Friday, September 18, 2009

Barbara Pagh at URI Main Gallery

Opening on September 14 and continuing through October 7 in the Main Gallery at URI is a unique installation of handmade paper and printmaking combinations by Barbara Pagh. Passages is inspired by the megalithic structures that were erected in ancient Ireland. It is part of a series of exhibitions based on specific sites where an ancient culture left its' mark on the landscape.

In 2008 the artist traveled to Ireland as part of a sabbatical leave from the University of Rhode Island. Pagh visited sites including Newgrange, Knowth, Loughcrew and Carrowmore. These sites, built approximately 5,000 years ago, hold astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance. Many of the stones, both outside and inside the passage tombs, are carved with concentric circles, spirals and other geometric patterns. These symbols, found in many cultures and with their multiple interpretations, have been incorporated in Pagh's printmaking for the past 15 years.

When you enter the gallery you first see a series of cylinders, wrapped in wire and forming a graduated structure. Pagh's interpretive installation invites the viewer to enter a symbolic passage, created with suspended sheets of printed and sewn handmade paper. At the end of the corridor is a chamber filled with handmade paper bowls and objects. In a reference to the use and re-use of many of these sites, the artist has incorporated elements from previous exhibitions based on Scotland's stone circles and Native American petraglyphs and pottery. As you exit the chamber you can see an arrangement on the floor of handmade paper canoes, representing our life journey. The artist writes, "In Passages, I am not trying to recreate one of these sites, but use it as a stepping off point to represent the passage of time and create both a mysterious and meditative space."

The gallery hours are Monday-Saturday from 12-4. For more information contact artdept@etal.uri.edu.

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