Rebecca Jenness @ BankRI Gallery

BankRI Turks Head Gallery


Reframed Spaces: Paintings by Rebecca Jenness

September 6 through October 3, 2018

Opening reception on Gallery Night, Thursday, September 20 from 5 to 8:30pm, with live music by Mark Armstrong and light refreshments.



After several turbulent years filled with family illness, a move from her longtime home and a step back from full-time teaching, East Providence artist Rebecca Jenness needed some serious alone time. She contacted Susan Clausen at AS220 and asked her to be on the lookout for a small affordable studio rental. When one turned up in early 2018, Jenness jumped at the chance to sublet a studio on Mathewson Street in downtown Providence.

Every morning around 6 she arrives at the studio and immediately starts to work. For years Jenness focused on smaller urban scenes, but now she set her sights on painting much larger. She wanted to make sense of the emotive roller coaster of her past few years and felt that immersing herself in her painting might do just that.

Originally from Los Angeles, Jenness moved to the east coast with her mother when she was ten. Educated in the arts at the Museum School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, Jenness went on to earn a degree in arts education at the Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU). In 1979 she moved to Providence. She’s been in Rhode Island ever since, teaching at Gordon School from 1999 until her retirement in 2017.

Throughout her painting career, Jenness has always used strong colors and textures to convey her ideas about the human condition. She is first and foremost a storyteller using humor, urban scenes and abstract shapes to develop a visual narrative. The new paintings, all completed in 2018, delve deeper into the psyche. No longer content to work on the surface of the painting, Jenness has crafted a connection to the viewer by creating unsettling images that convey both fragility and beauty.

In the painting “Nightscape, Jake,” Jenness paints a single room in a house open to the viewer. The insides of the room mirror the night outside. The room is empty, but in the foreground is a blue dog. Doors and windows punctuate the painting. The loneliness is exquisite and palatable.

In “Nightscape, Lot,” Jenness looks at the city from two vantage points. Buildings fill a red sky in a frontal perspective. At the same time, as if from the air, is a view of an empty lot. The contrast between the bustling city and the ruin of the lot accentuates the isolation and the inevitable passage of time.

“A quote pinned on the wall of my drawing teacher’s studio from art school,” Jenness says, “ has always stayed with me. ‘Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.’”  (Buddha)

The gallery is located in Downtown Providence at One Turks Head Place. Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 8:30am to 4pm, and Thursday and Friday 8:30am to 5pm. For more information, call 401-574- 1330 or check

The BankRI Galleries featured the artworks of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts contemporary artists and are curated by Paula Martiesian, a Providence-based artist and arts advocate. For additional information and images, call Paula at 401-521-7634 or email her at

Image: “Nightscape Lot” from the series Reframed Spaces by Rebecca Jenness. The painting measures 48”x48” and is acrylic on wood panel, 2018.