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Pictured at right: Sculpture by Cynthia Consentino

Shown below:
Painting by
Deborah Brown 2002

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"Suspended Narratives"

Main Gallery
Fine Arts Center Galleries
University of Rhode Island

October 9 – December 8, 2003

October 12, 2 p.m.- 4 p.m. Gallery reception

KINGSTON, R.I.-- September 10, 2003 -- A special focused group exhibition curated by Judith Tolnick, director, Fine Arts Center Galleries, for the premier Main Gallery space at the University of Rhode Island, opens in early October. In character and content, it is timed appropriately for National Arts and Humanities month.

The exhibition features more than twenty provocative contemporary works by six nationally known yet geographically diverse visual artists, both emerging and well established. They are Deborah Brown (New York), Cynthia Consentino (Northampton, Massachusetts), Michael Oatman (Troy, New York), Barbara Rachko (New York and Virginia), Judith Raphael (New York and Chicago) and John Wilde (Wisconsin).

Taken together, these artists warp, interrupt or make realism otherwise provisional to yield a "most concentrated form of fantasy" (in the words of novelist Norman Mailer, whose comments on the transformative character of realism are developed in the accompanying catalogue essay by the exhibition curator.) Still, each of the artists in Suspended Narratives seems to enter deeply into some form of realism, often by means of referencing its portrayals in high and popular culture across time. In the suggestive suspended narratives assembled for this exhibition the normally distinct species of human and animal also strategically and notably tend to conjoin. But each artist derives from frequently archetypal scenes and scenarios an entirely new expressive content significantly resisting narrative closure. Simultaneously privileging and subverting their sources, a compelling sense of accordion-like open-endedness will pervade the works on view.

The artists selected for the Main Gallery exhibition are technically, procedurally and iconographically accomplished. In their highly imaginative works they mine diverse traditions in the history of visual culture. Painter Deborah Brown refers to domestic animal subjects; sculptor Cynthia Consentino to characters of children’s stories; collage-maker Michael Oatman to illustrations of any and every sort, from botanical/zoological to Soviet realism; unconventional pastel artist Barbara Rachko to American film noir tableaux and pulp fiction; painter Judith Raphael to Graeco-Roman sculpture and gender stereotypes and painter/printmaker John Wilde to Hieronymous Bosch, Pieter Breugel and many other eccentric masters of western art. Not only do the artists reference their assorted models but also they frequently compound them, creating visually and narratively dense and intricate works. In observing the straddling of so many oppositions in the works to be shown, viewers will be stimulated, psychologically, to engage on a number of shifting levels in strangely non-clausural representation.

"Realism is endlessly interesting and finally indeterminable," Norman Mailer has commented. Within a contemporary ambience of confusing and/or unreliable reality signals of innumerable sorts, Suspended Narratives, the title given to this exhibition, will be manifest at the Fine Arts Center Galleries this fall at as an increasingly plausible, fecund and timely means of artistic exploration.

An illustrated brochure accompanies the exhibition.

Main Gallery Reception for the Exhibition
will be held Sunday, October 12, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Main Gallery Hours
Tuesday - Friday - noon - 4 p.m. & 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.;
Saturday - Sunday, 1 - 4: p.m.
The Galleries are closed for state and federal holidays.

The Fine Arts Center Galleries are handicapped accessible
and open to the public without charge.
Visit us on the web at

October is National Arts and Humanities Month

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Copyright © 2001 University of Rhode Island. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Page last revised Thursday, October 9, 2003 .