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slides: DESIGN LINE: Rhode Island Art Under $500

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Cicero said that “a room without books is like a body without a soul.”  I couldn’t agree more and I feel exactly the same way about art.  People often ask me what I like about being a designer in Rhode Island and I say without hesitation that we have a wealth of talent here.  I could fill my clients’ walls with exceptional art without ever crossing our state’s borders.  With the holidays around the corner, I can’t think of a better gift for someone you love than a work of original local art.  And I also want to stress that great art doesn’t have to cover an entire wall or cost a fortune.  The following pieces can be yours for under $500.00, proving that you don’t have to be rich to patronize the arts. 


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Neal Walsh

Leaving (Convalescence Series)

Oil and mixed media on panel


Using found objects, torn pages from discarded books and debris from the studio floor, Neal Walsh builds his paintings layer by layer. The paintings mark the passage of time: they are vessels of memory containing the traces of their past.  Leaving is made with the cut-up remains of a temporary site-specific installation from several years ago.  Pieces of canvas are adhered to a wooden panel prepared with several layers of oil paint.  Walsh then layered paint, scratched the surface, and repeated the addition and subtraction until the final painting emerged

Contact Neal through his blog, here: paintclot.blogspot.com

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William Schaff

A Study in Memory 89

Acrylic, shellac, watercolor, and ballpoint pen on paper

22.5" x 20"


Much of William Schaff’s art deals with debt and loss, as well as the consequences of, and responses to, human violence. In his Study in Memory series, he states, “I am in the grip of Holocaust memory. Not the event itself—I did not live through that—but the collected memories of the event. The images, the testimonies, the music, the denials; all these things combined in such a way that I am left stymied.” For me, this piece is highly emotional and evocative.  I will not attempt to define “art” in words, but the way I feel when I see this piece makes me know I’m looking at it.

Contact William Schaff via his Facebook, here.

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Didi Suydam

Pink Birches 72

12” x 15”


A jeweler and artist, Suydam began her journey into digital photography in 2004. Fascinated by the effects of movement, color and light, she realized she could create evocative imagery that stirred the imagination and challenged one's visual "beliefs". This digitally manipulated photograph printed on a panel box is an excellent example of the depth of Suydam’s talent.


Represented by Candita Clayton Gallery, www.canditaclayton.com

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Michael Bykovski


8"x10" (shown): $50

12"x16": $120

I discovered Bykovski’s unique paintings at the last RISD Alumni sale.  The works are painted with Rustoleum, Acetone, and Shellac on glass panels, and mounted on wooden blocks. He uses a combination of drip and spray techniques to create a variety of textural and formal compositions.  Bykovski’s smaller pieces lend themselves beautifully to groupings of 2 or 4, depending on the wall area to be covered.


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Jessica Rosner

Blue Color Aid with Silver & Red Slinkies

9” x 6” (verticals) or 6”  x 9” (horizontals)


This ink and metallic marker drawing on color aid paper is part of Rosner’s “slinky drawing series.” “The slinky drawings are so titled,” says Rosner, “because the image reminds me of the slinkies of my childhood. I start with a circle made with either a template or a compass, and then follow the mechanical, ‘perfect’ shape, with my own hand-drawn lines.” The interplay of the lines and bold colors are the elements that draw my eye to these playful, yet restrained works.


Represented by Cade Tompkins Gallery, www.cadetompkins.com

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Scott Lapham

Bald Cypress

16” x 20”


I discovered Scott Lapham’s talent many years ago when I saw his project “Bearing Witness.”  This documentary incorporated a series of photographic portraits of Providence's disappearing industrial architecture.  The same talent he applies to the urban landscape is also visible in his natural landscapes.  “The experience of immersion, even for short periods of time,” Lapham says,  “in places that do not depend on human upkeep are important to me. This silence is what I look for when photographing landscapes.” Perhaps it is this silence that I find so provocative in his work, both natural and urban.

Contact Scott at: [email protected]

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Gillian Christy


10" h x 8" w x 2" d

$300 each

You may know Gillian Christy for her large scale public and private sculpting, like the Smokestack Project at The Plant.  What you may not know her for are her smaller steel and bronze sculptures, which hang beautifully alone or in groupings on the wall.  In her Grace series, New England clapboards are used to create the sculptural form. Christy sculpts items she sees on a daily basis to express the simplicity of the day-to-day.


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Meredith Stern

Between East and West

Linoleum block, woodblock, and spray paint print collage

16 1/2" x 21 1/2"

Framed, $400

Meredith Stern’s art is centered on a fantastical world of anthropomorphic cats, which she says “explores the realm of infinity, where perceptions of what might be considered opposing extremes become a shared reality.”   With identity politics set aside, the focus of Stern’s art becomes how these characters cope.  “The constantly shifting environment and characters within it create an ongoing dialog of successes and failures of life existing within this realm,” says Stern.  “As they work to create a society which is cooperative and mutually beneficial, the world around them becomes less perilous and healthy as a result.”


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Tom West

Gas Gun

29.5” X 7.5”


Tom West’s work is full of color, bold in subject matter and as he says, “just fun to look at.”  I love that it’s all made from recycled material—wood and paint.  His personal work tackles issues of war, politics and popular culture, not surprisingly, since he’s a war veteran turned professional artist.  Aside from the gas gun, West makes key paintings to order, so if you’re looking to give someone the “key to success” for the holidays, he’s your guy.  You can find him bartending at Dusk and showing new work every Tuesday night.

See West's Facebook page, here.

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Rebecca Adams

Milk 13

Acrylic on canvas

13" x 15"


Rebecca Adams’ paintings often focus on black and white portraiture referencing stylized and graphic vintage stock photography and film.  The Milk series is based on the idea that the stock female characters used in film noir typically displayed generic and exaggerated emotions.  I think three of these would make a fine series which will still set you back only $450.


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Little Pictures Show

The 108th Annual Little Pictures Show & Sale, Providence Art Club through Dec. 23

For the thrill of the hunt, don't miss the Providence Art Club’s Annual Little Pictures show, where I can guarantee there are dozens of incredible works of art for the discovering.  The exhibition features over 100 artist members of the club and a variety of diverse multi-media pieces are available for $250 or less.  “Little” refers to the requirement that the work be no larger than 16” x 16,” so don’t expect to come home with a canvas that will fill a wall. I will leave you with this final piece of advice:  GET THERE!

Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas St, Providence.

Kelly Taylor is the 2012 recipient of New England Home magazine’s “5 Under 40” award for excellence in design as well as Rhode Island Monthly magazine’s 2012 Gold Award for residential interior design.  She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island.  Please find her on twitter at @ktidnet or visit her website at www.ktid.net


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