Debrule envisioned this show as a light-hearted artistic romp.
Here's what she had to say about the show she assembled: "This
show, Make Me Laugh, was great fun, a real get-away from
bad news and politics. Every artist in this group has their own
spin on what is 'funny or satirical' and in form also. My work
here is illustration and from the imagination, i.e. free form.
For me, once you open that hinge on the brain, funny keeps on
Newport This Week's John Pantalone agreed with her; here's his report:
"What’s so funny about art? The latest show at the DeBlois Gallery has ideas about that and they’re depicted in a new exhibition.
A varied collection of quirky uses of humor in art, the show brings together 10 artists, each with their own take on what’s funny. Appropriately enough, some of the work comments on the strange ways our world has changed, mostly not for the better, in recent years.
For example, painter Susan Bennett ruminates visually on how facial expressions communicate in a time when we often interact with one another on screens. She’s suggesting in her subtle treatments that 'screen time' lacks the kind of genuine communication that is possible only in person, and that we are losing something valuable in excessive electronic 'talk.' At the same time, the humor in these images flows from the irony of being able to hide certain emotions and reactions that are more difficult to disguise in person.
Others take the political side of our changing culture head on. Tom Casselman, ever a sarcastic cultural critic, presents a series of laser-printed ink 'editorial cartoons' that trace the 'movements' and lack thereof of Donald Trump in the period from early April to mid-November 2020. You remember those golden years when Trump twiddled his thumbs and the country shut down.
Casselman skewers Trump with his own words and deeds. Here is Trump in all his glory praising Vladimir Putin, but praising himself more, turning his COVID-19 related actions and inaction upside down with goofy double talk, denying reality on our behalf and generally acting like a man high on his own weirdness.
If Casselman’s cartoons weren’t true, they’d be hilarious, but he sobers us up by including statistics on the number of people dead by the hands of a virus that could have been controlled much better by a proper leader.
As you enter the gallery space, Karen Nash’s life-size sculptures greet you, all done up in found objects attached to Styrofoam blocks used for packing electronics and other sensitive items. Tall and blocky, the two robot-looking figures cheekily declare their uniqueness, and then you realize that they are as much about the 'foreverness' of Styrofoam and the world dilemma of solid waste, toxic waste and, ultimately, the toll humans take on the planet.
Equally clever, delightful little 'collages' made of paper and clock parts by Manjula Padmanabhan engage in a dialogue with Valerie Debrule’s funny boxed collages. Both use humor just for the sake of it, suggesting that we need to laugh now as much as we ever have. Padmanabhan writes that her 'fake clocks' are her first attempt at humor, and she has found successful new ground if she wants it.
Debrule’s 'Maasai Musings' focuses on the age-old misunderstanding of one cultural group about another in an image where Maasai tribesmen discuss odd tourists viewing them as if they were specimens in a museum. The questions, then, are: Who is looking at whom? Why are we so different? Why is the other guy so strange?
There is a lot of other clever work in this show, including lively “street art” paintings by Arthur Mead, found objects turned into nostalgic toys by Tom Shelton and cartoonish paintings by Lance Gershenoff."
- By Newport This Week Staff, June 16, 2022
current work is exploring the changes and conditions of the last
2-6 years. I often use humor to convey these adaptations of
human life and ways of living with technology. Capturing facial
expressions and body language that often become hidden or
flattened by our use of social media.
The past and the present. Watching American institutions adapt to radical change, What stays. What goes. How we evolve or remain the same.
In the last year, I have been exploring portraiture in various mediums. Using different materials and formats to examine our current experience. What was once a standard, is now open for dialogue.
In addition to the interactive whiteboard cartoon, shown here,
Tom also displayed a collection of 30+ political cartoons, which
were reviewed by Newport This Week's John Pantalone:
"Tom Casselman, ever a sarcastic cultural critic, presents a series of laser-printed ink 'editorial cartoons' that trace the 'movements' and lack thereof of Donald Trump in the period from early April to mid-November 2020. You remember those golden years when Trump twiddled his thumbs and the country shut down.
Casselman skewers Trump with his own words and deeds. Here is Trump in all his glory praising Vladimir Putin, but praising himself more, turning his COVID-19 related actions and inaction upside down with goofy double talk, denying reality on our behalf and generally acting like a man high on his own weirdness."
- By Newport This Week Staff, June 16, 2022
had a very, very funny father; mother was a Brit, a lot more
straight-laced, but I now see her as the "straight man" for him.
Humor was important in my family and being Southern, the stories
were much longer than here! Funny is subjective, so, we will
see! I hope you enjoy it.
I have illustrated and painted all my life and what gave me the deadlines for art I(needed!!) was joining a co-op gallery like DeBlois Gallery (38 years open) I've been working here steadily for 25 years. My media is varied - acrylic, mixed media, collage, encaustic on paper or canvas. I like to see pencil involved. I want to experiment with new materials and new energies that are found in art illustration today. I am still learning.
I am a sculptor and painter who has a large inventory of works of art that I have made over the past 40 or so years. I have been lucky to have had employment in arts related occupations which has afforded me the opportunity to not have to sell most of my creations. I regret the pieces that I have sold in the past as I love to live surrounded by my art. However, I love to show my work and have participated in many group art shows over the years. One of my favorite things to do is outdoor art events such as sidewalk art and graffiti art events. I think art should be accessible to as many people as possible in public places.
Hi! My name is LOGO. I love monsters, robots, cartoons, comics, and graffiti. All of which you'll find in my paintings. I enjoy using bright colors, multiple images, mediums, and text to create depth mimicking the well utilized walls of street art.
is such nasty stuff! There were tons (OK, ounces) of the stuff -
hundreds of cubic feet of it - stuffing the dumpsters at Naval
Base Newport when I was working there. The shapes tickled my
sculptor's instincts, and I dragged a lot of it home.
I got a lot of artistic mileage out of those styro castoffs, but the downside was that too many friends and acquaintances took to leaving anonymous bags of styro on my front porch for me to make more sculpture, so apparently I hadn't conveyed the idea that they should pursue and campaign for eco-sensitive disposal methods and ultimately, a ban on all single-use plastics before Mother Gaia suffocates, along with all of her creatures, including us.
Oh yes, "Last Dance" - well, I had all these cobbler's lasts, and I had to do something with them!
Most of my art is inspired by what I read and the pictures I see in my head when I read books. I use hand dyed fabrics I create at a wonderful place in Fall River called Pro-Chemical and Dye. I went to the Ramones' concert at Rocky Point Palladium and the image I remembered from the concert was the Women's bathroom and the people standing in the dark in front of the mirror. The Ramones were the greatest three chord band ever. I am a member of the Portsmouth Arts Guild.
As a print cartoonist, I have of course made drawings that are meant to be funny. The work that I've produced for this show is, however, the first time that I've consciously attempted to use art for humour. I wanted each piece to be cartoon-y but ALSO interesting in an artistic sense. The result is a set of MINI KINETICS: all the pieces in this month's show are a combination of paper collage combined with working clock-parts. Each one is powered by a single AA battery. "Mini" because they are a mere eight inches square. Only one of them ("NOW!") can be used to tell the time with some accuracy.
Wayne Quackenbushgrew up watching old monster movies and comedies on TV. He went to art school some time in the last century. He runs a business in Newport, Rhode Island where he sells comics, books and collectables while show-casing the talents of local artists in a gallery setting. He believes that high culture and low culture spring from the same human source and should be friends. His artwork is usually meant to be attractive and repulsive at the same time.
Tom Shelton is a self-taught artist from northern New Jersey. His medium of choice is found objects, typically turning unwanted trash into funny and sometimes creepy creatures. He has been showing his art professionally for over ten years. Tom's inspiration comes from nature and the decaying world around him, as well as classic 80's movies and characters of his childhood.