Providence – City of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism invite you to visit the Gallery at City Hall for its newest installation, Invasive Beauty New Works by PVDFest Public Art alumni May Babcock and Rebecca Volynsky. The exhibition features solo work and collaborations in paint, paper and other natural plant materials. It is on view in the Gallery at Providence City Hall May 16, 2019 – August 12, 2019. Opening Reception is May 16 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. All events are free and open to the public.
Ecologists and wildlife experts often distinguish between "invasive" and "exotic" species when they talk about non-native plants. They might say invasive when they want to emphasize that an organism is likely to do irreparable harm; that it will unbalance the delicate system to which it has been introduced. What happens when artists interpret, and re-purpose imagery and materials from the natural world, inserting them into built environments, and other spaces, to which they are non-native? Can these works become invasive?
PVDFest public art alumna May Babcock and Rebecca Volynsky explore the concept of invasive beauty in distinct yet complimentary ways. Babcock harvests non-native plants from Rhode Island's eddies and tide pools, pulping them into hand-made paper, or arranging them into painterly gelatinous forms. Her re-contextualization draws out the subtle patterns and delicate hues of oft-maligned flora. Volynsky's murals and other painted works appropriate the language of the still life, rending bouquets and tessellating natural motifs in abstracted vibrant colors that invite viewers to sit next to and among them, but also to consider how floral abundance can be simultaneously soothing and overwhelming. Both artists transformed their public and studio practices through PVDFest Public Art commissions; in this joint exhibition they draw with and pour paper pulp using Volynksy's motifs as inspiration. By allowing the paper to dry into multi-dimensional, layered forms, Babcock and Volynksy create works that are at once connected to their previous efforts, and yet wholly new.
The artist reception on May 16 is one of several events leading up to the fifth annual PVDFest. The artists will share thoughts about the work on view and reflect on making public art for PVDFest. In addition to the opening, visitors will have the first opportunity to purchase limited edition merchandise by featured PVDFest 2019 apparel designer Paris Paris. Each year PVDFest commissions a different local artist to develop an iconic design riffing on the PVDFest brand. T-shirts and other merchandise with Paris’ design will be available for purchase the evening of May 16 and throughout the festival weekend, June 6-9.
May Babcock is a hand papermaker informed by print processes. She exhibits nationally and internationally, and most recently has shown at The National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, RISD Museum of Art, Brown University's Granoff Center for the Arts, and The Center for Book Arts. Babcock has taught courses in printmaking, papermaking, drawing, and two-dimensional design across the country, including at the Rhode Island School of Design, Women's Studio Workshop, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Her adventurous hybrid works explore a range of processes that she chooses for their aesthetic value and contextual significance.
Rebecca Volynsky is a mixed media artist from Providence, Rhode Island. She currently lives and works in Portland, Maine where she focusses on various creative projects while developing her Eastern European inspired food startup, “Ripka”. The themes and symbolic elements in Volynsky’s artwork revolve around the ideas of strength and personal growth. She is inspired by life experiences and relationships, Russian folk art, lively color, and organic shapes/colors found in nature. Her creative practice has always centered on setting positive intentions through art making and cultivating what is tangible in the present to create a better future for oneself.
Paris Paris is a PVD-born-and-raised Latin-American multi-media artist and curator. Collaborating with artists and curating exhibitions all over town, Paris is in the center of the PVD art scene. He utilizes this position to constantly uplift and support his fellow emerging PVD artists, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.
PVDFest Public Art artists design, fabricate and install temporary work at PVDFest to enhance pedestrian-level interactions and make the streetscape more vibrant, interactive, playful, surprising, and beautiful.
About the Gallery at City Hall:
Offering space to artists and organizations that might not have a permanent gallery, the Gallery at City Hall exhibits an eclectic array of work that highlights the artistic and cultural diversity found in the Providence community. The Gallery is open to the public during City Hall business hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm and is located at 25 Dorrance Street | 2nd Floor | Providence, RI 02903. For more information go to http://artculturetourism.com/main-gallery