Tapestry of Innovation

The Marion Art Center announces that it will host an exhibition entitled “Tapestry of Innovation” from Friday, June 6 until Saturday, July 12. The exhibition will feature the diverse work of three award-winning artists from Rhode Island: contemporary basket maker Arlene K. McGonagle; printmaker Carol Strause FitzSimonds; and the watercolor paintings of Susan E. Patterson. The exhibition will fill both the Cecil Clarke Davis Gallery and the Patsy Francis Gallery with a selection of paintings, prints, artist books, textile weavings and fiber sculpture.

An opening reception honoring the artists and their guests will be hosted by the Marion Art Center on Friday, June 6 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm along with “Art in Bloom” floral interpretations of the artists’ work, created by members of the Marion Garden Group. The Marion Art Center is located at 80 Pleasant Street, Marion, MA 02738. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Meet the Artists:

Arlene K. McGonagle: Arlene has been a traditional basket maker, making functional baskets since 1981. After many years of creating utilitarian baskets, she acquired the necessary skills to experiment with new forms and shapes. She started making contemporary baskets using many non-traditional materials such as Japanese papers, wire, copper foil, pewter, brass, etc. Her new work evolved to conceptual designs that represent ideas rather than functional containers.

Arlene received her MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in 1998.

Presently, Arlene is continuing her work on contemporary baskets while experimenting with printmaking and encaustics in her studio located in the Cutler Mills, Warren, RI.

Of her recent work, Arlene says: “’Scripted Baskets’ has been a new series of work that I have produced in the last five years. My baskets combine fiber structures interwoven with hand-made paper portraying words transformed from a variety of sources.” Some of her pieces portray phrases from Emily Dickinson’s poetry. Some employ words from other authors. Others contain excerpts from her personal journals, written on the basket interior due to the personal nature of the portrayed thoughts. The material used to sculpt each basket conforms to the spirit of the writings that will be incorporated into the woven form as the work goes forward. Rice or kozo paper is often used for the inner scripted segments, while hand-made specialty paper usually forms the outer surfaces.

Carol Strause FitzSimonds: Printmaker, book artist, instructor and a former gallery curator, for the past three decades Carol has exhibited her work at colleges, museums, and galleries across the United States and abroad. Married to her college sweetheart – a career Naval officer – and the proud mother of one son, the family moved constantly until her husband retired from active duty in 2001. Settled now in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Carol teaches printmaking at the Providence Art Club. Her art can be found in numerous private and public collections including: the Smithsonian; Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum; National Museum of Women in the Arts; United States Library of Congress; New Britain Museum of American Art; Slater Art Museum; Newport Art Museum; Villanova University; Wheaton College; Providence Art Club and others.

Carol feels that being a printmaker is a great privilege. What drew her to printmaking and still captivates her spirit is the versatility of each print process, the textural qualities of the printed surface, and the potential for multiple permutations. In her artist’s statement, she says: “Printmaking techniques create effects and images not possible in any other art form. Under the heading ‘printmaking’ there are literally dozens of established processes to create an artist’s vision as a single or multiple image with new techniques emerging constantly to push the boundaries of what is termed an ‘original’ fine art print. Add to printmaking the re-emergence of the book as ‘fine art’ and there is even more potential for innovation in concept and presentation. ‘Touch’ is now linked to ‘look and see’ as my prints move off the wall to become tactile sculpture. Each print becomes part of a larger whole, tied together by structure and/or text.”

Her work has received numerous awards in competitions across the country and has been featured in the Artists’ Magazine, the Journal of the Print World, and 100 Artists of New England. Carol is a juried member of the Audubon Artists Inc., Printmakers Network of Southern New England, Society of American Graphic Artists, and Boston Printmakers.

Susan Patterson: Susan has been exhibiting work in and around New England for 17 years. Her mediums are pencil, charcoal, watercolor, oil, and printmaking. Her passion for art began in Canada under the tutelage of her mother, who was a professional artist. Following a career move to the Unites States in 1973, painting occupied her spare time. In 1999, she joined a group of women artists in Massachusetts, which led to her first successful gallery exhibition in Boston. Her work revolves around the figure and the New England seascape and reflects her travels in Maine, Yosemite National Park in California, Arizona, and Europe. This is her second time as an exhibitor at the Marion Art Center.

Susan’s passion for art revolves around the intellectual approach for each work. She enjoys the process, taking it to different levels using a variety of mediums. During the past five years, printmaking has added new perspective to her approach and enabled her to expand and improve her drawing and observation skills.

In 1999, she became a founding board member of the Art League of Rhode Island. Susan is an artist member of the Providence Art Club, the Rhode Island Watercolor Society and the Art League of Rhode Island. She obtained her certificate program in Painting and Drawing from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 under a four year program. She was a contributing artist to two boxed print portfolios in conjunction with the Providence Art Club. The portfolios are on permanent display at a number of business institutions in Rhode Island and Connecticut, among them the Providence Athenaeum, Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Hospital and the New Britain Museum in Connecticut.

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