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"KEVORK MOURAD: PAINTINGS" for Artscope Magazine (May/June 2010)

"KEVORK MOURAD: PAINTINGS" for Artscope Magazine (May/June 2010)

 "TRACING THE LIVING JOURNEY - Kevork Mourad: Paintings"

Gallery Z
259 Atwells Avenue
Providence, Rhode Island
April 7 - May 29, 2010

by Meredith Cutler (for Artscope Magazine)

Article excerpt:

Artist Kevork Mourad returns to Gallery Z this spring for his first solo show in Providence in more than two years. Comprised of new paintings and works on paper, all works on exhibit were completed in 2010, suggesting the prolific exuberance of the artist, who is best known for his "live visuals": essentially, spontaneous painting performances in concert settings.

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Image: Kevork Mourad, "Mother and Child I" 2010, acrylic on canvas.

"NOT YOUR HIPSTER VINTAGE" for Artscope Magazine (Mar/Apr 2010)

"NOT YOUR HIPSTER VINTAGE" for Artscope Magazine (Mar/Apr 2010)

"NOT YOUR HIPSTER VINTAGE: In Their Own Way: Vintage Watercolors by Rhode Island Artists (1890-1960)

Bert Gallery
540 South Water Street
Providence, Rhode Island
Through March 19, 2010

by Meredith Cutler (for Artscope Magazine)

Article excerpt:

In 2010, Bert Gallery celebrates its 25th anniversary in Providence, making it one of the most tenacious and longstanding commercial galleries currently operating in the city. In a tumultuous local economy, this is no small feat.

Providence has a strong history of alternative art spaces of all stripes, but for private galleries, longevity is the exception, not th erule. Rhode Island's extended economic crisis has hit even the buzziest art establishments where it hurts. Recent closures of popular, albeit young galleries like 5 Traverse, YES Gallery and Stairwell Gallery have eviscerated the local roster.

In a steadfast departure from the offbeat mixed-media and industrial art trends championed in Providence art spaces, the Bert Gallery collection focuses instead on the cultural history of Providence and greater Rhode Island. Exhibits are pulled from their expansive inventory and estate holdings of paintings dating from the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century.

Opening up the year is a selection of watercolors with Rhode Island pedigrees: "In Their Own Way: Vintage Watercolors by Rhode Island Artists (1890-1960)."

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Image: Frank Mathewson (1861-1941), "Providence - From Fleur de Lys", 1936, watercolor.

"ZUGUNRUHE" for Artscope Magazine (Jan/Feb 2010)

"ZUGUNRUHE" for Artscope Magazine (Jan/Feb 2010)

"GHOSTS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: ZUGUNRUHE"
AN INSTALLATION BY RACHEL BERWICK

David Winton Bell Gallery
List Art Center
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
November 14, 2009 - February 14, 2010

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by Meredith Cutler (for Artscope Magazine)

Article excerpt:

As the first decade of the century rounds to the nearest ten, world leaders negotiate climate change in Copenhagen, an orphaned iceberg closes in on Australia's Southern coast, and the long shadow of winter settles over the Northern Hemisphere, chasing flocks of birds on their annual migrations south.

Throughout these winter months, artist Rachel Berwick casts our collective gaze back to migrations and mass extinctions of centuries past with “Zugunruhe,” an installation and lecture series at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery.

The curious term “zugunruhe” found life in the 1950s, when ornithologist Gustav Kramer took it upon himself to name the documented behavior of nighttime restlessness in birds just prior to migration.

John James Audubon’s 19th century accounts of the American passenger pigeons’ massive migrations cite “the light of the noonday was obscured as by an eclipse” as the birds passed overhead. In recent enough generational memory to sting, the equally dramatic extinction of what was once the most abundant bird in North America takes the spotlight in Berwick’s installation. It was 100 years ago that Martha, the last of the passenger pigeons, became
the bearer of her grim title. She survived five lonely, terminal years in captivity before her species’ official extinction in 1914.

The entryway to “Zugunruhe” displays a rare copy of Audubon’s 1840 book “Birds of America” alongside literary accounts of this vanished migration, set in subtle wall texts. Perched on a central pedestal, a blown glass sphere holds a brass pointer, which rotates like a compass between the texts as if by magic or magnetism. According to Berwick, the pointer follows a “hypothetical migration.” In the confines of this particular time and space, her device must point to historical accounts in lieu of the real thing. It’s easy to get caught up in the novelty of Berwick’s nostalgic device, which engages passing gallery goers with an almost alchemic curiosity as it chases this grim mythology.

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Image: Rachel Berwick, Zugunruhe, 2009, cast copal (amber), wood, two-way architectural mirror, moss, metal, polyester resin.

"INNER CITY" for Artscope Magazine (Nov/Dec 2009)

"INNER CITY" for Artscope Magazine (Nov/Dec 2009)

INNER CITY:

AN INSTALLATION BY CERAMIC SCULPTOR ARNIE ZIMMERMAN AND ARCHITECT TIEGO MONTEPEGADO

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, R.I.
through January 3, 2010

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by Meredith Cutler (for Artscope Magazine)

Article Excerpt:

AT THE HEART OF RISD’S CANAL-SIDE CAMPUS, AN OLD TROLLEY TUNNEL LINKS THE GROUND LEVEL OF COLLEGE HILL TO ITS LOFTY HEIGHTS. BARNACLE-LIKE CERAMIC GROWTHS FESTOON THE TILE SHELTER OF THIS PUBLIC TRANSIT NEXUS, WHICH HUDDLES IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE CLEAN LINES OF ITS YOUNG NEIGHBOR, THE CHACE CENTER.

Inaugurated in Fall 2008, the Center houses an expansion of the RISD Museum, linked by a glass sky bridge to the Decorative Arts galleries of Pendleton House, built in 1906.

Arriving by escalator at the museum’s third level main gallery with this stratified urbanity on my mind, I am confronted with a grid marked in white tape on the polished concrete floor. Rising from the grid are three squat pedestals, each bearing a place identity: Lisbon (Portugal), Leeuwarden (the Netherlands) and Providence. “Inner City,” a modular installation that has grown to include over 180 ceramic buildings and figurines by sculptor Arnie Zimmerman, has visited all three of these cities. In each exhibition venue, the installation has occupied a distinct footprint, thanks to Zimmerman’s collaborator, architect Tiago Montepegado. The installation at the RISD Museum represents the work’s largest iteration to date.

The white tape continues into the 4,000 square foot inner sanctum, demarcating a tidy, right-angled street grid punctuated by 26 pedestals of varied height.

Large, stoneware edifices, more suggestive of factories than dwellings, rise from these blocks, their fractured walls bearing the telltale signs of kiln accident or earthquake. It’s an ironic urban plan to find here in New England, where urban arteries skin old cow paths to double back on oneway streets and endless, orange-coned roadway improvement projects.

Crawling and perched throughout Zimmerman’s ruinous vignettes, grim-faced clay figurines, seemingly without race, gender or age, labor in rough-hewn detail. Their uniforms are generic — some wear bright sweaters, marked with shiny glaze “X” suspenders, suggesting secondhand and ill-fitted clothing. In Zimmerman’s city, there is no cult of style. Sweatshirts, hats and harlequin patterns echo Goodwill bins.

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Image: Arnie Zimmerman and Tiago Montepegado. Installation views and details from “Inner City,” RISD Museum of Art, Providence, RI, 2009. ©Arnie Zimmerman, courtesy of Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. Providence, Rhode Island. Photography by Erik Gould.

"PLUG IN, PROVIDENCE: PIXILERATIONS [V.6]" for Artscope Magazine (Sept/Oct 2009)

"PLUG IN, PROVIDENCE: PIXILERATIONS [V.6]" for Artscope Magazine (Sept/Oct 2009)

PLUG IN, PROVIDENCE
PIXILERATIONS [V.6]: THE GREAT DISRUPTION

RISD's Sol Koffler Gallery, 5 Traverse Gallery,
and venues throughout Providence
September 24 - October 11, 2009
Providence, RI

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by Meredith Cutler (for Artscope Magazine)

Article excerpt:

As part of FirstWorks' annual performing arts festival, the Pixilerations new media showcase has evolved into an anticipated Providence gateway to the "wired and weird". An outlet for new media art across a dizzying list of disciplines (including sound, video, performance, and installation), Pixilerations intrigued me when I made my move from Boston to Providence two years ago, and was something of a deal-clincher when I joined the FirstWorks staff in late 2008.

Fast-forward to present, as we wade bravely in to make Pixilerations [v.6] a reality (with the help of our partners at Brown and RISD, and hard-won NEA funding.) Apparently, it's my job to make Pixilerations legible for the general public. Truth? Even for a halfway insider like me, this is no small task.

Comprised of new media curators, artists, and educators, the Providence-based curatorial team that shifts the pixels in 2009 represents several strata of the Brown and RISD tower to enlightenment. For the first time, this year Pixilerations plugs in with a private gallery partner, 5 Traverse Gallery.

Gallery director Maya Allison serves as exhibition director for this ambitious showcase, which this year includes more than 70 local, regional and international artists.

As the curatorial dust settled, I plugged in with Allison for an insider's tour - a conversation appropriately animated by the submissions database, a colorful spreadsheet, and a pile of pixels.

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Image: Andrew Ames, "Space Invader Returns Home," 2009, mixed media and custom electronics.

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