BUNNI 2020

Featuring Shari Weschler *Sumo Bunni

December 2020


OPENING EVENT Saturday, December 12th from 5:00-8:00 PM







BUNNI 2020


Coastal Contemporary features new paintings and self portrait photography by artist, curator, small business owner and single mother, Shari Weschler * Sumo Bunni.


The key action word this year was PIVOT.  It is something humans do, some more fluidly than others, but certainly not typically on such a demanding open-ended level.  In the unpredictable tangos on home-fronts and externally within careers, we witnessed the world run a collectively challenging parallel course in 2020.   We felt for one another, lifted spirits when we could and watched the division of a nation, all while digging into our own quiet isolated realities.


Questioning truth versus illusion took hold of our consciousness.  The dream-state, for those gifted with recall, experienced a deeper spiritual connection to the global masses and an unchained universe.  Visceral stories playing out behind closed eyelids traded places with live theater.   As habitual, normal daily functions peeled away and dissolved, the ‘fortunate ones’ were left with their baseline of creative abilities.  Imagination employed as a bolstering and centering in the weakest of spots was both gift and savior.   An hour or two spent in a sunlit studio bathed in music, where brushes freely plunged into wild color, allowed strange new emotions to mesh and mold ingredient into haunting or waggish figures.  A guard-dog mother supporting three additional humans on her own in a pandemic was grounded and released from her mounting anxieties through painted narratives.  Frenetic bodily chaos propelled each painting within an unknowingness for how the landing might unfold, topped off with a slowing down in the details.   No explanations are required to interpret the illustrations; they are whatever you bring to her mirrors.  


An additional mode of exploration and escapism in a pandemic arrived in the format of iphone self-portraiture.  Photography was a large component of Weschler’s studies at MICA in the early 1990s.  This platform was a familiar space to fall back on, giving a bigger voice to her Instagram which she manages and curates as an artform itself.  A second female artist began transforming Weschler’s figural abstractions into her own dreamy interpretations and sending them back to be shared or simply kept as tokens of friendship and inspiration.   This grew into a strong collaborative project across a struggling nation, stitching California to Rhode Island.   The raw and manipulated photographs will show in a formal exhibition in 2021. 


Stay tuned for the possible inclusion of a guest sculptor and fellow, local business owner Kevin Duris of Duris Studios. 

















Shari Weschler * Sumo Bunni


Shari Weschler, branded as Sumo Bunni, is a figural narrative painter who exhibits nationally and internationally.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, with concentration in painting and art history.  While attending MICA she also studied drawing, printmaking and gelatin silver photography.


Weschler's arts related professional experience includes, Studio Assistant for an avant-garde quilting artist, Artist-In-Residence and Elementary Arts Education through her company Artrageous Adventures.  Her curatorial experience began in Baltimore in the 1990s for The Ellicott City Theatre Gallery and continued into Rhode Island in 2013 as a partner and curator/gallery director for Coastal Living Gallery in Wickford and Warren RI.  She hosted over twelve exhibits a year and was invited as guest juror for The Warwick Museum of Art, Spring Bull Gallery, WAA & PAC.  As a Co-Founder of Providence Center for Photographic Arts (PCPA) she co-curated an exhibition of exceptional northeastern female photographers honoring Women’s Month, March of 2017. 


Weschler is an owner and the director of Coastal Contemporary Gallery founded May of 2018 in Newport, Rhode Island.  CCG represents over thirty national and regional artists with an expanding list of guest artists.  She believes strongly in collaboration and building bridges.  Exhibitions are rotated on a three-week schedule hosting champagne events each month to honor the art and artists. 


Her own artwork has toured globally with the Affordable Art Fairs throughout Europe, Asia and NYC through Retrsopect Galleries and Artzandra Gallerie.  She was the featured artist for the sponsor of Affordable Art Fair, Stockholm 2017.  Currently, Weschler is represented by An Inclusive World, (COPE) NYC, Woodman Shimko MA, Coastal Contemporary RI, Carver Hill ME, Skye Gallery Providence, RI and has been published in numerous online and print publications.

Coastal Contemporary Gallery
491 Thames Street, Newport RI 02840  401.612.6121

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