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

Serena Bates is an established artist with a long list of accomplishments. She is an elected member of Salmagundi Club, the Mystic Museum of Art, the National Sculpture Society, the Society of CT Sculptors, the CT Academy of Fine Artists, and the Lyme Art Association. She is also an elected member of and served on the Board of Directors for the Catherine Lorillard Wolf Art Club, the oldest women's art club in the nation.

Having work in collections around the world including England, Canada, and across the United States, Serena is well known in local and national circles. Mystic Marriot Hotel, CT, features Serena's "Beached Whale Fountain" as the centerpiece of their main entrance courtyard. Stand Up for Animals prominently displays "Zhen Zhen", the beautiful bronze cat outside the entrance to the Westerly Animal Shelter, RI, and the Westerly Animal Hospital, RI, features one of her sea lions prominently at their entrance. Pleasant View Inn, RI, displays her majestic life-sized sculpture "Stellar Expectations" in the main dining gallery, while her commemorative bust of "Lennie Colucci" sits atop the bar at The Andrea, RI, where he enjoys countless photo-ops with patrons.

As a sculptor, Serena has won many awards, recognitions, and honors during her career, from the National Arts Club, the Salmagundi Club, Society of CT Sculptors, the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Club, the Academic Artist Association, Mystic Museum of Art, and the Alexy von Schlippe Gallery at the University of Connecticut, to name only a few.

Serena describes herself as a story teller. She is a representational artist with an affinity for portraits and animals, working in clay, bronze, and stone. Being non-traditional in her approach, she usually does not take measurements, but instead relies on her eye and sense of observation to interpret a subject. This approach produces what she calls a "wabi-sabi" affect, a Japanese term that literally means the beauty found in imperfection or "imperfectly perfect."

She began her journey studying at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design. There she studied with renowned sculptors Elizabeth Gordon Chandler, Don Gale, Laci Degerenday as well as classical painting and drawing with Aaron Shikler, Dean Keller and Dan Gheno. She furthered her studies with an internship at the Kane Sculpture Studio and Foundry where she learned the process of lost wax casting. Presently Serena is furthering her education in learning the art of ceramic sculpture.

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
Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NY, NY
Connecticut Academy of Fine Artists, CT
Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT
Copley Society of Art, Boston, MA
Courtyard Gallery, Mystic, CT
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT
Gallery 121, Stonington, CT
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
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

109th ANNUAL SALMAGUNDI THUMB BOX
Dec 8 - Dec 31, 2017
Salmagundi Club, New York, NY
"Hello Dolly" Alpheous P. Cole Award

SOCIETY OF CONNECTICUT SCULPTORS ANNUAL MEMBERS EXHIBITION
Oct 1 - Nov 29, 2017
LYME ART ASSOCIATION, Old Lyme, CT
"Head Over Heels" People's Choice Award

AMERICAN ARTISTS PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE 89TH ANNUAL GRAND NATIONAL EXHIBITION
Oct 20 - Dec 29, 2017
Online Exhibition NEW YORK, NY
Jurors David A. Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Jacqueline Kamin
"Survivor" Helen G. Oehler Memorial Award

View all Awards

Exhibitions

CATHERINE LORILLARD 121st ANNUAL OPEN EXHIBITION
Jan 8 - Jan 26, 2018
NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, 15 Gramercy Park South, NY, NY

109th Annual Thumb-Box Exhibition
Dec 4 - Dec 31, 2017
SALMAGUNDI CLUB 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

GIVE ART THAT GIVES BACK
Nov 25 - Dec 30, 2017
GALLERY 12, 121 Water St, Stonington, CT

View all Exhibitions

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