A HIDDEN GEM: Newport’s Overlap Gallery, bursting with new talent

A small building tucked into a rainy day. The ocean hums quietly in the distance, a small, warm light glows steadily from the windows. On the corner of Hall and Van Zandt Ave in Newport, Overlap Gallery is a small, modernist gallery full of surprises. The artists featured in this month’s exhibit “Counterpoint” are Rhode Island based Taleen Batalian and Francoise McAree. The artist’s pieces are as much of a contrast to each other as they are to the white walls that foster them. Pieces of stitched black fabric hang like carcasses from the walls. Plastered, bleeding appendices poke up from the floor, from portals of corners and walls. The rain patters against the tin roof, it’s so fitting that it almost sounds like it is a recording. Viewers are taken away from reality, away from the act of observing, and placed within the landscape of the art itself. It is as if the viewer has stepped outside of their skin, and stepped into a jarring arena that questions the physical binds of humanity.

In the “Counterpoint” artist statement, Batalian is said to draw “inspiration from her imagination, rich cultural heritage, and the legacies of trauma within her family, survivors of the Armenian genocide. Through drawing, painting, and printmaking, Batalian explores specific places related to the body, memory, and geographic locations.” The emotion behind her artwork is there to remind the body of the pain it carries in and on the skin — how the places we visit, the people in our lives, and the events that have happened to us, are imprinted on the trodden canvases of our bodies.

McAree’s artwork includes textured feet and hands coming from concrete, looking as though a monster had just vomited up some scattered remains of humanity. The artist statement describes her artwork as “[delving] into the boundaries between representation and abstraction, the flat and the dimensional, the real and the faux, challenging visual assumptions. Employing a variety of mediums and processes, including collage, textiles, and sculpture, she explores the multifaceted nature of skin: as an organ, membrane, container, and metaphor. McAree investigates both the physical and topographical aspects of skin, along with the psychological and cultural dimensions, to reveal subtle and seismic shifts inherent in mining this subject.” 

Step inside the creators laboratory, clear the steam from your eyes; you won’t be disappointed. 

Overlap Gallery is open Wed. through Friday. 11am – 6pm. Sat. 12am – 4pm. For more information visit