The BankRI Galleries present:
BankRI Turks Head Gallery: “The Italian Landscape: Watercolors by Patricia Almonte” April 6 through May 3, 2017 at the BankRI Turks Head branch in downtown Providence at One Turks Head Place. There will be a Gallery Night reception on April 20 from 5 to 8:30 pm with light refreshments and guitar music by Mark Armstrong. Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact www.bankri.com or call 401 574-1330.
MEET THE ARTIST – PATRICIA ALMONTE
If a house can communicate the personality of its owner, artist and graphic designer Patricia Almonte’s home in the Hoxsie neighborhood of Warwick does just that. Big comfy couches line the living room, an art studio is located right off the kitchen and the entrance way ceiling is painted sky blue and accented with puffy white clouds. This is a safe house, comforting and warm, a haven from the craziness of the world.
Almonte’s college age son and his friends wander in and out. Her daughter Chloe is never far, a severely disabled young adult who spends her time coloring images she downloads from the Internet. Almonte has managed a balancing act of heroic proportions working as a graphic designer, taking care of her children and painting.
“When my daughter was young, it was so difficult to get through the day,” Almonte says. “I couldn’t do anything. But I always kept up my painting, it was my release.”
When Almonte was a young girl, her mother, a kindergarten teacher, encouraged her to be creative and let her draw directly on the walls of their porch. Almonte continued on the creative path at Rhode Island College, where she majored in studio arts and minored in art history. After graduation, she went on to work as a graphic artist at Apex and Brooks Drugs, and later as a freelancer. Today, she works in social services.
“The last two or three years,” Almonte explains, “I really started to focus on marketing my art.” She attended seminars at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts that focused on marketing and copyright issues. She began to exhibit regularly. Successful shows followed at the News Café in Pawtucket, the South County Center for the Arts, the Warwick Public Library and Java Madness in Narragansett.
Last October, Almonte brushed up on her Italian and took a trip alone to Italy. She stayed at a convent in Rome and an Airbnb in Florence. The trip was inspirational, both for Almonte the artist and the person.
The watercolors exhibited here at the BankRI Galleries are soothing, peaceful meditations on both the Italian and Rhode Island landscape. There are no people in Almonte’s watercolors. She has created landscapes free of the drama that often accompanies human beings and their actions. “There’s a little bit of Alice Through the Looking Glass,” Almonte says. “I want people to step into the watercolors as if they were stepping into their own little world.”
The BankRI Galleries are curated by Paula Martiesian, a Providence-based artist and arts advocate.