What to see...what to see...

It's the third Thursday of the month, which means Gallery Night for those of you in or around the Providence area. The calendar page's turn to September generally initiates the re-opening (or reinvigoration) of galleries and educational institutions, so it's a great time to explore the city's art scene. Step outside and into the fresh, early evening air and check out the premiere shows of a new season.

Ken Takashi Horii "Of Mind And Matter" - plywood, sumi ink, ink, paper

Above: "Of Mind and Matter" by Ken Takashi Horii - on view at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler.

Opening tonight at the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler: "Of Mind and Matter" by sculptor and RISD professor Ken Takashi Horii. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken for the current issue of Artscope Magazine and can wholeheartedly recommend this exhibit, which features Horii's sculptural and ink-drawing investigations into perceptions of allusion and illusion. Referencing Western Rorschach ink-blot tests embedded and alongside the diagrammatic structures of Tantric Buddhism, this show is bound to open many doors for observation and conversation.

Anthony Tomaselli: "Waterfire: Superman Building"

Above: "Waterfire: Superman Building" by Anthony Tomaselli - on view at Gallery Z

Over on the expanding gallery roster of Federal Hill, the "Rhode Island Italian Artists" exhibit is showing at Gallery Z, featuring local landscapes by Anthony Tomaselli alongside other small works in painting by Stephanie Marzella, photography by Angelo Marinosci and Salvatore Mancini, and renowned sculptor and painter Angelo Rosati. Tip: This tax-free zone is a great stop for local art enthusiasts and collectors.

"White Tara" (detail) - Kancha Lama

Above: "White Tara Mandala" (detail) - Kancha Lama, on view at the Providence College Robert and Mary Anne Reilly Gallery.

School is definitely back in session, and Providence College's art galleries are hopping once again. At the Hunt-Cavanaugh Gallery, check out "Some Measure - Martha Groome Paintings" (on view through October 16th). Nearby at the Reilly Gallery, visit tonight's sneak preview opening of "Tribute To Tibet", featuring Tibetan "thangka" paintings and other artifacts from area collections. As part of this exhibit, two monks from the Dalai Lama’s Namgyal Monastery (in Ithaca, New York), will create a Sand Mandala in the Gallery between September 21st -27th. On the afternoon of September 27th the monks will dismantle the Mandala, with the remnants to be ritually poured into the river by WaterPlace Park during that Saturday evening's WaterFire event.

Providence Open Market

It was not the lovliest of autumn weekends, but overcast skies didn't stop me from checking out the Providence Open Market on Saturday, newly relocated to Lippett Park (where Blackstone Blvd. intersects Hope St.)

Providence Open Market

Luckily for the vendors, I wasn't the only one unphased by the gloomy weather - a good group of East Siders held court, inspecting various goodies on display by local artisans and foodies. I was a bit disappointed to find that there were only two foodie stalls, but I'll get over it...I had already hit up Pastiche (pictured below) for some artisan cookies!


With some gift shopping to do, I was happy to encounter fellow East-Side indie artisan Kim Clark of Lucky Bird Studio. With a sharp eye for color and pattern, she incorporates revived papers (chiyogami-style), tiny beads, findings and hardware into microcosmic, epoxy-set collages - then reborn as earrings, pendants, hair pins or bracelets. Her signature pieces in this style live in small, copper-plated brass settings (about the size of a penny). I had a hard time picking just one! Kim's website, a bit of eye-candy in itself, does a great job at highlighting her wide selection of patterns and products.

Lucky Bird Studios at Providence Open Market

Returning home after chit-chatting with Leigh Medieros of Warren's new Yes Gallery + Studio, I ran into Bravo the cat - who awaited me in ambush on my front steps. I care for my semi-feral friend and his scrappy pal Matilda when their sponsors (my landlords) are away. I just have to mention Bravo, because he is such a bizarre alley cat. Resembling a notch-eared, gigantic version of my enormously beloved (and sadly deceased) luxury cat, Phaedrus, Bravo's got quite an overbite...and simply cannot get enough love, which he demands by biting me!

Bravo the semi-feral cat - a sucker for love

Besides caring for emotionally needy, semi-feral garden cats - I also support the ASPCA and encourage everyone to check out their local chapter. Right now, the ASPCA needs our help to support their efforts to rescue animals affected by the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes. Every little bit helps!

The Providence Open Market has two more Saturdays in store for us this season: September 20th and 27th.

REVIEW: Quintessential at Firehouse No. 13

While many think of Firehouse No. 13 as a hot spot for local performance and music events, it is important to know that the welcoming ground-level space hosts gallery shows as a backdrop to its ever changing roster of sound and dialogue.

Like other alternative arts spaces (I’m thinking back to some hairy events at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge) this can pose unique challenges to both artist and audience, as the ebb and flow of humans interact with each other, the elements (beverages, PA) and the artwork.

With this in mind, I was lucky to drop in on the soft opening of Quintessential, selected works by Nathanial Allen, Keith Borges, Tennyson LaCasio and Joshua Nierodzinski, just hours before the remnants of tropical storm Hannah soaked the steamy streets.

In “quintessential” FH 13 style, a backdrop of live music (by Borges’ duo 12lb. Beard) accompanied the artwork, and the artists were present in full opening dress. For me, a shocker! I’ve been getting used to the slack-asualness of Providence, i.e. the apparent acceptability of wearing pajama pants out on the town.

Beyond my shock of encountering eveningwear at an alternative space art opening, I can recommend a view of this show to anyone interested in emerging regional upstarts. The work, a fair mix of painting and small sculpture by South Coast/New Bedford-based artists, provides a balanced and thoughtful counterpoint to some of the more materially effusive and exuberant installation/performance-based work often seen from the younger set.

Keith Borges: "Grande double mocha latte with 18 sugars", Mixed-media

Above: "Grande double mocha latte with 18 sugars" (installation detail) by Keith Borges

While easy to overlook given the size of the space, the specimen-like mixed-media sculptures of Keith Borges are worth seeking out. By placing narrative combinations of formally simple, manmade and organic materials on narrow display pedestals, Borges forces the viewer to examine the reliquary and transient nature of objects. I particularly liked the scale of "Mutilation, Amputation, Humiliation", although the temptingly open tray of sugar-bedded, rusted belt-buckles bafflingly titled "Grande double mocha latte with 18 sugars" is the more daring of the set.

Nathaniel Allen: "Three Over Three", Mixed-media

Above: "Three over three" by Nathanial Allen

Fellow small-scale sculptor Nathanial Allen’s work is harder to sort out. Squarely arrayed on and across FH13's expansive plank floor, the barely knee-high works are challenging to confront from a full-sized human's (okay, ¾ size in my case) perspective. Simply constructed, and evocative of game board pieces, his "Three over three" and "Four blocks and a box" could serve as stronger studies for a larger sculptural idea. I would like to see Allen’s work in expanded form, or at least displayed on their own in a “white box” space more friendly to sculptural work of this challenging scale.

Studio neighbors Joshua Nierodzinski and Tennyson LaCasio chose to alternate their oil paintings across the long display wall. Certain pairings fare better than others, but the complimentary sizes and palates of the two painters provide a friendly platform with which to point out the formal differences in their work.

Tennyson LaCasio: "Ethereal Accension", Oil on canvas over board

Above: "Ethereal Accension" by Tennyson LaCasio

LaCasio’s canvases are ethereal, expressionistic and wildly atmospheric. My favorite piece in his set, “Ethereal Accension”, brings to mind Renaissance ceiling frescos in varying states of decay and conservation. While not easily visible on the depicted photo, a gestural pair of marks that could represent aircraft, birds, or perhaps the floating ghosts caused by retinal effects recede into a cloud and dust palate. I should point out that LaCasio is not afraid to confront challenging, and at times caustic color palates in the same, light-filled ethereal style.

Joshua Nierodzinski: "Little Portuguese Bend", Oil and acrylic on panel

Above: "Little Portuguese Bend" by Joshua Nierodzinksi

Nierodzinksi takes a similar, cerulean and dust palate to a journalistic, grid/ledger destination in his painting titled “April May March”. In this case, the light appears to be reflecting off of an object instead of emanating from an atmosphere. Again, counterpoint is a strength of this show. In this and “Little Portuguese Bend”, the other of his stronger, non-representational work, there is a sense of buildup and decay, with stabilizing bands of color supporting abstraction that hovers on the edge of becoming.

Quintessential officially opens at Firehouse No. 13 this Friday, September 12th, with musical hosts: Cardboard Fort, 12lb. Beard and friends providing live entertainment from 6pm-1am.

Firehouse No. 13: 41 Central St. Providence, RI 02907.

This Is What Happens When The Internet Is Down

It's interesting what I can get into when the internet is down at my studio. Here is a little drawing I made today when all www distractions were effectively removed from my periphery:

Brothers and Sisters: Graphite drawing on paper by Meredith Cutler

It's based on a cell-phone photo I snapped in Asissi of an anonymous street-art installation, that also made it into my lost and found series due to its content. This one is particularly pithy. I really enjoyed the liberties of drawing this; it was a timely reminder to do this type of thing more often.

Before the internet abandoned me to my loftier pursuits, I added a blast from the past to my portfolio section, from my highly experimental days in the 9yds. art collaborative. I think the fact that Providence is such an incubator for funky artist collaboratives inspired me to dig through the archives. Ahhh, those were the's nice to look back and remember when I did not need sleep to survive!

Speaking of which, ProvFlux decends upon us, August 7-11th. Keep an eyeball peeled for psychogeographers, and join in the festi-formance-games.

Weekend Roundup: First Beach, Then Art

As my Italy tan threatens to fade, there is nothing I look forward to more than a steamy, early August beach weekend here in Little Rhody. I'm firing up the flipflops and prepping the watermelon already!

Lest I lose all self respect while lathering on the 45 SPF and a dab of Jergens Natural Glow, let me recount the various other good things in the world of art and culture that await this weekend, just a stone's throw from the sandy shores of the Narragansett Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

All this weekend, at Fort Adams State Park: The Newport Folk Festival draws the indie crowd alongside the tried and true folkies, with low-key-cool acts like She & Him, Cat Power and Calexico sharing the stage with legends like Richie Havens.

Having made the journey to Newport, stay awhile and check out Saturday's Gallery Night, with free parking available at the Newport Art Museum.

"arrondissment" by Kevin Gilmore

As shown above, opening tonight at Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design, new mixed-media paintings by Rhode Island native, Kevin Gilmore. Read my full review in this month's Artscope Magazine.

Just up the street at DeBlois Gallery, Street Art: In & Out opens tonight, with graffiti artists creating a site-specific work live in the gallery's front window.

Street Art: In & Out at DeBlois Gallery Newport

Heading back to Providence for the night, stop by Firehouse 13 for the opening of Straight Mixed Culture, a group show of Providence artists celebrating Providence culture "as it is". Word.

Straight Mixed Culture opens tonight at Firehouse 13

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