REVIEW: "Welcome To The Conversation": RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, Part 2

Happy Friday, everyone. I'm full of granola and ready to leave the car at home today, for another fun-filled day of ambulatory adventure in sunny Providence. I'll make a stop back at the Convention Center for another go-round of the RISD graduate thesis show, which runs only through this weekend.

"Exxon #1 from Route 66" by Greg Kordas, RISD MFA Photography '08

Above: "Exxon #1 from Route 66" by Greg Kordas - archival inkjet print

Speaking of leaving the car at home, I spent a cool $50 to top off my tank yesterday on my way to the studio. As I pondered why I'm spending more on gas than on art supplies, the work of RISD Photography MFA '08 graduate Grzegorz Kordas came to mind. Greg's large format, archival inkjet prints depict real gas stations, glowing like ethereal oasis in the inky black of infinity. He photographs his subjects at night, with a focus on the power of artificial light, and the consumptive behaviors it has been proven to trigger in us, the unsuspecting citizens of a greedy society.

REVIEW: "Welcome To The Conversation": RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, Part 1

My picks from the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition (on view at the Rhode Island Convention Center until June 1st) will be posted over the next several days, due to the fact that the show is enormous and I must return to give proper attention to each department's top talent.

This morning's post is focused on the Textile department's 2008 MFA candidates. Weaver Michael Radyk explores the revelatory and veiling properties of the woven textile form through experimentation with a variety of modern fibers. His large wall hanging, "Swan Point", best exemplifies this direction.

"Swan Point" by Michael Radyk - RISD Textiles MFA '08

Unlike the flanking pieces, underwhelming efforts with the plastic cord commonly known as "gimp" (ubiquitous to summer camp craft projects), that brought to mind the now widely popular Chilewich placemats, "Swan Point" expertly utilizes materials to express information on several levels, both physically and conceptually. Finely woven from recycled polyester, coat vinyl and nylon, the underlying structure resembles an ancient scroll, coded in modern braille. As if to signify an organic transition from written record to ancient relic, hairy fiber tufts sprout from the grid in a cascading pallete of papyrus neutrals and stony grey.

On the representational and functional side of textiles, Natalie Wright displayed an 8'x11' section of digitally printed wallpaper depicting a complex family portrait originally compiled from 80 individual drawings.

"Family Portraits" wallpaper by Natalie Wright, RISD MFA Textiles '08

The stylized portraits retain an informal, snapshot quality, while the high-contrast black and white design pushes back at the viewer, negating the staid, environmental comfort of wallpaper. As much as I enjoy this type of work, I wished to see this design realized in different colorways, either more daring or diffuse.

Stay tuned for more mini reviews as I swing through the departmental roster...

Get It While It's Hot...RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Suggestion? Make a plan now (before it's too late) to visit "Welcome To The Conversation": the Annual RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, on view now at the Rhode Island Convention Center. I'll be posting highlights from the show over the next few days. Don't wait for me though, join the conversation today!

"Welcome To The Conversation": RISD 2008 Graduate Thesis Show - Poster by Chris Ro, RISD MFA '08, Graphic Design

Highlights from RISD's MFA class of 2008 will be open to the public until June 1st. Regular exhibit hours: Daily, from 12-5pm. 12-8pm extended hours on May 31st.

Providence Round Up

Friday sneaks up on you, which is no reason to cover your eyes and shriek. High gas prices have kept me a bit closer to home this week, and in my wanderings I've turned out a few Providence tidbits for your easy consumption.

For those who prefer one-stop shopping, hop on your jalopy and bike on down to Olneyville for a weekend of events at The Steel Yard. As part of their annual fundraiser, a full menu of celebratory events and competitions of kiln and foundry peaks with a "Steel Yard Is Burning" dance party on Saturday night.

The Steel Yard Annual Fundraiser - May 15-18 2008

DownCity, drop by the Gallery at 17 Peck for their special 3rd Anniversary exhibit and sale, pending their June move to a brand-spanking new location on Federal Hill. Particularly stunning: Malcom Furlow's acidicly edgy Coyote paintings.

Malcom Furlow: Coyote In Providence - @ The Gallery at 17 Peck

Above: Malcolm Furlow: "Coyote In Providence", Acrylic on canvas 30"x36"

Across the "way" at 75 Weybosset, fit yourself with some sexy frames at Providence Optical. Now that you can see clearly, step up the winding staircase to Above Providence Optical Gallery, for a glimpse of "Your Idols", a series of close-cropped portraiture prints by Philipp Rumpf.

Opening tomorrow at Gail Cahalan Gallery, photographer Alexandra Broches' "The Natural World Redefined". Her "design-inspired", black and white prints feature collections of fragile, natural materials such as feathers, bone and eggshells. Broches will give a gallery talk on May 21st, 6:30pm. The show runs through June 7th.

REVIEW: Allison Paschke at 5 Traverse Gallery

The calendar page has turned, which brings an exciting new crop of gallery shows to focus those springtime wanderings. Time it right and you'll hit an opening reception, all the better to fulfil your early evening aperitif needs!

Make sure to visit 5 Traverse Gallery, where tomorrow evening, Rhode Island artist Allison Paschke will be opening a new exhibition of her mixed-media works in porcelain, cast-resin and layered pigments. Named after imaginary cities described in author Italo Calvino's 1972 novel: "Invisible Cities", Paschke's "Portable Pieces" invite handling and exploration; an adventure required to unlock the magical, invented spaces insinuated within their modest materials.

Allison Paschke: "Despina" - from the "Portable Pieces" series

Above: Allison Paschke's "Despina", (7.25" x 5" x rice paper, varnish and pigment

Visitors to 5 Traverse will have a chance to encounter Paschke's newest work, scaled back into the "second and a half" dimension, which incorporates a bolder tier of the spectrum to invoke the quiet, imaginary perspectives inherent in the neutral pallete of her 3-D work.

Allison Paschke: "Tabriz Study 1", resin and pigment on Mylar

Above: Allison Paschke's "Tabriz Study 1", (7" x 7"), resin and pigments on Mylar

Click here to read my full review, available in print in the May/June issue of Artscope Magazine. The exhibition will be on view from May 9th through June 14th.

On view in the Inner Space: Father and son Bill & Ben Shattuck, "2 Generations Aloft"
5 Traverse Gallery: 5 Traverse Street, Providence, RI 02906. 401.278.4968 /

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