Two painters well-entrenched in the tradition of modern American realism, a computer animator working with experimental painting and drawing processes, and a sculptor with a site-specific work that will evolve over a period of half a year are in the spotlight in three spaces within the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!
Displayed in the Heritage Gallery, painters Art Ballelli and Roy St. Christopher Rossow make a formidable and complementary pair in their exhibition called “Warmed by Sunshine, Lit by Starlight.”
Ballelli, a native of Westerly, a perfect picture postcard town in southwestern Rhode Island, displays a series of acrylic paintings highlighting the Victorian era houses in his community.
His style is crisp, almost to the point of starkness, and his “painted ladies” are visually cropped in a thoughtful manner that highlights their exquisite architectural details. The gables, dormers, columns and arched windows that make up much of his compositions are rendered with exacting precision. The focus on each of those elements make each of those “ladies” unique.
His “Dormers at Dusk” flirts with geometry, as four windowed dormers race across a roofline, zigzagging like the teeth of a crosscut blade. It eloquently makes the most of negative space.
Ballelli’s wonderfully titled “Apricity” — a near obsolete word meaning “the warmth of the sun in winter” — depicts the underbelly of a porch roof supported by a majestic Doric column. A bare wisp of a tree branch intrudes from one corner, casting a delicate, even wispier shadow.
In some of his paintings, Ballelli works with a decidedly subdued pastel palette. The houses in “Last Light,” “In the Limelight” and “Sun Day” are respectively lavender, pale green and soft yellow, all as chalky and as sweet as Necco Wafers.
While Ballelli’s work demands a respect for the intensity of daylight, his co-exhibitor Rossow unflinchingly embraces the melancholy of the night.