Contemporary Rhode Island Art
At the BankRI Turks Head branch in downtown Providence at One Turks Head Place.
Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 am to 4 pm, and Thursday and Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm.
For more information, contact www.bankri.com or call 401 574-1330.
It’s not unusual for artists to perform a balancing act. Making a living as an artist is difficult. Living a creative life while raising a family makes it even more so. For many years, painter Sherie Harkins has done just that. She has balanced the roles of wife, mom, teacher and painter successfully, but she has always wanted just a little more. Harkins aspired to be in the studio full time and have a career as a painter.
Harkins is giving it a serious go. Twenty-four years after buying their house in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, Harkins and her husband sold their home and moved to Providence to better pursue Harkins’ dream of a painting career. Their children are grown and out of the nest, giving them the financial breathing room they need to bravely jump into their new life.
So far, Harkins has had success. She has shown her work in Boston at several galleries including L’Attitude Gallery, SOWA Artists Guild and the Masterpiece Fine Art Gallery at the Boston Design Center. Last year she had a painting accepted in a collaborative mural project for Art Basel, but an accidental fall waylaid her progress. In March, she attended an open house and fell down a short flight of stairs badly injuring her foot, requiring surgery. Not able to put any weight or pressure on the heel of her foot, she moved around by kneeling on a scooter with the injured leg and propelling with the good one.
Maneuvering around her mid-sized studio with her knee scooter required an almost acrobatic dexterity. Harkins was up for the challenge as she negotiated the corners and turns between her canvasses, easel and paints. Now almost fully recovered, she can finally fully immerse herself in the studio.
Harkins’ paintings feature larger-than-life renditions of fruit, vegetables and ice cubes painted with an unusual degree of detail. She enjoys the macro approach to painting. The scale “takes them out of their ordinary setting,” Harkins says. “It gives them more impact and more surface. It allows me to focus on the intricacies of what’s happening.”
Each drop of water or color variation is magnified. Every shadow and subtle surface change takes on a new meaning when viewed in the outsized context. Harkins obsesses on the details of a single cherry stem and in the seemingly infinite variations of blue and violet in a blueberry.
When she was a child, her father worked for a time at the Magic Marker Corporation. Harkins was the enviable child with a full set of markers of all different colors. Now she finally has the time to explore where those colors can take her. “I’m embarking on a new life,” Harkins says. “I have an opportunity to do something I couldn’t do when I was younger.”
One Turks Head Place
Providence, Rhode Island
The BankRI Gallery is a public exhibition space showcasing the distinctive works of contemporary artists living and working in Rhode Island.
Since 1998, BankRI has proudly celebrated the talent and vision of Rhode Island visual artists with three branch galleries. To this day, the bank continues to support and laud the efforts of Rhode Island’s creative community. The galleries are popular exhibition spaces, with exhibits rotating on a monthly basis.