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Art Review: “Borderline” + Beth Lipman

Friday, November 18, 2011


Rebecca Kandel's images from US borders, at Yellow Peril Gallery

Providence galleries have the tendency to put on group shows because it can be a more effective way to champion more than one artist at a time.  With so many artists living here, group shows can keep the playing ground relatively even giving exposure to the many.  However, sometimes we forget the power of a single body of work existing in a space.  This week is all about the power of a solo show and both sides of route 95, a dividing line between east and west, give an opportunity to two female artists whose exhibitions are very different, but still equally important to our community.  

Borderline at Yellow Peril Gallery

Yellow Peril Gallery at the Plant located in Olneyville, officially opened to the public last night for this year’s final Gallery Night.  Co-Directors Robert Stack and Van Souvannasane moved from New York to Providence, Stack’s birthplace, recently and are pursuing a long time dream of running their own commercial exhibition space.  They are also looking to be a space that exhibits work that deals with social issues and really encourages dialogue well beyond exiting the gallery.  Now, before you jump to any conclusions about these “strangers”, understand this is exactly what Providence needs, more new blood to keep art spaces from continuing to look inbred.

In the premiere exhibition, Borderline, Stack and Souvannasane bring in a very talented artist, Rebecca A. Kandel.  She is currently based in Los Angeles, but originally from New York. Kandel uses photography to capture the current events happening in the Southwest regarding immigration.  Unlike so many other documentarian photographers who portray some sort of bias, Kandel photographs all angles of this major controversial issue.  She has gone on rides with border control, camped out in the dark with the vigilantes who take illegal crossings into their own hands, and even gone out with Humane Borders while they fill their water stations.

Over the course of this ongoing project, Kandel realized that each person wants a better life for themselves and their family.  Even though these images are thought provoking, they are also aesthetically gorgeous.  She composes the objects within her frame thoughtfully giving the viewer various levels to engage with the subject.  For Kandel, each image entails a story and experience for both herself and the subject.   We often think that because we are so far away from the border, we are unaffected but even Rhode Island is no stranger to the illegal immigration issue.  There is no doubt that this first show strongly embodies the socially aware mission of Yellow Peril and is a definite must see.

Borderline: Rebecca A. Kandel, November 17- December 15, Yellow Peril Gallery at the Plant, 60 Valley Street #5, Providence, M-W By Appointment, Thur 3-8, Fri-Sun 12-5

Beth Lipman at Cade Tompkins Projects

Beth Lipman's glass vision, at Cady Tompkins Projects

On the other side of town, with an entrance off Fones Alley on the East Side, is the opening of a new exhibition at Cade Tompkins Projects.  The new work of Beth Lipman in the show, Yours Always, is an exciting display of skill and beauty. Tompkins often gives artists solo exhibitions showing her conviction in the strength of her artists.  This will be the first time Lipman will have an individual show in the gallery space.  The show is a mix of sculptures made of glass and photographic prints of her work.  For this exhibit, she also created a site-specific wallpaper installation.  Lipman’s glass sculptures are 3-D still lifes that recall a golden age of painting.

Working with a see-through material like clear glass gives her work a sense of fragility, but also a feeling of invisibility.  It is not to say that her work disappears, but it takes on its surroundings and blends, which is an interesting concept.  Her transfer prints on plexi-glass are quite appealing as they are photographs that channel paintings that strive to be photographs, a real mind twist.  Tompkins has an expert eye always for artists that are interesting and multi-dimensional; Lipman’s work are gifts that keep giving. Lighting is also a key element to this body of work. The light and glass create shadows within the work that are truly beautiful.  Yours Always is another strong exhibition that will definitely please the palate.   

Yours Always: Beth Lipman, November 18 2011-January 14 2012, Cade Tompkins Projects, 198 Hope Street, Providence, Weekdays By Appointment, Saturday 10 am -6 pm  

This week is another constant run of art openings and events, but in many of the other spaces you will find the repetition of many names that show in various spaces around the city.  If you are looking for something new and solo, Cade Tompkins Project and Yellow Peril are surely the places to start. 

For more coverage of the arts, check out GoLocalTV fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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