This weekend, local artist Rian McCarthy will debut his first gallery show and one-week residency at THE SOCIAL in Tiverton. The show will host a soft opening on Saturday (which has since sold out) and a grand opening on Sunday, April 11 from 2-6 pm.  

McCarthy, who grew up in a family that truly embraced the arts, said that the extra time at home last year following the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic gave him an opportunity to focus on his passion.  “I’ve always loved to paint.  Having an opportunity to really focus on it has definitely been my silver lining throughout this past year.” 

His primary medium is painting on canvas, ranging from large-scale pieces to smaller originals.  Most of his work is geometrically based, with long sweeping lines and patterns however, he also has embraced an abstract style that is unique to his personality.  McCarthy also told What’s Up Newp that he will also be venturing into some limited apparel offerings including shirts and hats that feature his design and brand, Black Pants White Socks.  

“The name ‘BPWS’ actually came from criticism for the way I was dressed on night while out on the town.  I was standing on Bannister’s Wharf, wearing black pants and white socks, and a drunk lady leaving one of the restaurants yelled over and told me to get some god damn black socks.  Ever since then, it kind of stuck and I’ve totally embraced it.”

The gallery, located at 30 Main Road in Tiverton is the brainchild of Cole Criollos.  Criollos, who is known around Newport for his tenure at The Nitro Bar and his current work behind the bar at Bar&Board, opened the gallery with the intention of having a place where friends and artists can highlight their work and collaborate.  The shop’s tag line, “A place for people,” is the backbone of this space and Criollos said that anyone interested in art, surf, and vintage is encouraged to stop by and say hello or get involved.

“We are super excited to have Rian at The Social.  We have been talking about it for a little while now and this weekend it’s actually happening.  We are looking forward to hosting everyone and anyone (with social distancing guidelines in place) from 2-6pm on Sunday…or until he sells out!”

Along with the gallery opening, McCarthy is also doing a pop up and a mural at the Wayfinder Hotel next weekend on April 18 along with two other local artists (and friends), Phil Landers and Ry Smith. 

“For me, this whole experience has been incredible.  The support from my friends and the community has been overwhelming.  Being able to pursue something I love and share it with people I love…I mean, what more can you ask for?!” 

As far as ‘what’s next’, McCarthy said you can expect new paintings, murals, and apparel in the very near future.  Be sure to follow his journey on Instagram, @_BPWS_ .

Tyler Bernadyn

Born and raised in the Ocean State, Tyler is a Providence College graduate ('11) who proudly calls Newport home. A professional realtor by trade, he prides himself on building relationships and sharing...