Skip to content

This event is part of a series – see below for details.


08mar10:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.SPACES ACROSS TIME: GRETCHEN DOW SIMPSON, A RetrospectiveIn the Gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center, March 7 - March 31

Event Details

Cherry Valley IV ca. 2010, Oil on Linen, 36”x 30”

SPACES ACROSS TIME, a month-long retrospective exhibition, celebrates the illustrious career of Gretchen Dow Simpson, a painter, photographer, and artist who’s called Providence home for many years. In this expansive exhibition, which spans decades of creative exploration, visitors will be enveloped in the artist’s masterful command of shapes, light, and color. Dow Simpson’s art offers viewers a unique perspective on the world around us.

The exhibition is on view in the WaterFire Arts Center gallery from Thursday, March 7 through Sunday, March 31, 2024 with an opening reception on Thursday, March 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The third Thursday of the month, March 21st, is Gallery Night Providence, the WFAC gallery as well as other art spaces in the city are open late and trolley tours are available.

The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to all, donations encouraged.

Artist Statement

“As a painter, photographer and artist I am inspired and motivated by the juxtaposition of shapes, light and color. My paintings are pieces of the world as I see it. I want to be able to imagine what is outside the edges of my images and see the beauty in the isolation of the subject matter that I choose to portray. I am interested in the abstract qualities of the world and how that translates to my paintings. The mystery of images plays an important part in my vision. I don’t want to show every detail, I am interested in the geometry and feeling of the subject matter. Above all it is the color, beauty and mystery of my surroundings that move me to paint.”

About the Artist

Gretchen Dow Simpson is the recipient of several prestigious commissions, including assignments from Bostonian Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Absolut Vodka, and Kirin Seagram Company. She has held solo shows and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across the country. Her work is held by many private collectors and corporations. She received the Pell Award in 2005 and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Bryant University in 2009. 

She began her distinguished career taking photographs of buildings and worked as a freelance photographer in Boston, New York, Minneapolis, and Scranton from 1962-1970. 

Her first painting was purchased by The New Yorker magazine in 1974 and 58 paintings were used as covers over a 21-year period. She is best known for her distinctive views of New England architecture. Simpson’s paintings are recognizable by their clean-lined, architectonic focus, with flat surfaces and deep perspective. Deceptively simplified, these paintings balance shapes, colors, textures, flatness and depth, all in a nearly flat frontal plane. The calm strength of these paintings is evocative of the comment, by 19th century Romantic Realist artist J. F. Millet, that “It is the treating of the commonplace with the feeling of the sublime that gives art its true power.”

Gretchen Dow Simpson is a NetWorks Rhode Island artist profiled in the 2015 – 2016 catalogue. NetWorks Rhode Island, a visual arts project, was initiated in 2008 (concluding in 2016) by Rhode Island arts sponsor and collector Joseph A. Chazan, M.D. The project documents, celebrates, and fosters the richly creative and diverse professional visual arts community in Rhode Island through profiles of individual artists and their work.

Event Times

March 8, 2024 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.(GMT-04:00)


WaterFire Providence

WaterFire Providence® is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy.

Learn More

Get Directions