People [in music] do so many different things. Some of them only take photos when they’re on tour, or playing shows, hanging out... but even if you’re not a photographer, you photograph.”

Aside from the art shows and music, Aviary will sell handmade goods and art books on consignment, and hold a basement artist workspace, artist workshops, lectures, critique nights, and film screenings. Aviary is only 30 steps away from JP Art Market, one block away from the Hallway Gallery, and next month, UFORGE Gallery will open nearby, making four galleries within a quarter-mile. Metivier is ecstatic about the sense of camaraderie developing amongst the four spaces, and the potential for JP to become more of a destination for Boston’s art enthusiasts.

She recalls getting coffee and dinner with the owners of the other galleries, making plans for regular year-round first Thursday nights, collaborative weekends, and ways to promote each other’s shows. “Hopefully one day first Thursdays in JP will be as known as first Fridays in the South End,” she says.

Tonight, coinciding with “Sound on Sight,” Hallway is opening their new exhibit, “The Polaroid,” which features work by Metivier and four other artists.

Because of the gallery’s prime real estate near the heart of JP, Aviary’s storefront windows have spent the past two months covered in brown paper and blue tape, to hide the process of re-constructing and painting the space. Tonight, the inner workings of Aviary will be revealed, when the doors open, and the paper is ripped off – like opening a present to South Street, multi-generational rock fans, and Boston’s arts community.


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