RISCA is excited to announce new art exhibitions on display at Rhode Island’s airports. At the GREEN SPACE Gallery at TF Green Airport, an exhibit entitled FIBER OPTICAL featuring works by May Babcock, Philip Gibson and Susan Matthews is on display from September 30, 2019 through January 26, 2020. At the Block Island Airport Gallery, works by Elizabeth O’Connor are on display October 2, 2019 through January 5, 2020.
In the GREEN SPACE exhibit FIBER OPTICAL, the artists investigate unique possibilities of fiber and craft elements, both innovative and traditional.
May Babcock is an interdisciplinary artist based in Providence. Her studio techniques combine hand papermaking, printmaking, sculpture, historical photography process, and book-arts techniques, creating artwork that addresses place. Since 2017, Babcock has collected seaweeds and pondweeds from Rhode Island waterways, embedding them in pulp during the wet hand papermaking process. First an identification method while exploring invasive and indicator species, this ongoing exploration is now a series of over 100 works. In FIBER OPTICAL, Babcock is showing small collage works incorporating hand collected samples of marine algae species from Rhode Island waterways along with works that expand upon their intricacies in large-format, formidable ‘pulp paintings’, images made entirely of paper, by pigmenting pulps made from plants.
Babcock exhibits nationally and internationally, and most recently has shown at The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, RISD Museum of Art, Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Arts, and The Center for Book Arts. She has taught courses in printmaking, papermaking, drawing, and two-dimensional design across the country, including Rhode Island School of Design, Women’s Studio Workshop, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Recently, Babcock was selected as a 2018 Creative Community Fellow, an initiative of National Arts Strategies. She was also awarded a RISCA Project Grant, a National Parks Artist Residency, and installed public artworks in Providence, Pawtucket, and the Illinois State Museum.
You can see more of May Babcock’s artwork at www.maybabcock.com and @maybabcock on Instagram.
Susan Matthews makes color and thread drawings and objects using ceramic and textile mediums. Her drawings on display employ watercolor shapes bound with thread in a painstaking process combining color and texture. Her Personal Flotation Device represents a new direction in her three dimensional work, providing witty commentary on life near our ever changing oceans. She received her MFA in ceramics from RISD in 2004. Her work has been shown at the University of Rhode Island, AS220, the Newport Art Museum, the Jamestown Arts Center, the Warwick Museum of Art, and the Hera Gallery, along with other venues. Matthews lives with her family in Jamestown RI, and creates in her studio at the Shady Lea Mill in North Kingston. See more of her work at susanmmatthews.com.
Philip Gibson designs, makes and fixes things, as a toolmaker, welder and maintenance mechanic in industry, and teaching others as an instructor in Massachusetts vocational schools and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. He discovered the beauty in natural materials during two trips to Italy: the first in the summer of 2000 where an alabaster workshop in Volterra gave him the inspiration to use his skills to carve stone, and the second in 2017 where the tiling pattern on a church floor in Parma inspired the parquetry panels on display at GREEN SPACE. He combines the beauty of natural wood and stone material with structure arising from his study of mathematics. In the resulting panels, the wood and stone form their own interplay of pattern and light reflecting from the wood fibers as the viewer’s point of view changes creates evolving perceptions of space and illusion. Gibsons work is represented online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/philipgibsonstone.
At the Block Island Airport Gallery, Elizabeth O’Conner is showing her infrared photography of Rhode Island landscapes. Having first mastered the techniques of black and white film processing and darkroom photo printing, she went on to earn a Certificate of Photography from the RISD/CE program in 2017. She discovered infrared photography while working with film. She prefers the otherworldly, secret landscape infrared evokes and has since moved on to use infrared photography in its digital form. O’Connor had a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera converted to use a super color infrared filter (590nm) which enables her to produce color or black and white infrared images. Elizabeth O’Connor is represented by the D. Chatowsky Art Gallery on Block Island and Newport, Rhode Island. Her websites are at ElizabethOConnor.photography and behance.net/ElizabethOConnor.
Exhibitors for GREEN SPACE were chosen by panelists Saberah Malik, Jodie Goodnough and David Barnes, while exhibitors for the Block Island Airport Gallery were chosen by Lisa Robb, public school arts educator.
The GREEN SPACE Gallery and Block Island Airport Gallery are a partnership between the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, promoting outstanding work by artists living and working in Rhode Island. The galleries present art to an ever-changing audience of local, national and international travelers.
RISCA is excited to announce receiving a $30,000 multi-year Folk Art Infrastructure Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to pilot the Apprenticeship Collective Teaching Program. The Apprenticeship Collective Teaching Program will be offered in addition to RISCA’s other Folk Arts Programs. RISCA will continue to offer annually one $5,000 and one $1,000 Folk Arts Fellowship Grant, and five $3,000 Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grants.
The program will feature the Narragansett Indian Tribe Master and Junior Master Artists, with all the workshops, performances, and presentations taking place at the historic Longhouse in Charlestown, RI. The Narragansett Longhouse building features professional modern offices, a full kitchen, archival room/library, a gallery, and several community spaces. The Longhouse will serve as an incubator for new folk artists, it will continue to grow as an arts and cultural hub, and a place where the community can celebrate their rich folk-art traditions.
This program will target Junior Folk Artists who are dedicated to preserving and obtaining a deep education in the art of Regalia. Through a series of eight highly focused workshops per year (24 over a three-year period), Junior Master Artists will work with several Master Folk Artists from the Narragansett Indian Tribe to learn the craft and important cultural and historical traditions of Regalia, which include leather, beading, wampum, dancing, drumming, and singing.
This collective way of teaching provides a highly effective approach that reaches a greater number of students and thereby creating a greater impact and legacy, resulting in more Junior Artists becoming Master Artists. It is also a way of supporting and paying tribute to the Indigenous people’s way of passing down knowledge.
With this piloted program, Master Folk Artists will have the opportunity to pass down their cultural folk art knowledge by becoming mentors and teachers to the next generation. Junior Master Artists will further identify with their Native American culture, history, and community while continuing their goal of becoming a Master Folk Artist.
RISCA hopes that the dynamics of this program can be replicated in other communities and thus benefit more Folk Art Apprentices.
For more information on the RISCA Apprentice Collective Teaching Program, or our other Folk Arts Programs, contact Elena Calderón Patiño, Director of Community Arts Program at 401-222-6996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.