Wendy Seller is another artist mining history. In her exhibit “Visual Metaphors” at Rhode Island College’s Bannister Gallery (600 Mt. Pleasant Ave, Providence, through February 19), she digitally manipulates Renaissance paintings of lovely women and angels as well as images of the overgrown ruins of old stone buildings. Her technique involves shifting scales, cutting things out and cutting things up, layering colors, adding floating flowers and leaves. At times, especially with the building images, she paints into the scenes. The results are often crystalline and dreamlike and very sweet. Yet they feel quite close to her sources, like what’s attracting us to these images is what the Old Masters did more than what she has added. Which is the question of sampling in any field: Has the artist transformed the original sources enough to make the piece their own?
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