New Media for all: Pixilerations [v.5] opens tonight

A nested component of Providence's annual FirstWorks Festival, Pixilerations spotlights new trends in digital media and interactive performance through a 9-day series of exhibitions and events. Now celebrating its 5th year with a roster of over 60 participating artists and performers, "Pixilerations [v.5]: fragments & (w)holes", opens tonight with a reception at RISD's Sol Koffler Gallery. At 7pm, guest artists Heidi Kumeo and Gail Wight will give a public talk on their work at 191 Westminster Street, the festival's additional exhibition space.

All events are free to the public, representing a great oppportunity to experience the latest artistic innovations in robotics, holography, sound and interactive media. Visit the festival website for a complete calendar of Pixilerations events and exhibitions.

RISD's Sol Koffler Gallery is located at 169 Weybosset St. in Providence

REVIEW: "A Varied Terrain" Launches New Student Galleries at RISD

A key advantage offered by RISD's new Chace Center is the addition of two gallery spaces: The Gelman Student Gallery and Dryfoos Student Media Gallery, both dedicated to student-run programming. The Gelman Gallery's inaugural show, "A Varied Terrain", is on view through this Friday, October 5th.

Curated by students Mayen Alcantara, Gabriela Salazar and Martin Smick, the group show addresses "critical issues regarding the structure and system of our environments", with 12 participating artists presenting works created from the point of view of artist, naturalist, architect and engineer.

It is a fitting theme for inaugurating this portion of the Chace Center, long anticipated as a main feature to bridge the RISD campus with the main thoroughfair of North Main Street at Providence's Market Square.

In media ranging from video to installation to trompe-l'oeil, the participating artists delve into their own and their subjects' relationships with the environment.

"Hang 'Em Up Roadie" an installation by Thomas Morrill (RISD BFA Painting 2008)

Above: "Hang 'Em Up Roadie" by Thomas Morrill - mixed-media installation with radio transmitter

I first encountered "Hang ‘Em Up Roadie", an installation by painter Thomas Morrill (BFA, 2008). Far from painting, this invented office-cum-pirate-radio-station explores systems of information gathering and classification; boasting a collection of cassette tape recordings of lectures, movies, animals, music, sporting events and conversations, shelved according to a personal taxonomy of geographic place. The person behind the collection is implied by a handmade radio transmitter (tuned to 104.7FM if you happen to be within 575 feet), and the ubiquitous, mostly consumed Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.

Located nearby, a sinisterly low, boxed plywood corridor by Rui Sasaki (MFA candidate, glass) convinced me to overcome my claustophobia by entering and closing the door shut behind me. Other than triggering a motion-sensor bare lightbulb, and causing myself dusty knees and a backache, I elicited no further response from the installation, titled "My Basement". Perhaps I failed to trigger something more gratifying...there were speakers inside.

"Landscape XI", a screenprinted assemblage by Luke O'Sullivan (RISD MFA candidate, printmaking)

Above: "Landscape XI" by Luke O'Sullivan - screenprinted wood and mixed-media

Stretching back out to my full height (1,568 mm!), I took the time to admire an assemblage by Luke O'Sullivan (MFA candidate, printmaking). Like a multi-colored backdrop for a Terry Gilliam animation, and referencing industrial relics like used letterpress blocks, his "Landscape XI" is a model city comprised of a multitude of individually cut and screenprinted "buildings", perched on an exaggerated platform of construction deitritus. Impeccable craftsmanship and a fine eye for materials and scale serves this work well. "Landscape XI"'s proximity to the gallery's single window onto the architecture of downcity Providence further enhanced the work's capacity for self-reflection.

"Memory Floor Plan", an inkjet print by Leslie Kwok (RISD MFA Graphic Design 2008)

Above: "Memory Floor Plan" by Leslie Kwok - inkjet print

On my way out, I was pleased to encounter the familiar work of MFA recipient (Graphic Design, 2008) Leslie Kwok, whose work I reviewed in the graduate thesis show this past May. Kwok explores interpersonal relationships through graphical conventions. Her work is intelligent, accessible and balanced - never overdone or trite in design or execution. For this show she presents an inkjet print titled "Memory Floor Plan". Diagramatically representing each bedroom she has occupied since birth, the floor plan reconstructs an autobiographical, yet imaginary 16-room "house", with each doorway symbol leading into one or more adjacent rooms.

I exited, pondering whether these implied doors should eventually lead to a stairway, or, if they are better represented opening [like Chace Center itself] onto the waiting outside world.

The Chace Center is located at 20 North Main Street, Providence 02903

RISD Chace Center Opens Today: Free To The Public

The long-awaited Chace Center at RISD opens to the public today, adding 43,000 square feet of sophisticated, mixed-use space to bridge key areas of the diverse campus with the public arena of Providence's Market Square.

Chace Center at Rhode Island School of Design

Above: Chace Center - Courtesy of the RISD Museum / Photo by Erik Gould

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect José Rafael Moneo, the sleek, five-story facility offers the community much-needed programming and educational space, to be shared by the RISD Museum, risd|works, The Minskoff Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs, the new Gelman Student and Dryfoos Student Media Galleries, and expanded RISD office, studio and classroom facilities. The new Metcalf Auditorium on the ground floor offers additional presentation and event space to RISD and the greater Providence community.

Chihuly at RISD: "Persian Ceiling" (detail) 2008

Above: Dale Chihuly, "Persian Ceiling", 2008. Photo by Meredith Cutler

Grand Opening celebrations are free and open to the public today, with a hospitality tent set up across the street from the new main lobby entrance at 20 North Main Street. There, timed tickets for the inaugural exhibition: Chihuly at RISD, can be picked up until 5:30pm, when the tent will be transformed into a public tapas lounge for the enjoyment of the Waterfire crowd.

Chihuly at RISD: "Glass Forest #4" 2008

Above: Dale Chihuly, "Glass Forest #4", 2008. Photo by Meredith Cutler

I'll be reviewing Chihuly at RISD, as well as outlining the features and impact of the new Chace Center in the upcoming year-end issue of Artscope Magazine. For today, (and I anticipate for some time to come) this architectural centerpiece is the talk of the town, so grab your umbrella and check it out!

Chace Center at Rhode Island School of Design: 20 Main Street, Providence, RI 02903

Everybody Wins! The AS220 Community Printshop First Biennial Print Lottery

To celebrate their 1-year anniversary as the only public printshop in Rhode Island, the AS220 Community Printshop will hold their First Biennial Print Lottery tomorrow, Saturday, September 27th, from 7-10pm. All ticket holders will win an original printed art work, representing a variety of print media practiced and taught in the shop. The blind lottery selection includes works in: drawing, monoprint, screenprint, etching, lithograph, woodblock, stencil and letterpress...all created in the warm glow of the communal Printshop.

AS220 Community PrintShop First Biennial PrintLottery!

Lottery tickets are set at a $75 flat rate, with proceeds to support the AS220 printshop's public programs. All work is currently on exhibit in the AS220 main gallery for your eager perusal. See you there!

AS220 and everything that entails: 115 Empire Street Providence, RI 02903

Design*Sponge Spotlights Providence!

I'm already hard at work researching year-end exhibits and events for the close of 2008 issue of Artscope Magazine. It's always an exciting and overwhelming process, given the tenacious exuberance of our itty-city's art scene. Given that, I was overjoyed to discover the topic of yesterday's Design*Sponge guest blog post. Fellow East-sider Christine Chitnis compiled the Providence City Guide for Design*Sponge's ongoing roster of city-specific design guides - all excellent resources for design-o'-philes on the go!

Waterfire: hlkphoto.comAbove: "Waterfire" by Heather Katsoulis

With press releases and colorful exhibit announcements scattered about my studio floor, I was more than happy to add a few key arts destinations to the comments section, including: AS220, The Steelyard and CAV. A must read! Thanks to Grace and Christine for helping to highlight Providence as an arts and design destination.

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