Kerri King & Michael Gabrielle @ Providence City Hall

The Galleries at City Hall and Providence Art, Culture + Tourism


Square Knots and Tightropes: collaborations and multi-genre work by Keri King and Michael Gabrielle

May 15  – August 13, 2018



Michael Gabrielle’s macrame tapestries are optical illusions. Three-dimensional sculptures, they often feel like they exist in two-dimensions when they lay flat or mark a threshold. King’s illustrations on paper, each lovingly extracted from an esoteric primary source, similarly conflate perceptions of depth; they are flattened by analog and digital tools, but are enlivened when brought into conversation with an audience. Gabrielle and King say that PVDFest public art commissions enabled them to face new conceptual and formal challenges with their work. Indeed, the festival’s multi-genre format invites a special kind of engagement from audiences, but so too do the walls of the Gallery at City Hall. With its staid mayoral portraits and elaborate gold filigrees, City Hall’s second floor gallery becomes a stage for a series of magical encounters between Gabrielle and King, perhaps even a portal to another world. Square Knots and Tightropes is an occasion for both of them to look back at their experiences prior to, and during, PVDFest while pushing each other to reach for astounding new heights.

Michael Gabrielle bio:

Michael Gabrielle is an artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. After studying visual arts and psychology at Brown University, he now works as the Program Director for PeaceLove, an expressive arts organization focused on mental health and wellness. Gabrielle helps people to use creative means to express themselves authentically and heal emotionally. In his personal art practice, he uses tools and techniques derived from macrame and fiber arts, drawing and illustration, woodworking, and painting.

Michael Gabrielle Artist Statement:

Macrame is the art of knotting rope in detailed patterns to create elaborate designs. For me, making these designs is a meditative process, an exercise in patience and passion that can be seen in the hundreds of knots required to create a piece. In both the process and the product, this art is intricate and complex while also place of calmness and simplicity. My practice lives somewhere in between, using technical macrame skills to create gentle textures and delicate detailing. The resulting work is striking from afar yet draws viewers in; these pieces invite on- lookers to stand back to see them in their entirety but also to come close to appreciate their details. The hope is to make the viewing more than a passive experience; to create an opportunity for audiences to have active relationships with each piece. The longer you look, the more you are rewarded.

Keri King Bio:

Keri King is a cross-disciplinary artist based in Providence, Rhode Island. An adventurous and adaptable visual storyteller, King’s work spans the worlds of public art, illustration, and design for theater. In the studio, King generates her imagery through an integrated process of collage, research, and drawing. In the community, King’s recent projects have included work with Providence Public Library, the Pawtucket Arts Festival the Wilbury Theatre Group. King teaches integrated arts to students K-8 at the Wolf School, where her lessons help students to build cognitive and sensory bridges between classroom curricula and the arts.

Keri King Artist Statement:

When an illustration is presented in a book or a picture frame, it is a world encapsulated, as though trapped by a wonderful kind of magic. Through collage and drawing exploration, I incorporate the aesthetics of media from the past in my visual storytelling to create a sense of space, time, and humor that is simultaneously familiar and other. With public art, I give my characters license to step off the page out of their own imagined, fantastical world into ours. Suddenly, they are life-sized performers, thrust into conversation with people and a concrete environment. They are still paper, but they are animated through their experiences in our world. They endure the weather, pose for selfies, form relationships with passersby, are worn and torn, and then, one day, they are gone. Increasingly, my public art practice mirrors that of my classroom teaching, where I like to give space to each spectator to play and come to their own conclusions. I hope that interactions with my work will inspire fresh curiosity in audiences about their surroundings, turning walls into open doors, dead ends into invitations.

For more information about the show and the artists, check out