Last night I drove down the left side of the Bay to attend a reception at One Way Gallery’s Narragansett location. It was certainly time to see what owners, Cook and Harder were up to at their home base. The gallery space is next to a surf shop and a burger joint, setting an immediate tone of beachy coolness. They had opened up the front garage door, allowing people to walk right into the gallery versus using the door into their gift shop where they sell a variety of items that make for unique gifts. Though they were having a sale, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my focus was not in the shop.
It is important to note that initially there was no true gallery space at One Way. It evolved over the course of many years as studio spaces morphed into gallery walls, truly letting the demand for a respectable professional space for artists to show their work lead the way. For this opening, they showed a nice mix of new work and work from their inventory. Before even looking individually at the show, I could immediately see how they had perfectly edited the show. It was not overflowing and yet there was something interesting to look at on every wall.
Something that I noticed walking in was the work of Buck Hastings and Rebecca Adams. I had seen Adams’ work at Machines with Magnets earlier this summer, but this was a series of hands holding scissors instead of ladies on the phone. Hastings’ work of course is familiar. I had hoped that they would have hung his most recent painting, but I have a feeling that is being saved for the Providence reception in September. They did show a new series of drawings and new collage work that Buck had at his studio visit in one of his sketchbooks. I was excited to see that two of the collage pieces had red dots on them.
Another important aspect of attending these openings are the people you meet. I finally met Sheri Weschler Rubeck. She is the genius behind the bunny/human portraits. She had two of these paintings in this show. I was especially drawn to the portait with the woman’s body who had perfect legs and perfectly painted red toes and fingers. This level of detail was something I really liked. When she and I spoke about her current work, she said that it evolved out of a rabbit hand puppet and the work ultimately has been leading her in a direction where she isn’t aware of the end point. Her saying that reminded me of Buck’s studio visit and the journey of the artist. I think one aspect of the bunnies that brings the viewer in is the comparision to the White Rabbit. I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, especially the musical version they made in 1985 where Telly Savalas was the Cheshire Cat and Red Buttons was the White Rabbit. I think one of the reasons why her work really works is because it’s dark without being truly dark and after looking at her work, you almost stop seeing the bunny. She has a very unique aesthetic which is fresh and exciting and has not gone unnoticed as she was recently named one of the top emerging artists by Visual Overture magazine and will be featured in their upcoming issue, a well deserved honor. I thought it was funny how we both had ballet backgrounds and blue toenails, clearly it was kismet that we met last night.
Overall, One Way Gallery had another successful opening. It may not have been as well attended as they have been in the past, but Cook and Harder presented a space showing great representation of the range of their artists with a small dash of themselves.