’Feminine Illusion’ by Lynne B. Mehlman at UnchARTed Gallery in Lowell.
'Feminine Illusion' by Lynne B. Mehlman at UnchARTed Gallery in Lowell.

Night falls quickly in November, the darkest time of the year. And at Lowell's Loading Dock Gallery, twilight gives way to darkness, too, with "Into the Night." On view through Nov. 26, this dual show by Deb Arsenault and Denise Rainis brings viewers into a world lit by streetlights and starry nights.

Photographer Arsenault and painter Rainis encourage viewers to let go of daytime responsibilities and explore the mystery of darkness and shadowy dream spaces when they visit their show.

Each artist savors her work with twilight imagery. Arsenault enjoys the technical challenges of night photography and how they let her convey atmosphere and emotions differently from those that are perceived with the naked eye.

Rainis calls twilight "the magical crack between the worlds" and explores the effect of dwindling light on the New England landscape in this show.

Arsenault received a BFA in visual communications, with an emphasis on fine art photography from Northern Illinois University and has been a Western Avenue Studios artist for five years. Rainis is largely self-taught and works in a variety of media with rich colors and an impressionistic hand. She teaches pastels at her Lowell studio and leads art classes for seniors in Chelmsford and Groton.

Join the artists for a reception on Saturday, Nov. 4, 5-7 p.m. after Western Avenue Studios and Lofts' First Saturday open house.

Also this November, Loading Dock's Back Door Gallery features the art of Heidi Jackson.


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Clothing historian Astrida Schaeffer at the New England Quilt Museum.
Clothing historian Astrida Schaeffer at the New England Quilt Museum.
Loading Dock Gallery, a part of Loading Dock Arts Inc., is at Western Avenue Studios, 122 Western Ave., Lowell. It is open Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Call 978-656-1687 or visit www.theloadingdockgallery.com.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.

Art picks

FEMALE FIGURES: What images come to mind when you think of various female archetypes -- Mother, Priestess, Victim, Sex Symbol? All of these and more are included in "Saints, Sluts, and Sirens," a new exhibit at the UnchARTed Gallery and Studios, 103 Market St., Lowell, running Nov. 7-Dec. 11. An opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 11, 6-9 p.m. The unusual exhibit features the work of 25 New England artists exploring feminine archetypes in multifaceted ways in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional creations, plus two short pieces of performance art during the opening reception. For info, contact Gay Tracy at gaytracy@gamil.com or visit the gallery's Facebook page.

CHANGING FASHIONS: Stretch fabrics and comfy clothes are favored by most women today. But back in the day, their female forebears wore corsets, hoops, bustles and hip pads to make themselves stylish, despite the discomfort and restrictions. Old photos of tiny waists and tight dresses in museum exhibits look extreme to modern-day women. The real story is more complex and will be discussed in "The Sexual Politics of Women's Fashion in the 19th-Century," a lecture by clothing historian Astrida Schaeffer on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11 a.m., at the New England Quilt Museum, Shattuck Street, Lowell. The talk, exploring how women's clothing went from fashion statement to political statement, is part of the Moses Greeley Parker Lecture Series, and is free and open to all.

THOREAU EVENTS: Concord Museum opens its November series of lectures and events this weekend, with many focusing on the new exhibit "This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal Exhibition." Speakers include Kate James, executive director of Concord Art, on Friday, Nov. 3, 2-3 p.m.; David Wood, curator of the Concord Museum, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2-3 p.m.; Jennifer Ingram, visitor-services supervisor at Walden State Pond Reservation, Monday, Nov. 6, 2-3 p.m.; and Michael Blees, acting chief of interpretation and education, Minute Man National Historical Park, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2-3 p.m. The talks will all focus on Thoreau's lifelong quest to be a better observer and are free with museum admission. A craft activity for children -- Henry Bear Playdate -- takes place Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 10:30 a.m., and includes learning how Henry built a cabin, climbed a mountain and hiked to Fitchburg. See objects that Thoreau used and make a craft to take home. No advance registration required. Children $5; 4 and under are free; one adult free per child; members free. Visit www.concordmuseum.org or call 978-369-9763, ext. 216, for info and other upcoming activities.