Making the rounds

New exhibits at the Spot and AS220
By GREG COOK  |  April 21, 2010

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DELICATE LINES Hames’s “Town of Monhegan.”

For some time, the founders of the Spot — Josh Fulford (now technical director), Kevin Blanchette (director of operations), and Nick Cardi (gallery director) — weren’t sure what to call the venue they were creating in a roomy second floor space at 286 Thayer Street. Talking on the phone, they’d say things like, “I’m over at the spot.” Finally they realized they could just call it that.

Part of the difficulty in deciding on a name was the range of activities they aimed to offer. They began with yoga classes in April 2007; that August, they presented their first art show. That fall they brought in Josh Willis (artistic director) and Spogga (music director). These days they also offer comedy, dance classes, poetry slams, and the occasional rock opera. The Spot’s MySpace page announces: “More than just a building, a gallery, a school, a home. It is a Force of Nature. It is an Engine of Kinetic Energy.”

As far as visual art is concerned, you can feel that moxie, though the art itself is still developing. The Spot offers a pair of quirky halls that sprout smaller nooks and crannies. Windows and architectural details divide up the walls and can cramp 2D work, but the large rooms flatter sculptures and installations.

Cranston sculptor Michael Green takes advantage of this, installing an arc of tall wide strips of heavy, ribbed translucent plastic — the sort of stuff they use for loading docks — that cascade down from the ceiling and curl across the floor. A light inside, near the ceiling, makes it shine blue, purple, orange, yellow — echoing the Spot’s funky nightclub vibe. The sculpture looks sort of like a giant plastic jellyfish or a waterfall. In a particularly lovely touch, the sculpture hides a fountain built into the wall behind, and you can hear the unseen water trickling.

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Through mid-May, Green’s sculptures are paired with prints by Harrison Love. After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration from RISD in 2008, Love spent a year in Peru, including, he says, four months living with the Shipibo, Warani, and Ashaninca tribes in the Amazon. Now living in Stonington, Connecticut, he is illustrating a book he is writing inspired by the old myths of these tribes. In his linocuts, visionary scenes are rendered in workmanlike compositions. Birds soar over a clearing in a forest. A person perches in a tree filled with birds. Men with spears gaze into the mouth of a large dark cave and the walls inside resemble a pile of rocky skulls.

Green and Love are the focus this month, but works from previous shows linger, like an installation Brooke Mullin Doherty of New Bedford, Massachusetts, put up last year. She fills the ceiling of a lounge-nook at the end of one room with gold fabric that drapes down from a red wire armature. It’s luxurious and consuming, and seems like the frilly gold train of an evening gown grown out of control. New Bedford artist Jeremy Rudd’s sculpture Concentric is a six-foot-tall ball of wooden pieces that seem to interlock like gears. Giselle Corre of Providence turns shallow reliefs of polymer clay into depictions of sunny psychedelic childlike dream gardens.

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