Main Exhibit

In Their Sunday’s Best

January 11 - February 25, 2005

Providence, R.I. …Sunday entered the weekly calendar before 150 AD and since that time it has taken on various meanings across peoples and decades. Bert Gallery’s new exhibit, In Their Sunday’s Best, looks at the various Sunday activities historic and contemporary artists paint. These images reflect evolving social trends along with the dramatic change in dress. The exhibit runs from January 11 – Februrary 25, 2005. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11-5pm, Saturday, 12-4pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

For some Sunday is a family day, special dress up day, church day, rest day or day of culture. The renderings of fashion illustrations are particularly revealing about the attitude of the day. Sunday services and gatherings were often the occasion to wear those special “dress up” cloths and strut the latest fashions.

Who made the most dramatic entrance? What style was ‘in’? What defined the ‘look of the times?’ For fashion illustrator Elise Kalan, what was ‘the look’ was crucial in her field. Often working in pen and ink, Kalan captures women in sophisticated poses similar to that of a ‘glamour shot’ in the 1970s and 80s. Other artists and illustrators such as James Herbert (1898-1970), Mabel Johnston, and Ruth Forrest (1919-1994) also focus on single figures and their outfits in carefully rendered poses. From formal clothing to hip attire for nights ‘out on the town,’ they capture how people aspire to be sophisticated for whatever the occasion.

Over time Sunday gained status in America as a day of rest where people could devote time to religion, family, learning and fun. The activities of Sunday, the non-workday, are also a favorite of artists. Contemporary painter, Paula Martiesian, captures two figures quietly resting on a blanket in warm weather at a fairground. Robert Thornton paints two women at an afternoon tea wearing large hats for the occasion. Whether humorous, or more meditative, these painters fondly capture people in their desired surroundings. A day at the park, a visit to the circus, a Sunday drive to the country are all scenes Eliza Gardiner (1871-1955), Stacy Tolman (1860-1934), and others so charmingly remind us of. In this exhibit a selection of watercolors, drawings, and oil paintings explore how artists view people in timeless activities and settings of Sunday, celebrating the attitudes within varying social spheres and eras. For more information contact the gallery at 401-751-2628. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

About the Gallery Talk: Danny Zuko’s leather jacket or Roxy Hart’s fishnet stockings help define the characters in Grease and Chicago. Who makes those character defining costume choices? Find out at the Gallery Talk presented by Costume Designer, Marilyn Salvatore on Saturday, January 29th, 4pm at Bert Gallery. Marilyn Salvatore has designed costumes for over twenty years at several of Rhode Island’s theater companies such as Trinity Repertory Company, Perishable Theater, and The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater. She has also worked on notable movie sets such as Amistad. Ms. Salvatore will talk about her experience with fashion in the theatre world and how culture and history play a part in her design process.