About


Serena Bates

PHILOSOPHY

Life's stories plant seeds in my mind, take shape in my soul, and are born through my sculptures.

SEE ALSO

Awards & Recognition
Exhibitions

Personal Statement

Let me tell you a story. I was invited to participate in a show entitled Gaia's Lament, Earth Cry. It sounded like a gloomy theme, so I did what I often do in this situation: I looked for the story at the center.

I paid a visit to the hosting gallery, a reclaimed old restaurant, and in the basement I discovered a doorway that had been bricked over and closed permanently. Where had that door gone? Who had bricked it over - and why? My mind immediately went to Edgar Allen Poe, The Telltale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado - and I saw a crow, warning "Nevermore" if we don't change our ways.

As I climbed the winding, creaky staircase up to the gallery, that crow grew into an entire flock - a murder of crows, ascending in dire warning from basement to second floor, winding up the stairs, perching on sills, glaring from moldings, swooping from the ceiling. The Hartford Courant described the set of sculptures that resulted from this vision as "the show-stopper."

Stories are what define my work, what drive my vision, what inspire my hands...my life. My sculptures bring those stories to life, incorporating a symbiotic mixture of ideas and visions from people around me, the environment and materials where I'm working, and that sudden burst of illumination - often coming after I'm well into the sculpting process.

The stories cover a spectrum of genres, from the comic Three Stooges fountainheads squirting water from pursed lips, or a cat staring down a mouse, to Alice in Wonderland. Life's stories plant seeds in my mind, take shape in my soul, and are born through my sculptures.

To date, I feel the most significant accomplishment I have made in my life is overcoming obstacle after obstacle, setbacks, naysayers and disappointments to pursue my art and never giving up. I could not survive if I did not have my art. It has been the one stable constant, the source of strength and comforting companion to me through the many ups and downs in my life. I make art because I don't know how not to. This is why I am here. Whether someone loves or hates my art, as long as I move them in some way with my quirkiness or storytelling, I have done my job.

Biography

Over 40 years ago, Serena Bates started her journey of exploration and interpretation of the world around her through art. Beginning probably at the age of 8 or 9, she started with pencil and paper and went on to study traditional figure painting and anatomy at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Over the years she has explored many mediums including charcoal, pastel, oil and acrylic paint to name a few, but when she discovered clay, she went over to the "Dark Side" as she likes to say. She had finally found her soul mate and companion saying, "When you find a material that you can work with tirelessly for hours and think minutes have passed, and your excitement still bubbles over when you leave the studio for the day, you have found home." The artist describes herself as a story teller with an affinity for portraits and animals. "Life’s stories plant seeds in my mind, take shape in my soul, and are born through my sculptures."

Clay, Bronze and Stone are her mediums of choice. Being non-traditional in her approach, she does not take measurements, but instead relies on her eye and sense of observation to interpret a subject. Trusting intuition and a connection to the subject are more important to her than static measurements. This approach breathes life into her work and produces what she calls a “wabi-sabi” affect, the Japanese term that literally means the beauty found in imperfection or “imperfectly perfect.”

Serena has exhibited in nationally known exhibitions and galleries across the United States and Canada. She has won many prestigious awards and honors during her career from the American Artists Professional League, Allied Artists of America, the Salmagundi Club, the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Club, the Academic Artist Association, Mystic Museum of Art to name only a few. The artist is also a member of the American Society of Marine Artists, Artists for Conservation, Allied Artists of America, American Artists Professional League and Salmagundi Club.

The artist's studio is located at 194 Potter Hill Road, Westerly, RI.

Memberships & Affiliations

Academic Artists Association, Springfield, MA
Alexy Von Schlippee Gallery, UCONN, Avery Pt. CT
Allied Artists of America, NY, NY
American Artists Professional League, NY, NY
American Society of Marine Artists, St Louis, MO
Artists Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, Westerly, RI
Artists for Conservation, Signature Member
Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NY, NY
Connecticut Academy of Fine Artists, CT
Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT
Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
Finer Line Gallery, Mystic CT
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT
Gallery at Somes Sound, Mount Desert, ME
Hygienic Art Gallery, New London, CT
Lemon Tree Gallery & Studio, Cape Ann, VA
Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT
Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT
Marquee Gallery, New London, CT
MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
Mystic Museum of Art, 9 Water St., Mystic, CT
National Sculpture Society, NY, NY
New Britain Museum of Modern Art, New Britain, CT
Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI
Salmagundi Club, NY, NY
Society of Connecticut Sculptors, CT
South County Art Association, North Kingstown, RI
Vermont Carving Studio, East Rutland, VT

Collections

Andrea Restaurant, Misquamicut, RI
Children's Museum of Southeastern CT
Don Mann, SEAL Team SIX Commando & NY Times Best Selling Author
Great Lodge at Arctic Watch, Somerset Island, Nunavut
Ledyard Police Department, Ledyard, CT
Mystic Marriott, Groton, CT
Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic, CT
Pfizer Chemical, Groton, CT
Pleasant View Restaurant, Misquamicut, RI
Private Collections throughout the Northeast, England and Ireland
Raiche Realty, Westerly, RI
Renovations to Rentals, Westerly, RI
Salmagundi Club
Westerly Animal Hospital, Westerly, RI
Westerly Animal Shelter, Westerly, RI
Westerly Public Library, Westerly, RI
Zoe & Co. Lingerie, Westerly, RI

Education

LYME ACADEMY COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
OLD LYME, CT 1985 - 1995
CONCENTRATION IN FIGURE DRAWING, PAINTING, ANATOMY AND SCULPTURE

RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
PROVIDENCE, RI 1990 FRAMING

SMOOTH ON INDUSTRIES
EASTON, PA FEB 2002
MOLD MAKING AND RESIN CASTING

KANE SCULPTURE STUDIO & FOUNDRY
PAWTUCKET RI 2005 - 2008
INTERNSHIP FOCUSING ON MOLD MAKING, WAX WORK FOR LOST WAX CASTING AND PATINATION

SOUTH COUNTY ART ASSOCIATION
N. KINGSTOWN RI 2015 - 2017
CONCENTRATION IN CERAMIC SCULPTURE AND ALTERNATIVE FIRING METHODS

Awards

2018 ACGOW REGIONAL EXHIBITION
Artists Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, Westerly, RI
May 4 - May 27, 2018
Jurors: Michael Peery, Rhode Island School of Design Professor
“Leviathan” Katherine Forest Foundation Award

100th Duxbury Art Association Show
Feb 4 - Apr 22, 2018
Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MS
Jurors: Crystal Duell, Julie Beck, Tim Ian Mitchell, Cindy Vallino, Craig Bloodgood
"Survivor" Second Place Award for Sculpture


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Exhibitions

110th Annual Thumbox Exhibition
Dec 3, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019
Salmagundi Club, 47 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Maritime Miniatures by Marine Masters
Nov 17, 2018 - Jan 21, 2019
Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT 06355

90th Grand National Exhibition, American Artists Professional League
Nov 11 - Nov 19, 2018
Salmagundi Club, 47 5th Ave, New York, NY 10003
Juror: Stephanie L Heidrich PhD, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Assistant Curator of American Painting & Sculpture, The American Wing


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Teaching

MY STUDIO
GROUP AND PRIVATE LESSONS IN OIL, PASTEL, DRAWING, SCULPTURE AND MOLDMAKING

MYSTIC MARINELIFE AQUARIUM
MYSTIC, CT

MYSTIC MUSEUM OF ART
MYSTIC, CT

HOPE VALLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
HOPE VALLEY, RI