Art Museum Opens Two Arresting Exhibitions

AirBorn”, artist Rene Stawicki’s series of dramatic allegorical paintings inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, was one of two featured exhibits at the recent reception at the Newport Art Museum, attended by Museum members, art buffs, a gallery owner, and friends.


Artist Esther Solondz’s "There and Not There: Rust Portraits by Esther Solondz“,  in which the artist used steel wool, iron filings, salt and water applied to cotton paper to create a series of rust portraits, was commanding, with images often four to five feet in height. " The portraits were as much a chemistry experiment as a technique, and a video of the artist at work played in the hall leading to the exhibit.  Commenting on the exhibition was Arthur Dion, Director of Boston’s Gallery Naga, which represents Ms. Solondtz.


The  "Newport Annual"  show, featuring sculpture, paintings, and objets, was installed in the Cushing Gallery, and the Museum Guild featured members’ works on the second floor of the historic Griswold House. It will run until June 6.


Lisa Goddard, Rene Stawicki, & Gayle Hargreaves

Artist Stawicki describes Ovid’s tales as, “often creepy and violent, though they always seemed to finish in some form of renewal through change. This piece of brilliant storytelling wove in and out of my creative field for many years until a solid project idea took form.” The “AirBorn” series took four years to complete and is both vivid and disturbing.

“I blended Ovid’s words with my own sense of imagery to create these colorful, energetic paintings. The scenes I have chosen to show are sparked by either a physical affront or a desperate cry for deliverance from suffering. The humans involved are set free from their anguish by the intervention of powerful deities or through the force of their own will.”


Esther Solondz & Arthur Dion, of Naga Gallery

Esther Solondz cultivates her astonishing rust portraits as she would a seed garden, mixing the right combination of materials with water, preparing the surface and then settling back to wait for images to germinate. Solondz uses steel wool, iron filings, salt and water applied to cotton paper to create these large heads, some as big as 4 feet x 5 feet. We usually think of rust as something that breaks down material, but in Solondz's hands, rust builds up to leave a beautiful image.


Among the crowds viewing the exhibition were Linda Lee Butler, Mike Miller, Kimberly Skeen-Jones, Ross Cann, John Schneider, Martha Barrows, Luke Randall, Jill Brody, and Wanda Coderre. NAM Director Lisa Goddard spoke animatedly with artists and guests.


A video of Solondz creating

The exhibitions run variously, to May 31 and June 13, respectively, at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. For information, go to



Alison Beaty, Ross Cann & Kimberly Skeen-Jones

Artist Richard Grosvenor talks with Newport Seen

Ann L. Daum 's "Portrait of Migrant Blueberry Harvester"

Juried Members' Show Best in Show

Richard Grosvenor, Kate Hoyt Psaki &

Margo Grosvenor

Jerold Ehrlich's coiled rebar, "Binding"

Friend, Wanda Coderre & Mike Miller

Richard Rosenzweig & Jeannine Vistoso

A colorful sculpture

Artist Mary McNally & decorator Linda Lee Butler

A NAM member's canvas

Nicole Hausen & daughter, Francoise Everett


John Schneider &  Martha Barrows

"Classic", an oil painting by Luke Randall in praise

of music, won Honorable Mention

Jill Brody's "Intersection" won 1st in Photography,

the Sayer Regan & Thayer LLP Award

"Create Life" game by Robert Kieronski, 1st Place Award

for 3-Dimensional artworks, played by

expectant mother Aynsley Schopfer













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