‘Rhythm & Movement’ opens at cooperative gallery

‘Rhythm & Movement’ opens at cooperative gallery

WESTERLY — Members of the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly explore the elements of rhythm and movement in this month’s exhibit, which begins Friday with an opening night reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

The “Rhythm & Movement” show will feature encaustic work by Arlene Piacquadio, metal sculptures and handcrafted jewelry by Sandy Chucnin Webb, and the photography of Lisle Ann Jackson.

“Artists use rhythm and movement to bring art to life,” the Westerly artist Jane Perkins said in describing the theme. “Rhythm refers to the way a viewer’s eyes move through a picture. It’s the pattern created by the repetition of a similar shape or line, with variation that creates visual change that the eye can follow. Some pictures lead the eye in a connected, flowing way, others in an abrupt, dynamic manner. Artists create visual movement by placing different shapes, objects, lines, colors, textures, or patterns into a composition.”

Piacquadio, who has been president of the gallery since 2014, said, “My inspirations have remained nature, people, and the connections they create in myself.” 

After moving to Rhode Island from New York, Piacquadio attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where she became energized by encaustics and began working in the medium, discovering a new freedom of expression. Perkins said that encaustic painting, from a Greek word meaning “to heat or burn in” (enkaustikos), is an ancient process that uses heat to melt beeswax, to which resin and colored pigments are added. Piacquadio’s work includes collage, found objects, and mixed media. 

Piacquadio said her childhood explorations in the fields of her home in rural New York helped to develop her understanding of the connections that became the inspiration of her work. It was the shapes of objects and how they interacted with other shapes that were most curious to her, she said.

These natural relationships inspired a “lifelong curiosity about how all things are connected,” deepened later by teaching art and counseling, Piacquadio said. She is influenced by the interdependence and connections of the media she uses, including beeswax, collage, and natural objects.

Piacquadio studied art at Ohio University and Marymount College, and opened her studio, Il Vento, in 2014. 

Member artist Webb is a metal sculptor who discovered her love of metalwork after taking a two day metal workshop 10 years ago, Perkins said. Webb, who describes her sculptures as “uncommon, contemporary, and interpretive,” makes her creations from new and reclaimed metals. Many of them consist of a combination of metals, including copper, brass, and tin, and she often incorporates wood and fiber into her designs. Webb likes using reclaimed metals for environmental reasons, and because weathering gives them a natural patina.

Webb has added a collection of woven wire jewelry to her show this year. “These mini sculptures incorporate the same uniqueness as my larger scale ones,”  said Webb. She uses mixed metal wire of copper, brass, steel, and silver, and often featured a gemstone in her jewelry.

“I am an avid gardener, so the colors and shapes of flowers and plants have always caught my attention,” said Webb. “The changing seasons, the crashing waves and colors of the ocean, the sky at dawn and sunset all have an impact on me and therefore transfer to my art.”

Jackson is a photographer and a retired mental health counselor who describes herself as a painter with a camera.

Jackson’s focus is deliberate, giving many of her works a painterly feel, said Perkins. She uses the display on the camera to frame the picture and “basically being a purist at heart, she rarely crops or changes the original image.”

In addition to the cooperative gallery, Jackson has works at her home gallery and at the Par 4 restaurant in Groton.

The show runs through April 28 and includes works in oils, watercolors, photography, glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, and sculpture.

This month’s Back Room Art Gallery will feature the art of Caitlin Olsen’s students in Grades 4 to 8 at St. Michael’s School in Pawcatuck. The opening reception for the back room exhibit will be held on Sunday, April 8, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The gallery will showcase its annual Regional Juried Show in May. Work submitted for jurying will be accepted on April 29 and 30. This annual event draws 2D and 3D artists from around New England. This year’s juror will be Michael Peery, an artist who holds an MFA from the New York Academy of Art and is currently an instructor in painting with RISD Continuing Education in Westerly at the Westerly Education Center. More information about the show as well as a prospectus is available on the gallery’s website at westerlyarts.com. The co-op gallery is located at 7 Canal St. and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.


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