Panopticon Gallery to Close May 1 in Hotel Commonwealth

From Keith Johnson’s comparative aerial photographs composed in grid formations, and William Wegman’s whimsical pictures of his beloved Weimaraners, to the breathtaking black and white images of mountainous landscapes taken by cartographer Bradford Washburn, Panopticon Gallery has displayed the works of more than 300 established and emerging artists in more than 30 exhibits since Owner Jason Landry acquired the fine arts gallery in 2010.

On May 1, Landry will close his gallery and transfer it to a new owner.

“The last seven years have been an absolute dream,” says Landry, who lives in the Back Bay with his wife and stiletto aficionado, Anne, and French bulldog, Kendall.

Landry will be closing the flourishing photograph gallery and transferring it to a different owner, under a new name. Although this was a difficult decision for Landry, he is excited to embark on creative projects that have been swirling through his mind for some time.

“I don’t see myself as just a photographer when it comes to being an artist,” Landry explains. “Art encompasses a lot of things in my life, whether it’s writing or playing music. I want to be able to explore those avenues.”

Landry is the director of the Master’s of Fine Arts in Photography program at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, and also co-owns Booches Custom Guitars with his uncle.

He has been the commencement speaker at the New England School of Photography, and  has written the book, “Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography.” Prior to owning Panopticon, which was established in 1971, Landry was on the Board of Directors of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University.

“I don’t think my greatest achievements in life have been fully realized yet,” says Landry. “Artists are creative geniuses. It’s a lifestyle. You just have to follow your bliss. I want to keep doing the things I love.”

As a photography collector and gallery director, Landry is on the continuous search for uniqueness. He has served as a judge at portfolio reviews in Paris, New Orleans, Portland, New York, and Atlanta. Landry is proud that Panopticon was the first commercial gallery where many remarkable emerging artists have been displayed.

“My goal was to give opportunities to emerging artists, especially students, and let their voices be heard,” Landry explains. “It gave me great pleasure in doing that. I like to see people succeed.”

Wearing his usual scally cap and greeting passersby with a slender smile and nod, Landry reminisced about his most memorable shows during his time at Panopticon, which included a solo exhibit of William Wegman that attracted hundreds of guests.

“We had another show called, ‘Dress Up,’ and had a couple from Finland fly into Boston to be part of the show, and they dressed in their Goth outfits,” Landry remembers. “Working with Harold Feinstein on his book, exhibition, and signing was one of the defining moments of my time here.”

View Panopticon’s final exhibition, ‘Roger Farrington: Celebrity in Boston, 1976-1996,’ on display now through April 10 at Panopticon Gallery, inside Hotel Commonwealth, 500c Commonwealth Ave. Farrington will also be speaking about his candid black and white images of international notables during an Artist Talk on Sat., March 25, from 1-4 p.m.

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