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Abstracts and Artifacts

Joan Jardine, Men in Black, oil on cradled board, 24” x 36”.

Joan Jardine, Men in Black, oil on cradled board, 24” x 36”.


Coming Together in Tiverton

Suzanne Volmer

“ab•stracts & art•i•facts,” the current exhibition at Gallery 4 in Tiverton, Rhode Island, blends artworks by eight contemporary artists with ancient and classic artifacts. The gallery occupies the main floor of a yellow clapboard building at the town’s historic main intersection. Tiverton is an off-thebeaten-path kind of place situated between Boston and Newport on the map, and getting there by land involves driving along some idyllic scenic byways. It’s a seaside town that rambles, and its core is an intimate cluster of shops known for antiques and contemporary art. Weathered grey shingles are a staple of the region, so the gallery’s yellow façade presents a perk of subtle color in the landscape.

Gallery 4 has a surrounding lawn that it utilizes to exhibit sculpture. A horse and other outdoor sculptures made of welded steel or aluminum by Brad McDougall welcome patrons and act as a conversation starter while serving as a visual assistant to newcomers in finding the gallery. The sculptures on the grounds also hint at the continuation of the connoisseurship viewers encounter inside.

For many years, the pioneering influence in Tiverton for contemporary art was Virginia Lynch Gallery. Despite Lynch’s passing, the area’s interest in contemporary art has not waned. In fact, it seems that she left behind an indelible footprint of contemporary art acceptance that has stayed with the town and become a platform adding depth to its identity. Tiverton has artists, collectors and a climate conducive to quality finds. It also has the state’s economic incentive of no sales tax on art.

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