Get to know Aja Johnson

One of the two artists featured in Beacon Gallery’s “Layers & Light” is Aja Johnson. Through her abstract works, Johnson explores vulnerability, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Her work is quite appropriate for the gallery’s current show, as her abstract pieces showcase intricate layering. Johnson describes these layers as “murky and confusing, unfolding slowly, like an onion.”

Johnson’s pieces immediately capture one’s attention. The brilliant tones of each of her paintings are hard to ignore. Her scattered brushstrokes and gestural marks serve as a distraction to the chaos underneath – the so-called “secrets” that are hidden in each of her pieces.


Aja Johnson, You’re Asking All the Wrong Questions (Acrylic ink and paper on canvas)

Featured in Artscope, Johnson tells Lisa Mikulski that any piece can combine between 15 and 20 layers of paint, collaged items, and mark making. While looking at her abstract works, one can almost get lost within them. Although there is a lot going on in each work, there is a real sense of control that Johnson demonstrates – leaving certain areas deliberately uncovered by paint.


Aja Johnson, You Can’t Keep a Peacock Down (mixed media)

Sometimes, Johnson physically carves into her paintings. In “You Can’t Keep a Peacock Down,” she consciously reveals the “unknown” that is hidden by the surface layer by etching into the surface in various areas on the canvas. After all, Johnson believes that “the surface is fake news, and we have to look beyond it to see the real story underneath.”

Come discover the “real story” that Aja Johnson reveals in each of her works. “Layers & Light” will run through June 17th! We hope to see you there.

Get to know Lori Mehta

Lori Mehta is one of the two artists featured in Beacon Gallery’s current show “Layers & Light”. Her representational pieces are truly spectacular and photographs hardly do them justice, as her dense brushstrokes form intricate layers only visible in the presence of her art. Using a flat brush and a palette knife, Mehta is able to capture unpredictable movement, creating uneven edges that amplify her paintings. Her simplistic planes of color do not take anything away from the caliber of her work, but only add visual interest to each of her pieces.

Mehta was recently selected to be a member of the Copley Society of Art, the oldest non-profit art association in the United States. During her brief membership status, Lori has found great success, winning two Awards of Merit, selling both of her paintings in the New Members show, and selling five of her small pieces.

Of her many remarkable works featured in Beacon Gallery’s “Layers & Light”, her “Steep Recline” won First Place in the Copley Society of Art Juried Members Show, called “In the Style Of.” The juror of this show was Thomas Kellaway, the editor in chief of American Art Review.

steep recline

Lori Mehta, Steep Recline, 18 x 26

LME_028_PAI                                                     Lori Mehta, Messy Bun, 20 x 16

Also featured in “Layers & Light,” her “Messy Bun” won third place in a North River Arts Show called “Focus on Figures.” This show was judged by Rob Liberace, who wrote, “[she] displays a strong sense of design with an almost posterized patternization of color and light which gives the work its visual strength. The pose and style evokes Degas but the artistic approach, with its mechanical computerized organization of forms reminds me of a modern version or Vermeer’s world seen through a camera obscura.”

If her success in the Copley Society of Art is not impressive enough, Mehta was recently featured in the Boston Globe’s lifestyle section in a feature called “My Instagram”. In this piece, Globe Correspondent Sophie Cannon conducted a Q&A with the artist. The article covers everything from what started Mehta’s passion for painting to why she chose to use Instagram as a platform to showcase her work. Check out her Instagram @lorimehtaart.

In addition, Maine Cottage was so impressed by her talent that they contacted Mehta and featured her as an artist in the Fall 2017 (check out the Fall 2017 catalogue here) and will be featured in the Summer 2018 catalog (to be released shortly). Mehta now sells her prints through their online and retail outlet.

Come check out her amazing pieces for yourself: “Layers & Light” will be on view until June 16th. You can also find Mehta’s other works on her website




Layers & Light Featured in Artscope

We are delighted that Artscope featured “Layers & Light: The Artwork of Aja Johnson and Lori Mehta” in their May/June issue! Check out the article by Lisa Mikulski at Artscope’s website here!

A link to a PDF of the article is available by clicking on the image below.

And come see the exhibition in person through June 17th!

Artscope May-June Layers & Light 1


An invitation to write for “Synaesthesia” – Beacon Gallery’s upcoming show

Dear Writers,

The works below (and any links to other blog posts) contain artwork that Beacon Gallery (Boston, USA) is considering for the June/July abstract show.

You are invited to look at these works and see what moves you to write. You can write about anything you want, in any style you want (poetry or prose). This is not meant to be artistic criticism but more of a creative activity in how you experience the work. If the “spirit” doesn’t move you, there’s no obligation to submit anything, or you can write about multiple pieces. As of now, there is no limit to your submissions.

The curatorial vision is to have 2 or so pieces of writing per artwork – to give viewers the sense of different interpretations of the same work of art from different writers, if possible.

While we will only publish some of the work that is submitted, we appreciate everyone’s participation in this experiment.


Deadline for submissions is June 4th

Show opens June 22nd at Beacon Gallery 524B Harrison Ave Boston MA 02118

There will most likely be an opportunity that evening (or another evening) for a live performance of selected works, please make a note if participation is something that interests you.

Format: Please submit a word document or similar (no PDFs) to

Include the artist’s name and image number in the subject line of the email

In the word document: please include the artist’s name, image number as well as a copy of the image (to avoid any confusion). Put your full name (as you would want it to appear in the show) and the title of your work (if there is one). No need to format your work in any specific way unless you have a formatted vision for your work. If that’s the case, please provide a PDF or jpg in addition to the word document.

Caveats: The paintings below may not be chosen for the show at the sole discretion of the gallery, particularly if they receive no written submissions. Written work submitted may not be selected for printing, but all submissions are greatly appreciated!  All written work remains the property of the original author and cannot be reproduced outside the gallery without express written permission.


Artists for the show (as of 4/11 most artwork has been added) 


Myra Abelson

  1. MAB-014-PAI
  2. MAB-015-PAI
  3. MAB-016-PAI
  4. MAB-017-PAI
  5. MAB-012-PAI

Betty Canick

  1. BCA-013-MIX
  2. BCA-014-MIX
  3. BCA-018-MIX
  4. BCA-016-MIXjpg
  5. BCA-011-MIX
  6. BCA-012-MIX

Anya Leveille

  1. 5 Rue Auber
  2. Painting by Anya Leveille
  3. Painting by Anya Leveille
  4. Painting by Anya Leveille
  5. Painting by Anya Leveille
  6. Painting by Anya Leveille

Adrienne Shishko

  1. IMG_2826
  2. IMG_2827
  3. IMG_2829
  4. IMG_2830
  5. IMG_2831
  6. IMG_2832
  7. IMG_2835

James Varnum

  1. Celestial Chain 18x26
  2. Earth Currents 14x20
  3. Reaching 20x14
  4. Sky Water 20x14
  5. 3_varnum_streaming
  6. Awakening 20x26
  7. Hanging by a Thread 12x9

Awards for our 2018 Juried Show

Friday March 16th was the opening for our 2018 International Juried Show and also when we gave out some awards!

There were three “Honorable Mentions” and three “Awards of Excellence” given.

Honorable Mentions:

Rivka in Autumn by Michael McLaughlin

2016, 36 x 48

Rivka in Autumn Mike McLaughlin.jpg

RBG by Jack Rosenberg

2017, 36 x 30

Rosenberg Jack_RBG_36x30_2017.jpg

Dance Class by Kate Sullivan

2016, 27 x 27

Kate Sullivan - Dance Class.jpg


Awards of Excellence

Reflect by Jean Sbarra Jones

2016, 30 x 30


Growth VIII by Richard Hricko

2017, 48 x 24 (woodcut on Kitikata)

Hricko_R_Growth VIII_48x24

David by Milo Milowsky

2017, 72 x 48

Milowsky_M_David_48 x 72.jpg

Congrats to the 6 winners, as well as all the talented artists whose work is in the show! We were truly spoiled for choice!

Beacon Gallery in Art New England

Beacon Gallery was featured in the March/April issue of Art New England in their special section “Destination: Boston.”

“Just a few doors down Harrison Avenue is the Beacon Gallery, featuring original art by Boston artists as well as artists from Europe and Asia. Owner and gallery manager Christine O’Donnell has lived in Hong Kong, Paris and Singapore, and brings an international sensibility to the contemporary gallery. The gallery hosts its first international juried art show from March 16-April 29. “We opened the show up to artists from Boston and beyond,” says O’Donnell.

“I’ve heard from artists in Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere.” O’Donnell is one of the exhibitions’s three jurors’ others are award-winning photographer Peter Vanderwarker and Boston abstract artist Thaddeus Beal. The Beacon’s May exhibition is Layers & Light: The Artwork of Aja Johnson and Lori Mehta, spotlighting the paintings of Mehta and Johnson, Boston artists whose works explore layering with color and light. 

“Aja creates more abstract work and Lori’s is more figurative but they complement each other beautifully,” says O’Donnell. 

Lori Mehta’s painting, Shelter from the Sun was also featured in this edition of Art New England (see below).

Art New England March-April 2018 web

Lori Mehta in Art New England March April 2018

List of Artists for Juried Show

Beacon Gallery is delighted to announce that it will be showcasing the work of the following artists in its International Juried Show opening March 16th.

  • Peter Arvidson
  • Zhanna Cantor
  • Brittney Ciccone
  • Madge Evers
  • Nichole Gronvold-Roller
  • Richard Hricko
  • Anya Leveille
  • Michael McLaughlin
  • Milo Milowsky
  • Jean Sbarra Jones
  • Dominic Malizia
  • Jack Rosenberg
  • Ingrid Scheibler
  • Sima Schloss
  • Adrienne Shishko
  • Kate Sullivan

We would like to thank all the artists who submitted for this call – we were amazed by the high quality of the selection that we received, from artists all over the world!

Please join us for the opening on Friday March 16th, from 6 – 8 pm, where the jurors’ prizes will be awarded.

There will also be a wine tasting by Ansonia Wines that evening!