Finding your way into the Dorchester Art Project feels like slipping into a storybook. The door is narrow and nondescript; at first glance, it looks like it would lead into a series of apartments, rather than an art gallery. When you pull it open, you see a steep staircase strung with lights. Those first steps are full with the kind of anticipation you feel before something big happens, as if you’re moving through a portal into another world.
What you see when you reach the top of the stairs is worth seeing: DAP’s community art show, “Can’t You See How Hard I’m Working.” It’s a stunning collection of works by artists who have space in the building and those in the general community. D7’s street rendering of Frida Kahlo and a deer is deeply unsettling in a way I’ve been trying to process for weeks. Taylor Mortell’s watercolors of eggs make you feel like there’s something cosmic about breakfast. Joanna Tam’s larger-than-life video makes you think about trampolines in a way you probably never have (not recommended for people who are made squeamish by feet). Sophia Nora Giordano’s photoshopped images of iconic movie scenes seamlessly unites tampons, humor, and feminism. Ben Foley’s sculpture makes you question your reality, makes you unable to trust your own eyes and senses.
That doesn’t even begin to cover it. Will Whelan, Rebeccah Stromberg, Shira Espo, Anya Smolnikova, Lilly Saywitz, Jamal Thorne, Jenny Bergman, Grete Langrind, Solei, Mairead Murphy, and Alexandria Nazar are also displaying their outstanding works on the humbled walls of DAP’s gallery.
What you feel when you’re in that space is something worth feeling: it’s a sense of real community and companionship and artistic talent, both burgeoning and developed. This show ends this weekend–the Closing Reception is on May 5th from 6 to 8 pm–so get your booty over there and take it all in, for the good of your soul.