Artist Feature: Mary Beth Meehan

MARY BETH MEEHAN is an independent photographer, writer, and educator, who has spent more than twenty years embedding herself in communities across the United States. Beginning in her native New England, and continuing in the Midwest, the American South and in Silicon Valley, her work, which combines image, text, and large-scale public installation, stems from her belief in a collaborative process that should function in and for the communities it reflects. Co-opting the scale of celebrity and advertising, Meehan’s portrait banners activate public spaces and spark conversations among and about the people who inhabit them.

This month, we are specifically featuring Meehan’s newest work, Seeing Newnan, a series of banner portraits of Newnan community members hung throughout the community. Keep reading to learn more!

Pic 1: Mary Beth meehan and Rufus Smith, jr. in newnan - Pic 2: Meehan’s Portrait of Rufus Smith, jr.

Pic 1: Mary Beth meehan and Rufus Smith, jr. in newnan - Pic 2: Meehan’s Portrait of Rufus Smith, jr.

How did the Seeing Newnan project get started?

In 2015, I launched an outdoor installation of photographic portraits in Providence. This was my second such installation; my first was in 2011, in my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts. Since I began working as a photographer, in the 1990s, I have been interested in communities — trying to understand them as ecosystems influenced by history, industry, politics, and migration. I try to look deeply into the dominant narratives of those communities, and consider the ways in which people’s experiences are or are not represented in those narratives. Working collaboratively – meeting people, researching, interviewing, and photographing – I design and implement projects that will bring to life and make public new, broader, and more comprehensive versions of those places and their stories.

In the fall of 2015 I was invited by RISCA to give a lecture and walking tour of my Providence installation to the Alliance of Artists Communities conference. Little did I know that two men from Newnan, Georgia – Chad Davidson, of the University of West Georgia, and Robert Hancock, of Newnan ArtsRez – were both in the audience that day. In December of 2015, Robert contacted me to see if I would be interested in an artist’s residency in Newnan, to produce a banner installation like the one he’d seen in Providence. He said that he thought people in his town were living in their own little “bubbles,” and that he thought my work could pierce those, and inspire people to connect with one another. After several long conversations and a visit to Newnan, I accepted his invitation and began photographing in November of 2016. 

In as much detail as you can, can you talk about your process of approaching strangers and reciting their stories through your own writing and images? Is there a method you use for choosing subjects, selecting what is seen of your work, and drawing the stories out of your subjects?

For over twenty-five years I have taken great joy in meeting and photographing strangers, for reasons that have everything to do with the visual, the instinctive, and the emotional. I have so many memories of chasing after someone after being struck by the way the light played on a face, or by something someone was wearing, or by an expression or a posture that drew me in. And then, there are the relationships that have developed as a result of those encounters. It is why I became a photographer. In Newnan as in Providence or anywhere else, I allow myself this joy as I move throughout the community, stop strangers on the street, ask to be introduced to people who intrigue me. But I am also always doing research, learning about the structures of various communities, how they came to be and how they have changed over the years. In Newnan, I knew that in order for my work to be effective, the final portfolio of images had to represent the breadth of experience of people living there today. The people I photographed and wrote about had to be understood by me as individuals, but also in how their individual experiences were linked to the large-scale forces that have built the community of which they are a part. My projects are not census reports, or a way of seeking out “types” of people. Rather, they involve a balancing act: of intimate, individual artistic and journalistic interactions, leading to deep conversations and authentic portrayals – all filtered through my eyes and my subjectivity and the best understanding I have of the place and the moment at that time. 

The term “collaborative portraiture” is often used to describe your photographs. What does this look like or mean to you? In what ways are the portraits a joint effort?

During the making of the portrait, it is important to me that the people I’m photographing and I come to a place of rest and get into a kind of zone together; I feel that it’s up to me to maintain a space in which we can trust each other. I worked with a wonderful photographer in New York who said to the person she was photographing, “Imagine that you are looking at someone you love through this lens.” I have tried to remember that, and to offer variations of that idea as a way to help a person remain relaxed and focused, and in a frame of mind that might lead to an honest connection between us.

The making of the photograph is only one moment in what often becomes a longer relationship. It is important to me that the people I’ve photographed and the communities I work in feel justly “seen” by me – not necessarily in a way that flatters them, but in a way they find authentic and fair. So the collaboration is not only a one-on-one between me and the individual I’m photographing. It is also between me and the community at large. Sometimes this opens me up to disappointments or conflict, but this feels like an important part of the process, as the conflict almost always leads to conversations that are enlightening. 

For example, in a town outside Newnan I photographed a woman in front of a Confederate flag, which she had hanging from her porch. I put this portrait forward as a possible banner. In addition to representing the woman, I thought the banner raised an important issue for the community about the endurance of the Confederate symbol in today’s South.

Some people in the community were eager for the image to be shown, as a way of questioning the persistence of this Confederate image, what it meant, and how it made members of the African-American community feel. Others thought it would be too “controversial,” and incredibly hurtful. Still others wondered how it could be considered too controversial when there are currently two monuments to the Confederacy on the courthouse square. Ultimately, that photograph remains in the larger portfolio from Newnan, but was not made into a banner.

The most accurate sense of the word “collaborative” I can give might have more to do with relationships – my relationships with the people pictured: what happens before, during, and after the photographs are made. In street photography, one imagines a photographer roaming in public, snapping people on the street, and moving on, not involving that person in the making, the display, or the context in which that photograph may appear. 

I feel that it’s a huge responsibility to photograph another human being. We are asking someone to lend us his or her image for our play, for the making of our own art. Sometimes I see this done in ways that I feel are irresponsible to the people in the photographs, and when that happens it makes me really angry.

I believe I’ve had good intentions with my work, but when I was younger and more naïve I was not as careful as I could have been with the images that people entrusted me with. So as I have gotten older I make sure that I explain my intentions as best I can, that I involve the person in the goals of the project, and that I have that person’s permission to use the final image. Certainly, I would never install a banner that didn’t have the full participation of the person pictured.

Some of my favorite portraits have occurred right at the moment of meeting someone. I remember running after a man named Scott on Manton Avenue in Providence one Sunday morning, introducing myself, making his portrait, then returning to his home later to do an interview. Others have happened after long, sometimes multiple visits. 

With my “Seeing” projects, I always conduct and record long conversations, so that I have a solid sense of the people I’m meeting and where they are coming from. Particularly in Newnan, a community with which I was unfamiliar when beginning the project, these conversations are very important. They can be very exhausting (for me and the person I’m photographing), so we often agree to make the portrait on a separate occasion. This time spent leads to a kind of intimacy between us: I can’t tell you how many people have said something like “No one has ever asked me these questions or been this interested in my point of view before.”

How else do you engage communities alongside the large banners throughout town? 

I make myself available to communities, but ultimately it is they who should decide how the work can best suit their needs. In Newnan now, various civic and church groups are planning panels, conversations, and other forms of dialogue around many of the issues that I am so motivated to explore. The subjects include Who controls the story of this place and its people? Who really lives here, and what do they care about? What about our history have we not talked about together, as a community? And how could that kind of conversation lead to progress, healing, and growth? 

From this body of work, what are you most proud of and most disappointed with? As a photographer in an unfamiliar town (Newnan), have there been creative learning curves?

one in which they make an equal contribution to the life of the town, regardless of how they have been depicted in the past, or where they find themselves in the social structure of Newnan today.

When we had the formal opening for the banners, a large crowd came to the celebration – one attendee said it was the most “mixed” crowd of black and white people he’d ever attended in his forty-plus years of living in Newnan. People in the photographs as well as people in the town stood up to declare how it made them feel to see themselves and the people they loved pictured on such a large scale; others who were not pictured thanked me for portraying a kind of community that they wanted to live in. I am extremely proud of that.

I struggled with one issue over and over again in Newnan: it is very difficult for people there to talk openly together about history. The relationship between the white and black communities is two and a half centuries old, but I can’t tell you how many white people asked me why it still needed to be discussed, and how many black people told me that this conversation has never been allowed to happen. (Again – who controls the story is the definition of privilege.) This is a nationwide struggle and not unique to Newnan, but I believe that it’s only when people trust each other — with a deep and honest sharing of their experiences — that true progress and healing can happen in any community. I hope my work in Newnan might act as a lever that could prompt some of those conversations there.

The writer and scholar Sarah Lewis has crystallized an idea of image-making that motivates me as I pursue all of my work: that of “representational justice.” She describes “the foundational right of representation in a democracy – the right to be recognized justly,” and reminds us that in American history, consolidation of power has gone hand-in-hand with the power to represent others, to “create narratives about who should be centered and valued in civic life.” 

For example, in the American South during slavery and segregation, those in power used stereotyped and denigrating images of African-Americans in order to justify their subjugation. (As we look at racial stereotypes across the country and depictions of immigrants throughout history, we know that this use of imagery by the powerful to denigrate the other is not unique to the South.) Lewis, then, calls upon those of us in the field of representation and storytelling to work toward a visible accounting of these distorted depictions, and a restoration of the full humanity of all members of our communities through images. She quotes Frederick Douglass, who understood “the transformative power of pictures to effect a new vision for the nation.”

In my work, the act of installing these depictions on a large scale and in the public square is an attempt to use the built environment to confer equal symbolic weight and visibility to images of people who have otherwise found themselves on separate rungs of society’s hierarchy. So, in Newnan, images of an African-American woman who came of age under Jim Crow, a wealthy descendant of one of Newnan’s founders, a poor mill worker, and a recent Mexican immigrant are calling out now to be seen across a level visual field—

 How have you felt about the controversy around the “Seeing Newnan” project? How has it affected the project as well as the ways in which you consider photography as a creative medium? 

a very vocal group of people stated their rejection of any depiction of Islam within their community, and demanded that the photograph be taken down. On Facebook, the conversation veered into anti-Muslim stereotypes, images of the American flag, calls for the terrorist acts of 9/11 to be avenged, and for Trump to be reelected in 2020.Yet even more vocal and numerous were the voices in Newnan intent on defending the young women: upstanding citizens born in the county, members of the National Honor Society, college students. In response to one Facebook comment alone– which garnered some 1,100 replies –– people of various religious and political persuasions called for a common decency, and also articulated their beliefs in such things as the First Amendment, religious tolerance and freedom, and the tenet of Christianity to “treat one’s neighbor as thyself.”

I’ve been told since the initial installation that the conversations in Newnan are continuing – that new friendships have been made, that debates are taking place in barber shops and grocery stories, and that Newnanites plan to use the work in formal conversations and panels throughout the year of the installation to move forward the notion of an inclusive community. I hope that people will trust one another enough to delve into the places that need to be healed, and I would be very proud if my work helped that to happen. 

I am amazed at how powerfully people have responded to the images in my installations, these very direct reflections of ordinary people. It seems like a simple act – installing a portrait of a community member in a shared public space – but it turns out to be quite radical. For the person pictured, in Newnan or in other cities, seeing oneself – unmediated and on a large public scale – can have a forcefully affirming effect. In Providence, I installed a thirty-foot banner of a man from Haiti, dressed in coat and tie after a church service. When the banner was being installed, the man, who drove a school bus for a living, took a break from work and came with his wife and daughter to see it being put up. His daughter, a woman who was born in Providence, made a point of describing to me the radical act that she felt had occurred. She told me that as Haitians they were used to seeing themselves depicted as poor, desperate, and associated with AIDS. She told me that in their community her father was a man of honor, and that this banner was the first time they’d seen a public portrayal of a Haitian man that reflected their feelings about their community.

By contrast, when an image does not reflect a person’s conception of his or her community, the opposite feelings can be equally strong. In Newnan, when “Zahraw and Aatika,” a portrait of two young Muslim women, was installed, the greater community's initial reaction to the photograph was fierce. In phone calls to the University of West Georgia and the Newnan Times Herald, in private conversations, and on social media, a very vocal group of people stated their rejection of any depiction of Islam within their community, and

You recently published a book on Silicon Valley with writer Fred Turner, congrats! Do you have any plans to exhibit the Silicon Valley work? Are you interested in making more books?

Thank you! Seeing Silicon Valley was published in French in the fall of 2018, and is scheduled to be published in English in late 2019 or early 2020. I’ve been invited by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs to do a series of public events around the publication of the English edition, including an exhibition and (possibly) a banner installation. All of that is still in the works.

I am excited to do the English edition of the book as an opportunity to introduce the work to an American audience, and to have a chance to tinker with the cover and design. And I would very much like to make more books. I would love to make a tiny hand-sewn book of images that are nothing like the work I have done in the past. I would also love to do a huge volume of all of the photographs and narratives I have made over the years. I think it could be a powerful telling of a particular time and place in American life.

How do you plan to continue the “Seeing” projects?  

I’m not sure. I have received invitations to pursue similar banner projects in other parts of the country. Each community brings its own identity and history and issues to grapple with, which I always love. But I need to make sure that the work stays fresh and that I’d be able to contribute something worthwhile to the civic discourse in those places. Also, I wonder if I should try a completely different approach to portraiture. 

What would be your dream project after “Seeing Newnan”?

My family accompanied me to Georgia for the opening of “Seeing Newnan,” in April. As a day trip we drove two hours from Newnan to Montgomery, Alabama. We visited the Equal Justice Initiative Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a historic center and memorial to the thousands of lynchings of African-Americans that occurred in the United States, primarily in the South. The project was founded by the lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson; a week later I met Mr. Stevenson and heard him give a talk at Harvard at the “Vision and Justice” convening. I became transfixed by him: his ideas about the power of art to restore communities, and his belief in the potential of visibility, imagery, narration, and dissemination as a pathway to restorative justice. I would love to collaborate with him and the brilliant people he’s assembled in Montgomery, to find a way to put my skills toward what that community needs.

Follow Mary Beth’s projects via instagram and keep a look out for the release of the text that accompanies the Seeing Newnan Portraits.

Thank you Mary Beth, we are eager to see what is next for you and these powerful projects!


FRAMES IN FOCUS: Plexiglass Face-Mounting

Not trying to boast, but we think this look is striking, with just the right balance of shine to catch the eye, and give your image an extra pop.  For more sample images please check out our Framing + Mounting Page.

Unencumbered + Eye Catching

 

In the framing world, there’s nothing quite like a perfectly face-mounted photograph. When presented with a hidden float bracket - it creates an unencumbered, striking look. Weighted by the depth of both the acrylic surface and the backing panel, the image is given a permanence and substantial place on a gallery wall. Generally speaking, a face-mounted image will quickly grab one’s attention and accentuate the richness of an image - a truly stunning effect.

Produced in sizes from 2 x 2” up to 58 x 118", face-mounting is a hands-on, and very finely crafted process. We only use premium, museum-grade materials. For optimum results, images are printed on one of three types of fine art, archival photographic media. These options include:  Epson Premium Semi-matte Photo Paper, Hahnemuhle Photo Glossy Paper, or a Metallic Pearl Photo Paper. All of these papers offer a uniformly smooth surface, allowing for error-free adhesion to the acrylic surface. 

A clean finish for both fine art + commercial purposes

Our face-mounted images are typically borderless or cut on the bleed, with hand-polished acrylic edges. Face-mounted panels can be wall mounted without a frame - in that the image is floated with custom hidden cleats or brackets. If a more traditional frame is what you are looking for, we also set face-mounts into beautifully hand-crafted, hardwood float frames. See images of float frames and brackets on our Framing + Mounting page.

Additional fabrication options for face-mounted panels include CNC routed shapes (circles, ovals, etc.), finishes in matte or gloss, and enhanced UV protection options.

Left Column Images - Photography by Dave Rothstein for Florence Dental Care.
Hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at Phill face-mounting artwork to plexiglass while training Norlan, who’s new to our team. Welcome, Norlan!

Right Column Images - #1, #2, #5 Collages by Jenny Brown
#3, #4 - Digital Drawings by Kirstin Lamb


MAY EVENTS

Very many congratulations to all those graduating this year, we are highlighting you this month! Blossoming into May, graduations + thesis shows, barefoot season, and summer just around the corner - here are some happenings to fuel your creative spirit!

RISD GRAD SHOW

Daily hours
May 23–June 1, 12–5 pm
Opening Reception: May 22, 6–8 pm
Rhode Island Convention Center, Exhibition Hall A
1 Sabin Street, Providence, RI

RIC GRADUATING STUDENT SHOW

May 2 – May 17
Bannister Gallery hours: M- F 12-8pm
*Special Commencement hours: Saturday, May 11, 12-4pm

URI SENIOR THESIS at HERA GALLERY

May 11th - June 8th, 2019 
Gallery hours:
Wed, Thu, Fri: 1-5
Saturday: 10-4
Or by Appointment

PERIPHERY SPACE at PAPER NAUTILUS

Kirstin Lamb illustration installation
Store hours: M-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 12-5pm
19 S Angell St, Providence, RI 02906

SENE 

Southeast New England Film, Music & Arts Festival
May 15-18, check online for detailed schedule

CENTER FOR SLAVERY and JUSTICE

Opening Reception for Memory Dishes
May 24, 2019, 4 PM – 6 PM
This exhibit highlights the meals and cooking practices of six families
within Providence’s Black diasporic community.

RISD MUSEUM GHORAM SILVER 

May 3 - December 1, 2019
Museum Hours: Museum Tuesdays–Sundays, 10 am-5 pm
Third Thursdays open until 9 pm

RARE UNUSUAL PLANT SALE

May 18-19, 10am-2pm
180 W Clifford Street, Providence

GASPEE DAYS ARTS and CRAFTS FESTIVAL

 

May 25-27
10am-5pm
2 E View St, Warwick, RI 02888

Artist Feature: Miles Glynn

A little about Miles, from Miles:

I am a visual artist based in Bozeman, Montana. I grew up the son of a U.S. Army photo-journalist and this experience taught me how to see life in frames and compositions. It also planted in me a deep affinity for traveling long roads, exploring out of the way places, and going to great lengths to create intriguing images which tell compelling stories. But beyond merely documenting my subject matter, I aim to present my interpretation of it. Herein lies the art - the depiction of something striking yet soothing, familiar yet curious, and something nobody else at the same scene could have envisioned. This interpretation, so central to my creative drive, is what I present in the hope that others will find familiarity, curiosity, and resonance in my work.  

Keep reading to learn more about Miles, his creative process, and some new projects he’s working on.

Video by Miles Glynn about his Wallflower Series

How important is process to your photographic work? What does this look like for you?

Process is important in my photography, but I don't tend to adhere to a very rigid process. The overarching process is basically two fold: creating conditions that are conducive to sparking ideas and then acting on those ideas. I've been trying to be more purposeful and deliberate in generating ideas. Reading books, listening to music, watching documentaries, traveling to certain places, researching history: all of these inputs are chosen with the aim of generating ideas. And then I'm trying to be more deliberate in executing ideas and following through to bring them to fruition rather than remaining an idea that eventually gets lost. Since becoming a full time artist I've been blessed with more time and resources than I previously had, but with that comes the challenge of time management. So I try to spend as much time on activities that fall within either idea generation or idea execution and if I'm doing that then my work tends to progress pretty well.  

 

Place is a clear thematic element in your work. Would you mind telling us more about where and why?

With my Dad as a photojournalist in the U.S. Army, I was fortunate to be able to tag along on photo assignments. I've always associated photography with telling stories about places. I was born in Spokane, Washington but then we moved around based on where my father was stationed. Every summer we'd load up the car and take a summer road trip back to the Northwest to visit family. I got to see and experience the West by driving there from different places, Texas, Indiana, etc. These experiences growing up set in motion my interest in the West and all of its places, history, events, animals, and people. I've now lived in Montana for about nine years and since moving here my love and affinity for "the West" has really deepened and widened. Most of the creative work I do now is an attempt to show my perspective and interpretation of the West. 

 

How do you decide what animals to photograph? Is this also tied into your interest in documenting the history of the places you photograph?

Interpreting the West is my broad focus right now so that's a starting point for choosing animals. They can be wild or domestic but they must local to this place. The wallpapers I use are also all from the West. So even though I'm juxtaposing the animals with the wallpapers, they fit thematically. Aside from that I choose animals that are visually pleasing to look at. That said, I probably won't be doing a rattlesnake any time soon!

What are some of your visual or literary/textual influences? Does your inspiration also fall outside of landscapes and the animals that inhabit those landscapes?

By absorbing inspiration from many differing sources, I find it better if they're separate from the specific work that I do.  I need other input and other sources of interest which keep me motivated and inspired. If I spend too much time thinking about my specific work — animals, wallpaper, vintage Western magazines, etc., then I can get burned out and I'll eventually lose the motivation I need to keep acting on those ideas. So gaining some distance from my work is healthy and it tends to rejuvenate me as well as inspire me for when I'm ready to return my focus to my creative work. Though I have not a musical bone in my body, enjoying music is probably my biggest source of inspiration and influence. I spend a lot of time delving into musicians and bands which are an endless source of inspiration to me. Whether iconic artists like David Bowie or Neal Young, or lesser known but hugely influential artists like Damien Jurado, John Frusciante, or Jason Molina, I get a ton of inspiration from recording artists. I sometimes have to laugh because I'll be working on a beautiful horse with an elegant floral pattern and soothing colors but I'll be listening to Black Sabbath or Joy Division, which seems like a total contradiction. But somehow it works and yields the resulting body of work. 

 
20190104_150218.jpg

What is something new you are working on?

I have just begun making mixed-media original versions of the Wallflower Series. So I still photograph an animal and digitally juxtapose it with wallpaper, but with these artworks, the animal is the only printed part of the piece. I'm using actual wallpaper from the 1940s and 50s, as well as paint, metallic leaf, moulding paste, etc. to create all of the other elements. I'm excited to still use my photography as a central component, but to also explore more materials, textures, etc.

With these I lose the history of the wallpaper because they're not found in historic buildings which have unique stories. But I do gain the tactile element of having the actual original and unused wallpaper incorporated into the piece. I will likely continue producing both the prints on Belgian linen (printed at iolabs), as well as these mixed-media originals. 

I have also begun working on large collage pieces which I have never done before. These are completely collage-based with no photography involved. They're based on vintage Western pulp fiction magazines and I'm using the actual magazine pages to create collages that serve as an homage to that genre that had a massive role in shaping America's enduring fascination with all things Western. It's been really fun for me to branch out and work in another medium besides photography. I've even collaborated with a neon bender to install neon into a piece to add a dramatic and vintage element to it. The themes that have emerged in my work are interpreting the West and giving new life to parts of our history that have been largely forgotten. Giving new life to these Western pulp magazines is an extension of those themes. I feel extremely fortunate to have the time and resources to follow and develop these ideas.  

How is your artwork related to things outside of your making that are also important to you?

All of the themes and ideas behind my work need to be related to things which are important to me personally otherwise I wouldn't have motivation to do them and, most importantly, they would lack the authenticity which is a major factor in any artwork resonating with people. I don't have a specific cause I'm supporting or well-defined message to my work. But by showcasing these things which are important to me, such as animals or historical elements which are largely forgotten, I do hope to raise sensitivity and appreciation for them. 




Visit Miles’ website and instagram to see more of his work online.
Thanks so much Miles for sharing with us, and thanks all for reading!


FRAMES IN FOCUS: Float Frame

It’s difficult to find sophisticated, well-crafted, hardwood frames that don’t draw too much attention to themselves or cost a pretty penny. And what’s better than allowing your art or photograph to be viewed, unobstructed by glass or acrylic?

Beautifully hand-crafted, on-demand, from Maple, Oak or other hardwoods as requested, float frames can accommodate your artwork or photograph in sizes from 2 x 2” all the way up to 60 x 120”. 

The face and depth dimensions plus finish color of these frames can be customized to complement each artwork or photograph being framed. 

Custom stain colors and paint colors are also an option, upon request. Some of the these include natural/ danish oil, golden oak, mahogany, walnut, black satin, white wash, driftwood, and more.

Corner detail of a float frame, walnut stain on oak

Corner detail of a float frame, walnut stain on oak

Photographs by Miles Glynn

Photographs by Miles Glynn

Simple, Sophisticated, Handsome, Hardwood

Float frames do not include glass or acrylic, but there are many protective surface options that can be applied to prints to allow for added protection against UV light damage, moisture, and scratches. Float Frames can be fitted for easy wall mounting such as hanging with wire, D-rings, or french cleats. Locking hardware can also be added to prevent float frames from being lifted or accidentally knocked from walls.  

For more images and framing information, check out our Framing + Mounting Page or contact us via phone or email.


APRIL EVENTS

We’ve put together a list of local RI art events we recommend checking out, and some of which we’ve been lucky enough to work with the artists featured. Looking forward to seeing you at some of these!

FRUITLANDS MUSEUM

An eclectic and striking show at this museum in Harvard, MA featuring the collection’s origin story and timeline. Kirstin Lamb, resident artist, has helped hang the show and will also be exhibiting new drawings inspired by objects in the collection.
Show opens Saturday April 13th, 2019.
Artist Talk with Kirstin Lamb - tentatively scheduled for Saturday April 27th, 2019
(with a optional group drawing experience)

DEDEE SHATTUCK GALLERY

Earth Day Film Screening
Austin Hoyt presents: Multiply and Subdue the Earth
Monday April 22, 2019
8-9:45pm

Camera Obscura, Pinhole Photography from Marc St. Pierre and Marian Roth
April 3 - 28, 2019

PROVIDENCE ATHENAEUM

21st Annual Philbrick Poetry Reading
Thu, April 25, 2019
5–7pm

 

DAVID WINTON BELL GALLERY

Lecture: Canaries in the salt marsh: averting extinction in an era of sea-level rise
Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson: The Only Show in Town
with Chris Elphick - Principal Investigator, SHARP
(Saltmarsh Habitation and Avian and Research Program)
Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut 
Thursday April 18th, 2019
5:30pm
List Art Auditorium

GAMM THEATRE

True West by Sam Shepard, last show of Season 34!
directed by Tony Estrella
April 11 - May 5, 2019

PROVIDENCE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

From Bache to Bowie contemporary ballet performance
Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Wednesday April 17, 2019
7:30pm

PROVIDENCE BOOK FESTIVAL

Fri, Apr 26 – Sat, Apr 27
Friday, April 26, 2019 - Opening Night Keynote GALA at the Renaissance Hotel
Saturday, April 27, 2019 - ALL-DAY Festival at the Renaissance Hotel

HOT HOUSE

World's Fair Gallery is pleased to present HOT HOUSE,
a pop-up gallery and residency at 233 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island.
Opening Reception: April 27th, 6-9PM
233 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Show Runs: April 13 to June 9, 2019


Last but not least, a playlist of music from our studio to yours, just tap iolisten...


Thanks for reading, and happy spring y’all!

Women's History Month Artist Feature: Frances Tulk-Hart

Frances Tulk-Hart is an artist.  She is a photographer, an illustrator and she sings in the band Love Taps with her husband Rossi.  She is a Brit who moved to the US many moons ago and now has a funny accent that, some say, makes her sound Norwegian.  She is also a mum to two little girls who have completely changed her life.  (excerpt from her website bio)

Hope you enjoy this interview with her, we sure had a lot of fun!

Frances in her studio, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

Frances in her studio, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

What does a day in your creative process look like, sound like, feel like?

I love how you are covering all the senses for this question! I’m an artist and a mum so no two days are the same. So roughly this is my creative process…

It starts at 5 am which feels really hard! I have to use all my strength to not turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. Often I lose that battle and that doesn’t feel good. But my husband gets up then as well which helps. He is a carpenter by day, a damn fine one too! We both use that time for ourselves, our passion projects or reading, meditating etc before the madness of the day begins. I’m trying to write a book. I think it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do but I want to do it, really want to do it. I have stopped and started over the past two years, but I’m back on it right now. My husband brings me a cuppa tea as soon as I sit down to write, a smoky cup of Lapsang Sushong. I get an hour n half to write before I go and wake up my two girls for school. For the next couple of hours, it’s a whirlwind of breakfast, playing, clothes, teeth brushing etc. We listen mainly to Disney soundtracks on the way to school although recently the Rocky soundtrack has joined us too, singing them all at top volume. It’s an awesome way to start the day.  My eldest, Dotti, thinks her papa looks like Rocky so it’s Rocky this n Rocky that and do you think Rocky would ....!

If both girls are in school I drop them then race back home to squeeze in six hours of work on either photography or illustration or both.  Either working on projects or sending out emails. I have a room in our house that is my studio. It’s got so much light in it and is the warmest room. It gives me so much joy every time I walk in there. It’s so cosy I often squeal with excitement when I walk in. I make coffee when I get home then don’t really leave that room unless I have to. I get annoyed at being hungry and having to stop for lunch so it’s a quick one. At around 3:30 I leave to pick the girls up and for creativity that is when my day ends. Being a mum, being with my kids is just as important to me. It’s also a lot of work so from 3:30-8:30 it’s all about family. I go to bed at 8:30 to read and fall asleep, I need 8 hours of it.

When asked about your work, what projects are you most excited to share?

That changes all the time as the projects come and go. When I joined my new agency last year they asked me to make a book which ended up being one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on. It matched the style and feel of my website and helped me define my style. I’m working on a zine now, a sort of journal zine which is a lot of fun, and something that might become a regular thing if it all comes out as I hope. Recently I have started another personal project drawing baby elephants true to size.  I’m using inexpensive paper and crayons to do this in an attempt to shake up my mind a bit, work outside my comfort zone. My paintings are normally small and intricate so doing this is scary and liberating! One of them is going in a show in Newport at the end of the month. One other project of mine that both really excited and upset me is the one I continue to do called @2000taken. I started it in May as a protest to the children being separated at the border. I was so heartbroken by the news and knew I needed to say something. I taped a seven-foot by five-foot piece of paper to the wall, and for months got up at 4am to draw thirty kids a day on there. I uploaded my daily drawings to Instagram @2000taken along with either bits of news about what was happening at the border or my own experiences with my children. I wanted to cross political borders and reach out to people’s sense of empathy. By talking about my children, my experiences with them and what I would be missing if they too had been taken from me,  I hoped it would make people relate to what was happening at the border, it would keep those involved human, not just an immigration policy. I teamed up with Circle of Health, who help mothers and children at the border, to raise money for them. I drew a print, twenty copies of which were sold, all proceeds going to COH. iolabs without hesitation agreed to print them up free of charge, which was great.

Your project @2000taken truly gives me hope. The reality of the US immigration policy is heartbreaking and infuriating. How have these issues affect you as a mother? What are your intentions or hopes for this project? How many children have you drawn to date?

It has been life changing what happened at the border, how can it not be.  As a mother I felt like I could feel the real pain of the families being separated. Just imagining what that must feel like to have your babies ripped away from you, not knowing if you would see them again would often and still makes me cry. Being that the problem still persists, I am still drawing. The 5’x7’ paper is nearly full. I’m not totally sure how many children I have drawn now but it’s in the realm of 5000 plus.  I want to donate it to a museum or museums along with all the stories that were written with each Instagram post. I don’t want people to ever forget what happened here on these borders.  Let it never happen again in our future. The experience of doing the painting and being made aware every day of the awful stories at the border has made an indelible mark on me, as have my own children. I want to some how carry on helping children, I don’t know how perhaps by giving a percentage of proceeds of the sale of each painting to children charities or ideally set up my own charity.

Have your daughters started to form an interest in the arts? What ways do they impact your practice? Have you ever collaborated with them?

My two-year-old, Frankie, likes to pretend she is a photographer! An old film camera of mine that doesn’t work is in their playroom and she likes to “take photos” of me with it! Dotti, who is five, is a great drawer. She draws all the time.  We collaborate on drawings for their Papa’s bday or Valentine’s Day and then we did a collaboration a couple of months ago for a school project. It was to celebrate 100 days of school. So Dotti and I drew 100 children, 50 each.  She has been a part of the 2000taken project, always asking questions about what it is, she understands what is going on at the border and is always asking why and then checking that she and Frankie are ok and that Trump won’t take her away!   She is now also starting to ask to come on my shoots with me and is wanting to turn the camera on me after I photograph her…! They have been a huge part of my creative process as well. I spend so much time with them, I observe them, play with them which is all the necessary ingredients for a photo so I shoot them A LOT! They have taught me to slow down, to stop the rushing, they have brought me to their speed which is beautiful for my own happiness and for observing the world around us.  I don’t always succeed at staying stress-free/rush-free but I’m aware of it when I am and work hard to not be.

How and when did 5minuteswithfranny begin?

5 minutes with Franny began about six years ago. I was in India driving along a dusty road when the idea just popped into my head that I should photograph and interview some of these amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. I had been working in the fashion and photography industry for about fifteen years at this point.  I have always been inspired by the journeys people have taken to get where they are, and wanted to share those stories with everyone.  I got a friend to help design the website and then started reaching out to people. It is a lot of fun and allows me the freedom to do what I want to do creatively. 

Frances and Dotti, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

Frances and Dotti, photograph by Milly Tulk-Hart

When asked if there was anything else she’d like to share, Frances replied,

“Do it because you love it. Let it be about the contentment it brings you on a daily basis, not the accolades and recognition that you may or may not get.”

Thanks so much, Frances for sharing the behind the scenes of your process, and thanks all for reading! Stay tuned for future iolabs and Frances collaborations, and head on over to her show this month at Bowler Lane Projects in Newport.  The exhibition is open to the public. Opening night is March 30th, 6-9 pm.

Visit Frances’s website and instagram to see more of her work online!


FRAMES IN FOCUS: Panel Boxes

Close to ten years ago, iolabs began producing custom-made, hardwood Panel Boxes as a simplified yet sophisticated, contemporary, and ready-to-hang solution that really drew attention to the artwork, illustration, photograph, map, or design being showcased.

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Take the anxiety out of the process 

and allow the work to speak for itself. We offer a variety of stain options for the Panel Box edges, keeping it simple and effectively highlighting the artworks intention. 

Finishing options include natural colors such as White-Wash, Black Satin, Walnut, Golden Oak, and Driftwood. We also custom paint to order in Silver, Gold, or any specified available paint colors and finishes. Offering a variety of edge colorings and wood grain options allows Panel Boxes to complement the end environment they are hung in, ie matching wood or painted interior colors.   

 

Less is More

Unlike a traditional frame with glass, the Panel Box surface is your artwork, front and centered. The work is mounted flush with the surface of a custom wooden box handmade by our woodworker in any shape or size. Without glazing, frame molding, or glass, your image is able to speak for itself when mounted to a panel box.

Some nerdy details: Panel Boxes are made to order in custom sizes ranging from 2” x 2” up to 60” x 120.” Our standard panel box depth is 1.5”, but can range from 1.25” to 4.” Depending on the desired edge coloring (stained, painted or natural),  Panel Boxes are constructed from Maple, Oak, Clear fir or Poplar wood. Additional materials may include MDF, MDO, and finish-grade plywoods.

Options for added image surface protection are also available and include invisible lacquer, clear-coated finishes in matte, satin or luster, or museum-grade pearl film laminate. All of these protective surfaces allow gentle cleaning or dusting, and protection from moisture, fingerprints, and UV light.

 
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Ready-to-Hang

Small or large, panel boxes come equipped with wire, D-rings or cleated backs, depending on size, location, and wall types. Locking hardware can also be added to prevent panel boxes from being lifted or accidentally knocked from walls. 

And that’s a wrap! Literally, wouldn’t one of these make a pretty present for someone you love? 


MARCH EVENTS

We’ve curated a list of local art events, this month featuring primarily female artists. Tap the event titles for more information. Look forward to seeing you at some of these!

 

OUTSPOKEN: Expanded

The RI Center for Photographic Arts presents the work of nine women photographers,
curated by Marky Kauffmann. The work “explores and challenges ideas related to being female”.
March 21st - April 12th
Opening reception: March 21st, 5-9pm

HERA GALLERY 

Animation and Photographs from a Decadent World, Night by Mara Trachtenberg
In Conversations Uli Brahmst with Judy Spier
March 2nd - March 30th

IMAGO FOUNDATION

Migration, an exhibition of the work of Harriet Diamond and Sally Mavor
March 14th - April 21st
Opening reception: March 15th, 6pm

TREVA LINDSEY, visiting speaker

Dr. Lindsey will give a talk about the history of Title IX, and the ways in which we grapple with sexual discrimination. She is a “renowned scholar of critical race and gender theory, sexual politics, black feminist theory, women's history and popular culture”.
Friday March 15th, 7pm
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center/RISD Museum

WATSON INSTITUTE

Maré da Dentro: Life in Rio de Janeiro's Favela, a photo and film exhibit organized by Nicholas Barnes, photographs by Antonello Veneri, and produced by Henrique Gomes da Silva.
March 5th - May 5th
Stephan Rober ‘62 Hall, 2nd and 3rd Floors

Spring Film Series 2019: The Hyperwomen
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 7–9pm
Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

DAVID WINSTON BELL GALLERY

Recent Acquisitions: Photography and Abstraction
An exhibition of new additions to the gallery’s collection.
Artists showing include: Berenice Abbott, Tom Baril, Marilyn Bridges, Edward Burtynsky, Christiane Feser, Jed Fielding, Bill Jacobson, Lauren Henkin, Dorothy Norman, Gabriel Martinez, Aaron Siskind, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. 
January 19th - May 26th
ARTIST TALK: Bill Jacobson
Tuesday March 12th, 5:30pm

AS220 - ProvSlam

EVERY 1ST THURSDAY
6:00 pm: Free Youth Writing Workshop at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St.)
8:00 pm: Poetry Show at AS220 (115 Empire St.)

EVERY 3RD THURSDAY
6:00 pm: Free Youth Writing Workshop at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St.)
8:00 pm: Poetry Show at AS220 (115 Empire St.)

Bowler Lane Projects

An exhibition of work by Frances Tulk-Hart
Opening March 30th, 6-9pm
Newport, RI

RISD MUESUM

Meditative Mending, Christina Bevilacqua will be in the gallery mending and sewing well-loved clothing. Free with admission, all are welcome to bring supplies to sew and mend with her.
Saturday March 16th, 2-4pm

(159) Sutton Street Gallery

Monster Banners & Other Teaching Aids, illustrations by Walker Mettling
Open Gallery Hours: Sunday March 10, 17, 24, 31; 12-3pm
Tuesday March 26, 3-8pm
Tuesday April 9, 3-8pm

 
 

UPCOMING in April, iolabs will host fathom library!

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