Wickford Art Association “Puts” paper in the spotlight

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NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — For the first time, the Wickford Art Association is dedicating a unique exhibition to a medium that is not always given the spotlight: paper.

In the upcoming “Putting it on Paper” exhibition, the 55 featured pieces will explore paper as either a medium or as a surface, Maria Masse, Wickford Art Association executive director, said. From creating a charcoal drawing with paper as the surface or crafting a sculpture made out of papier-mâché, the artists were free to capture paper’s adaptability.

“Paper is a common material that is often used in traditional ways like: watercolor, graphite, charcoal [and] alcohol ink,” Masse said. “But it can also be used in papier-mâché, book arts, collage, wood block, linocuts, etchings, engravings etc.  We thought using the theme of ‘Paper’ would give artists producing in the various methods an opportunity to highlight their work.”

Previously, Wickford Art Association has had exhibitions featuring art prints, such as silkscreens and lithographs, but this is the first exhibition that has incorporated 3D works, book arts, graphic, charcoal, watercolor and alcohol ink together as well, Masse said. The only paper-based medium that will not be accepted in this particular exhibition is photography, as there will be a photography and digital art exclusive exhibition later in the 2023 exhibit season.

“These media are oftentimes not highlighted in other exhibits,” Masse said. “Paper is a natural material that inspires so many artists.  A blank sheet of paper can serve as a platform for a variety of media and paper as a medium unto itself can be used in a variety of creative ways.”

Putting it on Paper opens tomorrow and will run until August 27. The opening reception will be held tomorrow night from 5-7 p.m. with the first, second, third place awards and two honorable mentions being announced at 6 p.m.

“The opening [receptions] are always a fun opportunity for the community of artists to meet each other and for the public to have the chance to meet the artists and see their work,” Masse said.

This exhibition’s juror is colored pencil fine artist Kendra J. Ferreria. According to Ferreria’s biography from her website, she has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art with a concentration in printmaking. Her work is prominently in 2D and in contemporary colored pencil with the goal of portraying ordinary subjects and compositions in an “extraordinary way.”   She recently wrote a book about drawing in colored pencil entitled “Colour Pencil Drawing Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner.”

Masse said a former juror recommended Ferreira to Wickford Art Association, ultimately becoming the perfect juror selection for the paper-focused exhibition.

“Ms. Ferreira is an accomplished artist that uses color pencil in an extraordinary ultra-realistic way,” Masse said. “There is a luminescence in her work … We thought her attuned eye for other artists’ works and her experience as an artist herself using paper as a media would make her well suited to jury this show.”

All the pieces featured in the exhibition are from the last three years and have not already been exhibited at Wickford Art Association — a standard practice of the gallery. Masse said this rule is to help encourage the artists to keep producing and keep presenting their most recent work.

“We have a good amount of returning visitors at our gallery and we want visitors to view new things each time they visit the gallery,” Masse said.

Wickford Art Association is located at 36 Beach Street, North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The current gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday (12 pm to 4 pm) and Sunday (12 pm to 3 pm). For more information about Wickford Art Association, visit https://wickfordart.org/

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