August 2nd – September 1st

Paintings by Providence artist Abba Cudney.

Abba Cudney documents specific nostalgic moments in time within interior spaces. Not only the moments themselves, but also the essence. She decides what details are important, and what can be left abstract for the viewer to interpret. Certain objects are represented and have solidity, others are made with quick gestures and loose strokes to give a feeling of intangibility and impermanence. Remnants of underpainting and drawing are visible alongside the representational, as if past and present are meeting.

Abba says, “I want people to experience their own narratives when viewing my paintings. What the objects and spaces mean to me personally can convey an entirely different story or memory for someone else.”

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 2nd, 5-8pm, during Amherst Arts Night Plus.

About Abba Cudney:
Abba was born and raised outside of Chicago. She moved to New Hampshire in 2011 and earned her BFA in Painting and Printmaking at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She currently resides in Providence, RI, and works and teaches printmaking at the Providence Art Club. She has exhibited in Chicago and Italy, and throughout New England.

Q&A with Abba:

How old were you when you created your first artwork?
I don’t really know an exact age, I just know that I have always been creating. I remember one Christmas when I was probably 3 getting an “art table” and to this day has been my favorite gift.

How has your style changed over the years?
For a long time, I was focused on rendering things in a very realistic manner. I found it to be a great learning process and at the time, satisfying. But throughout college I gradually started to find my own voice and create in a way that felt more natural and freeing to me. Now my work has become a sort of hybrid between real and abstract with the intent of creating a dream-like experience.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Art is something that has just always been a part of me. I suppose when I “officially” decided I wanted to pursue art as a career was the end of high school when applying to colleges. I had an interest in many different subjects but I couldn’t escape the idea of going to an art school and dedicating my time to evolving creatively.

Why did you choose your medium?
I have always loved working with paint-the fluidity, vibrancy, and textures that can be created with it. I use both acrylics and oils. The acrylic helps me achieve a drip-like base layer and go in without any restrictions. The oils allow me to bring the space to life with more vibrancy and texture. After my base layer of acrylics and before I go in with oils, I draw the scene and objects with charcoal. Almost 100% of the time I will leave much of the lines. I feel as though the charcoal helps enhance the feeling of impermanence, like one is looking at a fading memory.

What inspires you?
There are two quotes I always go back to. One by Antonio Lopez Garcia: “I want to paint everything that is my life, all of my experiences”. The other by David Hockney: “I paint what I like, when I like, and where I like, with occasional nostalgic journeys”.

When I began on this interior journey, all of the spaces were either of my first college apartment or friend’s apartments. I explored everything in front of me, everything that held a memory and story. My work then evolved to a series of recreating rooms of my childhood home both occupied and empty, acting as a form of therapy almost. My art changes and evolves with the passing of time, all dependent on where I am and how that space holds significance to me.

Where do you work?
I currently have a small studio in my apartment. There are ups and downs to having your studio where you live, but I enjoy being in the comfort of my home and having the option to work late at night.

Which artists do you admire?
Antonio Lopez Garcia, David Hockney, Édouard Vuillard. Many of the artists I am inspired by were a part of The Nabis movement and some considered intimists, painting the everyday contemporary life. Much of their philosophies revolved around the idea of drawing emotion out of these everyday scenes and objects. I think that what connects all of the artists I draw inspiration from is their ability to take what some see as the mundane and create a more intimate story, “a window into the soul”. As far as stylistically, I have always admired the Impressionists and their ability to use paint in such a bold and vivid way, truly bringing life to a painting.

What is your favorite piece that you’ve created?
It usually tends to be whatever I am working on at that time. Every piece is a learning process and holds a form of attachment for me as I am creating it. There is one piece I am quite attached to, though. It was the first interior scene I had ever painted of my first apartment. One day I woke up and looked around our living room and the mess that was created from the night before and just thought “I need to start documenting these moments in time”.

In the front window: Local Landscapes!

We live in such a beautiful area! For the month of August, we’re displaying some gorgeous local landscapes from four talented local photographers: Greg Brown, Sara Lyons, Tom Pitta, and Randi Shenkman. We printed them up large, and added some rustic style frames. All pieces are for sale. Come by and see these big beauties in person!