Friday, July 31, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Photography Exhibit: Aline Smithson at Pine Street Art works

Pine Street Art Works

: Photography Exhibit: Aline Smithson
Where: Pine Street Art Works,
404 Pine Street
Burlington, Vt
When: August 2009
Contact: Liza Cowan
802 863 8100

Aline Smithson came to photography through the back door. Her father and uncle were photographers and her career centered around it, but it wasn't until she found her uncle's twin reflex Rolleiflex that she embraced photography fully as her own.

fter graduating from college, Smithson moved to New York city to make a living as a painter, but her career moved into the fashion world. She worked for many years as the Fashion Editor for
Vogue Patterns Magazine in New York, and then moved to Los Angeles as a freelance photo stylist. As a fashion editor, she had the opportunity of working with many exceptional fashion photographers, including Horst, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort and Bert Stern.
After standing next to the camera for many years, she discovered that it is behind that camera that she finds her joy and passion. She writes, “I look for, or create, moments that are at once familiar and unexpected”

Smithson has had solo shows all over the United States and has won many prestigious awards, including PXE, Prix de la Photographie Paris, B&W Magazine International Photography Award, and the Nikon Editor's Choice Award. Her photographs have been chosen as cover stories by numerous art and photography magazines, including
Silvershots, F-Stop Magazine and ArtWorksmagazine.

The exhibition as Pine Street Art Works is Smithson's first in Vermont and will feature works from three of her collections:
Arrangement in Green and Black; In Case Of Rain; and Toy Camera The will be on view for a month at the Pine Street location and then move to the Pine Street Art Works Annex Gallery at Healthy Living at 222 Dorset Street in South Burlington.

Press Release: Cecily Herzig at Wells River Savings Bank, Rt. 5, Thetford, VT

Cecily Herzig

An art exhibit & inventory sale of new & not-so-new work, by Cecily Herzig, will be on display at the Wells River Savings Bank, Rt. 5, Thetford, VT July 1 - August 31, 2009.

Cecily Herzig is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. She is an artist and geographer. Over the past 12 years she has had an eclectic career ranging from creating exhibits for the Montshire Museum of Science

and managing the design and implementation of multi-million dollar web projects, to providing cartographic services for the Upper Valley Land Trust. She is an active member of Strafford ARTWORKS, and serves on the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen CraftStudies board. She has spent the last 5 years raising her son and exhibiting her art.

Over the past year Herzig has continued to collaborate with her son as well as with the local pre-school children & her son's friends. Herzig's work has moved slightly away from the crayon creatures of past years. Her new work consists of watercolors & prints. She continues to use her son's "scribbles" as a foundation on which to describe the forms and shapes she used to create her work. Now, not only are the colorful creatures still visible, but we are beginning to learn more about them from the odd narrative that appears more and more frequently.

Although she at times works with crayon, Pamela Polston, of Seven Days, wrote of Cecily's work: “This should not be mistaken for kiddie art: Herzig’s color sensibility and execution are too sophisticated for that. Still, most of her works with Ever include some googly-eyed critters of indeterminate provenance. These tend to look simultaneously fierce and cute, à la Maurice Sendak.

Her art has been auctioned off by the Human Rights Campaign, and hangs in the headquarters of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in New York City. Her art also hangs in many personal collections ranging from the Upper Valley to New York City, to Monterey, California.

A sample of images is on view at For more information contact Cecily Herzig at 802-765-4941 or

Sunday, July 26, 2009

WALKABOUT: View from the Southwest Corner

By Bret Chenkin

Bennington has been churning up the arts this summer—from the famed moose parade, to some great exhibits as well. Of course, the moose are back and have stopped traffic, and why not? They are greatly improved artistically, and if one enjoys kitsch and tourist art then we have a cavalcade to revel in. But on a more serious note, The Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington is still featuring the paintings of Phillip Wofford. Wofford is a longtime painter in the abstract expressionist style, whose talent as a jazz musician definitely permeates his frenetic and colorful sculpted paintings. He has huge assemblages that he feels is breaking out of the canvas space, and defining its own identity. They are exciting, dynamic, and monstrously engaging. The best thing is the price at this time, for Mr. Wofford has generously offered his art at far below the New York gallery prices to benefit the Vermont consumer.

The famed documentary photographer, Kevin Bubriski, and his daughter, are exhibiting at Bean and Leaf Café on Main Street. Bubriski is featuring a number of his color photographs, many of which were taken in Morocco. There is a lovely geometric music to the planes of blues and whites—I think of de Stael for some reason. In his work, composition is crucial, even a worn door has purpose. His daughter Tara Bubriski is not only holding his mantle, but is shouldering ahead on her own path, with documentary images from her trip to India. She has a nice sense for color, and is able to detect life around her—and capture it well. The collection in this gallery space makes for a nice excursion to the countries visited by both talented eyes.

The Bennington Museum just featured Ken Leslie, who has been documenting landscapes in the Arctic Circle for over decades in oil and watercolor. If you missed his sumptuous scapes—I hope you see them somewhere in Vermont as they are worth viewing: they not only have pictorial beauty, but political expediency, as Leslie feels his work detects the environmental changes due to Global Warming. The current regional artist featured at the museum is Leonard Ragouzeos. A settler in Newfane, the exhibit showcases Ragouzeos’ ink paintings and drawings on paper. As the press release explains: “the focus or subject matter of Ragouzeos' work is usually a person (often the artist himself) or a singular still life element such as a fruit, vegetable or a tool isolated and presented in a dramatic, somewhat Baroque light. Some of these black and white compositions, such as the self portrait on display titled "Doubt" are very large, up to eight feet or more in length.” It is hard not to escape a comparison with Chuck Close, but the artist appears to be more humanistic in his psychological pursuit of portrayal. And also at the museum, the exhibit, “The Quality of Space” is not to be missed! Jamie Franklin has selected a wonderful grouping of images—spanning the entire history of photography, including daguerreotypes, the work of Stieglitz, Frielander, and Lewis Hine. The intent is to determine a thesis: how does photography affect meaning of space—of documenting space? And in positing an answer, a museum-goer will relish the many great photos presented. The many local shots interspersed with famous scenes are a treat. One wonders at how historicity affects the value of an image—and even at the idea of whether a place can ever be truly documented. Either way, to think that Lewis Hine rode down a Pownal street and walked the mills there, photographing the mill girls is quite amazing.

And a tour of the area will not be complete without checking out the latest endeavor
in North Bennington of the outdoor sculpture show. This is the 12th annual production, and is held on the grounds of McGovern Masonry, near the post office, and by the Welling Townhouse, all of which are on Main Street. The neat thing about this show is the variety of work, from flower mandalas, by Amy Anselmo, to large metal and concrete forms (“Shield” by Peter Lundberg, which has the spectral appearance of a piece of Greek armament just dug from Laconian ground). Anselmo invites participation in her mandala, so bring some petals to add to her burgeoning kaleidoscopic circle. But all the works invite participation on some level, as they are so approachable, so public. Some are hits, some misses, and some just plain fun. The best thing to do is wind one’s way from the bottom of the show, to the top, like a bee. It is dizzying to go from a tattered sail, to a brick form sandwiched between two rough planks (Zac Ward)—a metaphor for homeownership, and then to a realistic bronze seabird, quite proud even in its diminutive size (Elaine Witten) and back to whimsical flowery shapes (Gary Humphries). Whatever your taste, it will be there on the green.

Above: Leonard Ragouzeos, The Fall, India Ink on paper, 38 x 25”.

Philip Woffard, Nuclear Wood, mixed media on canvas, 36"x40"

Ken Leslie, Kotzebue Summer Cycle, one of a kind artist book, 30" in diameter.

PRESS RELEASE: Inner View Exhibit by Caroline Ramersdorfer

WEST RUTLAND, VT- Caroline Ramersdorfer brings stone to life, integrating light as a sculptural medium. Inner View, an exhibit of works by the Austrian-born artist, will be on display July 10-August 16, 2009 at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center Gallery, 259 Marble Street, West Rutland, Vermont.

Informed by a background in philosophy, as well as art, Ms. Ramersdorfer’s most recent body of work investigates the radiant, refractive and reflective nature of light with her exquisitely carved marble sculpture. She has continued this investigation through participation in symposia and exhibitions worldwide. A monumental carving in the “Inner View” series was awarded first prize at the 2005 Emaar International Art Symposium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Regular Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM or by appointment. For more information on Carving Studio and Sculpture Center programs, please call (802) 438-2097 or email

636 Marble Street, P.O. Box 495
West Rutland, VT 05777
802.438.2097, fax- 802.438.2020

Saturday, July 25, 2009

REVIEW: Karen Dawson at Muddy Waters

Karen Dawson’s vibrant drawings and paintings have been a fixture on the Vermont art scene for over 20 years. Fifteen of her pieces are now on view at Muddy Waters in Burlington, and they are a nice counterpoint to the dreary summer weather we’ve been stricken with this year. Dawson is a master of color, who works in many media - acrylic, oils, watercolor, and drawing. Her drawings at Muddy Waters include work with colored pencil.

Dawson fractures space to create compositional movement in a manner reminiscent of synthetic cubists, such as Feininger, and figurative artists identifying Der Blaue Reiter - artists such as Franz Marc, and Gabriele Münter. Fauvism also seems to be integral to the context of her works. But making such comparisons is risky. Dawson has a broad range of influences - influences that are rather sub conscience. “Totem Structures” is an acrylic abstraction that includes an expressive elephant and a range of colors modified by changes in value. Her colors are much less raw than the Fauves. And in contrast to artists of the European avant-gardes, New England painter Dawson is drawn to the landscape rather than psychological space. Her approach to the landscape is more informed by Emily Carr, and the Canadian Group of Seven, than by the French Impressionists.

Dawson is ultimately a highly original mature artist, who approaches every canvas with a fresh eye, and a confident aesthetic. Her show at Muddies is joyful and alive.

Press Release: Judy Beyer at Emile A. Gruppe Gallery

Judy Beyer, from Atwater, Wisconsin will be exhibiting her watercolor paintings at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho , Vermont from August 6 - through September 6. The public is invited to an artist reception on Sunday, August 9 from 3:00pm -5:00pm. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm or by appointment 802 899 321,

Born and raised in Atwater, Wisconsin, Judy taken courses and workshops nationally and internationally . Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI; The Lake County Gallery, Pewaukee, WI; Charles Wutsum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI; The University of Wisconsin Pyle Center, Madison, WI; University of Whitewater, Whitewater, WI; The Seippel Homestead and Center for the Arts, Beaver Dam, WI and others. image: Peek a Boo Geraniums.

Judy is the recipient of awards from the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association and Watercolor Wisconsin. She is a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, Beaver Dam Artists Association and the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association, Madison.

Friday, July 24, 2009

INTERVIEW: Burlington painter Isaac Wasuck

by Marc Awodey

Last week I received a cryptic e-mail from Isaac Wasuck, trying to get me to visit his exhibition at Penny Clues’ Cafe in Burlington. He said “for years i've gone through the seven days and read your art reviews. i usually/always find you reviewing the two same types of art” which he later described as mundane landscapes and safe abstractions. Isaac challenged me to get out of my “comfort zone.” Well, I sent this young whippersnapper a nice reply, outlining my biases - such as “a focus of formalism over narrative,” and suggested he find someone to write about his show for Vermont Art Zine. Then after actually seeing his show I decided - what the heck! Let’s do an e-mail interview. If this format works I hope VAZ can interview other Vermont artists in the future...

VAZ: Isaac, you received your BFA in 1999, and have shown and worked widely since, before resettling in Vermont. Has your work evolved over the last ten years, and is the “real world” very different than academe for you?

Isaac: my work has been changing slowly over the past ten years, moving from portraits with bolder colors to pieces involving skeletal elements and more textured space. art school is a bizarre little bubble, and yes, very different from the “real world”. only about four percent of people out here in the “real world” seem to really care at all about art.

VAZ: In our initial communication you expressed a certain amount of frustration in not being able to get an informed, critical response to your shows. What sort of feedback have you been able to get? Is there a circle of artists who you can engage in discussion? Do you think there’s a broad need to better engage the public in contemporary art issues?

Isaac: over the years i have had a few reviews of works and shows. in the burlington area i have not really found a group of peers to chat with about art- all the interesting ones are usually too busy or just hidden away, creating work. however, nowadays, you can get feedback, engage in dialog and even challenges on the internet if you search it out. the saatchi gallery had an interesting competition a couple years ago, with people uploading more contemporary work, and then being judged in a rating system by fellow artists and viewers, eventually narrowing down the pieces until they found a winner. it was an interesting and democratic way to get a gauge on some people’s preferences and feedback in the art world.

VAZ: Your iconography of bones, graffiti stencil references, flat spaces, and a limited palette are interesting - and I also see contemporary pop imagery at play. What influences do you feel you have? How do they differ from a comfort zone of "safe abstractions" or typical Vermont landscapes?

Isaac: i pull inspiration from a wide, deep pool of visual stimuli. my reference library is ceiling high with textbooks, art books, fashion magazines, and other assorted visual inspiration. my constant travel and extremely varied work choices have also helped to inspire some of my pieces. i also take inspiration from such artists as lucian freud, odd nerdrum, komar and melamid, and manet. my work, i hope, is a bit different than “safe abstractions” or typical landscapes. i try to create something a bit bolder, something that doesn’t just sink into the background of a room, or work that creates some dialog, and maybe even makes

some viewers uncomfortable. i generally don’t have a set idea when starting a new piece. my work is more of exploration, generally formed by building up and destruction, mainly from sanding away previous layers and painting new layers upon those; constantly building more depth, hopefully in both physicality and profundity. hopefully showing the viewer and me something new.

VAZ: In several of your works androgynous looking figures appear. You also use the traditional pinks and pale blues as markers of identity. Where does that aspect of your work come from?

Isaac: my figures have changed over the years- gradually losing their hair, then the entire back of the head, becoming an androgynous shell of sorts. the use of flat pinks and baby blue may have come about as my own counter point to my figures becoming more androgynous. i’m always looking for a balance in my life and work, and feel that the two “typical’ gender-defining colors are a good juxtaposition to my sexless figures.

VAZ: On your web site you say you'd like to be “a contender in the 'art world'.” What does that mean to you? Do you think you can do it from Burlington, Vermont?

Isaac: i think most importantly, i want my work to stand the test of time and perhaps, to inspire some people out there. yes, i know that’s asking a lot with all the art being produced now, but i have faith. as far as staying in the burlington area and “making it”, at this point in history, yes, i think you can make it from basically any corner of the globe- as long as you get yourself a motivated rep. i’m working on that one...


Thanks Isaac! And you now have permission to bug me and your shows anytime.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

REVIEW: Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams at City Center, Montpelier

By Theodore Hoppe

It's no secret, Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams loves nature. Her current exhibit of watercolors, pastels and oil paintings at the Montpelier City Center invites viewers to celebrate the wonder and beauty of nature. Everything, from the delicate flowers of the Jewelweed plant to a pair of conversational chickadees perched a white pine bough, calls attention not only to nature's intricate details but to its spirits as well: a black cat sits on a stone wall watching; while the colors of the autumn leaves bleed together with the departure of summer, the wind invites the leaves of a birch tree to dance in the breeze. At her best, Ravenhorst-Adams is a poet with a brush.

So it comes as a surprise that two recent painting have lead the artist in a new direction, abstraction. The "Spring Point Lighthouse" series, is the result of the Barre Paletteer's Challenge Project for 2009, where artists used fellow-members’ photographs as inspiration for new works. "As I zoomed in on my computer to get more detail, instead I got pixels and abstract shapes which reminded me of the work of Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter that I remember from studying Art History in college,", explains Ravenhorst-Adams. Mondrian, who also started out painting landscapes and nature, is renowned for a non-representational style he termed, Neoplasticism, a style that consisted of a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the use of the three primary colors. Ravenhorst-Adams’ approach departs from Mondrian in that she uses the orange light and blue shadows of natural lighting. The results are subtle and magical. "Until now, I felt confined to realism,” she says. “I found the abstracts fun and exciting, and surprisingly freeing. Maybe it's time to branch out?"

The Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams exhibit will be at the City Center until the end of the month.

First image, Ravenhorst-Adams. Second image, Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue, 39 x 35 cm, 1921, Piet Mondrian

Saturday, July 18, 2009

QUOTATION: Words by Miro

by Sam Thurston

Painting: A Dew Drop Falling from a Bird's Wing Wakes Rosalie, who Has Been Asleep in the Shadow of a Spider's Web
- Joan Miro from 1939

Here is a quote I ran across and liked. Perhaps other Zine readers have quotes they like, or we could comment about ideas the quotes contain, or oppose one quote with another.

Miro: “The play of lines and colors, if it does not lay bare the drama of the creator, is nothing more than a bourgeois pastime. The forms expressed by an individual attached to society should disclose the activity of a mind wishing to escape from present reality, which today is particularly ignoble, and seek out new realities, offering other men a possibility of elevation.

If we do not attempt to discover the religious essence and magic meaning of things, we will do nothing but add but new sources of brutishness to those which are offered today to countless people.”

The title [of the painting above] makes me wonder if Miro was thinking about the quote from Joyce's Ulysses "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Stephen Dedalus's famous complaint. 1939 was certainly a more difficult time than now. There are certainly other places being an artist (or just living) is more stressful than here right now. Perhaps I noticed the quote because it is so rooted in a historical moment- and it made me think of our historical moment- and the way our times push us into being serious or frivolous. Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


On the morning Big Red & Shiny published a blog post about the DeCordova’s 2010 Biennial selections, a Vermont gallerist shot to my publisher and me -- I’m Art Critic for the Vermont alternative weekly Seven Days -- a fiery e-mail saying “How is this possible? Is VT no longer part of New England? Are all of the artists in this state so bad that they couldn't find one to meet their criteria?” In the article, Big RED listed the Biennial’s seventeen selected artists along with their home states. Seven hailed from Massachusetts, four from Maine, three from Connecticut, two from Rhode Island, and one from New Hampshire. DeCordova Assistant Curator Dina Deitsch, who had made the selections, with help from an advisory board that includes Mark Bessire, Director, Portland Museum of Art, George Fifield, Director, Boston CyberArts Festival, and Jennifer Gross, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Yale University Art Gallery, was quoted in the piece as saying “The goal of the 2010 Biennial is to provide a snapshot of the broad range of art practices that are currently happening in New England, while being mindful of the traditions that feed those very practices.”

If the goal had been a snapshot of greater Boston, or of states that touch the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont excluded was just fine. But Deitsch said “New England.” Our Daily Red’s article also mentioned: “the DeCordova is hoping to collaborate with alternative exhibition spaces throughout New England to ‘create multiple-site installations’ to link the ‘exhibition with [other] artistic hubs.’”

So to try to figure out why the DeCordova didn’t find a worthy Vermont artist, and perhaps how an invisible place could qualify as an officially sanctioned “hub,” I got in touch with curator Deitsch. She immediately cleared up some basic misconceptions, and imparted valuable background information.

Their biennial idea, new for 2010, is an outgrowth of the DeCordova’s past annual exhibitions and they “have never managed to represent all 6 New England states in a single show nor have we ever aimed to do so. The idea of these shows being that they are showcases for work being made in the New England region...” Deitsch said. That’s fair enough. Perhaps in the future they shouldn’t highlight where the artists are from, so that the odd states out won’t feel snubbed. Deitsch also wrote, “It is not intended to be a comprehensive, encyclopedic account of New England’s art scene, nor is it, in any way, considered to be a ‘best of’ show.” That’s a departure from the DeCordva’s 2007 show statement, which states, “Each year the DeCordova Annual seeks to feature some of the best, most innovative and gifted artists working in the region.” It’s good news that the subjective word “best” doesn’t apply anymore. That point really needs to be clarified to the public. The idea that biennials aren’t more important than annual shows and that the DeCordova doesn’t try to hang the “best” work it can find, ought to be communicated to galleries, collectors and maybe the selected artists as well.

Considering how little I knew of the world south of U.S. Route 4, some in-depth Google research about the DeCordova’s biennial selections was in order. Deitsch mentioned the museum’s show will feature “both emerging and established artists.” But how could they tell who’s emerging, and who’s staying submerged? While that’s a puzzle I couldn’t solve, I did discover that five or six of the high profile artists to be exhibited in the Biennial are of the video/performance category. Well maybe that seems excessive considering the stated objective, according to Deitsch, of looking at “a broad range of art practices,” and “being mindful of the traditions that feed those practices” but video is more intellectual and less entertaining than watching a typical big screen TV. The DeCordova will demonstrate that in 2010.

Unfortunately, I also saw some nasty postmodern clichés during my comprehensive, encyclopedic Google searches. Irony is to aesthetic content as cotton candy is to the Healthy Eating Food Pyramid, and it’s turning into one of those traditions that feeds contemporary artists. The phenomenon also devours everything in its path: formalism, introspection, beauty, genuine unfeigned angst. I’ve also noticed that just because someone has an idea, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Take 2010 Biennial artist Greta Banks’ quote from The Portland Phoenix regarding some of her new work: “Everyone has an anus but everyone goes out of their way to never admit that they have one...” Wow. Saint Thomas Aquinas couldn’t have said it better. Another Biennial artist, Randy Regier, has a piece that seems to be deconstructing the mythos of G.I. Joe? Liz Nofziger has other hackneyed doll references on her web site. In fairness, she has some interesting installations documented also - well, maybe not Verde, which is like Christo, except green.

The neo-sci-fi kitsch tradition of Alex Grey seems to be explored in all seriousness by Biennial artist Paul Laffoley’s mandalas. Designer Christopher Mir drops bombs on more or less the same rubble. Phil Lique’s 2-d art looks better than his installations, which seem rather self-important, and are nothing compared to what Dada was doing ninety years ago. Those selections are more like a snap shot of Chelsea in the 1990’s than of New England today. They don’t seem representative of the working class artists of New England I admire. Vermonters Bill Ramage or Alisa Dworsky really should have been Googled by someone at the DeCordova.

On the other hand -- again based on my “research” -- Biennial artists Laurel Sparks, Ward Shelley and August Ventimiglia’s installations do have some real meat on their bones. Oscar Palacio’s photography and anything by the distinguished Otto Piene are also going to be well worth seeing. Officially, the DeCordova wants to “put together a show that is visually compelling and has something to say about the state of contemporary art today,” and it will definitely say something. Yet to be seen is how much of the installed Biennial will be devoted to predictable, and ultimately insecure, “tropes” (to use the word de jour) that make so much contemporary fine art pretentious, Baroque, irrelevant and forgettable.

Regarding Vermont’s invisibility in 2010, the topic of such uppity discussions around here - nuff said. Our being incomparable to Boston, and visa versa, isn’t such a bad thing.

above: Bill Ramage. The Centripedal Gates of Kiev (detail), mixed media on canvas, 40-by-8 feet. Photo: Marc Awodey
Essay first appeared in Big Red and Shiny

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

REVIEW: Axel Stohlberg at City Center, Montpelier

By Theodore Hoppe

It has been noted in another Vermont Art Zine review that Axel Stohlberg is deserving of an art trophy for his tireless efforts to create intelligent and energetic exhibits of art. So, it is with no surprise that we call your attention to Axel Stohlberg's latest exhibit of drawing at Montpelier's City Center.

The beauty of his new drawings, like so much of Stohlberg's work, lies in their sheer simplicity. In art, as in life, simple is never easy, yet Stohlberg makes it appear effortless, the sign of a gifted artist. The white lines of the drawings are confidently executed on a black background, reversing the way the we normally see a drawing. This also engages the space around the drawings. There is the wall, but if we look inside the wall we can get the feeling of peering inside of something to see how it works, only to be confronted by things too complex to perceive with the eye alone: the x-ray of a body part, the enlarged etching on a computer chip, a diagram of how molecules interact. The lines and shapes vibrate and hum to create a progression of energy-like waves of heat or sound.

To some art is a product, a noun, to Axel Stohlberg art is a verb, a process.

Stohlberg’s drawings (along with the work of several other artists) remain at City Center through the end of July.

Monday, July 6, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: LOIS EBY at the Supreme Court

July 3 – August 28, 2009

A selection of Lois Eby’s abstract and improvisational works on paper and canvas will be featured at the Supreme Court in Montpelier from July 3 – August 28, 2009.

The show will include works created in 2003 as a stage backdrop for a jazz and poetry event, two works created in 2006 before a live audience in Amherst, MA, to accompany a jazz performance, and work created in her studio over the period 2005 - 2009.

Eby cites Asian ink painting as an influence on her work. Her eye was drawn to the rhythmic vitality of the calligraphic line, the open space, and the spontaneous energy of Zen ink painting. She also admires the free form improvisational approach to composition of avant garde jazz, and its multiple rhythms. She writes of her work, “When I paint, I pursue energy, a rhythmic vitality that moves through space and into and out of forms.” In addition, she describes herself as a nature painter, thinking of nature as the boundless universe in which forms emerge and disappear in space.

Eby is represented by West Branch Gallery and Sculpture Park in Stowe, Vermont. Her work can be seen online at, at the West Branch website, and at The Painting Center of New York’s Juried Art File.

The public is invited to an Opening Reception with the artist at the Supreme Court, 111 State Street in Montpelier, on Wednesday, July 8, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. The Supreme Court hours are Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Friday 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Contact: Tracy Martin: 802.828.0749

Above: Dancing in Amherst

Lois Eby,

60 x 44 inches, 2006.

Acrylic & ink on paper

Thursday, July 2, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Masterworks at BigTown Gallery

BigTown Gallery, 99 North Main Street in Rochester, VT presents Masterworks, featuring paintings by Pat Adams, William Bailey, Bernard Chaet, Lois Dodd, Paul Resika and Steve Trefonides.

The exhibit runs from July 8 - August 23 , with an opening reception on Saturday, July 11 at 5 PM.

Image: Poggio Manente, William Bailey, 1994, 18 x 21", tempera on paper

PRESS RELEASE: Viola Moriarty at Panda Garden

Bennington painter Viola Moriarty’s exhibit of her most recent work, “blocks of colour," opens with a reception at Panda Garden restaurant, 4519 Main Street / Route 7A in Manchester Center on Sunday, July 12, from 3 to 5 pm. The restaurant will serve appetizers and offer a cash bar. The work will be on display at Panda Garden through the middle of August. All paintings will be available for sale.

“blocks of colour” a collection of nine mixed-media and oil paintings, was inspired by an influential and haunting dream that began after she first began painting in June 2002, Moriarty says.

“I had a dream where certain dead painters and my very alive nephew were at the easel with me and they all kept saying ‘just move the blocks of color around.’ I couldn't understand, so my nephew finally walked forward and magically took apart the canvas and rearranged the color shapes, saying ‘See, just move the blocks of color around!’ At that moment I understood completely, and when I woke up I was sure I knew how to make the paintings in the dream! ...That is, until I got to the studio and realized I had no idea how to make them. I've had this dream so many times over the past seven years. Finally, with a little help from my colorful comrades, the dream is beginning to manifest in my waking life.”

PRESS: Black Birds at the Guild, St. Johnsbury

A new exhibition, “BLACK BIRD SINGING: a Celebration of Ravens, Crows, and Their Cousins,” opens July 8 in the Backroom Gallery of the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury and runs through August 18. The group show will display the work of twenty artists in such diverse media as paintings, prints, and works in clay, fiber, and metal. A wine and cheese reception for the artists will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the Guild, and the public is cordially invited.

Technically, crows and their cousins are songbirds. Like all members of the corvid family, crows are highly intelligent, very sociable, and have long fascinated humankind. “People who like corvids are passionate about them,” says Amanda Weisenfeld, whose work will be represented in the show. “I love ravens and crows because they are smart, clever, bold, playful, make wonderful sounds, and are fascinating to look at. There is nothing more powerful than coming across a ‘crow tree’ that suddenly explodes, propelling a mass of black birds swirling and sweeping up into the air. It takes your breath away.”

Other artists participating in the show include Sunnie Andress, Naomi Bossom, Linda Broadwater, Carolyn Guest, Joan Harlowe, Carol Keiser, Wendy Lichtensteiger, Susan McClellan, Carol MacDonald, Dorian McGowan, Sarah Munro, Ellen Spring, and Ashley Thompson.

More information on the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild is available at their website, .

REVIEW: Montpelier Sculptcycle, 2009

by Theodore Hoppe

The Montpelier Downtown Community Association always puts on a great Fourth of July party with a parade, music events, and a spectacular fireworks display. The association is also an active supporter of the arts and has again organized Montpelier SculptCycle for 2009. SculptCycle is a public art partnership that brings together a talented group of artists and a special group of sponsors. Intended to enrich the entire community, SculptCycle's goals are ambitious indeed: it fills Montpelier with great art made from recycled bicycle parts, highlights the importance of environmental stewardship by using local recycled materials, and promotes Montpelier as a bicycle-friendly destination.

There are a total of 19 sculptures that range from whimsical to thought-provoking. Part of the fun is to find as many as you can. There is a Map & Guide available (pick it up at several locations in town, or download it from the Sculptcycle website) that will direct you to each of the sculptcycles. Most of the pieces are in the downtown business area, but the locations also include the lawn of the Statehouse, the traffic circle, and Stonecutters Way. They will all be on display through the fall.

For further information about the participating artists and sponsors you can visit:

Photos by Theodore Hoppe (top to bottom):
Alternate Species by Delia Robinson, Gear Sphere by James Irving, Yes We Can Overcome by Patrick Purcell

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ESSAY: My Art Group

When I left Vermont in 1995, I went looking for More. More artists, more conversation, more noise, more action, galleries, art schools, a bigger pond to swim in. So I moved into an industrial artists building of 200 people, in Somerville, Mass, one of the densest art communities in the country. It took me 15 years before More felt like Too Much and I began yearning for Less. I was afraid though, that Less could mean isolation, disengagement, and a lack of stimulation. So I contacted my friend Janet Fredericks and asked her, who do we talk to about our work when we all live on separate mountain tops?

Not to worry. Janet invited me to lunch with Sally Linder. After a couple of lunches in town, Sally hosted an overnight meet and invited Cami Davis, Tari Swenson and Linda E. Jones. We dragged our artwork in through the pouring, icy rain and by the end of the night, we'd bonded. We were an art group now, joined over time by Nancy Taplin and Jane Pincus. We've been meeting more or less monthly for well over 18 months now. Five abstract painters, one collagist and me, the paper sculptor.

What do we do? We show new work, share struggles, divulge technical secrets, discover other artists. We eat, laugh, annoy or adore each other, go to far or not far enough. We argue both sides of narrative and abstraction, and obsess about what a certain mark is doing where it clearly does not - or does - belong, and ask, it is enough to pursue beauty while the world collapses?