Bank RI Gallery

about the gallery

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.

The BankRI Galleries are curated by Paula Martiesian, a Providence-based artist and arts advocate. See her work at

One Turks Head Place
Providence, Rhode Island, 02903
Mon–Weds: 8:30am–4pm
Thurs–Fri: 8:30am–5pm

Wheelchair Accessible

july press release


The BankRI Galleries present:

“Paintings by Abba Cudney”

July 5 thought July 31, 2019.

There will be a Gallery Night reception on July 18 with live music by guitarist Mark Armstrong and light refreshments. For more information, call 401-574- 1330 or check

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Inspiration can be a lightening bolt, striking where and when you least expect it. For Providence painter Abba Cudney inspiration was a coffee table in a small college town in New Hampshire.

It was Cudney’s first apartment. The then nineteen-year-old was in school at the New Hampshire Institute of Art studying to be a painter. One evening, she and her roommate had friends over and when Cudney woke the next morning she found the aforementioned coffee table strewn with used glasses and plates from the night before.

Cudney laughed at the sight. “My mom liked everything in place. My roommate was messy. I was fascinated about the other ways other people grew up.” So began Cudney’s attraction to seemingly unattractive settings. Every room and table had something to say about the people who had been there. But Cudney didn’t paint the people, she painted the trail they left behind.

Cudney grew up in a suburb of Chicago filled with trees, creeks and fields. She ran and played with friends from the neighborhood, and in her basement, set up an art room next to the laundry. Her parents and high school teachers supported her interest in art and she worked hard to make her drawings and paintings look like real life. “I was very good at rendering things the way they looked,” says Cudney.

In school in New Hampshire, Cudney grew dissatisfied with this approach to painting. She wanted to find her own voice and that coffee table, covered with the detritus of a night with friends, gave her the inspiration she needed, “I want to paint a portrait of a person through their objects,” Cundey says. “I never add figures. I want the objects in the room to look like what someone left behind.” The table told a story and Cudney wanted to paint that story. The resulting paintings have the disorienting feeling of someone having just left the room.

In her paintings there are pots on a stove, vegetables strewn on a kitchen counter, a roll of paper towels next to a cutting board and clothes over every surface in a bedroom. Bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms are all in a state of lived in disarray.

Cudney starts her paintings sketching things in broadly with acrylic paint, then she begins drawing with charcoal. In the final layers, she uses oil paint to bring certain areas into focus. She often lets the layers shine through allowing the loosely drawn objects to have as much importance as a fully realized painted object.

Today, you might find Cudney at the Providence Art Club where she works as a gallery assistant and sometime teacher. She enjoys the job where “everyday is different” and she can hear the stories of so many individuals who are all connected by their love of art.