Gestures of that Other Life: Four Corners Sculpture Park

The Four Corners Arts Center has been busy this year, and their latest installment came boldly in the form of steel, making for a striking sculpture-park opening and offering poignant enthusiasm for the world of nature, sculpture, and poetry.

Staggered on the lawn of the Meeting House, muscular works of steel pose frozen amidst the trees in a deft combination of power and submission. A wolf, elk, deer, and porcupine stand juxtaposed in a shaded wood. These sculptures are the works of Wendy Klemperer, a Brooklyn based sculpture artist who has devoted her career to exploring the animal world and relationship of both beauty and beast. She found this most recent home for her work in the woodlands of Tiverton Four Corners where the landscape itself becomes part of the exhibit as it weaves through negative spaces in the work.

Wendy describes her animals as “raw, present, and absent,” all imagined with the potential for new life. But the process to create them begins in a junkyard. Wendy searches scraps for discarded pieces of workable metal to weld into sophisticated sculptures, transforming lifeless, tarnished metal into artistic splendor. Grand in posture and poise, her sculptures are both graceful and fierce and their presence is arresting.

Curator Kate Mullen found the space for this exhibit and likewise sparked the idea of mixing the sculpture with written word. She invited poet David O’Connell to create a poetic verse to accompany the exhibit. “It was my first on demand piece,” he said, but found a jolt of inspiration in the vocabulary of Wendy’s work. “Extricated,” he says was an unfamiliar word but eventually inspiring to his evocative poem. “Banished they Return to Us” weaves a story from multiple perspectives –the viewer and then eventually the animals themselves– capturing the essence of Wendy’s emotional art works: a transformation of something forgotten.

Kate Mullen wanted the exhibit to be accessible to children and adults alike, a vision come true as all ages gathered with fascination at the sculpture park opening. David O’Connell along with his wife will be offering a free poetry workshop for kids on August 6th.

You can view the sculpture exhibit anytime on the lawn of the Meeting House and also during the Four Corners Art’s Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration this August 18th at the Meeting House. Kid friendly, teenager approved, and grownup favored, this exhibit is worth a trip to Four Corners this summer.

Experts like Sayles Livingston do Wedding Flowers Best

Tending to flowers, for some, conjures up visions of ease and leisure, grace, a slowed-pace, and long summer evenings spent arranging freshly cut roses while a cold glass of iced tea waits sweetly on the porch. Gardens can provide a relaxing pastime for amateurs and experts alike, but lets face it, when it comes to weeds, dirty fingernails, and scrawny perennials, they can send others running for the hills. And, when it comes to thinking about wedding flowers, it’s a whole different can of worms. Brides especially have a lot on their plate and little spare time for wistful days planting or planning bouquets. Tending to wedding flowers, then, becomes an expert’s job.

Sayles Livingston, the mother of Sayles Livingston Floral Design based in Tiverton Four Corners is an expert. She’s been sourcing and snipping bright, lush, and simply beautiful bouquets for weddings for over 20 years. Surrounded by wood-planked ceilings and tubs full of peonies, she laughs when recalling her own wedding; “It was sort of silly. I probably should have been mingling with guests,” she recalls. Instead she was busy tending to the flowers. That’s because flowers seem to be part of her being, Sayles Livingston is pretty serious about gorgeous flowers.

Arranging the flowers for her own wedding happened about the same time her expert eye and artistic compositions were beginning to draw crowds. While studying for a Masters in Plant Science at URI, Sayles’ home garden made an impression on her landlord who asked Sayles to arrange flowers for his daughter’s wedding. She began working out of her home as word spread about the outstanding arrangements. An outpouring of wedding offers ensued, and Sayles Livingston Flowers was born.

Twenty years after a stunning backyard garden awarded her with her first wedding gig, Sayles has opened her own shop in Tiverton and is receiving her fair share of publicity, appearing in high profile magazines like Vogue and Grace Ormonde. Most recently, her unique and glamorous flower-made flower girl dresses appeared in an article in the Huffington Post, but she doesn’t let the fame get to her head. A talk with Sayles is as relaxing as some might find the job of tending to the garden. A calm and cool Sayles is reassuring and confident about her work, bringing the stress of wedding planning all the way down to earth. That’s what keeps clients coming, she says.

The style of her arrangements is just as organic and even more enchanting, a perfect match to the beautiful rural location her Tiverton Four Corners shop. There, a generous range of work and repertoire of special events are on display in her loft space and give brides plenty of ideas to work with. Sayles and her homegrown team also provide full-service event design. Everything from linens to light fixtures can be coordinated into something spectacular.

With 20 years under her belt Sayles knows a thing or two about weddings and encourages brides to be choosy about selecting a floral designer; “Choose someone who will provide you with confidence, and then let the people who know what they’re doing do what they do best,” she says. Faith in your flowers means you have time to relax, mingle, and admire the beauty of one of the most important days, your wedding day. Sayles invites brides to come and meet her in the shop to see her work, get a sense of her style, and more importantly talk about the dirt of wedding flowers.

Learn more about Sayles Livingston Flowers at www.sayleslivingstonflowers.com.

Cutie Curls Consignment is All for Good

With every ending comes a new beginning. So is the fashionable story at a first floor shop in Tiverton Four Corners where India Kenyon has transformed the once vacant space formerly occupied by Little Purls into something a little different: a little more glitzy, a little more global, and certainly just as cute.

Cutie Curls is a children’s consignment boutique infused with an impressive inventory of new items, locally-made accessories, baby blankets, toys, shoes and so much more all at consignment prices. A resident of Little Compton with 3 girls of her own, India sorely missed the well-loved children’s shop, Little Purls, after it closed but realized an even greater longing for affordable boutique-quality shopping in the Four Corners area. So was born Cutie Curls.

India hand-makes many of the colorful accessories you’ll find in the small shop. From flowery barrettes, to colorful hats and glittery headbands, are all the product of a crafty mom who spent years devoted to sewing dance costumes and sports uniforms for a small clientele (including her three girls). India’s “at home” business grew into a wholesale business which included statewide sales in 32 shops around Rhode Island before she finally opened Cutie Curls in the Mill Pond Shops of Four Corners this passed December.

Despite a passion for pink, India hopes to pass along more than just glamor and great prices to her shoppers. She describes the Cutie Curls motto as, “you get back what you give,” and so, she gives a lot…to local charities, social workers, fire fighters, and other community support systems to provide clothing and toys to those in need. Most impressively she has passed on this love of philanthropy onto her own daughter who has become an active member of the non-profit organization Water for Cambodia. Along with installing water filters to provide clean water to villagers, India’s daughter Nina brings clothing from her mom’s shop to give to Cambodian residents. Now Cutie Curls has a piece of Cambodia on their shelves too. Beautiful handmade scarves and accessories are available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds directly funding this extraordinary charity.

So if you like to shop and like to give (and maybe get a little something too) stop by Cutie Curls at 3952 Main Road in Tiverton Four Corners. India welcomes new consigners who can receive 40% for their consignment sales or donate the 40% to a charity of their choice including Water for Cambodia. This summer the store also looks forward to hosting children’s authors, storytimes, and special events outside in the historic village. For this cutie consignment store, their story has just begun.

Cutie Curls is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also visit them on Facebook.

 

Salt, a sweet new boutique

Reminiscent of ocean tides and sandy summer shorelines, Salt, the newest boutique to open in Four Corners, has more than a beachy name. It’s colorful and stylish assortment of clothing, beach bags, gifts, and more will have you yearning for a well-dressed day in the sand.

Opened just in time to perk up your wardrobe for the summer, the beautiful boutique carries a wide selection of apparel for both women and men. Think nautical strips, bold prints, and eco-minded wear like recycled wire bracelets and Adriano Goldschmied denim (made exclusively in the USA). Other popular accessories like Societe de Senteur –gorgeous fragrances with a euro flare– and  locally made sea glass jewelry make for an entirely sensual shopping trip. Salt’s most sought after items include new Roberta Roller Rabbit patterned beach bags with India-inspired prints, and Jennywear Jewlery, the recently preferred alternative to Alex and Ani, personalized and made with real sterling silver.

Salt is the sister store to a popular Newport, RI boutique, Aqua, but as owner Emily Wheeler describes it, much more relaxed. Emily, a beach addict herself, lives just up the road from Four Corners and has always loved the quaint village shopping. She is excited to be a part of the local business community, and Four Corners is more than happy to have her. What’s not to love about fresh colors, cute and functional beach wear, and adorable jewelry?

Salt is located right next to The Cottage and across the street from Roseberry and Winn and plans to stay open year-round. So come grab a cookie at the Provender and dive into a day of local shopping starting at Salt!

For updates and more information you can visit Salt and Aqua on their Facebook page.

 

Sunkissed Studio Makes its Debut

How does a painter paint, and paint well? What are the methods, the tricks, and techniques? These were questions answered for Libby Manchester Gilpatric–lover of light, contrast, and color– when she dove into an inspiring academic career at Lyme Academy.  Before then she had been an avid calligrapher and dabbled in watercolors, but it wasn’t until her move to New England that she endeavored to fulfill her dream of becoming a skilled oil painter. Learning under precise and diligent “American masters” she accomplished something great: a wealth of oil paintings, numerous awards, and now, her own studio in Tiverton Four Corners.

The small second-floor room on the corner of Main Road is a place of wonder. Cultured, gentle, and sultry, her realist paintings live on hand-stretched linen canvases bringing a home to spirited scenes from her imagination. Having traveled widely in her career and lifetime landscapes dominate her inspiration although, for Libby, subjects are always the most interesting. “I love to paint figures, it’s always based on something real for me,” she says. In her studio overlooking the small village you will discover a world of fishermen, hydrangeas, bedrooms, and corn fields. Her paintings range in size and appear in galleries around the state. Most recently, her work has received the worthy title “Best in Show” at the Little Compton Art Show.

Of all painting practices mastered and spontaneous, the most tantalizing for Gilpatric is the color play. As she explains, fundamental oil painting technique limits the painter to four or so colors, the basic earth tones found in nature. “I love mixing color, I find it very satisfying to mix those colors and see how many you can make.” One look at Gilpatric’s studio and you will realize her success: a world of colors dark, deep, rich, light, fresh, fragrant, and wonderful.

“Oil paintings go through transitions; the coloring acts differently and you can’t always control exactly how it will change overtime; It’s so forgiving.”

Now beginning her own artistic transformation, Libby has the pleasure of working with the most natural light in her studio career at this new Tiverton setting. “This is the purest light you can get,” she says motioning toward the natural light pouring from not two, but three large windows around the room. After spending the first weeks setting up the studio, she it ready to get to work, and visitors can be sure with this potent mixture of unblended light, experienced passion, and oil painting prowess they will find exceptional works of art here.

Libby is a member of the SouthCoast Artists Group. You can visit her in the studio at 3879 Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners anytime, or stop by her website or Facebook page for updates on her work. Libby is also offering private art lessons, call her at 401-440-3974 to make an appointment.

 

Through the Lens of an Artist

In this age of digital sharing it seems just about anyone can call themselves a photographer, but only a selective few of these camera-savvy folk stand out as true artists. As Sally Swart of Cantin Photography knows all too well, capturing beautiful images takes more than the just right camera or equipment.

Her canvas-printed, mantelpiece-quality portrait shots are instead a product of her vision and artistic process, “I use photography as my palette, the camera is secondary,” says Swart amidst the warmth of her Tiverton Four Corners studio. One meeting with Sally Swart and her passion for photography comes to light, mostly through her exuberant and sometimes eccentric personality, but more deeply through a genuinely heartfelt devotion to making a portrait shot into a masterpiece.

According to Swart, there is a method to her masterpieces, and the first step: getting to know you. “Portraits tell stories, pictures do not. If I’m going to photograph them, I have to get to know them first,” she says; making heirlooms is no easy business after all. But to clients that frequent Swart’s studio the experience is a breeze. Either she spends the day with you and your family, or an hour with you in the studio, but either way Swart shared with us how personalizing the experience is one of her most precious tricks of the trade. After a session, the magic comes through the combinations, blending the right canvas and colors to make a beautiful portraits.

 

For Swart the country setting for her studio in Tiverton Four Corners was an obvious choice; it offers a “wonderful location for photography,” and sits central to the big cities of Newport, Providence, and Boston. Big city appeal and small town feel and service make her perfect neighbors to the 20 surrounding shops in the modern village each sharing a similar respect for the beauty of land and it’s people.

And Sally Swart knows something beautiful when she sees it. Swart started out photographing while sailing on the water where she met her husband. Her business has unfolded as Swart’s own life has evolved.. from sailboats to weddings, weddings to families, families to pets. She has won numerous awards for her portraiture and is a member of the Professional Photographers of America while proudly holding the title Master Photographer, and Master Craftsman. We’re not surprised.

“Everything is a metamorphosis” says Swart looking through a group of new shots for her next project: a book of portraiture from her travels to Africa, something else spectacular to look forward to from Cantin Photography. To learn more about Sally Swart and how you can get an appointment at her countryside studio call Sally at 401-624-4777 or visit her online at www.cantinphoto.com.

 

Yarn for Everyone!

There’s a new yarn shop in town! It’s Perfectly Twisted Yarn, a sweet and simple addition to the Four Corners Village happily stocking a colorful inventory of yarns and accessories for everyone’s knitting needs. After Sakonnet Pearls closed earlier this year a piece of village life was missing from the hearts of locals, luckily these three women banned together to bring back what they and many other yarn-lovers were sorely missing. They are Kate, Karen, and Maureen, a mother, daughter, and good friend with a combined mastermind of knowledge about all things knitting.

Not just a yarn shop the ladies hope to create a new community gathering space for folks to spend as long as their hearts desire to sit, learn, and knit. The women hope to commence classes in the fall, so check back at their website often for up to date information on products and class offerings. In the meantime, stop by and say hello to the newest members of four corners community and most delightful knitting shop around. From buttons to bags this shop will surely inspire your inner knitter.

Perfectly Twisted Yarn is open Tuesday-Sunday 12:30-5pm at 3879 Main Rd next to the Provender. Visit them online at perfectlytwistedyarn.com

Announcing “Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance” at Gallery4

Solo exhibitions can unearth the unbound essence of an artist –their process, foundation, nourishment, and growth– with intensity and valor. While this earnest presentation of art is often liberating, a selective group exhibition can likewise illuminate new waves of understanding. So is the case with a new foursome exhibition at Gallery4 on Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners where Turkish slippers, fine jewelry, and wall-sized canvases flourish together side-by-side. Here four prominent south coast-area women have been chosen to exhibit their work in a showing titled, “Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance,” which will run through August 12th, exposing not only the depth of each female artist, but the “harmony and dissonance” between them.

The works of Jane Tuckerman, Gayle Wells Mandle, Susan Strauss, and Sarah Benham adorn eager white walls filling the gallery with familiar excitement and a new sense of importance. The four women who live as neighbors along the south coast have now come together in a poignant display of their experiences apart, in separate corners of the world.

“It’s a clever name,” says Sarah Benham reflecting on the title amidst a backdrop of opening-night attendees and her bold, figurative oil paintings. Showing are both early and late works by Benham who likens her process to a lucid puzzle, “it’s about finding a solution” she says. Inspired by the simple pleasures of life, Benham has spiraled through style and medium during her honored career as an artist, always considering the wise words of a friend: “to always be astonished by what you do. And I am astonished” she says. There are many ways to be astonished by Benham’s paintings. First it’s the figures that grab you, then the density and depth of the scene. They are faceless jolts of color and mood awakening the senses and mesmerizing in their perfection.

The exhibit, orchestrated by gallery owners Bob Smith, Elaine Hill, and Alix Cambell struck a chord of enthusiasm in the community with over 150 people gathering last Sunday for the opening reception. The works handpicked and juxtaposed in the four-room gallery gave enough space for each artist to breathe while infusing one another with vibrancy and contrast.

Tucked away in one nook of the gallery last Sunday was Susan Strauss whose landscapes and floral masterpieces float effortlessly on the walls as if growing there on their own. A master of decorative arts, Strauss is a fresh face in the gallery, yet her plein air paintings are exuberantly lived in. Their immediate transparency morphs into luminous and muddled movement the longer you let them in, drawing forth intellect, grace, and wonder. Strauss describes a satisfying fluidity to her path of “pushing back and painting over, pushing back and painting over,” and eventually pulling forward her work into a new dimension. That is when she knows her work is complete.

Neighboring Strauss was artist Gayle Wells Mandle present at the opening with husband Roger Mandle, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. The couple spent time in Qatar, inspiring Gayle’s striking selection of collaged fragments from this land of wealth and discord, elegantly blended with color, texture, and cultural artifacts in a rousing display of gender clash and blunt symbolism. Fascinating is how she recreates a history of travel, human rights, and cultural tribulation while still speculating on the future of this oil-saturated part of our world. Gayle’s work is piercing as she pieces together parts of humanity we might choose to ignore, extracting for the viewer something imperative to consider.

Lastly, former chairman of photography at Harvard University, Jane Tuckerman, took the right wing of the gallery with chilling mixed-media photographs of her lifelong study in the mystical world of death rituals. Since 1984 she’s been returning to Benares, India, the last existing site of cremation ceremonies and one of the world’s most sacred spiritual hubs. Here she began capturing religious rituals, rights of passage, and celebrations with vigor through film and photograph. With an anthropological twist, her layered photographs peer with sharp eyes into a world frightfully unknown. Astounding is the way she shapes darkness into something primitive and eloquent. Her work puts forth a magnetic pull of emotion into the descending layers of each photograph.

Even still, Tuckerman emphasizes, with deep understanding, connections within humanity; “We’re all so displaced and haunted by memories—memories become our own special ghosts.” Growing up in rural Westport spawned an obsession with the energy and history of a land; “Westport has this extraordinary connection to this history, Indians, colonists, pre-historic people…It’s about connection to the land, something our culture is loosing,” says Tuckerman. “There’s something very primal about art. Artists connect with each other and with a greater world. I’m appreciative and in awe of Gallery4 for their foresight and sensitivity to this exhibit and the world of art.” she says.

A fondness for the quest, the solution, and the layers of aesthetic, social, and spiritual life give harmony to these four women. But the beauty is in the dissonance.

Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance is open for viewing Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5 at 3848 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI. For more information about this exhibit visit www.gallery4tiverton.com


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1 Comment | July 12th, 2012

Summer is prettier on The Farm

A new corner stop is making summer just a little more beautiful in Tiverton Four Corners. It’s an outdoor agriculture center called, The Farm and it’s run by Peggy Siebrandt and Gayla Gibbons. The two women have lovingly flattered a once vacant lot with lavender, roses, shrubs, and an array of freshly cut flowers. “It’s been my dream,” says Peggy glancing at the land that stretches back into her farmhouse hidden on the hill. The Farm wraps around a small country shred decorated with foxglove and rose shrubs. 

Though just off the main road, this little oasis keeps you blissfully surrounded by fragrant florals wherever you wander on the stone path. The desire to create beautiful spaces like this one has been long-time goal for Peggy; after a career in hospitality, she cooperated to open The Chandler in Newport, Rhode Island where she soon became enchanted with the sweet solitude of nearby-Tiverton’s back roads. “This is more my speed,” says Peggy who grew up on a farm in Nebraska. Now she’s opened her backyard to visitors with the same hospitality-driven mindset, an artful eye for beauty, and now, a green thumb. Neighbors are thanking Peggy for the tasteful and graceful face-lift to the corner lot.

As for the name, The Farm, Peggy says that’s been her go-to phrase for years, it’s where she’s always gone back to, and where she’s always came from. Don’t miss your chance to stop by The Farm, just across from Milk and Honey Bazzaar on Main Rd, for gardening advice, landscape planning, or a fresh walk in a countryside garden.

The pace here is as leisurely as a warm summer day.

K Lovell a New Town Favorite

Surrounded by paint and inspired by nature, Kathrine Lovell has created a unique space to honor the two in her bright and open gallery in Tiverton Four Corners. Here you will find clean and contemporary works, a bold fusion of the graceful natural world and sharp geometric slices of color. 

Kathrine moved her studio to Four Corners from Barrington last year after becoming enchanted with the “amazingly supportive” artistic community along the south coast– or FarmCoast— region. Her rustic studio overlooking Tiverton farmland is also a perk. Katherine quickly became an active participant in this arts community, taking her place as a member of the T4C Merchants Association and bountiful group of South Coast Artists. She organized a new showing of art at the Tiverton Four Corners Grower’s Markets so that visitors can preview of the work of one SCAs while filling bags with local veggies. 

But mostly since she’s been here she’s been painting. Captivated by the subjective way we  see, her work is an energized interpretation nature. “We don’t see nature by itself anymore,” she says, referring to the many filters humans extend onto the natural world; whether it’s experience, technology, buildings, or cityscapes the geometric patterns represent this human influence. Even so, Kathrine’s generously sized acrylic and watercolor works portray a fruitful world in the midst of our meddling. Kathrine graduated from RISD with a BFA in painting and a rich resume of teaching art to all ages. She hopes to share this passion with the Four Corners community and beyond.

We are looking forward to some wonderful nature-inspired works this fall with Kathrine’s bird series, Birds of a Feather, beginning September 8th through the 22nd. This exhibit will include a smattering of local artists and their renditions of “Birds of a Feather.” A portion of all proceeds will benefit the Tiverton Land Trust. If you have a painting or collection you’d like to exhibit contact Kathrine at www.kathrinelovell.com.

Art is sprouting up in Tiverton like our summer gardens and we couldn’t be more pleased.