September 6 – 29: URI Studio Faculty Biennial 2017 highlights new work by the extraordinary studio artists in the URI Department of Art and Art History. The works are varied—ranging from digital media, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, video, performance, film, animation, and more.
Locater, by Max Van Pelt
October 10- November 10:
Van Pelt makes intricate sculptures of various scale from monumental to minute. His mixed media paintings on paper and hybrid installations navigate the geometries of architectural, environmental and emotional space.
Van Pelt graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2011 where his work in sculpture and drawing was awarded the Jonathan B Rintels Prize for outstanding undergraduate thesis in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Reception: Thursday, October 12, 3:45-5 pm
THE SPACE BETWEEN: Sculptures by Lin Lisberger
I am predominantly a wood carver and have been for most of my sculpture career. Over time, my sculptures have echoed many images—knots, ladders, boats, sandwiches, or a quick drawing. Each sculpture is a sketch of a moment in time and space and the life of the tree. My interests have been in expressing peace, growth, and the balance between fragility and endurance in humans and nature. Form is always a major concern, along with a sense of time and place.
I am drawn to spaces between, and what it means to be sandwiched in, physically and emotionally. Those spaces are difficult to capture because they have strong inward aspects, but the sense of having two outsides, like a book cover or slices of bread, has led me to make carved books and sandwiches. At the same time I strive to create those spaces between in more abstract sculptures, highlighting figure and ground with an attempt to emphasize the vibration between the two.
Often my work has been reflective of the human form, either as a direct representation or protection for it, or as a look at the interior structures, both physical and mental. Thus “spaces between” can be both perceived and physical spaces.
Elysian Fields was one of Bart’s favorite phrases and he used it often in his lectures as a way of explaining what he hoped to help his students achieve. He used the term in the sense of an artist claiming their own abilities to explore as yet unexamined vistas of thought and creativity and manifestation. He saw this as a utopian ideal of being an artist: entering and exploring the Elysian Fields in order to bring back creative works that were unexpected, evocative, thought-provoking, sometimes disturbing, and ultimately satisfying.
Bart spoke of New Orleans as his first idea of a city. It is no coincidence that a street in New Orleans bears the name Elysian Fields, and appeared as a character in Streetcar Named Desire. Bart’s teaching style was a way to get others to awaken to the artist’s quest at the behest of their unique desire. The results of his success are visible in the work of his students.
He created a wonderful community around his photographic studio. All his Department colleagues remember him as insightful and wise but also full of humorous anecdotes and asides (like his Donner Party comments!) both at faculty meetings and in more informal settings over a glass of beer.
Photo by Stan Strembicki
January 23-February 18, 2017- This exhibition explores Rhode Island’s textile industry and its connections to slavery, the slave trade and other related institutions from 1783 to the 1850s.
In 1703, Rhode Island recognized and legalized enslavement. Just over one hundred years later, the United States Congress passed a federal law banning the international slave trade, which curiously heralded a boom in the domestic slave trade. Slavery was not outlawed in Rhode Island until 34 years later.
With particular emphasis on Rhode Island’s economy from 1783 to the 1850s, this exhibition will use text, images, artifacts, and multimedia installation to explore the interdependence of our country’s economy and its intrinsic links with the institution of slavery, and the international and domestic slave trades.
Related Events For February
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Context and Connection: Rhode Island and Slavery, 1783-1850s
Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum
11:00-11:45 – Performance by Elon Cook
From Harriet Jacobs‘ “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl“
Little attention was paid to the slaves’ meals in Dr. Flint’s house. If they could catch a bit of food while it was going, well and good. I gave myself no trouble on that score, for on my various errands I passed my grandmother’s house, where there was always something to spare for me. I was frequently threatened with punishment if I stopped there; and my grandmother, to avoid detaining me, often stood at the gate with something for my breakfast or dinner. I was indebted to her for all my comforts, spiritual or temporal. It was her labor that supplied my scanty wardrobe. **I have a vivid recollection of the linsey-woolsey dress given me every winter by Mrs. Flint. How I hated it! It was one of the badges of slavery.”**
Elon Cook is a museum activist and race woman. She is the program manager for the Center for Reconciliation, where she leads educational initiatives on the United States’ history of slavery, slave trading and enslaved resistance. Elon is the curator and team lead for The Center for Reconciliation’s museum project on the history of slavery in Rhode Island. She is also the humanities consultant for the Robbins House, an African American historic site in Concord, Massachusetts.
12:00-12:45 – Presentation by Dr. Joanne Pope Melish
“Forgetting and Remembering Slavery in Rhode Island,”
will explore how two sets of “invisible bodies” made possible the rise of Rhode Island as an antebellum industrial power. In the colonial period, the trade in African captives and the exploitation of African and Afro-Indian agricultural labor generated the capital to finance the Rhode Island textile industry; later, the labor of enslaved African Americans in the South produced the raw material for textile production, while plantation slavery provided a southern market for “negro cloth” and agricultural tools.
Joanne Pope Melish is Associate Professor of History Emerita at the University of Kentucky, where she also directed the American Studies Program and co-directed the Africana Studies Initiative for several years. Dr. Melish received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University. She is the author of Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860 (Cornell University Press, 1998) and many essays on race and slavery in the early republic.
12:45-1:15 – Lunch Break
1:15-2:00 – Performance by Sylvia Ann Soares
An actor/writer/historian/activist living in RI Sylvia Ann Soares performs as ‘Silvy Tory’, the elder RI slave in South County. Leading up to the naming of a RI slave cloth mill, ‘Silvy’ recalls slave attire in regards to the RI Negro Election Days (1740’s -1840’s) and to the colonial Revolutionary War. She also references Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech “What to the Negro is the Fourth of July?”
Sylvia Ann Soares, Brown ’95, belongs to the professional acting UnIon SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity. She is actor/writer/historian/activist. She performed in the NY 60’s Black Theatre Movement, also appearing in 70’s television, film, stage and on tours. Has appeared locally for years with Rites and Reason Theatre. Has created Silvy Tory Stories, her storytelling on history of slavery in RI. Funded by the RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) to be Living History of Nancy Elizabeth Prophet. RICH has funded her researched illustrated talks on local Cape Verdean history.
2:15-3:00 – Presentation by exhibition contributing scholar, Peter Fay
“From Manumission to Moby Dick: Black Labor in Rhode Island from Slavery to Textiles and Whaling”
At each turning point in history, from the birth of the industrial revolution in Rhode Island to the final defeat of southern slavery in the Civil War, Rhode Island African-American workers played a vital role. A former Pawtucket slave did the heaviest work during construction of the nation’s first cotton-spinning mill. A black Warwick sailor joined a whaling voyage to the South Pacific with Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. And one North Kingstown textile weaver joined the 24th Massachusetts Colored Regiment to march into Charleston, South Carolina, freeing the city’s slaves. Peter Fay will weave together the threads of all colors of labor history to explore the question, what role does race play in working-class Rhode Island, both yesterday and today?
Peter Fay is a Marxist public historian and former Steelworkers union leader. He spent two decades in Central Massachusetts, active in the labor movement, school desegregation and civil rights. He participates in diversity planning at Brown University and recently helped launch the Newport Middle Passage project, a community organization dedicated to commemorating the lives of those lost in the Newport slave trade, and to honoring those who survived it.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Galanti Lounge, URI Library
11:00am-12:noon – Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara meets with Women and Gender Studies
12:15-1:15 –Lunch with Students
1:30-2:30 – Meeting with Rhode Island Middle Passage Port Markers Ceremony Project member
URI Main Art Gallery
4:00-5:00 – Exhibition guide and talk with
artist-in-residence, Deborah Baronas,
and exhibition contributing scholar, Dr. Marcus Nevius
5:00-5:45 – Gallery Reception
Swan Hall Auditorium
6:00-7:30 – Keynote Address by Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, author of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island
7:30-8:00 – Book Signing (managed by URI Bookstore, confirmed)
Building formally known as URI Faculty Club
8:00-9:00 – Dinner with Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara
Poetic Vision: The Art of Paul Forte, Selected Works 1974-2014
Primarily a visual artist, Paul Forte also writes essays and poetry. Forte’s career as an artist began in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970’s. Influenced early on by Conceptual art, Forte has employed a variety of media over the years to realize ideas, including making and self-publishing artist’s books and related objects. Forte’s work continues to explore the subjective and aesthetic dimensions of conceptual approaches to art making, an approach that he terms “cognitivist.”
Paul Forte has exhibited at The San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California (1975,1976, 1983); A Space Gallery, Toronto, Canada (1978); 80 Langton Street Gallery, San Francisco, California (1981); The Center for the Visual Arts, Oakland, California (1986); The Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Connecticut (1991); the Kim Foster Gallery, New York City (1998); Hera Gallery, Wakefield, Rhode Island (2001, 2003), Francis Naumann Fine Art, New York City (2007 & 2008), and The Wattis Institute, San Francisco, California (2011). Forte’s work is included in the Sol Lewitt Collection, Chester, Connecticut; The Museum of Modern Art, New York City (artist’s books); and The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, among others. Forte has lectured on his work at Hera Gallery in Wakefield, Rhode Island; The University of Rhode Island (Honors Program); The Rhode Island School of Design; Brown University (Honors Program); Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York; The California College of the Arts, Oakland, California; and The University of California at Berkeley. Paul Forte is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Fellowship (1978), and a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Fellowship (1990).
Black Superheroes: From the Comic Book Universe to the College Campus
This month-long campus celebration explores representations, the cultural significance and development of black superheroes in the public consciousness. In this collection, the graphic narratives are recognized for their contributions to the still growing racial awareness in the United States. The gallery show includes the seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, and celebrates black superheroes as a powerful source of racial meaning and imagination in American history. Scholars such as Dr. Sheena Howard (editor of Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation) and Dr. Jeffrey Brown will join the URI community to open discussion about the academic implications and the rhetorical force of the genre. URI’s Dr. Norman Barber will present “College Norms,” a project that transformed black comics into powerful adjustment and counseling tools for students of color in predominantly white environments. In their radiance and heroic fortitude, these figures dispel racial assumptions and help shape social and political perspective and black identity. The exhibition aims to spark dialogue on issues such as equality, forgiveness, community, and racial justice.
Gallery Coordinator: Bob Dilworth, Professor Art and Art History
Curatorial Researcher: Clarissa J. Walker, URI Instructor and Doctoral Candidate
Design Artist: Ian Wells, Graphic Designer
Design Artist: Krzysztof Mathews, URI Design Instructor
Project Assistant: Afton O’Neal, ’16 TMD
Project Assistant: Jillian Eddy, ’16, Theater
View From Behind Vartan Gregorian School, 2014
NOVEMBER 17-DECEMBER 22
Changes: Landscapes by Ida Schmulowitz
November 20, Opening Reception, 5-8 pm
December 4, Aritst Talk, 3-4:30 pm
“Here on the bank of the river the motifs multiply, the same subject seen from a different angle offers subject for study of the most powerful interest and so varied that I think I could occupy myself for months without changing place by turning now more to the right, now more to the left.” Paul Cezanne
I have painted landscapes outside from a pedestrian bridge overlooking a highway since 1983. I feel a very strong bond to this particular place (India Point). I’ve felt compelled to record it year after year in all seasons and times of the day. I struggle with trying to combine the structural essence of the place with my internal vision.
Changes in the landscape itself, or shifting my vantage point just slightly, are the catalysts for creating a new series.
Working on a large scale outside has posed interesting problems of transportation. My canvas can be rolled when walking to my spot. On the way back, I lay the wet canvas flat and drag it back flat through the streets to my studio. This contributes somewhat to an imperfect surface that I like to work with, and feel it is part of the process.
Ida Schmulowitz received a BFA Degree from RISD in 1974. She has exhibited locally and nationally, including solo shows in RI at the Newport Art Museum, Bannister Gallery at RIC, Hunt Cavanagh Gallery at PC, Atrium Gallery at the State Administration Building, and The Warwick Art Museum. A solo show at the Hoxie Gallery in Westerly was reviewed in the March/April 2014 Art New England.