The BankRI Galleries present:
BankRI Turks Head Gallery: “Glass Explorations by Phil Mambro,” March 5 through April 1, 2015 at the downtown Providence BankRI branch in the Turks Head building, One Turks Head Place. There is a Gallery Night reception March 19 with live music by guitarist Mark Armstrong and light refreshment. Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact www.bankri.com or call 401 456-5015, ext 1330.
MEET THE ARTIST – PHIL MAMBRO
Three floors up in a 8,000 square foot studio on Weeden Street in Pawtucket, Phil Mambro experiments with glass panels. A self-described “materials scientist,” Mambro fuses and slumps glass to come up with different textures, dimensions and patterns.
A successful costume jewelry manufacturer, Mambro started working with glass when a student employee introduced him to the medium’s possibilities. “I learned a lot about glass from a wonderful RISD graduate student who worked for me,” Mambro explains. “I was fascinated with its molten nature and the way it turns to liquid when fired. Glass found me and I’ve been hooked ever since.” Originally Mambro was content to leave the creative end to his assistants, but as he developed more confidence he jumped in and now does much of the work himself.
Mambro had developed an innovative jewelry line made out of clay and “sold tons of it.” Then the costume jewelry business took a hit and its manufacture moved overseas. He has kept the doors open to his once thriving jewelry business in hopes that the industry will revive. Meanwhile his love affair with glass has blossomed and taken over all but a small portion of his 8000 square foot studio.
Mambro comes from a family of artists and entrepreneurs. His mother was a watercolorist and educator; his father a “risk taker who managed several businesses. His parents taught him the value of drive and hard work, lessons he took to heart and applied to his own work.
Mambro has traveled extensively and has seen first hand the art of many diverse cultures. He is particularly drawn to the handcrafted artworks of indigenous peoples, and tries to imbue his own work with that sensibility. He believes “that art comes from the soul, something innate, not something that is taught or bought.
With the ultimate goal of creating glass installations for homes, businesses and galleries, Mambro makes both large and small-scale panels from tiles that have undergone varying treatments. Some panels are drawn, others mirrored. Many have a minimalistic abstract quality. Taken together, the impression is of rich, saturated colors and diverse textures. He combines the glass with tiles made from lead-free pewter, distressed wood and clay.
He is particularly proud of an extensive installation that is now on display at the Dryden Gallery of Providence Picture Frame. Geoff Gaunt, one of the owners, has been very encouraging and supportive to the new glass artist. Mambro lives on the east side of Providence with his wife, an attorney originally from Colombia.
The BankRI Galleries are curated by Paula Martiesian, a Providence-based artist and arts advocate.