Art League Rhode Island Members’ Exhibition
by Suzanne Volmer
As a clearinghouse, the mission of Art League Rhode Island (ALRI) “is to provide a venue for the growth and encouragement of artists, to promote high standards in the visual arts, and to encourage community participation and appreciation of the greater Rhode Island arts community.” Among their stated objectives is to sponsor an annual exhibition of Rhode Island artists.
This year’s “Art League Rhode Island Member’s Exhibition,” on view at Newport Art Museum’s first floor hallway and main Ilgenfritz Gallery through January 3, highlights works by mid- and late-career artists. Newport Art Museum curator Nancy Grinnell strengthened the connectivity of the 75 artworks in the show by installing the offerings as well considered visual groupings.
By clustering related artworks, Grinnell has managed to make some very compelling interludes of information. The interludes anchor individual selections and create more impactful viewing for museum audiences. The curator’s approach focuses what is essentially a big show of diverse content into an organization of correspondences, which gives audiences the depth of a thought-provoking exhibit. She presents us with a sense of pruned abundance, which reveals the character and quality of the art.
Among the strong groupings, and the most individually powerful artwork on view, is Wanda Perkowska Coderre’s abstract watercolor “Nature’s Gift.” This painting is installed above Dora Atwater Millikin’s also impressive representational oil painting, “Steel.”
The horizontal sight line on an adjacent wall begins with the luxuriant and moody mixed-media “Beach with River” painting by Libby Manchester Gilpatric that is bookended by Uli Brahmst’s “Screen #0416141517,” an abstract synthetic polymer on canvas. The works of Brahmst and Gilpatric are well executed, and Grinnell has used them to balance wall space with equal weight while emphasizing content in the artworks that are hung between them.