Art association

Wickford Art Association exhibition sparks creative freedom by overturning the rules | Arts & Living

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI — From a bustling New York street to kissing skulls, artists in the Wickford Arts Association’s new exhibit, which opened last week, have embraced the theme ‘Anything Goes’ .

The “Anything Goes” exhibition allows participating artists to submit work in any medium and any subject, said Maria Masse, gallery director of the Wickford Art Association. The only exception was the absence of photography as the gallery holds an exclusive photo exhibition once a year.

Without the limitations of mediums or subject matter, artists are able to present anything they desire, Masse said.

“Artists sometimes have their own take on what they want to express in their work,” Masse said. “I think allowing artists this freedom to express themselves and not be constrained by a particular theme is liberating for a lot of artists.”

Having complete artistic freedom for an exhibit isn’t common, as most exhibits have a particular theme that pieces must follow for a jury to select, Masse said. Without the constraints, the artist can explore all the creative possibilities.

“It’s good to give freedom to our artists,” Masse said. “Often we will have a theme, like Ocean State Small Works. We get some nice pieces, but some artists may not fall into a particular category, like fur, feathers and fins show later [we will have] this fall and people may not be making wild animals or large prints, so it’s a fun exhibit for people to explore their work.

The exhibit includes between 70 and 80 pieces and has received more than 200 submissions from the greater North Kingstown community, Masse said. To determine the plays, “Anything Goes” was judged by Steven Pennell, coordinator of the arts and culture program at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus.

“Anything Goes” opened last Friday and will run until August 28.

Mass said there is a unique variety of mediums, ranging from digital art, oil on linen, lithograph, acrylic, pottery and more. She noted that some artists use newer mediums, like digital art, or pay homage to older styles, like egg tempera.

“A lot of artists are influenced by traditional works but go out of their way,” Masse said.

One of the new mediums featured is Joanne De Lomba’s surreal digital montage print titled “Be Yourself”. His piece De Lomba said digital editing printing is essentially “digital cut and paste”.

“My prints are built entirely on a computer,” De Lomba said. “I create my own people and place them in settings that I create using hundreds of layers of colors, textures and images.”

De Lomba’s inspiration for the piece came from Oscar Wilde’s quote “Be yourself, everyone’s taken.”

De Lomba said she worked in surrealism because she loved the potential of every possible piece.

“I work in surrealism because I love the dreamlike quality and the freedom to expand reality in any direction,” she said. “Subjects and images don’t have to conform to conventional restrictions. And I use whimsical themes to tell a story everyone can relate to. “

Bon Lavoie presents his piece “ANARKY”, a piece from his New York street series he is working on. As a photorealist, he said he aimed to paint a scene as close to real life as possible.

“The painting is a moment in time, of a street that could be anywhere, a place you could pass by and never notice,” he said.

As for when people watch “ANARKY,” Lavoie hopes people feel like they’re on that New York street and appreciate the little details they wouldn’t notice in real life.

“I like the graininess of the storefronts with all the graffiti, signage, fire escapes and diversity,” he said.

Brad Vaccaro said his stone lithograph piece “X-Rayed Lovers” captures the theme of “Anything Goes” by showcasing the concept of romantic relationships and acceptance. As an LGBTQ+ ally, Vaccaro said the skeletal figures depict two humans in love.

“In this piece, the two embracing lovers are stripped to the bone with a light essence of flesh encapsulating them. Neither of the two skeletal figures has any signifiers to determine sex or gender,” Vaccaro said. “However, the love between the two is evident. Ultimately, the love between the two is at the center of the impression, and when it comes to implied surface details, they shouldn’t matter, because when it comes to love, “Anything Goes”.

Vaccaro’s goals of “X-Rayed Lovers” are both to challenge society’s gender biases and to focus on the beauty of love beyond sex and gender.

“I hope viewers will feel the love between the two lovers and understand that this is what all romantic partnerships are all about,” Vaccaro said.

Overall, Masse encourages people to visit the gallery because each piece is one of a kind and everyone will find a different piece that they deeply appreciate.

“Each artist has a personality, and they open up and anything goes,” Masse said. “Anything is possible in the views of these artists, and I think they show it in the variety of work we show.”

The Wickford Arts Association Gallery’s regular opening hours are 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It is located at 36 Beach Street, North Kingstown, RI. Visit for more information.