“Narrative” at the URI Art Gallery

I try to keep abreast of what’s going on in the art world of this small state, usually through means of social media. My move to the capital city meant that I’d be closer to the action! Less driving to where there’s more frequent events. Part of this was being able to visit more galleries, and there’s quite a few in this area. This included the Candita Clayton Gallery, located in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. However I looked into what her gallery would be doing this summer and there was nothing to be found on her site or on Facebook. I emailed Candita herself to check in and apparently she closes in the summer. My plans to partake of her receptions was to be put on hold until the fall, but then I saw (to my delight) an event posted on Facebook about two weeks ago.

Salvatore Mancini, 1975

Salvatore Mancini, 1975

Narrative, an exhibition of portrait photography from the private collection of Joseph A. Chazan, MD, curated by Candita and located outside her gallery at the University of Rhode Island’s Art Gallery. Well this was indeed a pleasant surprise! URI is but a ten minute drive from my gallery of employment and as an alumna it is my old haunt. I know the space and most of the faculty from my not so long ago days as one of their students.
An assortment of bodies of work by different artists, that creates an engaging rhythm for the viewer to follow. A mix of color, sepia, black & white, archival and contemporary work there is a common thread linking it all together. The photography all has the feel of another time and space… of work created by the old school masters. The black and white work of Salvatore Mancini definitely had me wondering about the timing of its creation (1975 when checking later). I believe I may have spoken with the artist briefly during the course of the night. Included in this body as well, selections from Annu Matthew‘s body of work An Indian from India which I am quite familiar with, having been one of her students.

Annu Matthew, From the series "An Indian from India"

Annu Matthew, From the series “An Indian from India”

I was drawn to a nook that held exquisite prints from Scott Lapham surrounding a video installation documenting the creation of these portraits. The frame of the television matched the wood of the print frames so well it almost called for a white mat around the screen as well. The expressions on the faces of the people in his frames were intimately captured and yielded a portrait of their true selves. With a background in photography, masterly printed work like these found here is something I hold in high regard.*

Scott Lapham "Xander Morrow"

Scott Lapham “Xander Morrow”

Talking with Candita during the reception, I can expect to visit her space in late September. It was lovely to have a mid summer chance to catch up as well as the opportunity to talk with two of my former professors who attended the event. Revisiting this space and the halls of the Fine Arts Building usually throws off my sense of time as it is a place both changed and unchanged in my eyes. I am both in past and present there, surrounded by the familiar and foreign. This photographic exhibition at my Alma mater acts as a reminder of who I once was and my former aspirations, but isn’t that the beauty of it all? That we all change and that these portraits act as documentation and physical memory of who we once were.

*All photos were taken begrudgingly with phone, reflections, and glare from lights. Will work on better image quality in the future, I promise! These were done in haste forgetting how much of a perfectionist I can be when it comes to pictures.

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