Friday, June 25, 2010

Bravo's Work of Art:

Bravo: Work of Art
Contestants on Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist compete for a top prize of $ 100,000 and a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum. Let me give you a spoiler alert, I mention who wins the first three episodes!! Each round of the competition, the artists create a work of art according to certain specifications given to them, and are judged to either win, remain in the competition, or get eliminated from the running. The first show had the artists doing portraits of each other in an open medium competition. An architect, Amanda, was the first to go with her abstract patterned piece that judges claimed could never be seen as a portrait. Artists of many types are asked to do work that they may never have considered . The second required sculptural work made of found objects, presented to the artists in the form of a pile of old electronics, and a $ 100 budget at a hardware store. Trong, an installation artist, was eliminated here for his piece of "insider art". His work of televisions watching each other, perhaps conversing, may have been less impressive than a lot of the work of sculptor Tom Friedman, whom he referenced with an acronym, WWTFD. Maybe the judges were just mad that Trong found that the found object timed competition closely mirrored an existing artists concepts. The third episode held a competition for a Penguin cover design on one of six classic titles. The winner, John, created a redesign of H.G. Wells The Time Machine.

Work of Art is paving the way for one lucky artist a season, but it appears to give both commercial and publicity opportunities to all contestants that make it on the show. It also looks super fun to be involved with. Kind of like being in school for art, but they kick you out depending on how your critique goes, and you get a cash prize for making it through. I will admit that the idea of putting the judgement of artwork in the hands of reality T.V. seems almost absurd. It is interesting to see a different path for artistic success open up from such a base medium. And I think that reality T.V. is trying to be sort of more 'now', with less consumption of bugs and more hipsters. The difference between Work of Art and traditional routes to be recognized and shown in gallery's and museums is the audience. An audience of people who subscribe to cable and get bravo and who may be a little more arbitrary than those who follow the goings on in the art world, but maybe not any less exclusive. Work of Art certainly seems like it has value to the people that are on it and it it has been entertaining to watch so far, (at least to me). The first episode is available free on Hulu but after that it's on Bravo, or you can get a season pass on itunes for $ 10 or so. So check it out and see if you like it too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dan Powell: New Paintings and Watercolors

July 8 - July 30, 2010
The Meeting Room at Bagelz of Wakefield
90 Pershing Avenue
Wakefield, RI 02879
(401) 783-9700

Former Rhode Island resident and painter Dan Powell returns to The Meeting Room at Bagelz of Wakefield with a fresh new group of oils and watercolors inspired by the landscapes of coastal Rhode Island and South Carolina. Dan Powell: New Paintings and Watercolors will be on view from July 8 through July 30 at The Meeting Room at Bagelz of Wakefield. The public is invited to a reception with the artist on Thursday, July 8, from 6pm until 9pm. Bagelz of Wakefield is located at 90 Pershing Avenue in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Hours are Monday-Friday 6am - 6pm and Saturday & Sunday 6am - 5pm. Free parking is available.

Dan Powell's recent oils on linen and watercolors are inspired by boat landings on the rivers of the South Carolina Low Country and the beaches, estuaries, and jetties of coastal Rhode Island. His saturated, light suffused paintings are Whitman-esque, evoking the arrivals and departures of an inner journey. In a statement about his work, Powell says,

"...Like a patient gardener the river shapes the land around it. The landings where we join the river are likewise shaped by our activities. Whether we launch a kayak or powerboat or just clear a spot to cast a line we are agents of change and leave our mark. I love the landings of the Waccamaw and the Little Pee Dee rivers in South Carolina. There weʼve come across proud brides, excited children and bemused locals. They are dotted with reminders–oyster shells and beer cans, a forgotten sneaker, stray cats and the tracks of countless boat loving dogs. These are the sites of countless beginnings and endings...”

The Rhode Island vistas and seascapes are poetic memories of places observed . They serve as
Proustian references, fragile madeleines which unleash a flood of pleasant imagery."
Powell earned his M.F.A. in Visual Design with Concentration in Painting and Drawing from UMass Dartmouth in 1997. He has taught art at Chester College of New England, Salve Regina University, Horry Georgetown Technical College and Coastal Carolina University. Powell's work has been exhibited in venues from Rhode Island to South Carolina. Visit his web site:

Image: Punch Bowl Landing

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Renovations at Hera Gallery, 327 Main Street

On my second day has the summer intern, Islay took me over to the downtown Wakefield location, where we met Alexandra to check out the building. We found a vacant room with leaf covered floors and cob webbed corners. The back room was full of old paint cans and more debris. Part of the flooring where the front office once stood was missing! There was also a mysterious hole in the ground through which you could see piping and dirt. We sat around on the bench and discussed moving the furniture back into the space.  This seemed pre-emptive, given the state of the floor, but we needed to know the size of the replacement floorboards that were needed.  I had measured the furniture pieces and hastily jotted down my findings while still in the Lilypads office earlier. I struggled to keep track of my mildly illegible handwriting as we mentally rearranged the desks and bookcases. 

I think that we finally decided on a way to fit everything we needed for the office. Then, it was on to the walls! Moisture must have seeped into the paint, and there were raised, cracked areas, some extending from floor to ceiling! We began the arduous, but kind of satisfying, task of peeling off areas that were damaged. Layers and Layers of paint and wall compound came off of damaged sections. The trash bags that we gathered the chunks into were so heavy! One wall was peeled floor to ceiling over a section about ten feet long. You could see strange messages written on the walls from a past art show. Something about Science Fiction. 

The next week, the walls had to be sanded, leveled and smoothed over.  There were hundreds of holes to be filled from art work of previous shows. Guess who got to fill them in? Yup, with some help from Donna, I filled in many of the holes in the walls. We teetered on ladders and got down on the floor to get to them all, but ran out of the spackling compound before even finishing them all! It was Donna peeled one floor to ceiling crack that hadn't gotten done, and Barbara and Jeff mudded, or smoothed wall compound on, the sections that had been peeled. Carl did some serious sanding, and Viera, Roberta, and Sandra worked inside and did gardening out in the summer heat as well. 

I came in later in the week to help Barbara prime the peeled wall that had the messages written on it. We finished pretty quickly as there were only a few other spots to prime, and Barbara edged the walls with a disposable brush.  

The real painting started last week, and began with the walls. We had so many volunteers that day that painting the entire gallery took only 2 hours! We had Jennifer, Kristina, Barbara, Donna, and Carl helping out to paint, and Alexandra and Sandra came by to help clean up. Jennifer and I did the edging, and again I found myself teetering on a ladder, this time with a paint and brush to juggle. We all found that the paint exactly matched the previous color, and spent a lot of time peering from side to side trying to tell were we had already painted! We had time before everyone left to get an American Gothic-esque group shot!
The floors have been cleaned this week by Barbara, Becky, and Dylan. We are so excited about the improvements that could not have been accomplished without the help of our members. The walls are brighter and whiter, the floors are swept, mopped, and cleared, and we'll soon be ready to move in! We are right on schedule for preparing for the Money show, which opens June 26th!! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gallery cleanup images

Hera Gallery hosted a clean-up at our Main Street location, which we will be returning to shortly. Here are some images from that event, there are lots of smiles despite all the hard work that everyone put in...!

gallery facade

Part of the cleaning crew: Donna Gustavson, Jennifer Murray, and Barbara Pagh

Donna weeding the front garden... quite the task!

Barbara, she's either spackeling or scraping paint. Either way, I'm surprised she's smiling!

Carl Dimitri, there's really nothing to say about a man with a rotary sander... except 'watch out!'

New Member: Elizabeth Lind

Hera Gallery is excited to have a new artist member, Elizabeth Lind! Lind has been inspired by the natural world within her reach, drawing influence specifically from sea forms and the human figure. Her work explores the bods between people, such as life, death, joy, betrayal, fertility, motherhood, and the celebration of the aesthetic of forms.

Primarily a stone carver, she works multiple stones at once, revealing the potential works of art hidden within the media. She works to find the possibilities hidden beneath the surface of he stones that she works with, revealing fluid, dreamlike sculptures. Lind also works in mixed media sculptures, which she has generously donated to numerous Hera fundraisers in the past.

We are glad to have Elizabeth at the gallery, and look forward to the insight that she will bring to the organization.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Objectified: the domestication of the industrial

This was originally posted on my blog, Evocative Objects, and is the documentation from the exhibit that I recently curated in D.C. The show, Objectified: the domestication of the industrial, features the work Robert Longyear, Colleen Heineman, Andrea Miller, and Jeanne Jo.

So, I've finally had a moment to sit down and get this post up since returning from D.C. I had a great time in Washington, Honfleur was a wonderful gallery to work with, and the people from ARCH (a nonprofit, and Honflers parent company) were so helpful and friendly. I also kindof fell in love with the neighborhood of Anacostia, which is a historic neighborhood south of the river in D.C. Although Anacostia has a little bit of a bad reputation, as far as I can tell, it's unwarranted. There is a wonderful arts and revitalization movement going on in the area, and it really shows... it doesn't have a static feel at all, but you can actually feel Anacostia buzz and hum with energy and forward movement.

I've included images below of the final installation, which I'm really happy with. Briony Evans, the creative director and Honfleur, and Beth Ferraro, the creative director for the Gallery at Vivid Solutions, were phenomenal and the show wouldn't have been quite as successful with out their help.

Installation view, right of gallery

Installation view, left of gallery

Robert Longyear: Neckpiece installation view

Jeanne Jo: If A Mouth Were To Whisper... and accompanying photo

Colleen Heineman: Sorted Conglomerates

Andrea Miller: Peripheral System #4 and accompanying photo

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Intern at Hera Gallery

Hi all! I'm Alison Rice, the new summer intern here at Hera gallery. I hope to meet many of you as we prepare the gallery for the upcoming Money show! So, let me introduce myself. I grew up in Wakefield, RI. I attended South Kingstown High School. I am a transfer student in URI's art department, and will be a junior in the fall. I have studied Engineering, Printmaking, and am getting into Computer Science and Digital art, as of late.

lime sculpture- Alison Rice
relief lino cut

untitled -
Alison Rice

Here are some of the prints that I've done in various classes.
To the left is a linoleum block that I completed in Professor Richman's class at URI. To the
right is a copper intaglio print that I've done on recycled copper. I'd also like to tell you about a few of my favorite artists. One is Theo Jansen, who has created "Strandbeests"; wind powered sculpture creatures designed to eventually carry out a "new form of life" and to survive, in herds, on beaches. You can see his very informative and somewhat lengthy talk on TED here: Theo Jansen creates new creatures | Video on I am amazed by the complexity of the movement that Jansen creates in these Strandbeests with simple materials. Another of my favorite artists is Micheal Rakowitz. His project, paraSITE has been ongoing since 1998. He has been building custom parasitic shelters for individuals who are homeless. They are made out of plastic bags and other materials. Rakowitz collaborates with the future owner to create a shelter that is unique and usable. These shelters often attach to air vents for purposes of inflation and warmth. I am interested in work that challenges expected environments. Maybe because I work mostly in 2D, I often find that I can really dig sculpture.

Please go ahead and leave comments, I'd love to hear about all of your favorite artists as well!