Join Us!

Providence Art Windows is pleased to announce that its next exhibit will be on view from June 18-September 11, 2009. The art and art installations presented in nine downtown windows are by Rachel Cohn, Jennifer Daltry, Ani Ghajanian, Not About the Buildings, The Hive Archive with New Urban Arts students, Roger Lemelin, Benton Moss and Alyssa Spry, Alison Owen and Lisa Perez, and Amy Wynne-Derry. Please join us for the opening reception at Design Within Reach (210 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903) on June 18, from 5:30-7:30 PM. Come and meet the artists, go on a walking tour with a map and visit beautiful Downtown Providence.

A downloadable map will be available June 18 on this blog, and at the reception.

the current exhibit of art and art installations will be up until June 12 and includes works by Deborah Baronas, Jillian Clark and Eric Rice, Marisa DiPaola, Deb Hickey, Paul O'Connor, Barbara Owen, Peter Owen, Meg Powers and Sarah Sandman. Please download a map at right to follow the walking tour.

1. 191 Westminster Street

Marisa DiPaola

‘belle’ & her lickable library wallpaper
chocolate & orange cake frosting, silk-screened onto sewn parchment paper

About the Work My artwork is a collection of storybook self-portraiture through an exploration of fairy tale characters interacting in this world. To be the ‘belle’ of the ball, the fairytale of being some unknown peasant girl about to have one charming adventure with a prince or beast. ‘belle’ of “Beauty and the Beast” (La Belle et la Bete) sees the beauty in the otherness of the beast. Despite being attached to the walls of his castle, she is not hindered, and able to enjoy her the fairytale ball. How do you lure a beast? With chocolate, I suppose. And sweets.

About the Artist I am a nomadic sculptor and installation artist, creating site-specific sculptures from found materials. I graduated with honors in 2000 from the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in painting & experimenting with wearable sculptures. Upon graduation, I received a travel grant for Cordoba, Spain, which began a collection of travels to fourteen countries, producing site-specific artworks in Spain, Japan, & Iceland, & entire series of work while on residencies in India & Egypt. I exhibit my wearable and fiber installation pieces internationally, at museums, galleries, universities, and cultural institutions, most recently at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts.

2. 191 Westminster Street

Deborah Baronas

Mill Culture

Oil on canvas, fabric dye on silk and cotton

About the Work

The intent behind the making of these paintings is to promote the historic awareness of the textile mills in southern New England and the community of workers who settled here. It addresses the historical significance and the contemporary use of the mill complexes of the region. Today the mills are about building reuse, conserving existing buildings and neighborhoods instead of sprawling into new land outside town centers.
The conservation of this ”embodied” energy that went into the building in the first place is further enhanced as these paintings will aid in remembering the spirit of the workers also within that structure. Using imagery of the mill workers is significant in understanding the complete culture of the textile industry in our region. The consequence of the rise and fall of this industry in our area is far- reaching and ongoing. It weaves through all socio economic levels within the mill culture. By incorporating textiles into the painting, I am able to add another dimension to illustrate my emotional response to the subject. Textiles become a vehicle for transposing shadows and light into pattern that effect or are derived from the landscape. Borrowing from the iconography of the mill technology as well as the workers creates pattern that acts as a filter through which we look at the mill landscape. Growing up in Western MA, I graduated in Textile Design from RISD and worked in the textile industry in this country and abroad before its migration overseas. This project stirs my desire to study and record my interpretation of the evolution of the mill village culture and textile industry. These works are part of an ongoing series of investigations.

About the Artist

Deborah Baronas graduated from RISD in Textile Design and worked in the textile industry in the United States and Europe from 1979 – 2003. Currently she works as an artist and designer out of her studio in Warren, RI.

3. 203 Westminster Street

Meg Powers


Velvet and taffeta fabric, beading

About the Work
Certain creatures have taken on mythological roles due to their frightening appearance and elusive behavior, specifically, the Giant Squid. However, after years of human evasion, in 2006, a live giant squid was caught and subsequently died from injuries suffered in the struggle of capture. The Giant Squid has been de-mystified and reduced to a sad scientific specimen. Man has symbolically conquered the ocean by conquering one of its most elusive and cautiously revered beasts. A large body of the artist’s work focuses on glorifying the "uglier" or more frightening examples of the natural world in an attempt to shatter walls of indifference and revulsion between man and nature.
The myth of the ship-sinking, Sperm-whale battling giant squid is incorrect, but it inspires respect and reverent awe. Architeuthis, the Giant Squid, isn’t a creature with an agenda-it is, however, a creature of great speed and strength, worthy of out respect. This piece is an attempt to reestablish the reverence and awe inspired by the mythos of the Giant Squid. Royal colors and rich fabrics render the Squid as a mythic creature of opulence and regality, befitting its mighty legacy.

About the Artist

Meg Powers, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, has been immersed in the arts throughout her life. She is a freelance illustrator and costume designer whose first professional work began three years ago with Big Nazo Puppets and soon expanded into short films, animation, and theatrical costume design. Powers draws inspiration from a wide range of sources including natural history, fantasy literature and illustration, and the history of fashion and decor. The desire to illustrate and contextualize her historical and scientific research fuels most of her work. She has recently applied to several programs throughout the country and looks forward to beginning a formal study of costume design and production for theatre and film this fall.

4. Two Brothers Beauty Supply, Eddy and Westminster Sts.

Jillian Clark and Eric Rice

Marshmallow Life
installation, mixed media

About the Work
Our window is an attempt to use the entirety of a given space with limited resources. Over ninety percent of the materials used in this installation were either found, or donated by local businesses. The use of reclaimed and repurposed wood gives life to building materials that have been deemed otherwise unusable. The two larger trees in the foreground are constructed almost entirely of discarded pallets. The background is fabricated from recycled shelves and floor boards. The installation also features several spotlights and over fifty LED lights, all solar powered. The rough look of this landscape provides a distinct contrast to the oil paintings found within.

Throughout the piece is an underlying theme of conservation. Diminishing natural habitats create smaller gene pools from which these animals can reproduce. With this comes the risk of mutations, including albinism. The lack of pigment caused by this genetic anomaly puts them at risk in the wild where they require camouflage for protection. These paintings are meant to be seen as portals to a more realistic nature scene. Each creature is given importance through the strong sense of light and portrait-style framing. The animals seem, in return, very aware of the viewers’ presence. This awareness is intensified by the spatial relationship between the animals in their habitat and the people on the sidewalk.

About the Artists
Eric Rice is a third generation woodworker, born and raised in Rhode Island. He is currently a student of business at the University of Rhode Island, with a focus on retail design. His work has appeared at several locations including The Hive Gallery at The Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, and the AS220 Fools Ball benefit. Eric has also been shown on MAKE, a magazine and website devoted to do-it-yourself technology and art.

Jillian Clark is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A in Illustration. In addition, she has studied in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Florence, Italy. She currently works at Homestyle on Westminster street, and as a freelance painter and muralist. Her work has appeared in various locations, including window installation projects in downtown San Diego.

Both artists currently live in Providence and share a studio in Pawtucket.

5. Two Brothers Beauty Supply, Eddy and Westminster Sts.

Sarah Sandman

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
installation, mixed media

About the Work

In response to our nation's economic obstacles, our culture must now shift its overt individualistic focus to the benefit of its neighborhoods. Wealth can be measured by currency or by the connections and relationships that bind our communities. Increasing the social capital of contemporary society will help relieve our distressed market economy. Won't You Be My Neighbor? tips its hat to Mr Rogers and acknowledges a critical component buried in this nostalgic program. This installation draws attention to the omnipotent weight and tenuous bonds our collective structure. "Community is the key to physical survival in our environmental predicament and also to human satisfaction." - Bill McKibben

About the Artist
Sarah Sandman will complete her MFA in Graphic Design at the Rhode Island School of Design in May 2009. She has a BFA in Visual Communications from the University of Kansas and studied design at the Fachochshule Trier in Germany. She worked as an art director for Egg and The Bellwether Group in Seattle and Green Team in New York City. These firms practice sustainable and environmentally conscious production methods and promote clients that reflect these values. Sandman is currently working on a collaborative thesis with Melissa Small called 1+1=3: How Communication Design Can Build Social Capital. The aim of their project is to create participatory design experiences that increase social awareness and confront environmental issues. In May of 2008, Sandman organized 12 artists to design and create an installation in the Greenpoint Brooklyn subway station. The project's objective was to initiate a conversation with Brooklyn residents about the Exxon Mobil oil spill that contaminated the Greenpoint neighborhood's soil. In the summer of 2008, she orchestrated a cross-country cycling project called the Gift Cycle with collaborator Melissa Small. The Gift Cycle transported gifts from the artists of one community to the artists of the next community for exchange. The final result was a nationwide gift economy that united over 200 artists. In October of 2008, she organized a project called Bike Write in which 50 cyclists followed a typographic route that spelled "Yes We Can" in the city Providence. The project brought together riders in support of Barack Obama and alternative transportation.

Special thanks to Malachi's Cafe for the salt, Precision Laser for the laser cutting and RISD 2nd Life for the recycled paper scraps, and to artist Melissa Small.

6. Fulton Street

Barbara Owen

gouache on paper installation

About the Work
A grouping of works on paper, small gouache abstractions that when connected make up a “Fluttering”. These abstractions are caught in the moment of transition; a twisting or a developing that evokes movement, a falling forward and backward, a shifting depth of color. One can take in the picture as a whole, its shape and movement, or study each element as a separate entity.

About the Artist
Barbara recently moved to Rhode Island from Brooklyn, New York with her family. She has a studio in Pawtucket and finds herself at home in the area. She holds a BA from Bennington College. She has participated in several artist residency programs, including Brydecliff Artist Colony in Woodstock, NY. Her work has been exhibited at The Arts Center, in Troy New York, Southern Vermont Arts Center, in Manchester, VT amd BWAC, in Brooklyn, NY.

Barbara creates her work using gouache on paper, oil on canvas, ink on Mylar, and directly on walls. Choosing different vehicles to express her devotion to the theme of color relationships through abstract organic forms.

7. RI Housing, 44 Washington Street

Deb Hickey


Photo sculptures 4'x6', inkjet and photo-transfer prints on foam core, metal rings, wood

About the Work and the Artist
These images are a mix of photographs and paintings made from photographs, taken in Providence from 2006-2008.

Reading much literature on Providence's 'Renaissance' I decided to move from Boston to Providence in 2003. I was as interested in affordable housing, as I was in pursuing a career as an artist. Convinced that there was going to be a renaissance I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I bought a home on the West Side in 2005 and began to create a new style of painting from architectural photographs. It is through the camera that I began to connect with my new city by exploring Providence's landscape and architecture. The geometry of architecture in Providence attracts my eye and the city has plenty to choose from. Many of the images are from the West Side of the city, where I regularly go for walks in search of new images.

More about the Artist
Deb Hickey graduated in 1996 from The Art Institute of Boston with a BFA in Photography. She has shown her work in galleries in Medford, Arlington and Chelsea, MA. She also belongs to the 297 Gallery in Bristol RI and the Congress Street Gallery in Portsmouth NH. Deb's work can also be found in many collections throughout New England. In March 2009, her work will be at AS220 in a show entitled, Ready or Not, Here I Come which focuses on her coming to the Providence 'Renaissance' and on what she found when she got here.

8. URI Library, 80 Washington Street

Peter Owen


About the Work

I began this project while living in Los Angeles in order to view l.a. in a way that I felt was counter to the typical experience. Los Angeles sprawl makes us dependent on cars, therefore the landscape is framed by the windshield. I recorded the city from the street level, on foot, a plein-air painter transplanted into the grimy and smog-glazed neighborhoods of Los Angeles. All of the drawings are done in alleyways, on sidewalks, in parking lots, at various times of day and night. The locations affect the markmaking - uncomfortable areas produce sketchy or nervous lines. And the travel affects them as well: a dozen panels in a backpack rub together and wear off areas of surfaces, revealing a lower strata of information, a previous location. My paintings deviate from plein-air painting in that each panel is a layered recording. The images are superimposed on one another, an accretion of landscape. After five years of using public space and city imagery as a platform to create paintings and drawings I’ve pulled back from working strictly outdoors and have transitioned into an indoor studio practice. This allows me to work on a larger scale. The paintings I’m working on currently are mash-ups of the areas I’ve lived and traveled through New York, Los Angeles and presently Providence and greater New England. Even though the lines lie exposed and naked on the paper, the compositions and layered imagery build to a mystery that is at the same time accessible and hidden. The paint drops in like anchors at various points of the compositions, the line work reads as mixed up folk tales of spaces lived in. From a distance, they look almost like sidewalk stains, but up close a multiplicity of lines refer to various places, tangled together. You can never get the whole, true story of a specific part of town; each place holds the varied experiences and memories of thousands of people. These paintings and drawings offer small observations of different spaces, clues about the variety of uses, truths, and histories of place.

About the Artist
In his paintings and drawings, Peter Owen explores the urban landscape, isolating and layering moments to reinterpret personal experience within public space. He has lived in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and New England, and his work draws from each of these places. A primarily self-taught artist, Owen has shown at D.E.N. Contemporary and The Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, Brenda Taylor Gallery in New York, F.U.E.L. Gallery in Philadelphia, and The Fallout Gallery in Las Vegas.

9. Trinity Rep, 201 Washington Street

Paul O'Connor

Left Window The act of predation always results in the death of the prey

Right Window In more complicated positions, it is much rarer; usually taking the form of a swindle succeeding only if the superior side is inattentive

Mixed Media with Collage on Paper

About the Work

The goal of these works is to illustrate how context, in this case the context of light, alters overall composition and the perception of the viewer. Backlighting and the use of translucent materials allow these images to change characteristics depending on whether it is night or day. This lets passersby re-evaluate their understanding of the work and experience a direct model of how meaning is dependent upon context. In the past, I have used juxtaposition of imagery and mark-making to alter the normal associations that the viewer brings to the work; but these pieces are the first of which change themselves, contrasting moods and compositions depending on their environment.

About the Artist

Paul O'Connor is an artist, printmaker, and bookbinder. While attending Rhode Island School of Design (Alum 2007), he was the recipient of the G. W. Hodge Award for Excellence in Printmaking and the Claiborne Pell Award in the History of Art and Visual Culture. He lives and works in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.