‘Divine Providence’ At WFAC

Umberto Crenca’s ‘Divine Providence’ opens Thursday at the WaterFire Arts Center. This exhibition marks the first time since the series began in early 2020 that a substantial portion of the entire series will be displayed together in a single space. These paintings, as they dropped one-by-one into social media feeds, brought great joy to the local housebound population during the lockdown, even as they put our sourdough projects in the deep shade.

Check out Crenca’s website for a look at his astounding output. The image seen here, with its recognizable local icons, is selected from the event poster, but most people seemed to respond to his more anonymous streetscapes, featuring graffiti covered alleys, tire shops, garbage cans, porches, and parked cars. The Gallery notes:

Crenca’s paintings offer a genuine, loving yet unsentimental perspective of urban Providence. His art portrays the lesser-explored aspects of the city, from its corners and crevices to the in-between spaces. Each piece celebrates the beauty found in everyday life and captures the essence of the city’s neighborhoods from the perspective of a longtime resident. Although each individual DIVINE PROVIDENCE painting can captivate with its unique details and character, the series, consisting of over 250 pieces, is best seen as a cohesive installation.

Co-founder and longtime artistic director of AS220, Umberto (Bert) Crenca is a visual and performance artist whose paintings are included in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum and the Newport Art Museum, as well as in private collections in the U.S. and abroad.

Opening night includes a short documentary by Ashly Lemus and Chloe Rourke.

(Save the date: The exhibition’s programming will conclude on Wednesday, November 8, with a moderated conversation with Umberto Crenca at 6pm in the WFAC Gallery.)

Exhibition runs through November 12th.

Opening reception, 5pm to 8pm, Thursday, October 12, WFAC, 475 Valley Street, (directions)


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