By Kristin Wissler
At Gallery Z, there’s an untitled exhibition comprised of the works of four very different artists: Bob Dilworth, Alaina Mahoney, Marty McCorkle and Erin Starr. Gallery director Bérge Ara Zobian told me that he chose the artists because of their “ability to work in 2D and 3D mediums.” “They’re all serious, strong painters,” Zobian added. “They come from different backgrounds, different studies.”
Bob Dilworth’s most striking piece is “Untitled,” a work so large it has a whole wall to itself. It’s a cacophonous yet beautiful piece, splotched all over in warm reds and oranges, with cooler-toned pieces of 3D reflective material carving a path across the canvas. In his bio alongside the piece, he says that his “hope is to capture textures, feelings and patterns of life.” The business and color in “Untitled” do a good job of representing the human experience.
Alaina Mahoney is not only a painter, but a metal worker, too. This combination of skills not only allows her to create artistic works with metal, but to design and add metalwork to her painted pieces. According to her bio, “the series highlights exploration [and] searching for pieces of history in one’s environment.” This aspect is clearly shown in “Young Alaina Discovers a New Haven,” a painting that depicts a young Mahoney crouched among a patch of skunk cabbage, taking hold of a piece of scrap metal. Attached to the painting is a small metal slot, which holds a long stick of skunk cabbage, also made of metal. This part of the piece is removable, allowing the viewer to either get a closer look or observe at a distance.
Marty McCorkle often paints the human figure, but not in the way one would expect. His paintings at Gallery Z are of people altered by the medium. One piece, “Pat on Yellow Dots,” features a woman, presumably Pat, laying across a floor patterned in yellow dots. Pat’s body is form is punctuated by swirls of paint, as though she was a photograph being digitally manipulated by a smudging tool. Indeed, McCorkle, as his bio stated, “is known for his distinctive deconstructive style of painting, digitally manipulating his photos into oils on canvas, a marriage of digital technology and traditional painting.”
Erin Starr also works with the human figure, particularly the female figure. One piece, “Trio,” depicts three women from different angles, each posing with their hands clasped behind their heads. Surrounding them are loose sketches of female breasts, torsos and hips that fill the canvas, leaving almost no space untouched. Perhaps this is a product of her personal philosophy, for as she noted in her bio, “there is nothing to me that digs deeper into one’s soul than the body.”
It’s fitting that four very different artists have come together at Gallery Z, for the gallery already has a host of different artwork across its walls. One wall holds pictures created by Armenian artists, reflecting Zabian’s own heritage. In the gallery’s front hallway, one finds paintings about Italy, a nod to Federal Hill’s Italian culture. The variety of works in Gallery Z’s exhibition is simply a reflection of the melting pot in which it resides.
(The works of Bob Dilworth, Alaina Mahoney, Marty McCorkle and Erin Starr remain on view through July 30 at Gallery Z, Federal Hill, 259 Atwells Ave., Providence, RI. The show’s opening reception takes place as part of Gallery Night Providence on Thursday, July 21 from 5-9 p.m. and will have a closing reception on Saturday, July 30, from 2-4 p.m.) The gallery is open Wednesday and Sunday from noon-6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from noon-8 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday by appointment or chance. For more information, call (401) 454-8844.)