Artist-photographer-filmmaker Jaina Cipriano works from a studio at Lowell’s Western Avenue Studios, creating emotive portraits and stage designs that grapple with themes of trauma, grief and self-discovery.

At the beginning of September, she presents her dramatic work to a wider audience with “Dreamscapes: finding light through immersive design”. His personal exhibition of installations and photographs runs from September 6 to October 21. 13 at the 808 Gallery of Boston University, in BU’s Peter Fuller Building, 808 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline. It marks the return of art to the gallery space which had served as a Covid-19 testing site for the BU community.

Sometimes unnerving, but always innovative and enlightening, Cipriano has created a series of illusionist scenographies devoid of any digital manipulation. The Bedford resident includes herself and others in her immersive illustrations, capturing photos of raw, intimate moments that represent the themes of her work.

The exhibition considers the contrast between light and dark and how they can exist together when a person discovers their own resilience. Cipriano explores this through elements of acting, theatricality, ornament, façade and expression.

Photos and additional installations reflect many of her more recent projects, all of which focus on Cipriano’s ongoing interest in female identity, tied to past struggles and future growth.

Cipriano studied photography at the New England School of Photography, which no longer exists. She is also self-taught, learning design, manufacturing and cinema on her own.

Her BU gig began when she met Lissa Cramer, a gallery representative, during a portfolio review she did with the Cambridge Art Association.

“She was excited because she wanted to bring more interactive art to the gallery,” Cipriano said. “She came for a studio visit with the news that the 808 Gallery was opening for the first time since the pandemic began and she wanted me to be the first exhibit!”

And the show is indeed interactive.

The press release invites visitors to touch, inhabit and photograph the installations.

“Make it your own playground; engage with the sets and organize your own photographs. Explore the worlds – the dreamscapes – this artist creates and be part of the narrative she envisions,” the statement noted.

The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, September 8. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday to Monday and public holidays. Free and open to all. For more information, visit

Gallery Notes

BRUSH BASH: The Brush Art Gallery and Studio’s 40th anniversary party was a big hit at Gallagher and Cavanaugh law firms on Shattuck Street in Lowell. Founded by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission around the same time as Lowell National Historic Park, the thriving arts venue is located in Market Mills across the courtyard from the LNHP Visitor Center and is supported by the park. Executive Director Jim Dyment welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. Board Chair Joanne Bergamini thanked everyone for their support over the years and Board Vice-Chair Michael Lally sang a selection of “Les Miserables”. Anna Jabar-Omoyeni and her CTI YouthBuild culinary proteges provided delicious appetizers and Greg Descoteaux entertained before the birthday cake was cut and served. More than 50 artists, business people and Brush supporters were on hand to wish the Brush well.

Nancye Tuttle’s email address is [email protected]


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