South Coast Artists Open Studios: Part II

A Journey through the world of the South Coast Artists
Or in which Abigael and Marianne leave Tiverton and visit Little Compton and Westport

Concluding our Tiverton part of the trip, the highlight of the Four Corners, for me at least, was the gallery and workspaces of The Sakonnet Collective artists. I was thoroughly impressed by the caliber of work in this space and the artists working there. Padraic Manning‘s mixed media work combines the human figure layered with abstract form to create expressive pensive moments. Douglas Sterns‘ collage work plays with texture, color, and vintage imagery to create scenes that border on the surreal and the abstract. The Hinterland body of work from David Gonville combines oil paint, photo transfer, and encaustic to create a unique outlook on the familiar scenes of the Rhode Island coast. There are two other artists involved with the collective (Stephen Kinnane and Travis Davison Snow) and the group actively works to bring in the work of others, such as the jewelry of my friend, Dora Szekely which I was pleasantly surprised to discover. I highly recommend visiting their space and keeping up to date with what the artists bring to the area.

Peter Morse was one of our Little Compton stops, his studio split between workshop space for his sculptures and a sleek gallery space with his finished print work on display. Peter utilized his yard as installation space with sculptural work distributed around. A large metallic piece greets all who come to visit, gleaming in the sun with spiral shaped reflections. I also wandered his spiral wildflower garden path, which took quite some time, but was great fun indeed. His work ties in various organic themes that traverse repeatedly throughout. Moving on towards the end of our journey, the sun rapidly began its descent into the late afternoon glow, and for me at least, into the completely unfamiliar terrain of Westport.

Sharon Hardin‘s paintings played with light, texture, and color in abstract form that seem almost reflective in nature. Her work utilizes mostly smooth transitions between these aspects with some pieces exploring harsher ones. In contrast the abstract work of Alyn Carlson consistently used a combination of more distinctive linear form and shape with color. Both artists had bodies of work that yielded impressions of landscapes, but in very unique and different ways.

We ended our journey with the home studio of Karen Raus who works with both photographic and an encaustic body of work. Karen’s two different portfolios tie in a common theme of different beach scenes. The strictly photographic work plays with light, color, and motion whilst dancing the line between abstract and representational. Her encaustic work portrays the beach as stark, hyper contrasted scenes where the only essential elements are shape and form. These portraits echo a sense of timelessness and nostalgia only found deep in family or museum archives. Karen has found a niche market for her portraits and is often commissioned such work.

We met the five o’clock mark at Karen’s, heading into the sunset, at least my mind ablaze with all that I had discovered in the course of but a day. I am exceedingly glad and grateful to have had Marianne with me along the way. She knew many of the artists involved and by tackling this together, we got a chance to reconnect and hang.

I HIGHLY recommend this event for anyone who would be interested in exploring what the artists of the South Coast are up to. I fully plan on revisiting them next year and before as well.

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