Bristol Art Museum display speaks to the challenges of the past two years

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 3/25/22

Putting the Pieces Back Together, a national, juried exhibition of works by artists from across the country, is only hanging for one more week at the Bristol Art Museum (BAM), closing Friday, April 1. Try to get out to see it — you will be glad you did.

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Bristol Art Museum display speaks to the challenges of the past two years

Posted

Putting the Pieces Back Together, a national, juried exhibition of works by artists from across the country, is only hanging for one more week at the Bristol Art Museum (BAM), closing Friday, April 1. Try to get out to see it — you will be glad you did.

Featuring a collection of collages that express the idea of putting life back together, this collection of interpretations of the impact of the pandemic is moving and visually arresting. As museum exhibitions go, it’s a big impact in a small package, so leave yourself some time to spend with each piece.

“Artists were invited to cut, rip, layer, and paste, re-contextualize, digitally stitch, and create and build art from fragments that suggest new narratives and explore human relationships that reveal coded memories, dreams, or desires,” said Mary Dondero, BAM’s Exhibition Curator. “The result is a collection of unique pieces that document the pandemic from several perspectives representative of many geographic locations throughout the country.”

The artworks on display hail from 22 states and the District of Columbia, their disparate pandemic experiences expressed through their work.

“Everyone comes from different aspects and viewpoints,” said artist B. L. Green, whose “Paper Weaving #5”, a weaving of paper threads with color strips from the end of one of her older works, is featured in the show. Primarily a painter, Green has been exploring all aspects of paper, and is especially interested in ancient Japanese paper traditions. “Something is destroyed here, and reassembled into a new thing,” she said. “It’s very tricky,” she said of the process of weaving paper on a loom. “But you’d be amazed how strong it is.”

Artist Claire Bowen of Little Compton pulled back from teaching during the pandemic.

“During Covid, along with making my own work, I tried to segue to teaching through Zoom and I couldn’t do it,” she said. As someone who has long enjoyed working with found objects, she found herself spending a lot of her time walking the beach.

“I would pick up trash, exercise, and work at once,” she said. “And of course I was questioning myself the whole time. Didn’t we all?”

Her work, “Snagged Up” is a collage of upcycled ocean trash. “I like the representation of snagging ideas and pulling them together.”
“I think it’s an awesome show,” said Bowen, looking around the space at her colleagues’ work. “I’m really inspired by it.”

Other local artists contributing to this exhibition include John Udvardy and Scott Glaser, both of Bristol.

University of Rhode Island Professor of Art Bob Dilworth served as juror for the exhibit. He evaluated some 430 entries for this exhibition.

“This national call…gives expression in a time of challenge and defiance to what we have come to term ‘the new normal,’” he said. “It is encouraging to see how creativity reflects real life as artists compose, build and construct with whatever materials are at hand - fabric, paper, metal, rope, wire, or nails; as they reorganize, readjust, acclimate, reorient and reacquaint themselves to this unique moment. In this regard, each work in the show is a triumph.”

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