New gallery showcases intersects identities through art

“Constellations + Cartographies: Black” is the newest gallery on display at the Fine Arts Center. PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Bataille

The newest exhibit at the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center displays art that transforms the idea of intersecting identities onto the work we see. 

“Constellations + Cartographies: Black” is a two-person exhibition featuring work by Edwige Charlot and Kyle b. co and curated by k. funmilayo aileru. 

Charlot was born in Paris, France, and lives in Providence. In their practice, Charlot borrows from installation, collage and printmaking to create hybrid works and lexical visual language.

Kyle b. co. is in their final semester in the art program at Rutgers University. Kyle predominantly works in print, performance and sculpture-based art. They said that the work displayed in the gallery was created over a few years and selected when the show was being put together. 

Kyle said they used simplified marks, of lines, circles and dots as a way to “commit to a practice of prayer.” 

“A prayer speaks to the effort for some repetitive order, or periodic manner for something to change,” Kyle said.

They spoke about one particular piece that was created during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown. The work of art is called “Coltrane and Chip Stains,” which uses hot Cheeto stains, black walnut ink and graphite to make the print. 

The piece was created only when listening to the American saxophonist John Coltrane. Kyle said this practice allowed them to get into a meditative state to create.They said that through the process, they were able to come to some self-realizing moments because these pieces were created during 2020 and they represent a time that people can collectively feel as a time of reflection. 

“Every show gets its own unique pathway. One of the exciting things is thinking about all the different ways shows could happen,” said Rebecca Levitan, the University’s art gallery director. “This particular gallery was curated by k. funmilayo aileru, a queer, Black, Indigenous artist, curator and critic.”

According to Levitan, the University shows four galleries a year, two in the fall semester and two in the spring. Levitan noted that the galleries in the fall include work from outside artists, as a way for students to get to see art they might not otherwise have the chance to. They typically find artists that use concepts that relate to the student community.

“[We’re] interested in hearing ideas from the greater URI community, and hearing from students about how they want to see the space,” she said.

The shows in the spring are student-based, and they aim to have juried shows as the last one of the year, according to Levitan. She added that URI brings in an outside curator, who looks through student work to be displayed. However, there are smaller showcases throughout the Fine Arts Center, in which student work gets displayed. 

If you are interested in “Constellations + Cartographies: Black,” the main gallery located in the Fine Arts Center is open Monday to Thursday 12-4 p.m. This installation will be up until Dec. 3.