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In the Gallery with

Cade Tompkins Projects

by Lois Harda

At a recent opening at Cade Tompkins Projects, Daniel Stupar’s brightly colored, found object sculptures were surrounded by clusters of admiring viewers. The gallery, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is a haven for contemporary art. The dichotomy represented by Stupar’s work—between things originally created for a use that they no longer serve, and their transformation into something new and desirable—might be said to be embodied in Cade Tompkins herself, a gallerist with a keen eye for contemporary art and an admiration for historical houses and furniture. On this day, Cade moved graciously between her guests, always making introductions and sharing insight on work that was outside the bounds of the accompanying wall text.



Cade launched her gallery in 2009 to provide a space for contemporary artwork. She had moved to Rhode Island in 1998 after working in New York as a contemporary art dealer for a major New York gallery and later as a private dealer helping clients find just the right works of art in the contemporary field. Over time, Cade has developed an extensive list of artists whom she represents and carries in the flat files. Tompkins is always searching for work that is technically precise and beautiful as well as for pieces that focus on the social issues of our time. “The art of our own time is the most fascinating to me. We can actually know the artist and ask them directly about their thoughts and processes; in addition, they are reflecting what we are thinking, seeing, feeling, or they may bring new insights to our attention in a visual way.”


Her curation includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and installations, all unified by their high quality. In the fall of 2015, Cade Tompkins Projects will exhibit the work of a young artist, Aaron Pexa, whose medium is both glass and video; followed by Kelly Goff, a sculptor whose new sculptures will be based on the re-use of real trees. Her gallery features work from artists living across the globe, ranging from Philadelphia, New York and Wisconsin, to England, Pakistan and Dubai. Her client list is just as diverse, including private collections around the world and numerous corporate collections, whose curators return to Cade’s gallery often to follow the artists whom she represents.


Cade also draws from the strength of her locale, representing a handful of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) alumni and professors and Rhode Island natives. Nancy Friese, a Mellon Faculty Fellow as well as a National Academician, has a large traveling exhibition, Encircling Tress and Radiant Skies, starting its journey at the Newport Art Museum, January 17 to May 3, 2015. The collection of large, plein-air watercolor paintings and prints will also travel to the Alexandre Hogue Gallery at the University of Tulsa and the North Dakota Museum of Art through 2016. Friese makes multiple site visits for each work, painting en plein air and adding layers of watercolor to create deep portraits of the natural landscape.


Another RISD professor whose work is represented at the gallery is Daniel Heyman. Heyman is well known internationally for his Iraqi Portraits, 2006 to 2008, a series of drypoint prints completed while witnessing testimony from Iraqi prisoners who were formerly held in Abu Ghraib. The prints feature frank portraits and accompanying text—personal testimony of the victims. He was awarded the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2009 and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts in 2010. Recently Daniel Heyman took part in the prestigious artist residency at Dartmouth College and the College’s Hood Museum of Art acquired one of his most important and monumental work for its collection.


The estate of Thomas Sgouros is represented by Cade Tompkins Project. Cade worked closely with Sgouros over the later stretch of the artist’s 60-year career that was split between early illustrative work and later landscapes. These latter works, notable for their expressive mark-making and explosive color, were all painted while his sight was compromised by macular degeneration. Cade organized a retrospective of the great artist’s work in 2013. Thomas Sgouros’ work is featured in many private and public collections and he is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Pell Award for the Arts.


Cade also has a devoted interest in artists just on the precipice of their prestige, otherwise known as “emerging” artists. In early summer, a solo exhibition of work by printmaker Allison Bianco will be on view (May 8 to June 19, 2015). Featured in a solo exhibition at The Print Center in Philadelphia in 2014, Bianco’s work employs imagery drawn from the Rhode Island coast. She uses a bright, synthetic color and intricate line work which, combined with a compression of time and era, makes for outstanding imagery. These qualities have placed her work in many private collections as well as earning her the prestigious Philadelphia Museum of Art Purchase Award for Zeppelin, 2013.


An exhibition at Cade Tompkins Projects is never limited to the gallery walls. A peek into Cade’s office features a collection of works by artists represented by her gallery, meant to show just how one might display them at home, and guests are welcomed in when on a visit to the gallery. This constantly rotating collection is a mirror for the work that Cade does in conjunction with collectors and museums to help her clients find just the right works of art, while at the same time bringing the work to the individual collector, museums and public institutions. “I am always thrilled,” she says, “to bring something new to the attention of a museum curator, eager new collector or seasoned art connoisseur.”

Installation of Daniel Stupar's exhibition at Cade Tompkins Projects



Daniel Heyman, Gibbon with Camel's Hump (Dartmouth), 2013, oil, gouache, graphite on mylar,

36" x 54"



Thomas Sgouros, Remembered Landscape 9 VIII 07, 2007, oil on canvas, 60" x 64"



Cade Tompkins' office installation



Cade Tompkins



The Project space is open Saturdays from 10am to 6pm and weekdays by appointment only. Appointments are easy to arrange through contacting the gallery and visitors are sure to be met by a contemporary art expert, a fine art appraiser and thoughtful curator who will introduce herself as Cade.


Cade Tompkins Projects

198 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02906 | Telephone (401) 751-4888

Allison Bianco, Zeppelin, 2013, intaglio with chine collé and screen print: 18" x 24", Edition of 7



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