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Monet goes green at Providence art club

To create his famous painting of a Japanese foot-bridge, Claude Monet used oil on canvas. Thomas Deininger's interpretation uses Legos, plastic beads, toy soldiers, soda caps and other assorted recycled items.

Deininger's creation is part of an exhibit at the Providence Art Club that features the work of New England artists. The common theme: Each piece of art is made of recycled materials.

The idea of an exhibit made entirely of trash might give rise to conceptions of strange modern art creations made of bottles and cans, but the Art Club's collection featured many surprising and even beautiful works.

Mary Jane Andreozzi's work, called "Joshua Tree," was a spoon-shaped sculpture made entirely of red, orange, brown and green scraps of fabric, mounted on a wall.

In her artist's statement in the exhibition catalogue, Andreozzi wrote, "My work is inspired by the grace, strength and beauty of the natural world." She wrote of her piece, "you will see that each change in color is a change in fabric."

The Reverend Bill Comeau's entry, an acrylic painting entitled "Christmas on Water Street," was one of the few works that used recycled cans. Comeau painted on top of crushed Budweiser, Sprite and Pepsi cans to depict visitors to the infant Jesus Christ.

The exhibit included works in almost every medium. A collage by Lyn Hayden entitled "Dutch Painting Recycled" was made of book pages, stamps and dried tulips. Erik Gould's entry included an untitled street photograph he took using his other entry, "Trash Can Camera." Adrianne Evans used sunlight and thermal exposure to write the words "sugar maple" on a maple leaf.

According to Gallery Coordinator Kristin Grimm, each year the Art Club works with Fidelity Investments, the exhibit's sponsor, to come up with a theme for a group show.

"This year we both felt that we had gone through most types of media and wanted to do something different and current," Grimm said.

The result of their discussions was the theme "green works."

For each year's show, Fidelity gives awards to the artists of the top three pieces. This year, first prize went to Deininger for "Study for Stroking Monet," second prize to Walt Chaney for "Two Wooden Renderings of a Building" and third prize to Jerold Ehrlich for his steel sculpture entitled "The Give and Take."

In his artist's statement, Deininger wrote, "I am an ardent environmentalist not because I think nature cares about us. Fact is we are a product of it and art is, in essence, humans reflecting on their own condition."

He explained "Study for Stroking Monet" writing, "With this series of work based on already well-known images from art history, I raise questions about value and consumption, beauty and banal."

The consensus seemed to be that Deininger's work was extraordinary.

Grimm said of the painting, "It really embodies what this show is all about. To take these cast off objects and create this mesmerizing piece is a testament to the artist."

Providence resident John Birtic said he liked the top three pieces and agreed with the order in which they were awarded.

Barbara Green, an artist from Barrington, said she was intrigued by the experimental work in the exhibit, particularly by the startling resemblance of Deininger's work to the original Monet.


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