Art Seen: Studio Z — Going, Going, Gone …


Saturday, October 24 from 3 to 9pm is the final bash at Studio Z. Berge Ara Zobian has been making a difference in the Providence art scene for more than 30 years. As a commercial photographer of people, he is on the who’s who list among the few best-known mature shooters in the medium. As a gallery owner, operator and curator, there are few people who have earned his credentials as a well-respected and trusted international personage. Mr. Zobian is the real deal. His success is the result of hard work, dedication and trust — trust in the man, in his taste and in his word.  There are many who could learn from his ways of doing business and his desire to to do things a little better each time. Presently Berge (to most folks) represents 381 artists in the Rhode Island vicinity and has 163 exhibitions to his credit.

His first “Gallery Z” (15 years ago) was located in the Valley Street part of Providence while it was still a gamble to invest there. Then it migrated to the Historic Federal Hill area with GALLERY Z  (that most folks know) where he was soon followed by a string of others who rallied forward with their bids on gallery management. His brain-child, the “Moby” whale of a van (a gallery on wheels), was next, bringing art to the community. Then he took yet another risk to invest in and develop a first rate exhibition space, STUDIO Z (3 1/2 years and 22 shows ago) down below Federal Hill in the Butcher Block district of Eagle Street … where all good things may have come to an end.

In a perfect world, in a world ruled by good ethics, and in the old world(s), a person was only as good as their word, as their reputation or a good handshake were the “contracts” that sealed and bonded a deal.  But here in America … lawyers rule the land so things are illegal until proven otherwise. Ethics and business seldom share the same lunchrooms and profit means winner takes all while you squeeze through some loophole. I always liked that old adage, “In the business world; it’s dog eat dog … but in the academic world, it’s the other way around.” Well, apparently that also applies to the world of art; little fishes get eaten by them big fishes, burp.

It would appear that the folks who own the Butcher Block Complex (the landlords) had a change of heart(less) and after attracting a number of successful small business into that complex they suddenly evicted them with barely any finesse or prior notice so they can knock down much more than they had originally planned to knock down. Hey, Picasso once said, “Sometimes in order to create you must first destroy.” Unsure if he had the Butcher Block people on the old iPhone when he said it.

Berge had a simple plan when he made the move to the Butcher Block space: relocate his own photographic studio there, park Moby the mobile gallery there, migrate Gallery Z and consolidate all his activities into one location.

Berge had a pretty basic understanding with Butcher Block owner, Rachel Rafaelian, that he was welcome to move there and encouraged to make the needed renovations and applied exceptions that allowed the move and develop the space to his needs. Those renovations reportedly exceeded $100K. Plans are currently underway to level the entire Studio Z area to “put up a parking lot.”

Berge Ara Zobian said, “I was repeatedly verbally guaranteed … and in written form … that we had a secure space here. It’s a sad day in the life of Gallery and Studio Z, but I am sure that we will resurface even stronger.”

Studio Z and the other 10 small-business tenants were informed that they were being “outed” at the start of June and were told to vacate the premises by July 17, 2015. There was no mention of any such plans prior to June. They went public at the start of September, keeping the bad news until the end.

The remainder of the exhibition schedule (3 exhibitions) for 2015 had to be eradicated, rendering void all the preparations, mailing and publications that would have been a part of that effort. The details of how Studio Z has been forced out, along with a host of really cool start-up small businesses, doesn’t speak well for the this particular landlord, nor the economic climate that always leans on and against small business in Providence … and maybe Rhode Island as well.


Historic Providence and its area art scene has certainly not seen the last of Berge Ara Zobian and the crew over at Gallery Z on Atwells Avenue, where they are busy regrouping and transcending into the next stage of existence as one of the important art galleries and cultural entities locally, regionally and publicly. Berge is a true survivor and an optimist, and to help ease the pain with all this costly relocation he has sounded the alarm for support, financial and otherwise, from those folks who have a true vested interest in the quality of life in Little Rhody. More importantly, his friendly smile remains and gentlemanly demeanor is still in tact.

Here are two contacts that can be useful in assisting Studio Z:

Help Studio Z: gofundme.com/helpstudioz

Armenian Art Gallery Z: armenianartgalleryz.com

From Wayland Square to George M. Cohan Square, Maybe Worlds Apart

breI was recently invited to The Olive Tap in posh Wayland Square by our publisher, Mike Ryan, to snort the olive oil blends and do a bit of tasting of some absolutely delish-a-mondo foods (seconds please). The chef, Bre Goldsmith (foodplusfashion.com), explained, “Today, everything is fusion!” As far as I’m concerned, she is spot on with some stunning, simple and fantasmic foods prepared for this tasting. The theme of the evening was the collision of sweet and savory, exemplified in each dish, even the dessert, which featured chocolate chip cookies made with, among other things, soy sauce and sea salt. Also served to delighted taste buds: Spanish risotto with chorizo, sweet figs, almonds and picual oil and a salad with fennel and sugar-cured lamb loin. Each preparation, of course, also involved olive oil of one of the varieties carried in the store. Some basic and hearty dry red wines (not as dry as the owner’s humor – the extremely olive-oil-knowledgeable Greg Holtkamp) went well with the risotto prepared with a dashing Spanish flair and delicately herbed and mixed, served before her specialty deserts. A generous joy in conversation, Chef Bre’s food made the evening.
Also on hand was artist Jade Sisti, who currently has her delightful graphic imagery, with strong homage to Italian comic styles, on display in the store’s gallery area throughout the summer months. “It has a lot of similarity to Japanese anime, but the Italian style is subtler, with a little more attention to detail, and they tend to use color differently,” says Sisti. She was more fun than one can imagine … sparkling and perky, and also an art educator at East Providence High School, where I’m sure she is doing great things.
The Olive Tap carries a wide variety of olive oil for every occasion, from the gourmet to the sweet tooth to old school. They offer wine and specially prepared food at in-store tastings Friday evening from 6pm to 8:30pm ($10).
Meanwhile only a few blocks away in another dimension …
Time was that one of our favorite coffee hangs was Reflections Café on George M. Cohan Memorial Square at the top of Wickenden Street in Providence’s hippest annex (we still like calling it Fox Point). But they went away, taking with them their stainless steel bathroom. Well, that area is jumping once again, and if you do not know the history behind the name George M. Cohan, well, shame on you.GEORGE M COHAN SQ.. JPG copy
There’s a heavily traveled, and very popular, Art Freek tattoo shop on 458 Wickendon St, under the leadership of the multi-talented tattoo artist Don Lussier, who is loaded with great vision and conversation and works well in many different media. He has been at this location for more than eight years and in Providence for more than 20 years. His pristine reputation in the body arts is matched only by his gentlemanly demeanor and friendly smile. The shop is also manned by Mike Lussier, Steve Williamson, Brian Mullen and Pete Fortune. If you’re in the area, stop in and view their portfolios of great work.
Right next door there’s The Shop on 460 Wickenden St, which offers superb coffee and goodies. They’ve been there for just over a year and going strong with an excellent clientele base. They are about to launch the first ever iced coffee delivery service via bicycle. Now that’s a great idea, masterminded by the two daring and darling owners, a wife and husband team, Diana and John Paul Murton. I just can’t wait to get a glimpse of their bicycle delivery service; it’s high time that someone pedal the java.
coffeeRight next door to The Shop is a wonderful new boutique, Serrecchia Boutique at 464 Wickenden St, owned and operated by the very smart, very colorful, Miss Ali Serrecchia, who has brought this very stylish place onto Cohan Square along with her all aglow persona and positive energy. I ogled the finely stylish original line of women’s tops and bottoms, SharifWear, for “divas that dance” (Belly Dancing) and I indulged in some perfume sniffing, one of my favorite gifts to buy my favorite necks and wrists. She also has a wonderful assortment of cosmetics. Her shop is a sophisticated and upscale addition to the neighborhood and I’m certain welcomed into the location. Her radiant smile alone should draw you into this well-transformed atmosphere and you’ll feel like you are in Istanbul or Venice or Egypt… or somewhere else exotic that your heart simply longs for.ALI SERRECHIA copy
Serrecchia Boutique is in its infancy, but adds so much diversity and fashion to the strip. You really owe yourself an introductory visit, and I promise you’ll be greeted and treated like royalty.
There are many other such establishments that I rave about in this part of town. I’m proud of the small business folk who survive and I just love seeing them grab hold of their dreams and give it all they’ve got to bring something of quality and vision into being. Come join the fun … and tell them Angelo sent you.

Dinner for One — Poems, Reflections and Photography by David Paul 

In my experience, all too often someone will put their best efforts toward a book of poems only to fall short. Even with the best of intentions, they may pave their own road to hell, taking along everyone they anxiously try to force feed their verse to. Even beyond mimes, poetry may still be the hardest of art forms to excite an audience about. Try chasing your friends down the street waving your manuscript of poetry overhead calling out, “Hey! Want to read my book of poems?” and just watch your Rolodex evaporate.

Though spoken word, storytelling and readings have their niche, many attempts at a book of poems chill cold on shelves without glances or recital. Even the misuse of photographs to illustrate the esoteric thoughts and emotions may sink along with the dearest drowning verses within each page. So sad, yet so true.dfoF

But here’s some good news: Dinner for One, by David Paul.

If you love poetry, you will love this book. If you do not like poetry, you will love this book. Should you love photography, you should love this book. If you don’t get photography, you will get this book. Or I will hunt you down and place a vacuum cleaner attachment to one of your ear canals and slowly remove your sanity from your mind, as you may not be worthy of it.

Being breastfed on the early photo-files connection to Zen — the fleeting moment, the connection to verse in the form of image and vice-versa — my earliest love affairs with photography and photographers were related to their lust of the metaphor, their mauling of the traditional, their minimalist excitation — pure poetry, wrapped in the music of the mind, the soaring of the spirit, and the extended fingers of human vision latent in every photographic image leaping from each word of verse.

Excerpt from the title poem, “Dinner For One:”

… He sat down alone at a table in the dry desert

Placing a leather book beneath him

The wind opening the empty pages as he dipped his pen in fresh ink

Writing the title “Dinner for One”

It was his belief that his art was dinner, his love life dessert

Without dinner there would be no dessert

Crossing his legs like a yogi, hands pressed against his knees…

David Paul is a master songsmith gone mad with sensual, sexy, highly spiritual mountain climbing of the mind — his mind, your mind, the human mind, the mind of mankind — in the form of the poem.

One of the few real fears that I drag around with me concealed deep in the pit of my stomach is the notion that technology and all it’s hyper-speed/nano particle bewilderment will suck the metaphoric glue out of our language, bleed the heart of sensuality, and tear from the loins our true animal sexuality; ergo, no beast within equals no human without. But the mind-song, the psychological landscapes conjured in David Paul’s book, are a wonderful safe haven, an oasis. If only for a few moments balancing in this one dimension, from one possible multiverse existence, focused through this looking glass, we may be safe after all.

For me, the real joy of this folio collection of images and verse is that either can stand alone without leaning on the other. Well-endowed with skillful and arty-sensual renderings, imagery and imaging, the author has chiseled a series of images that are high quality, wonderful to behold, and as visually insightful as classical ballet. The very artistic photographs are exhibition-worthy and the poems — each and every one — are a feast for the soul. His poetry reads and moves with the inner feel of cosmic universal song, speaking to all, from all and for all. I encourage you to read this book and indulge in the banquet of life at its best … voila!


… The music was alive inside me…

Why pray for what I want?

Who said what I want is good for me?…

The Art of David Paul can be found at: www.behindtheart.me

Art Seen: Spoken Word’s Christopher Johnson

If you follow poetry and know anything about spoken word and the art’s local action and inertia, you should know Christopher Johnson’s name. To say that Chris Johnson is a colorful and interesting guy is less than an understatement. He is energized, mysteriously humorous and a walking billboard for where the spoken word performance art thing has taken us. Poet-warrior and provocateur, he is a wordsmith, a tinker-thinker and a friend of the first order. I think he is brilliant even when he is just sitting around talking.


We met a few years ago at the end of a short musical set I was performing at the Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House. As Tony, the owner, was about to pull the evening plug, Chris Johnson approached the mic and introduced one of his psychological landscapes of verse and human emotions: “The Rain.” With guitar case firmly in hand and a transfixed gaze, I joined everyone else in the shop in frozen time as the incredible Mr. Johnson took us into the sky so we could look down at a collage of his childhood experiences, all carefully cascading through lucid and pulsating mental images, cross-references and criticisms. It was all so very breathtaking and may have been one of the best things I have borne witness to.

Chris and I locked stares and sparked into a spontaneous human combustion of thought, spirit and soul-art — a connection of real friendship. We have been good to each other and share multiple layers of verbiage whenever the wormhole lets us tumble into the same plane of reality for a few fine moments, with java. Chris often performs at my exhibition openings or important social gatherings and I like referring him to school gigs and such to perform his spoken word art form of the first order. Because nothing can be closer to all people’s origins than spoken word.

Originally from many places, he more or less resides here as a home base among other home bases. A teacher, writer, speaker, artist-performer, thinker and soul-mate, Chris is one of the finer people on my friendship A-list and for all the right reasons. He gives much, asks for little, and is always great to see, hear or laugh with. I guess that’s the joy of real friends, crazy creative artists on the surge. I bet they will never find the DNA that makes that happen. Hey — that’s a rap.

Chris Johnson writes about spoken word for Motif. See some of that work here.

Dash Around Town: Hope Gallery’s Anita Trezvant, Imago and The Wilson Collection


Art Galleries in this economic climate are really small miracles that require real same, business sensibilities and luck up the yin-yang. Anita Trezvant has most of that working for her. Since she took over the Co-op and reignited the Hope Gallery in Bristol a few years ago, she has had the right navigational skills to put this gem of a small gallery on the map of art viewers with one good show after another.

Anita is charming and with good humor and is a talented artist herself; she makes small soft sculptures that are fascinating and hip. Her work is as colorful as her personality and the Hope Gallery is all her.

Anita is within range of the IMAGO CO-OP Center for the Arts in Warren and the WILSON COLLECTION in Portsmouth. Gary Wilson, longtime framer and gallery owner of East Bay Picture Frame, previously of Warren and now, with his latest venture into design, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and experts in yarn and the like, of Portsmouth. And all this is along RT 114 and West Main Road. Wilson has on display a fine collection of work in varied media and a hand-stained collection of his own. Very creative stuff and very specialized indeed.

THE IMAGO has been at this now for the long haul and has boasted an ambitious exhibition schedule for a dozen years or so and every show (whether you window shop or make the openings) is professionally produced, hung, advertised and attended. Like our Second Story Theatre in Warren, IMAGO is a City Gallery in a Village setting.

As a real believer of free enterprise and a champion for small businesses, I see this triad — and of course there are other galleries along the same route Newport — as what drives good business. When like shops are within range of one another (not fast food joints, or Giant-marts), the range of support or clients grows to make it an art district or an shoe district, or a car district. You get to experience a good overall spectrum of what you yearn for.  That brings me back to THE HOPE GALLERY.

THE CURRENT EXHIBITION at THE HOPE GALLERY is dedicated to more than two dozen land3scape, scenery and cityscape painters, all equally talented, prolific and genuine in the art of reflecting our surroundings to us in plastic metaphoric terms.  These are all small, masterfully done and very affordable paintings that will be hard for anyone in that persuasion to resist or walk away from. I liked what I saw and I think you might be just in time to see it for yourself. These are a nifty collection of dazzling little paintings.

Anita Trezvant is a joy to deal with, or buy from, and most folks register great reports on what they experience at her gallery. This is the perfect time to see this show. Stop in and say that Angelo sent you, and you’ll get a million dollar smile, I promise you.

Art Seen: Master Photographer Alan Metnick at Studio Z — ROADNOTES  “Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing Left to Treblinka”

art1Alan Metnick is a great photographer. There, I’ve said it. And if you doubt that statement even a little bit, I invite you to race out of your head space, kick off your zombie-brain and head down to Studio Z in the Eagle Square part of Historic Providence and go get yourself enlightened. See what real photography, taken by someone in the know, should look like.

There is nothing safe in the styles that Metnick passes through and this cross-genre approach is something I admire greatly when it’s done well. Metnick knows what; Metnick knows how; Metnick knows photography.  The zone system, the grasp of composition, the man and machine, the elusive shadow, the creative blur, anticipated moment, pre-cognitive intuitive and absolutely superlative instinct of how to take a really terrific image. But most of all, the master, archival silver gelatin print, that sings like a hummingbird, and stings like a bee. Alan Metnick is a great photographer because he is a master photographer in the true sense of the word. He knows his medium and works it well. His exhibition, ROADNOTES “Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing left to Treblinka,” hangs until Dec 13 with an artist talk on Saturday, Dec 6 from 2 – 4pm.

There’s a taste of formalism, modernism, candid-street photography, the sublime, the oblique, the ambiguous, the misunderstood, the magic and crazy moment and much more. This is a full palette of multiple viewpoints. And why not? It marks more than 40 years of an artist twisting and churning and convulsing into being.

“Ya never know what the road will deliver. Snarling dogs at synagogue doors, women with flowers, Pompeii penises, a graffiti face or two, jacked cars, a pimped-out Citroen, cannons here, cannon balls there, pyramid bomb shelters, and so it goes, and so do I,” says Metnick of on-location road work.

As the show is billed, this third solo exhibit by Studio Z/Gallery Z for Alan Metnick, prolific in various mediums, showcases new photographic works in black & white and sepia tones — sleek, crisp and poignant — drawing the viewer’s imagination in to interpret the messages behind the images.

art2This Providence-based artist was born in Chicago in 1941 and has been at it for four decades. He earned a BS in Wisconsin at Madison in ‘63 and an MFA in photography from the RISD in ‘73. He has taught photography and silk screening at numerous colleges throughout New England. His works have been shown in galleries, with numerous solo shows, including the Newport Art Museum, RISD, ICA/Boston, and in Poland. His works are in many collections throughout the US, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art/New York, Library of Congress, Los Angeles County Museum of Art/ Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts/ Houston, Art Institute of Boston, High Museum of Art/Atlanta, and the Armenian Library Museum of America/Watertown, Mass. He also works in other media such as serigraphy, stained glass, painting and drawing.

Metnick is impressively endowed in the arts and if you are a photophile, you must see this exhibition. And if you haven’t made the trek to the new Studio Z location, well then, shame on you. This show should certainly jingle your bells.

Gallery Z is a member of Gallery Night Providence. Visit their website at gallerynight.org/myportfolio/gallerystudio-z

Alan Metnick “ROADNOTES: Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing left to Treblinka,” Studio Z, 25 Eagle Street, Butcher Block Mill, Providence. Thru Dec 13; Artist Talk on Sat, Dec 6, 2 – 4pm

Art Seen: Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center — the Pride of Woonsocket

At the start of my professional life I had the opportunity to work at Trinity Square Theatre, building scenery designed by a world-renowned set designer: Eugene Lee. Lucky me! Theater offers so much in the way of great positive interaction with other creatives all working toward one common goal. It’s a vast soup poured into a funnel leading to opening night. Just great. Theater is second to none as an educational experience, and Rhode Islanders are very fortunate to have so many different performing arts facilities, studios and classes to choose from. On the top of my new list is the pride of Woonsocket, the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center, and there’s a bright future ahead with the passing of Question 5 on the recent ballot.

I decided to pay them a visit as there are great rumors circulating about the theater, its terrific team, and what looks to be more major renovations to add to their already beautifully restored theater and facilities. What a glorious place to visit. First an introduction by executive director, Cathy Levesque, and the seasoned president, Armand Desmarais; then a red carpet tour by the building manager, Jim Keegan, all before interviewing Lisa Surrette, the educational director who I was there to meet and interview. What a great team of friendly, warm and articulate folks. These impressive folks are proud and positive in their mission.

Lisa Surrette is a sparkling example of the people you hope to meet in theater and especially in education. Still with a twinkle in the eyes, she offered impressive numbers of the summer and year-round enrollment and the ongoing productions, performances and activities (too much too mention here), and we chatted about shared experiences in teaching and her role as the education director at the Stadium. Amidst many distractions (she’s a busy lady) she graciously toured me through a class in progress and showed me some of the tech-people working on stage, all spiced with joyful facts she shared. Soon we were joined by a member of their staff, 20-year-old Adam Landry, who, among other roles at the Stadium Theatre, is currently directing this fall’s Willy Wonka… production as part of the Stadium’s Young Actor’s Academy. The young director is already deeply immersed in the life of theater and while sharing a few smile-filled sentences, I felt one of those Zen moments in life; seeing the young me, while he was speaking to the older version of himself. It was wonderful.

A society can be appraised by its treatment of its own youth. As a lifelong creative and active participant in the arts, I cannot stress how important this gem of an organization is to the area and community at large. This is a remarkable place for great things to happen for young people. With its expert team of terrific professionals, selfless volunteers and the overall community support, we can expect only good things can come from the Stadium Theatre, which boasts a colorful lineup of professional productions and first-rate entertainment. If you haven’t already, you should visit them at 28 Monument Square in Woonsocket or online at stadiumtheatre.com.  And most of all, please support the local arts.

Art Seen: Photography by Andy Warhol at RISD Museum

_PICK UP AND TALK..._.Siver Based. from the Andy Warhol exhibition, which includes work in polaroid and silver geletin...at the RISD Museum in Providence.


I was never a giggling fan of Andy Warhol, but one would have to be totally ignorant of modern art and his influence therein to fail giving him the attention and respect he deserves as an artist and master of modern communications, visual and otherwise. With androgyny before androgyny, much of his bent on conceptualism and pop-art ideas always left me a little dulled. He seemed a bit too trendy at times, and superficial as well. With that said, I really must say I loved this collection of his work and for several reasons.

My wife is a lover of Polaroid and its antics and jumped into the recent revival of such. I also was influenced by that first part of the coming of the Polaroid phenomenon early in my career in photography. This work put me back comfortably. We went there interested in the show basically billed as an exhibition of his Polaroid work, and I wasn’t prepared to see his traditional work in B&W silver based photography, which was a real plus; there’s a whole lot of good stuff there.

The Polaroids give way to the realization of some of his best known large graphic works and you can easily see the way in which he saw, or thought, and the carry-over from one media to the next and so on. For me, they felt like I was looking at Michelangelo’s unfinished carvings in stone, where you could peek into how the artist dealt with his materials. That gave me a great retro-fit as an added bonus to the show as a whole. My wife was delighted and I was very intrigued by this aspect of the visuals. Here visiting from the 1980s, these tiny and delicate little morsels seemed so wonderfully expressive just hanging there on the walls in their simplicity; they are pristine. I admit that I was more impressed than I had expected to be.

In photography, Warhol had a true egalitarian approach to his subject. Be it a king, a star or a nobody, they all got the same treatment, and his works in silver attest to that even more so, showing strong connection to those giants in the photographic tradition, much akin to the famous Frenchman, Eugène Atget, who brought the same humanism and level of integrity and dignity to his subject and you can feel it in the work. As with cold candids, these works are a bit banal, as they have no intentions of “propping up” the subject but are more interested in exploring what exactly the subject has to offer, intrinsic in its nature. Notably, there is one tender image on Polaroid of a pair of ballet shoes; you can feel them at a glance as though they are your own. In B&W some of the fragility of the prints seemed diminished, but the intimate quality remained, and I was surprised to feel moved by each of the elusive moments captured in silver by Warhol with his obvious need to portray. Though the academic approach to understanding this work will be warped into hyper drive of idealism and form, abstraction and concept, still photography tends to be more subject driven than other visual forms, and sometimes an apple remains an apple and a person is who they appear to be; nothing more, or less, captured in time.

The show was well attended and well received, and the gallery at the RISD museum was filled with goggling eyes and energetic comments, especially where private body parts were in clear evidence, “Honey, look at the penis!” I heard one person say while pointing at a nude study. There was nothing shocking about the photographs and maybe that was the most shocking part of the whole exhibition of roughly 100 works, half of which were Polaroid, the other silver. I came away with more respect for Andy Warhol based on this show rather than all the large works I‘ve seen from time to time in larger well-known exhibitions and galleries in NYC.  Maybe in the end he was merely just a strange little man who really loved making art and this show made it self evident and made the work seem more personal than commercial … after the fact.

If you are an Andy Warhol enthusiast or photo-file, I’d make a special effort to view this work and it may make more of a lasting impression than anything else you may know or remember about the famous Warhol, free of all the cliché’s and worn-out speculations, and just hanging there on the wall, exposed and open for the world’s eye to see.

Dash Around Town: Gallery Z Gets A New Face



The Z’s Fill Your Artistic Needs and Desires

If you are around town, you already know that Berge Ara Zobian opened STUDIO Z down in the Eagle Street area of Providence, at a very, very cool location and with a very, very cool layout. And that’s the official rebirth of his exhibition activities. While the Gallery Z space on Atwells that you already know and love is open and ongoing with oodles of fantastic fresh work and collections, all the openings will be held at the new location.

Gallery assistant, the lovely and capable Melissa Thyden, will still be on hand at both places and a new face, Linda Kamajian, and her jewelry line “Dreamy Venice” is in the collection room. She joined the Gallery Z team as a gallery associate and offers wonderful things from my favorite city in the world, Venezia. 

My recent visit there playing catch-up was fruitful and eye-filling. On sale ( I love them), Melissa has a collection of ultra hip hand painted shoes along with an enormously colorful exhibition installed and ready for viewing. And Linda has everything delicate you could lust for from Venice. Run out the door right now and see this work.

The name Gabriel Capuano is well known to us local beatniks who were the second wave of creative in Providence. Gabrielle’s paintings are at the Eagle Street location, and he remains one of my favorite Providence people with a brush in hand … even long after his passing. I invite you to see and compare both “Z’ locations for all your art needs and desires. “See Venice and die?” What? You don’t need to. Just go see “Z” and live it up.

Gallery Z/Gallery Z’s Noah’s Art is located on Federal Hill, 259 Atwells Ave, Providence. 401-454-8844, galleryzprov.comGallery Z regular hours are Thursdays -Saturday from 12-8pm, frequent Sundays, or by chance, or by appointment. Studio/Gallery Z are both tax free zones.


Art Seen: Illumination, a CD by Kari Tieger


Immense talent portrayed in Madam Tieger’ s Illumination

Some 10 years ago I hit the radio airwaves on a Sunday night special at WARL 1320 AM, (LATE AM) filled with local talent, and during that three years-plus, also hit another station as Uncle J (for jazz), at WAKX 102.7 FM (both stations now kaput) every day during the busy afternoon run. That was a broad-based Jazz show spiced with many local area performers and creatives and it was all just to satisfy myself as to what Rhode Island really had to hear from itself. During that time, I opened the floodgates to many wannabes, unknowns, long-time musos and all flavors of things entertaining. If you sent me a CD, I played it or part of it on the air! It was a near musical “Gong Show” at times, but it was fun while it lasted and I made lots of friends doing it. There were many truly talented and accomplished people who shared themselves and their craft.


In that time, there was no one more talented and unpretentious and truly gracious as the amazing singer/songwriter Kari Tieger. She is lovely, talented (I’ve said it again) and has a vocal ability to echo across the universe. She was delightful as a guest on my show and we also had the pleasure of other musical undertakings that we both contributed to in the aftermath. It was a pleasure for me and I had a chance to develop a respect for Tieger’s admirable musical ability and depth. She is amazing (I’ve said it again).

Recently, we tripped over each other in a parking lot and during a short chat I absconded a copy of her newest musical endeavor, her new CD Illumination before giving her a quick introduction to my wife, Dani, and a customary Papa Angelo bear hug. Then off we went with the goods in hand to test fly it in my Fiat dashboard for the afternoon … a great flight indeed and soaring at high altitude.

At the risk of sounding infatuated, Madam Tieger’ s recent work is sparkling.  It echoes her classical training in music, her sensitivity to the media, and her comfort with her Langue Francaise qui est tres magnifique featured on two special works: “L’ Amour” and “Tout De Meme,” and both dedications ring true.

To say that Tieger’ s talent is immense is quite real and the breadth of reference in melodies spans hundreds of years, from ancient Ladino and Celtic origins, married to a near pop-jazz expressionism. It is theater at its best while easy on the operetta, if you will.  Her voice is in the same league as a Joni Mitchell or Judy Collins, but it breathes easily and is alive in the here and now. There is nothing stuffy in Kari Tieger’ s style or delivery. Ms. Tieger shines with a radiant glow in Illumination.

Of this recent entry Tieger says, “These songs span all the years that I’ve been writing, from my very first songs written at ages 15 to 20, to my most recent compositions. Illumination brings out of obscurity and into the light of day a few songs that I had begun to doubt would ever be released. There is also an underlying theme of searching and growth, and of reaching for clarity and light.”

From the stunning cover (Natalie Diaz) through all 15 entries, this album has a range of contributing local talent that renders pristine and sublime with monumental quality. Folks like Paul Gabriel, Lindsay Adler, Sarah Bartell (and a small army of others) along with Kari Tieger herself. In this age of new techno-do-it-yourselfism where musicians often hand out homemade CD copies as business cards, this is a serious production and will be the envy of any studio anywhere as a hip-eclectic and very evolved form of cross-genre chamber music for the many… a gem indeed: Bravo!!

All tracks are available on iTunes. For more info visit: www.karitieger.com or TIGER SOUND BOX 154513, Riverside, RI 02915.