‘NetWorks 2011’ is good — but it could be better

Incomplete picture
By GREG COOK  |  December 7, 2011

cottonwoods-waterfall_mai
BREATHTAKING Jameson’s Cottonwoods and Waterfall.
In 2008, local art collector Joseph Chazan partnered with the Newport Art Museum and AS220 to present the first "NetWorks" project. It included exhibits, a catalogue, and video profiles of 19 local artists, from Howard Ben Tré and Ruth Dealy to Salvatore Mancini and Xander Marro. Part of the excitement of the program was that it held out the potential of recording a sort of fledgling roster of hall of fame Rhode Island art talent.

The most brilliant move of the now annual project has been to get the videos (most by Richard Goulis) screened on Rhode Island public television (all of them can also be seen at youtube.com/user/NetWorksProject2008). This is the project's most lasting and influential legacy — thoughtfully documenting the artists' work and lives, and broadcasting it to thousands of viewers across the state.

Laaura_Travis_main
IN FLIGHT Detail from Travis’s Escape Velocity.
With the 12 artists selected by Chazan for the "NetWorks 2011" exhibit at Candita Clayton Studio (999 Main Street, unit 105, Pawtucket, through December 11), the project at this point has featured 54 artists. Here, Philip J. Jameson's black-and-white photo Cottonwoods and Waterfall depicts the white leaves of the tree shimmering against the black and gray striped Arizona canyon wall behind, and framing a thin, vertical line of the waterfall. Morning Fog Providence River captures glassy smooth black waters reflecting street lamps and downtown buildings blurred by the mist. Jameson follows in the tradition of Ansel Adams (as emphasized by Jameson's work in Yosemite), making breathtaking, classic Modernist images.

WaterFire founder Barnaby Evans's photo of sand flowing around a concrete structure in Warwick Sand and Gravel Co is a study of geometry and a narrow range of sandy tans. Laura Travis's carved limestone, doll-like figures swirl around a rusty steel dish. Andrew Moon Bain's brightly colored, cartoony screenprint imagines eagles plucking people off the rooftops of flooded New Orleans houses. It interjects grace and justice into a tragedy in which there was little of either.

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