Past Exhibitions 2016-2017

Rhode Island College 3-D Faculty Exhibition 

Dates: September 1-23, 2016

The Bannister Gallery starts off the fall 2016 season with the Annual Faculty Exhibition, which offers an opportunity for the community to experience first-hand the artistic talent that is in residence at Rhode Island College. These faculty artists are integral to the current aesthetic and conceptual dialogues present in our studio art department. Their practices include research-based and interdisciplinary methods that are at the core of contemporary art. RIC’s faculty artists exhibit widely and receive prestigious awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies. As a result, they encourage students by their example to think across boundaries. Collectively, these distinguished, award-winning artists bring a unique vision to the region’s cultural tapestry.

Represented are the works of the following 3-D full-time and adjunct faculty: Craig Bachman, Juan Barboza-Gubo, Doug Bosch, Bill Martin, and Diane Reilly.


Barbara Takenaga: Recent Work 

Dates: October 6-28, 2016

Barbara Takenaga arranges the simple components of her dense, abstract paintings into stunningly detailed compositions that undulate, radiate and recede in seemingly infinite space. Her dazzling repetition of forms suggests the inherent yet sometimes incomprehensible logic of both the cosmic and the cellular. Crisp, saturated color defines each discrete element in the tightly woven, tessellated work.

Takenaga is the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Art at Williams College. She divides her time between Williamstown, Massachusetts and New York City, where she maintains a studio. Her work has been widely exhibited at institutions including Mass MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado; National Academy Museum, New York City; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; the Smith College Museum of Art, Northamptom, Massachusetts; the deCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts; the San Jose Museum of Art, California; and Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; among others.

John Yau, professor of art criticism at Rutgers University, poet, fiction writer and editor of the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend, described Takenaga's "abstract enigmas" (in her 2016 exhibition, "Waiting in the Sky," at DC Moore Gallery, New York) in the following way:

"The place where Takenaga transports us is mythic and made of paint, and its configurations are constructed from a careful repetition of abstract marks and forms, as if she is weaving something together. The replication of marks becomes hallucinatory and even maddening: it is the artist's way of both marking time and organizing it into visionary states that promise nothing. She lifts the viewer into a visual conundrum, an enigmatic realm."


Brian Rutenberg: Clear Seeing Place 

Dates: November 10-December 9, 2016

Brian Rutenberg was born in South Carolina in 1965. Currently living and working in New York City, this nature-based abstract painter became a Forum Gallery artist in 2001. A graduate of the College of Charleston, South Carolina, Rutenberg participated in his first group exhibition in 1985 and moved to New York City shortly thereafter. He received a Master of Arts from New York's acclaimed School of Visual Arts. As a young and ambitious painter, Rutenberg sought to capture a unique representation of landscape through abstraction. The base of his interest stems from growing up between Pawley's Island and Charleston, where river and lake merge with ocean. These early childhood memories continue to be a presence in his painting.

In 1997 Rutenberg received a Fulbright Scholarship which afforded him an opportunity to spend one year in Ireland. From his travels there, Rutenberg's work became shaped by Celtic culture, specifically the La Tene Period, 600-400 B.C. Captivated by the pure abstract arabesques so powerful in the artwork of this period, Rutenberg similarly began to use a merging of forms in his work. Large circular shapes of color transformed his canvases into two-dimensional dioramas, each swirl bringing the viewer closer to the center of the drama on the picture plane.

Inspired by artists like Tom Thomson, Alexandre Calame, John Twachtman and Bob Thompson, Rutenberg executes paintings that embrace spirituality, love of color and a passion for paint. Although nature continues to be the major theme in his paintings, each of his works embodies a brand new approach and vision.


Three Friends Represent 

Dates: January 19-February 17, 2017

This exhibition of paintings brings together three artists - Ruth Miller, Susan Lichtman and Gwen Strahle—all representational painters.

The venerable tradition of representational painting originates from Aristotle, one of the first to remark on the nature of narrative or representational art. We have only to look at the great mosaics and paintings of Greece and Rome or, for that matter, classicism in general to discover the range of representational art. So ubiquitous is this tradition we would do well to call it the bedrock of art.

Miller, Lichtman and Strahle have forgone literalism and the formulaic to develop their own interpretive position to painting. Yet, while sharing a similar vision, they each remain individually unique.


Qigu Jiang 

Dates: March 2-24, 2017

Qigu Jiang’s studio practice is an expression of figurative abstraction that draws on the political and social experiences of his life. This Chinese artist immigrated to the U.S. in 1987 to pursue art making that would be less restrictive.

Jiang explores a level of expression that speaks volumes about the sometimes painful experience that comes from living a life that questions cultural and political freedom. His monumental works on paper evoke a world that crosses boundaries and engages the viewer in a dialogue about transculturalism and its societal transformations, in a renewed, postmodern discourse.

This show is curated by Ye-Feng Wang, assistant professor of art, Rhode Island College.


Gao Jie: Art4A.I. 1.0 

Dates: April 6-20, 2017

GAO Jie is a Chinese contemporary artist. He was born in Gulangyu, Xiamen in 1979. After graduation from the Art Department at Xiamen University, he went to France and stayed there for 12 years. Now, he works and lives in Beijing.

GAO Jie’s artistic creation penetrates into many different subjects. His methodology is to build “frameworks,” and propose questions through these “frameworks” to challenge our existing knowledge structure.

In this solo exhibition Art4A.I. 1.0., GAO Jie intends to create an artwork for Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the foreseeable future, AI will learn to appreciate art; one might even argue the time has already come. As artists, our professional integrity leaves no room for any form of prejudice. Instead, following questions need to be asked more and more frequently: What is art? What is human? What kind of art would AI appreciate? Are we just like machines but programmed with DNA?

Co-curated: Chao Jiaxing/Frank Yefeng Wang


Undergraduate Student Exhibition 

Dates: May 4-13, 2017

This annual exhibition is an opportunity for undergraduate students to demonstrate their many talents in the various studio disciplines offered at RIC.


Stuart Diamond: Trunks and Tales 

Dates: June 1-30, 2017

You gentlemen who think you have a mission 
To purge us of the seven deadly sins 
Should first sort out the basic food position 
Then start your preaching, that's where it begins... 
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance 
In keeping its humanity repressed 
And for once you must try not to shriek the facts 
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts 

-Bertolt Brecht, "What Keeps Mankind Alive?"

The recent paintings of Stuart Diamond combine seemingly disparate phenomena in strangely architectonic settings that appear to simultaneously assemble and disassemble themselves. Seductive arrangements of raw and prepared foods, for example, make intermittent appearances in these amorphous and fluid figurative compositions. Evoking a broad history of visually-charged representations of edible things from the still-life paintings of Spanish Baroque masters, such as Juan Sánchez Cotán and Francisco de Zurbarán, to the so-called "food porn" found in the richly saturated photographs in current magazines such as Bon Appetit and Food and Wine—they cut a displaced figure amidst skewed interior and exterior settings and disturbing fragmentations of animals, such as elephant trunks and the snouts and muzzles of oxen. The manner in which these assembled arrangements of food "pop" from within an amorphously undefined spatial composition and uniformly muted color scheme lends them a distinction and significance redolent of the role that sustenance plays in Bertolt Brecht's lyrics that open this text. This dynamic is further emphasized by the stark contrast between the delectable assortments and the animal body parts, entrails and other viscera that conjure an abattoir more than Alinea. The particular works characterized by this strategy of juxtaposition draw Brecht and Weill's politically urgent lament of 1928 into a critical dialogue with the present day in their meditation on the increasingly unsettling disparity between food as a lovingly depicted and fetishized luxury item and the pervasive everyday evidence of a perpetual global hunger crisis.

Other recurring motifs in Diamond's recent paintings are fighter planes seen partially in profile that appear to be heading downwards into a crash landing. They function, perhaps, in an obverse manner to the sinister bull-figures in Pablo Picasso's legendary painting Guernica (1937), in their literal signification of airborne terror. The elephant trunks and oxen snouts thus replace the human figures below in Picasso's work, elements whose physical evocations of trauma suggest mental, spiritual, social, and economic wounds. Suffusing all of the depicted elements is a quality of color that creates a pictorial flattening of sorts, regardless of the restless spatial shifts and progressions that dominate paintings. This formal approach moderates one's experience of intensely represented subjects and compositions that, rendered in brighter or more lurid tones, would risk overwhelming and repelling the eye rather than more subtly persuading it. In another sense this chromatic quality accentuates such "cinematic" aspects of the works as their theatrical staging and architectural compressions and expansions, functioning like a film director or cinematographer's decision to use a particularly restrained lighting, palette or saturation of the image to temper the telling of an otherwise difficult or disturbing story. Stuart Diamond's recent paintings, however, depart from conventional narrative cinema with their jarring juxtapositions and disparities, serving to develop more ambiguous and oblique meditations on the inequities and conflicts that (hu) mankind struggles through to keep itself alive in our contemporary moment.

- Dominic Molon is the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design