Passages to open at URI Fine Arts Center

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KINGSTON, R.I.–September 2, 2009—A unique installation of handmade paper and printmaking combinations inspired by megalithic structures erected in ancient Ireland will be on exhibit in the Main Gallery of the University of Rhode Island’s Fine Arts Center from Sept. 14 to Oct. 7. The Center is located at 105 Upper College Road, URI’s Kingston Campus. Entitled Passages, the exhibition, free and open to the public, is one of a series of exhibitions based on specific sites where an ancient culture left its’ mark on the landscape.

The artist, Barbara Pagh, chairs URI’s Art and Art History Department. In 2008, she traveled to Ireland as part of a sabbatical leave where she visited sites including Newgrange, Knowth, Loughcrew and Carrowmore. These sites, built approximately 5,000 years ago, hold astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance. Many of the stones, both outside and inside the passage tombs, are carved with concentric circles, spirals and other geometric patterns. These symbols, found in many cultures and with their multiple interpretations, have been incorporated in Pagh’s printmaking for the past 15 years.

When you enter the URI gallery you first see a series of cylinders, wrapped in wire and forming a graduated structure. Pagh’s interpretive installation invites the viewer to enter a symbolic passage, created with suspended sheets of printed and sewn handmade paper. At the end of the corridor is a chamber filled with handmade paper bowls and objects. In a reference to the use and re-use of many of these sites, the artist has incorporated elements from previous exhibitions based on Scotland’s stone circles and Native American petraglyphs and pottery. As you exit the chamber you can see an arrangement on the floor of handmade paper canoes, representing our life journey. The artist writes, “In Passages, I am not trying to recreate one of these sites, but use it as a stepping off point to represent the passage of time and create both a mysterious and meditative space.”

Pagh has exhibited in numerous galleries throughout the country, and in 1997, had a one-person show at the Adams Gallery in Taegu, South Korea. Her work can be found in corporate and private collections including Ashland Oil, IBM and Owens Corning Fiberglas. She is a member of Hera Gallery in Wakefield, RI, where she serves on the board of directors, and a member of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England.

She has been a URI faculty member since 1983 teaching courses in printmaking and two-dimensional studio.

An opening reception will be held Tuesday Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 12-4 p.m. For more information contact