A Thank You Note: 2020 in Review

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

LaiSun Keane began in April at the height of the pandemic, and I have worked hard to curate thought provoking exhibitions of clay, painting and mixed media works, both online and in-person. I would not be able to get this far without the support from our artists, colleagues, friends and collectors.

During the first 2 months, I operated out of my home; July and August at a pop-up in Wellesley, Massachusetts; and finally to a permanent gallery in the Boston Arts District known as SoWa. My inaugural show, Life, Still showed collage work by Concord resident and artist Nancy Gruskin. This undertaking tested all the new technology of how one holds and operates a virtual opening along with programming that catered to social distancing guidelines. There was a learning curve for myself and the public, but who doesn't love a challenge?

The next show, Rumination in Isolation was for Native American artist Raven Halfmoon. I discovered her work in The Body, The Object, The Other, a landmark exhibition at Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles, California. Raven's work is frequently monumental and celebrates her Caddo heritage, but my show was primarily works Halfmoon created during her isolation in the early days of the pandemic which chronicled her day to day activities. I am pleased to place a major work out of the Craft Contemporary exhibition with an important collector. As an important gesture of solidarity, my gallery and Raven donated 10% of total sales to The Auntie Project's Navajo Nation Covid-10 Family Relief, and we raised $1,800 for their cause...all in all, pretty amazing!

The first of our two exhibitions at our pop-up gallery in Wellesley, Reshape And Reshuffle presented the mixed media works of Boston artist Alysia Macaulay. This exhibition marks the first in person event at our gallery after the lockdown. Again, we had to be creative and implemented an online sign up system for our Meet The Artist reception. We were pleasantly surprised by the response from the public which gave us confidence to move forward.

The second exhibition at our pop-up gallery was a two-person show, Nancy Gruskin +Jordan Kessler: What We Had on Hand which presented a juxtaposition of two artists’ work made during the ongoing pandemic lockdown. Nancy Gruskin and Jordan Kessler, both Massachusetts artists, work with different art mediums, but serendipitously produced works that were inspired by found objects. Their works are different interpretations of still life from diverse points of views and mediums, yet speak to each other in a complimentary manner.

The first exhibition at our permanent location at South End, Boston in September was of Los Angeles based Mexican-American artist Christina Erives. The exhibition, Con O Sin Cebollas/With Or Without Onions, explored the narratives around food and the concept of contemporary womanhood. This exhibition was supported with an essay written by Amanda Barr, artist, writer, activist and regular contributor to ceramic magazine Studio Potter.

We hosted a solo exhibition and homecoming for Nicki Green titled Between Washing and Unwithering, in the fall. Nicki is a trans-disciplinary artist working primarily in clay who is originally from Massachusetts, and now lives and works in California. Her work carves out spaces for LGBTQ+ people and reimagines a world that centers their life experiences. Informed by her Jewish faith, her work explores practices and mythologies steeped in an inclusivity that is often not seen in more traditional settings. We were fortunate that the show catalogue was augmented by an essay written by art historian, writer and University of California Santa Barbara Associate Professor, Jenni Sorkin.

Our final show for 2020, was New Directions: Japanese Women Artists, which showcased the works of Mikiko Tomita, Mayumi Nakamura, Sayaka Shingu and Mio Yamaguchi. The success of this show affirms my belief there has been a major shift in the perception of pottery. “Modern Japanese Pottery" has transcended and become “Contemporary Art”! Art galleries and collectors everywhere have awakened to the beauty and unprecedented variety of contemporary Japanese women artists and their works.

We are proud to highlight that we exclusively represent the work of Michael C. Thorpe, an emerging artist known for his quilts. We are pleased to report that we have placed many works with private collectors in Boston and other parts of the country. Michael will have his first solo exhibition in April 2021, and it's a show you don't want to miss! He will be creating a new body of work for this show, and we are excited and optimistic about presenting it to you with an in-person opening!

With this recap, we are excited to kick off the 2021 season with two exhibitions in January. The first, BRIGHT, is a virtual exhibition and associated programming for Vince Palacios, which ushers in 2021 with vibrantly colored works to signify our outlook for the future. Concurrently, we will host ICONOCLAST, an in-person exhibition (with social distancing protocols in place) of the works of Rose Keeffe, a Boston emerging artist and RISD graduate.

As a reminder, we have a presence not only on which allows for e-commerce transactions, but you can also find us on Artsy at, Instagram at, and Facebook at Following us on social media is a great way to stay connected all year long, and all the time. You will regularly see new and featured items for sale, previews of current and forthcoming exhibitions, and perhaps a glance behind the curtain.

While 2020 proved to be a year of unimaginable challenges, I do hope you'll have the opportunity to feel a sense of inspiration for better things to come in 2021. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the arts, your continued support of the gallery, and look forward to assisting you in your collecting interests and ultimately welcoming you in person to SoWa soon!

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