Sunday, May 31, 2009

WALKABOUT: Open Studio Weekend

by Cully Renwick

On Route 12 in the town of Northfield, five women share a beautiful big studio in the Gray Building, 168 North Main Street. At this site watercolors, pastels, oils, and basketry were all on display in "Classroom 2" on the first floor of the large gray school-house on the top of the hill. The artists are: Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams (802 485-7288), Tamara Wright - Brook field Basketry ( 802 276-3173), Phyllis Higgins (802 485-7667), Annie Gould (802 485-9871), and Phyllis Greenway (802 485-8373) who also has a studio at 421 South Main Street in Montpelier.

Images: detail of watercolor of jewel weed by Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams, and horse race by Phyllis Greenway.

WALKABOUT: Open Studio Weekend

by Cully Renwick

Jess Graham was among the exhibitors at River Arts in Morrisville for Open Studio weekend. Her web site,, posts lots of artwork and information about her, including some photos of her garage studio. She's been noticed by VT Journal and Seven Days in 2006 and then featured in Eastcoast Snowboarding Magazine in 2008.

Here are some excerpts from her “mission” statement:

I paint to build a reference for gestures and movements. I reference split second sparks and lifetimes of ruminations. I want my scrawlings & scratchings to coax a little glimmer of a smile, a hope in the mundane, a joy for hot pink, a moment of pause to pick out individual cricket's songs. I believe in art that makes you happy. Not happy in a saccharine "have a nice day" sense, but the sort of happy that reaches-your-soul-makes-you-love-waking-up-in-the-morning. Because I believe that everybody yearns for art, needs art, sleeps better if they breathe art, I offer my art in a variety of forms. You can get it on a card for your grandma's mantle, an iron-on for your favorite hoodie, a colorlicious oil painting to keep you company in your mountain shack.

Painting, making, playing makes me feel peaceful because when I'm making art I'm communicating in energy and color and I'm making a mess and I'm acting on those, "oh what a pretty shiny object, what a crazy lit-from-within crabapple tree" impulses. Sometimes painting feels like singing really loud from my belly. Sometimes making art feels as content and quiet as waking up on a rainy day off with the one I love.

My art probably conveys layers of meaning, but generally I leave that up to you to decipher (you know, like a good story that gives you just enough clues to put the pieces together but not so many that your intelligence is insulted). When it comes to analyzing my art, I prefer not to confuse it with a lot of words. To me, making art is non-verbal, and so in trying to analyze its meaning and purpose I always come to the conclusion that I'm simply lucky to find a peace in the process of making it, and I hope some of that peace and energy and spontaneity and irreverence and downright joy translates to you. I hope you find my art satisfying like the crust of wood-fired bread, fun like dancing, silly like riding bikes in the dark, fluffy like snow. I hope it helps shake out the dust in your bodymindsoul like good beer and a long hard laugh.

Friday, May 29, 2009

ESSAY: Francis Colburn's "Memorial Piece"

(from the exhibit “Masters of Vermont: The Men” Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville. Through July 12.)

by Lindsay Vezina

   "Memorial Piece" is Francis Colburn's evocative swirling, quasi-cubist painting - its foreground has a downcast semi-see through bride with a down turned bouquet. Behind her sits a melancholic young girl, to the right is a life-sized Magrittesque painting of a man leaning on a bicycle peering toward the bride. Is he a painted stand-in for a dead husband in transit? They all occupy a meadow whose ground and trees seem to be alive with psychic turmoil. Bare branches reach beyond a canopy of graduated green growth, the sky is framed by forbidding dark blue. 

  Colburn has an amalgam of influences such as Picasso, Rockwell Kent, Thomas Hart Benton, Magritte, Da Chirico as well as early Stuart Davis. Colburn has succeeded with great technique and psychological force to create a painting that works viscerally as well as compositionally! This is just one of other interesting work at this fine show at The Bryan Gallery in Jeffersonville.     

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Into the Woods at Chandler Gallery

The Chandler Gallery in Randolph presents Into the Woods, a show in which 15 artists take a look at and use woods in a multi-media art show of painting, sculpture, glass, furniture, pottery and porcelain, aquatints and textiles, photography and altered books. New art curators Dian Parker and Laurie Sverdlove have chosen to display the work of artists Tom Batey, Jeanne Bisson, Ria Blaas, Anne Cady, Nick Defriez, Joan Feierabend, Mark Goodwin, Bunny Harvey, Judy Lampe, Ruth Mengedocht, John Parker, Jim Richmond, Gerard Rinaldi, Laurie Sverdlove and Bhakti Ziek. Into the Woods runs from June 6 through July 12, 2009,with an opening reception June 6 from 4 – 6 pm.

Gallery Hours: Thursdays 4-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1-3 pm, also during performance intermissions and by appointment 802-728-9878.

Images of work by Jeanne Bisson:

Birch goblets,hand formed porcelain 4" diameter x 6" height

"By the water's edge" hand formed twig.rock and riverbank porcelain 10" x 6"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: STAART GALLERY, May-June exhibition.

by Marc Awodey

Franklin county had a dearth of exhibition spaces for a long while, but it seems to be quickly making up for lost time. Now in its second year, STAART gallery (acronym for St. Albans Art) is a welcoming venue on Main street in the heart of bustling St. Albans. It’s one of two prominent co-op galleries in that neck of the woods - the other being Artists in Residence Gallery of Enosburg Falls - and both venues seem to be thriving. STAART Director Stina Plant is a photographer whose commercial studio is also on the premises, and the well organized walls display work in all media salon style. Various member artists are featured in revolving shows, and many come from the ranks of the St. Albans Artists Guild, of which Plant is also on the board of directors. In e-mail about the gallery she wrote “My goal is to not only have this space for the artists but also to expose the community to the visual arts.And by expose I mean

show them everything from traditionally executed landscapes to conceptually driven abstractions.”

The current exhibition includes work by five featured artists: Lisamarie Charlesworth, Chad Jenkins, Jen Kristel, Tinka Martel and Syracuse, N.Y. artist John Mannion. ”Fast Lane” by Charlesworth is a mixed media collage in which layers of imagery indicate layers of meaning. It’s one of her seven pieces in the exhibit. All are small scale, full of energy, and tightly composed.

In addition to the featured artists, all members have work on display. The black and white photographs by Clair Dunn are among the

highlights. Dunn was a finalist in the recent “Art of Action, Shaping Vermont’s Future” competition sponsored by the Vermont Arts Council. Many of her works have the mood of Edward Hopper paintings, as she often emphasizes stark contrasts of value in cityscape nocturnes.

STAART is a very egalitarian space that doesn’t jury, and takes no commissions either. Maybe the concept of a non-elitist, non-juried, unpretentions gallery could work in other hardscrabble Vermont towns also?

"5 a.m. in White River" By Clair Dunn

”Fast Lane” by Lisamarie Charlesworth

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Art of Vermont Exhibits

by Theodore Hoppe

"Art of Vermont" is a celebration the 170- year evolution of the Vermont State Art Collection, as well as 20 years of commissioned work created through the Art in State Buildings Program. In 1837, the Vermont Senate vote to purchase a painting of George Washington by artist George Gassner for the newly constructed statehouse. The State of Vermont has been collecting art ever since. With the creation of the Vermont Arts Council in 1964, the state art collection begin to expand beyond the walls of the capitol itself. Throughout the 70' and 80's the Arts Council continued to install art in public facilities like the Pavilion State Office Building. In 1988, the General Assembly passed the Art in State Buildings Act "in recognition of the need to encourage Vermont artists." As David Schutz, the State Curator, explains," is (this) public art program which has allowed the placement of a wide assortment of works of art in facilities all over the state."The State collection includes the work of hundreds of artists, and can be found at twenty-eight state facilities across Vermont

The Department of Buildings & General Services, with the help of Paul Gruhler, working with the Vermont Arts Council, has created a show of paintings and photography from the collection by some of the best artists in Vermont. The first of four 2009 exhibits will be at the River Arts Center in Morrisville from May 8-July 5. The River Arts Center is proud to host a version of the "Art of Vermont" exhibition that features the works of many Lamoille Valley artists.

Another version of the tour travels to St. Michael's College in Colchester, from June 5, 2009 until August 8,2009 with an opening reception on June 5, 5-7 PM. Since the dates of these two exhibits overlap they will feature different works from the collection. There are shows planned for the Brattleboro Museum and at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury later in the year, with more dates planned for 2010.

There is also a beautiful glossy catalogue developed by Paul Gruhler, for "Art of Vermont" that presents a sampling of the State Art Collection. In it, David Schultz says, "Art helps define who we are as people. As we look back over the works that constitute the State Art Collection, we cannot help but be struck by the amazing messages that are conveyed about Vermont and its people."

Top: Alden Bryan,
Cambridge, VT, c. 1955
Middle: Mickey Myers,
Night Falls on Jericho Street, 2004-5
Bottom: Peter Miller, Fred Tuttle, 1987

Sunday, May 10, 2009

LECTURE: Deidre Scherer at Bennington Center for the Arts

Red Hat 12” x 11”, thread on fabric, © Deidre Scherer

Quiet Valley Quilters Present A Deidre Scherer Lecture on Art and Healing with Thread on layered Fabric, Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 2 PM at Bennington Center for the Arts, 44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington, VT 05201

Scherer’s presentation moves through 30 years of work during which she pioneered “thread on fabric” as a fluid, intimate medium ideal for narrative expression. By drawing directly with scissors and sewing machine, her process becomes a way to listen, to give undivided attention and meditate. Book signing and reception to follow the lecture.

To make a reservation, or for further information contact Mary Kohler at (802)-442-7318.
Admission : $12.00. Sorry no credit cards. Tickets will be available at the door. This event is open to the public.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

CALL: Circus! at Studio Place Arts (SPA)


The circus is coming to SPA and we want you to get in on the act. The official deadline for proposals is past, and I have selected some fabulous work to exhibit, but I'm still looking for 2-D and 3-D work related to aerialists, clowns, animal acts, and sideshows of the weird and strange. Does not have to be realistic or traditional. All media welcome. Contact me by May 15 at with images of your work

The exhibit will run from June 16 - July 25, 2009. Delivery of work will be scheduled for June 8 and 9.

CALL: Lake Champlain In Plein Air

This is the first call Vermont Art Zine has posted. We are experimenting with posting calls to artists for Vermont exhibits, and will evaluate whether we wish to continue with this practice.

2009 is the 400th Anniversary of the sighting of Lake Chaplain by Samuel de Champlain and artists been captivated by it right from the start. This summer marks a wonderful opportunity to celebrate its beauty and show the many ways that it can be expressed, by participating in a Plein Air Festival and Art Show in St. Albans, Vermont during the weekend of July 25 and 26.

This event will feature a chance for the public to meet and talk to artists while watching them at work. It will also provide an opportunity to view and purchase other artwork by the artists.

The Moose Lodge, on Lake Street in St. Albans, less than 5 miles from beautiful Lake Champlain, will be transformed into a gallery exhibiting lake-themed artwork by the participating artists. NVAA will handle sales during the exhibit and will retain a 10% commission, leaving artists free to paint anywhere in the area. While this will be billed as a Lake Champlain event and this theme should make up the majority of the artwork, there are numerous scenic spots in and around St. Albans and any plein air, local artwork will be accepted. There will be a map in the Moose Lodge for artists to show where they will be painting during the weekend to make it easy for their patrons to find them.

The Moose Lodge will be open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26. Additionally, there will be a reception on Sunday evening from 6pm to 9pm to exhibit works finished during this plein air event.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all artists who do original two or three dimensional artwork with a Lake Champlain theme. All media accepted. Artwork to be exhibited should have been executed in the past three years with plein air work done the weekend of the event. This is a gallery type exhibition, not a booth show.

FEE: $45 fee will cover 6' wide x 8' high display panel for paintings in the Moose Lodge, publicity including postcards for artists to send to their special patrons and a Sunday night reception. Additionally, Norm Choiniere of Champlain Collections will give a discount on plein air frames to participating artists.

AWARDS: Peoples' Choice awards will be presented.

DELIVERY AND PICKUP: Paintings for display should be delivered Friday, July 24 between 6 and 8pm. Unsold paintings may be picked up Monday, July 27 between 6 and 8pm.

INSURANCE: There will be overnight security and all due care will be taken but neither the Moose Lodge nor any sponsoring group or individual will be liable for loss due to accident, theft or injury at the exhibit or in transit.

CONTACT INFO: To enter send check for $45 to Lake Champlain in Plein Air, c/o Martha Ohliger, 63 North Road, Fairfield, VT 05455.

Image: Lake Champlain at sunset, viewed from Grand Isle looking 5 miles west towards Plattsburgh, NY and Crab Island, by Atlant

Friday, May 8, 2009

REVIEW: Andy Potok Lecture - When Is it Art?

By Theodore Hoppe

The Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier recently hosted a well attended lecture by artist and writer Andy Potok entitled, "When Is It Art?" While the presentation touched on the subject of 'What is art?' by looking at such works as "Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp, Potok's real intent was to explore the struggles and ordeals of the artist, and the various mental and physical deficiencies that can affect artists and therefore their art. Instead of providing answers to his question, Potok was content to refine the question to understand its implications: Do paintings produced by an artist afflicted with a drinking problem, drug addiction, mental and health issues and even blindness deserve to have an "asterisk" beside it? (like athletes on steriods) Potok focuses on the work of Willem De Kooning, who suffered from alcoholism for many years, and later, dementia. Because of the dementia, De Kooning needed increasing assistance to help him start each work. The assistants decided a painting was done when De Kooning ceased working on it for a time judged long enough.

When the issue of loss of vision came up the discussion became personal. Trained as an architect, then an artist, Potok painted and exhibited the U S and Europe until, in his early forties, a hereditary condition called retinitis pigmentosa began to steal his vision. He stopped working in the visual arts for many years, turning to writing about art and his disability.

Many great artists have experienced vision loss. Degas and Monet were in the midst of their careers as well when they became visually impaired. Monet became legally blind after developing cataracts. An increasing fuzziness and muddy colors are evident in his paintings. Degas began to lose his vision in his thirties. His visual impairments included amblyopia, corneal scarring, and ultimately, blindness in one eye.

Potok seemed to bristle at stories that credit divine intervention for what is actually determined adaptation. David Tineo, a Tunson, AZ muralist, struggled to paint after losing most of his central vision to macular degeneration. He had never tested the limits of his artistic abilities. He thought that his diminishing eyesight would be the catalyst, saying "I'm letting myself go, not being afraid that I may not one day see at all." Painting large 10x6 canvases using innovative ideas to overcome his "bad eye days", his work became freer and more expressive.

In 1993 Lisa Fittipaldi (see her painting, Inclination, at left) experienced the loss of her vision. She was depressed by having to relearn the basic tasks of life her, so her husband bought her a watercolor set and encouraged her to paint, even though she had no prior experience or training. To everyone’s amazement Fittipaldi began to paint beautiful paintings using what she refers to as her "mind's eye." How she paints is a mystery, even to Fittipaldi herself. The sales of her paintings now fund a foundation she has started to educate the public about blindness.

"What (they have) done that's really great is to learn and be innovative and to do what (they) need to do. It's not heroic. It is smart and it’s human and it's touching and its great," says Potak.

After a long hiatus from his painting, Potok again returned to his brushes and paints using the small bits of residual vision that remained. (Potok showed slides of the paintings he produced when his vision deteriorated.) Unsatisfied by the results and his experience, he stopped painting again, raising the question why? "It was not what I intended," was Potok's answer. What was gone was what he calls the "controlled-surprise" of creating. He is beginning to work in wire to create three dimensional "drawings in space."

Andy Potok's books include a memoir of the loss of his sight, Ordinary Daylight, as well as a novel about a boy growing up to be an artist in New York during the 1950's, My Life With Goya. For more information about blindness and the arts you can visit:

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The Flynndog gallery in Burlington's south end is a cavernous exhibition space on Flynn avenue, in a referbished industrial site. Curator, and architect Bren Alvarez always installs some of the most engaging shows of northern Vermont, and the current exhibition of paintings by Vinicio Ayala and Greg Mamczak is likely to be one of them. It's on view through June 30, and the opening is Friday May 8, 6-8 pm. There will also be an open house at the studios of Photographers Jeff Clarke and Karen Pike, 5- 9 pm at the Flynndog. In addition to exhibitions the Flynndog hosts poetry readings, that are usually attended by some of the area's best writers.

PRESS RELEASE: Works by Lee Garrison at the Vermont Supreme Court

A show of works by Lee Garrison entitled “Lee Garrison in Vermont: landscapes, flowers, ponds, portraits,” is on display at the VermontWorks by Lee Garrison at the Vermont Supreme CourtSupreme Court from May 1 through June 30.

After years of study at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts at Oxford University, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Art Student’s League, Garrison pursued life as an artist based, primarily, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has been featured in solo and group shows in New England and Europe.

Much of Garrison’s work over the years has been inspired by Chinese art, particularly the flower paintings, water landscapes and portraits of the Sung dynasty. Even her method of working, moving from long contemplation to quick execution is inspired by the work of Sung artists. Among the works in Garrison’s current show are a number from a period in her life when she spent much time painting on the shores of Lake Champlain, others reflect her more recent work, painting beside a pond in Colchester, Vermont.

The Supreme Court is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The court building will be closed May 5, May 25 and June 5.

Monday, May 4, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: The AIA at the Vermont State House

Release: Immediate

Date: April 29, 2009

Contact: Tracy Martin, Assistant Curator


The American Institute of Architects/ Vermont Chapter

2008 Design Awards Exhibition at the Vermont State House

Entries from the 2008 Design Award Competition of the American Institute of Architects/ Vermont Chapter will be featured in an exhibition at the Vermont State House cafeteria from May 5 through May 29.

The jury for the AIA competition, all members of the Boston Society of Architects, selected seven projects for awards. The three firms receiving Honor Awards were: Breadloaf Corporation of Middlebury, Pill-Maharam of Shelburne and Watershed Studio Architecture of White River Junction. Honorable mention went to Black River Design and Gossens Bachman, both of Montpelier. Banwell Architects of Lebanon, New Hampshire received a Citation, while Freeman, French, Freeman received a Fifty-Year Award.

Forty-one panels with images of all the entries, including the award-winning projects, will be on display through the month of May. The public is invited to an opening reception for the AIA Awards show on Tuesday, May 5, from 4 to 6 PM.

above: Edge Ledge House, Norwich, Vermont, Watershed Studio Architecture.