Sunday, February 15, 2009

OPINION: Is there a Vermont style or styles?

This is in response to a question submitted by Sam Thurston and posted on February 12, 2009. Further responses will be posted as they are received.

By Anna Dibble

I agree with some of the others who have posted – If you look through the timeline of Vermont’s art history, landscape painting predominates. How could it not? The Landscape in Vermont predominates, and overwhelms almost everything else. We have a lot of fantastic landscape painters – past and present, as well as a lot of mediocre and terrible ones. Landscape paintings will always be a major ‘Vermont style.’

I think, however, that Vermont’s art ‘style’ is changing, and in my view that’s a good, long overdue thing. There seem to be more and more artists in the state that are bucking the landscape system. It’s a lot easier to sell landscapes here – especially if they are more or less realistic – than other ‘styles.’ Our economy depends on tourism, and many of the tourists want to buy art that reminds them of the beautiful landscapes they saw when they were here. But I’ve been noticing that the taste of the tourists is evolving, and the art in the state is reflecting this change. Many visitors in the 21st century have more sophisticated taste in art, and are delighted to find imaginative work in painting, sculpture or photography that is very different from the landscape style they more or less expect when they come here. Let’s move in that direction! Even with landscapes! Vermont’s new Eclectic Style reflects Vermont artists’ special lifestyles, and a certain independence that has always existed in this state.

P.S. In response to some of the posts, it doesn’t matter if a Vermont artist was born here. Even the Woodland Indians were flatlanders. People get too hung up on this subject.