WESTERLY — The Artists' Cooperative Gallery will showcase the work of artists Elaine Porter and Jane Parillo Rollins during the month of September, in a show called "Coming Home/Envisioning Peace." The opening reception will be held tonight from from 5-8 p.m.

"Home is a place of safety, warm fires, good food, and cherished memories of family and friends," writes Madeline Beaudry in this month's message from the gallery. "Home is a place of peace."

Since, Sept. 1 marked the 80th year since the beginning of World War II, Beaudry writes, "and as the world remembers a time when peace was a fragile dream, the artists at gallery will highlight themes of this dream in their September show."

Porter is a life-long artist who has exhibited her work all over the world, Beaudry writes. A true multimedia artist, Porter will showcase her mixed media paintings in the show.

Porter's paintings are inspired by nature, Beaudry says, "and the artist endeavors to capture, in her words, 'scenes that evoke a mood or tell a story about the world'."

"My focus is to describe my view of the world in texture and color," Porter told Beaudry. "The pieces remind us of the importance of peaceful surroundings and the beauty we should work to nurture and protect."

Porter trademarked the process she uses from some of the work she will be showing, says Beaudry, a process called "Paillage," which involves paint and collage with the emphasis on both."

Porter will also  feature textural impasto paintings done in acrylic/mixed media and oil paint and cold wax.  

Porter is also a sculptor and jewelry-maker. Her jewelry collection includes one-of-a-kind organic designs using stones, glass and leather.

"I am a plein air painter, however in the past year, I have worked mostly in my studio, creating from my remembered observations of nature as well as my many photographs," Porter says in her statement. "Some things I see in oil, some in watercolor or colored pencil and acrylic mixed media. 'Cast in Stone,' my collection of sculpted cement and re-purposed objects, includes bird baths, table ware and stepping stones. They are shaped using individual leaves from my garden and then painted."

A passionate gardener, Porter says she seeks inspiration "From watching the miracle of renewal, as the perennials make their annual entrance and continue through the summer months." Her jewelry collection includes beautiful, unique, organic designs using stones, glass and leather.

Porter is an award-winning artist whose resume includes many solo shows and works exhibited in galleries along the East Coast from St. Petersburg, Florida to Sugarloaf, Maine. Her work can be found in private and corporate collections around the world, including Sony, Fuji, JVC and Pranda Jewelry, Thailand. 

Rollins, a founding member of West Bay Open Studios, a member and past president of Masscribes, an associate member of the Art League of Rhode Island and Wickford Art Association, and member of the Warwick Center for the Arts, took her first calligraphy class, "for fun." more than 30 years ago,

Today, as both a student and teacher she is more committed than ever to her art, she told Beaudry.

Rollins spent many years studying the refinement of historic and traditional letter forms, which provide a basis from which to develop more contemporary and gestural work, Beaudry writes.

"She enjoys experimenting with unconventional lettering tools and mediums: sticks, shells, folded pens, bleach and sticks of balsa wood," she says. "These tools allow for more freedom of expression while creating layers of texture and complexity."

Rollins' work has appeared in various international juried publications and she has exhibited throughout the New England area. In 2002, her project in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, was funded by the North Kingstown Arts council. In 2018 her work was accepted for publication in the annual Letter Arts Review, a compilation of juried artwork from all over the world.

"I am pleased to be one of the two featured artists for the September exhibit," Rollins says in her artist's statement. "As a lettering artist I am aware of the power of words, especially when combined with art."

"The pieces I have chosen for this exhibit reflect my interpretation of peace in various forms: peace within the soul, peace with nature, peace for humanity," Rollins writes.

The gallery will join the Westerly Library and Wilcox Park and Savoy Bookshop and Café in hosting a month-long celebration of peace during September. and will sponsor a number of events including a Peace Crane and Peace Flag workshop for adults and children on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a special exhibit called "Peace, Remembrance, Hope." Visitors are invited to vote for the work of art in the exhibit they find most moving. On Thursday, Sept. 19, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" will be screened at the Westerly library. On Sept. 24, an author event will be held at the Savoy Bookshop and Café with authors James R. Benn and Beatriz Williams at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, Sept. 15, another event called "Peace, Remembrance, Hope” will include a reflection, poetry, memory sharing, music, a labyrinth walk, the lighting of a menorah and refreshments.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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