Thursday, December 31, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Martin Luther King Celebration at T.W. Wood in Montpelier

The T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center presents a celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King and the contributions of African American Vermonters to our state’s rich history.

Supported though a generous co-sponsorship from the Vermont Historical Society, the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center is pleased to present a program which will combine the visual art of T.W. Wood - a selection of African American genre paintings, many done during the Civil War years; the words of Vermont scholars and preachers, Lemuel Haynes and Alexander Twilight and a stirring call to arms by the great statesman and orator, Frederick Douglass, performed by noted Vermont actor Edgar L. Davis; and concluding with a program of the music of the Civil War Era and African American Spirituals presented by members of Robert DeCormier’s Counterpoint Chorus.

This very special event will held in the Gallery and the Chapel located in College Hall on the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, 36 College Street in Montpelier, VT at 7:30pm on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

The program begins with Mr. Edgar Davis (shown at right) reading from the lives and works of theologian and writer Lemuel Haynes - the first African American ordained by the protestant Church in America and the first African American to receive an honorary Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College. This will be followed by a portrait and a sermon of Alexander Twilight – educator and minister – and the first African American to earn a baccalaureate from an American College – again from Middlebury College. Mr. Davis’s presentation will conclude with the stirring “Men of Color, To Arms!” delivered by abolitionist, writer and statesman Frederick Douglass, as a call to all soldiers in New England to join the Union cause during the Civil War.

The Intermission will be in the form of a reception in the gallery where a number of works by T.W. Wood from his African American Genre series, many painted during the years of the Civil War – will be on display.

The evening will conclude by musical selections by members of Robert DeCormier’s Counterpoint Chorus, performing selections from their well-known repertoire of Civil War Era songs and African American Spirituals.

Please join us for this special event celebrating the history and culture of African Americans in Vermont. Tickets are $20. General Admission, $15 Seniors (62 +) and $5 for Young People to age 18. Reservations are strongly encouraged and may be made by calling the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center at 802-828-8743 or via email at woodartgallery@ And please visit our web site at for further information about this and other exciting programs at “The Wood.”

Images: works by T.W. Wood; portrait of Edgar L. Davis by Ann Marsden

PRESS RELEASE: Karen Day-Vath at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans

St. Albans painter Karen Day-Vath will display a collection of recent works on the art wall at the Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans from January1 through January 31. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The works in this exhibit include flowers and landscapes, with some work incorporating new processes in mixed media and texture.

Ms. Day-Vath serves on the Executive Board of the Saint Albans Artist Guild. She is also a resident artist at the Staart Gallery in St. Albans.

Image: Daydream, 11 x 14", acrylic

Sunday, December 27, 2009

PREVIEW: ON THE PLANET at Flynndog January 5-8

A brief preview exhibit of artwork by four Vermont artists whose work is traveling to Nagoya, Japan for an international exhibit called ON THE PLANET will be mounted at Flynndog, 208 Flynn Avenue in Burlington, from January 5-8. The artists -- Sophie Hood, Janet Fredericks, Riki Moss, and Janet Van Fleet -- have produced work that references the issue of biodiversity, in recognition of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

The public is invited to attend a reception on Friday, January 8, from 5-8 PM during Burlington’s monthly First Friday Art Walk. A panel presentation about the art and the issue of biodiversity is planned for 6-7 PM. From 7-8 PM there will be music by Occam's Razor, a

rock band created at Dartmouth College that has been playing locally for 4 years. Occam's Razor's five full-time members (including Sophie Hood, one of the artists going to Nagoya) play both original music and covers spanning all times and genres.

The artists are offering related work in an online benefit auction at to help support transportation costs, and supporters are invited to use a PayPal donation button on their blog at

The exhibit will include the following works:

Sophie Hood: Sculpture(s) made of plastic bags ironed together as fabric.

Janet Fredericks: Installation of drawings made in the New Haven River

Riki Moss Sculptures of Abaca paper, including a 9 foot tree

Janet Van Fleet: a section of a 36 foot installation of painted metal discs

For more information, contact Janet Van Fleet at 802-563-2486. Images: Bag Creature by Sophie Hood, Paper Forest Installation by Riki Moss.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

INTERVIEW REPRINT: Stephen Orloske interviews Emily Wilson

This is our second reprint of an interview by Steven Orloske, originally posted on the Borough Gallery and Studio's blog. I saw the piece Looking Inside Out (three images of which can be seen in this review) in the hallway outside the Borough Gallery last week, and was completely absorbed by it for at least half an hour. It is a complex, engaging installation, mounted with perfect craftsmanship. Emily says that she will leave it up through the end of January. But, "since the SEABA entrance has inconsistent open hours right now," Emily says, "appointments can be made to view the piece by sending me an email at " -- JVF, ed.

Stephen Orloske: Your installations seem to burst, like they’re in the process of organic growth, yet they also have a careful, mathematical structure to them. What’s it like creating that effect? Is it mostly play, or agony to get it right?

Emily Wilson: This piece exemplifies the true process of site specific installation and the overall transformation of space, materials and limitations. I worked mostly from inspiration of the physical space. Responding to the layers of mortar and brick as well as the skylight, overall wall height and the room layout. I essentially was bursting during the actual installation. It was very physical. Full of movement, rhythm, gesture. It represents the energy, enthusiasm and ethic I have for my work. I wanted to create something that allowed others to step into a world that is completely created by me. The layering of colors, values of buttons and repetition are all intentional and especially constructed for this piece, in this space, for this show. At the end and nearer to its full completion I began to edit and add various components, which was challenging and the only part that became grueling. I was looking for a specific balance, simplicity and overall startling affect, which initially was hard to achieve. But as I became more familiar with the piece, within the space, I was able to finally distinguish what needed to be done in order to finish.

SO: If your installations start with the space, have you ever walked into space where you’ve been asked to create and felt intimidated or stumped? Have you ever had a space where you and it just did not get along?

EW: Only once that I really, really remember. Actually, it was one of the more important learning experiences in my artistic career. There was a project I was committed to in a corridor space. It was two walls outside of a gallery space and was a travel way for students to and from the stairs. There were two staircases that led up to this area, and two stairways that went to the level above. The walls were 10 feet high by 22 feet long, on both sides of a set of double doors that were in the middle, that led to the gallery. It wasn’t a challenging space, per se. It was relatively familiar. However, I thought I had developed this great plan, and I had, on paper. I had designed a piece that I thought was powerful, uniform, responded to the movement of the space, reached for simplicity, but had an overall impact. When I got there, I unpacked and took out my drawings and plans. And I had planned it so carefully I did exactly what I planned on paper… measured down to nails. 8 or 10 hours later, I stepped back. Done. Excited, because it looked exactly like my drawing, exactly what I wanted this planned, conceived project phenomenon to be. I left satisfied. The next day, as I approached the stairs as any other student would that day, I looked at the piece. And was so unimpressed. So lifeless, so perfect, so idealized. It didn’t respond to the space or communicate with it. Rather, it sat, placed on the wall, like a drawing. Planned, mediated, framed, matted, and hung. That night I took it down. I used the materials to build something within the limitations of the space, while trying to mimic the excitement and energy that Williams, the Art Building had. The next day when I approached the same stairs as I had the day before, I was psyched because it worked! I was interested in my own work on a whole new level and realized how essential the total engagement with the space is, and more so realized that the space is just as much a material as paint or paper is… it has color, depth, texture, mass amount… you respond to watercolor one way, you respond to brick in another.

SO: Your windows and paintings still have the same energy as your installations, yet they can’t start with a space. Where do you start with those pieces?

EW: They still start with space. In a sense I build my works from the medium I have, the limitations of the space I can work within, and other constraints. For example, I usually approach a new project with a very simple idea or inspiration. A quick thought about something I’m curious about or find appealing, and then I turn to what I have. Whether it be an 8′ by 10′ canvas, a postcard -sized piece of watercolor paper or a new storm window, I choose something to spark my interest further. Then I turn to unique materials and try to catch the specific energy, inspiration, and innovation in a two -dimensional or three -dimensional form, specifically in a design -oriented manner. Drawing is the best way for me to capture the exact product that I hope for or urge for in painting, installation and sculpture. I learn from my drawings the path to building other things. Even if they are not exact replicas of each other, they stem from each other and in turn progress each other.

SO: Is there any non-artistic, or non-creative activity that you do that in turn inspires or aids your art?

EW: I am not sure anything I do is non-artistic or -creative. I've realized that I approach most of what I do as a project, maybe even an installation project. Most of my daily tasks have the goal of being aesthetically pleasing and completed timely - in order to create a living environment I can flourish in. From folding clothes, to putting away the dishes to making my bed; each activity becomes a project in itself. I also have a lot of collections. I collect scarves, bags, funky jewelry, tea cups, small dishes… Each one of those have been inspirational in one way or another. I am also active. I like to run and hike… which might enhance the overall physicality of my pieces.

SO: When you were five what did you think your life at twenty-five would be like?

EW: I think I pictured myself as a grown up. Thinking it was much like playing house and setting up my dollhouse. I had mature hobbies at a young age, which enabled me to develop an extreme taste in home decoration and design. I remember thinking of grown up outfits and shoes… I never really thought of exactly what I would be doing for a job etc. Maybe that's why I am struggling now! But, the real answer is I think I always pictured myself being a grown up version of what I was then. Doing the same things I did then, but better because I could have my own house to set up in and car to drive. Ive been on an artistic journey since I was born. Going through phases of interest, talent, motivation and development.

You can read more about Emily Wilson on her blog at

Images above: "Looking Inside Out" 8' x 12', ribbon, yarn and nails, site specific installation Borough Gallery & Studio Entrance

PRESS RELEASE: Land, River, Sky: Paintings by Micki Colbeck At the Vermont Supreme Court

Land, River, Sky: Paintings by Micki Colbeck

At the Vermont Supreme Court

Strafford, Vermont painter Micki Colbeck is a musician and naturalist as well as an artist. While always present in her paintings, a lifelong interest in science and nature is especially evident in the dynamic canvases included in the show Land, River, Sky, on display at the Vermont Supreme Court from January 5 through February 26, 2010.

Viewing Colbeck’s landscapes one can sense the geology of a place and the changes it has undergone as a result of human interaction. A common theme of Land, River, Sky is the balance between wild and cultivated places; little pockets of humanity surrounded by forests.

Colbeck earned her graduate and undergraduate degrees in studio art and art education from Webster College in St. Louis. While at Webster, Colbeck studied with Phil Sultz, who was then producing huge abstract expressionist paintings. Already a figurative painter, she absorbed much from Sultz about color, brushstroke, and the organic experience of painting. “It is after all just paint” says Colbeck, “one’s interpretation of the life around.”

After twenty years spent raising two children and working as an art teacher in Missouri public schools, Colbeck moved to Strafford, Vermont in 1996. Eight years later, she built her studio and began painting daily. She has exhibited throughout the Upper Valley and is a member of Strafford Artworks and the Vermont Arts Council. She also serves as a co-curator at Open Museum, a non-commercial online site for viewing and sharing art. Colbeck’s paintings can be seen at Long River Studios in Lyme, New Hampshire and at her studio.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

INTERVIEW REPRINT: Stephen Orloske interviews Jude Bond

Over the next several weeks we will be reprinting some interviews with Vermont artists conducted by Steven Orloske and posted originally on the Borough Gallery and Studio's blog. -- Ed.

Borough Gallery and Studio: You often use images of “TV Women” from the mid-twentieth century. What do you think “TV Women” today are like? Are they prodding the same desires/anxieties as in the 60s, or do they present whole new problems for women and their identity?

Jude Bond: I grew up in the early days of television. My sister and I watched many shows about the supposed happy family life. There was Leave it To Beaver, Father Knows Best, The Donna Reid Show, and many more. The women in all these shows were moms and they were all “stay-at-home moms”. There was very little discussion about a career other than being a homemaker.

These women were running the household and not a corporation but were bright savvy women. They did all the cooking and the cleaning yet still had a certain glamorous appearance. Their houses were shiny, and so were they. These were “domestic goddesses”.

The women I recall as “Sirens” or “Sex Kittens” were single and appeared more often in film than in television. They were women like Marilyn Monroe and Ann Margaret. They were not usually wives and mothers. They were the girlfriends, or the object of some man’s desires.

In fact the most significant media role model I had as a girl was in literature not television or film; the incomparable Nancy Drew. This series for young girls had a powerful influence on me. Nancy gave me courage and hope through all of her adventures and escapades. She was afraid of nothing, and she was also smart and kind. She used her intellect and her sleuthing skills to help people, which appealed to me. When I was reading these books in the early 60’s there were few female heroines in literature for girls to emulate, and I was utterly and completely hooked.

A few years back I did a series about Nancy Drew. I re-read a couple of the books while working on the series and they are cheesy and dated, and yet so, so good. In the Secret of The Old Clock Nancy gets locked in a closet and manages to escape by using the closet pole as a lever to jimmy the door off its hinges, saves a child from drowning, rescues an old woman who had a bad fall, changes a flat tire, fixes a broken motorboat engine, and of course, also solves the secret in the old clock and brings a much deserved fortune to family and friends of a recently deceased gentlemen whose last will and testament could not be found. Whew! Wow! And all this while also dressing smartly and being warm and friendly to all she comes in contact with.

But back to television and your question…

What is most interesting to me about television shows from this time period is something no-one ever seems to talk about. This is the curious fact that there were several shows in which the mother had died. There was My Three Sons, Sky King, Bachelor Father, Bonanza, just to name a few. In these shows it was as if the absent mother enabled the surviving father and children, whether young or old, to take on roles they would not have been allowed to have otherwise. The men got to be the nurturers as in My Three Sons, or got to go on dates, as in Bachelor Father, or the female child got to have more adventures than perhaps an overprotective mom would have allowed, as in Sky King. This was also the case in the Nancy Drew mystery series. Nancy’s mother had passed away and her father was less protective than perhaps a tv or novel mom of that time would have been, allowing her to have a life filled with dangerous adventures.

TV women of today exemplify a much broader range of options than those of yesteryear. Today’s TV women are doctors, lawyers, cops, judges, car dealers, designers and moms and housewives. Yet, some of the same underlying stereotypes still apply and some of the same struggles exist. What I find most interesting about contemporary television is that one of the most popular shows is Mad Men, which is set in the 50’s and 60’s. Several of the key female characters intrigue us precisely because they do not fit the mold. They do not behave as we might expect from a show set in that time period. They are not kind and loving mothers, or good Catholic girls, or long suffering secretaries or wives. They are questioning their roles and daring to step outside the parameters of tradition.

BGS: Your art uses traditional domestic skills, stitching, quilting, etc… yet you say you’re not a “domestic goddess” yourself. What was it like learning these skills and applying them to art that asks the viewer to question their tradition?

JB: You are correct. I am not a Domestic Goddess. I come from a long line of Domestic Goddesses, but I did not inherit the gene. I grew up in a time when moms stayed home and cooked and cleaned and sewed and had dinner on the table each night with meat, potatoes, vegetables and a home-made dessert. My mom sewed matching dresses for my sister and me, knitted sweaters, stitched quilts, hooked rugs and embroidered pillow cases.

As a young girl I was taught to embroider, sew, and crochet. I spent many pleasant hours in solitude practicing these skills. I loved the techniques, but as I came of age I avoided them as if they would create snares that would trap me in the domestic life.

As an adult I returned to “women’s work” and the medium I love, to create works about home and domesticity, and to address issues of women’s roles in contemporary society. Using this medium to comment on the very thing that it has come to represent appeals to my sense of humor and irony. It also gives a new view to the long history of “women’s work” as fine art.

BGS: Snares and traps are also present in the creative process: creative blocks; anxieties and fears; addiction to research and information; getting caught in imitation of another’s work. Are there any traps your art has been caught in and now learned to avoid? Are there parts to your process where you must tiptoe to avoid being ensnared, and others where you can run without fear?

JB: This is an interesting question and very relevant to me. Over the years I have dabbled in many different mediums. What I have found is that when I do more traditional work, say painting or drawing, there is a constant voice in my head that says things such as “that is not the way it is done”, or “that is not good enough”, “you are not a painter” etc.

I am very drawn to traditional landscapes and still lifes. If you saw the art work that adorns the walls in my home you might be surprised, as it consists almost exclusively of paintings that were purchased for a few bucks each at yard sales. These paintings touch me with their earnestness and encourage me to try again someday when perhaps the voices have abated.

In contrast, when I work intuitively with a vast array of elements gathered from near and far, I never hear these discouraging voices. Quite the opposite, I get energy and encouragement from the elements I piece together; from the doilies, undies, gloves and textiles. I feel completely free to make the work the way I wish to, and in the way that my muses lead me. The only things that hold me back are technical issues, and then I just set out to learn the new skills necessary to complete the work the way I envision it. Often these technical solutions come to me in dreams and I awake in the morning with a pleasant little “aha”.

I am happy to say that I have never had a creative block since I began to make art seriously. I feel very blessed in this regard. I awake every day bubbling with ideas and am blocked only by time constraints placed on me by real world demands, such as work, socializing with other humans, and ordinary daily tasks.

BGS: Do you have an idilic home/lifestyle that lives in your head? Throwing away all of reality’s restraints, what would your typical idilic day consist of?

JB: My ideal scenario is as follows: I am independently wealthy. My home is in the countryside. It is a beautiful old rambling farmhouse. There are rolling fields for long walks and a brook or pond for dipping on hot summer days. My studio resides in a refurbished barn with high ceilings and lovely views. There is plenty of organized storage for my collections of art making materials. I have the time and money to go on seasonal forays to hunt and gather at rummage sales, yard sales and thrift shops for unique art making finds. I have a once a year give-away to move wonderful materials back out into the world for others to utilize and enjoy. There is a beautiful space in my studio to teach workshops and classes for adults.

Most mornings I awake early and carry my coffee to the studio to begin my day. Most days are spent here. I do not have to earn a living through my teaching or my art or craft work, but choose to volunteer in the Early Arts program I now coordinate. Once or twice a week I go into town to teach art to preschoolers in their classrooms. This keeps me in touch with the joy, spontaneity, and seriousness of art making. The children inspire me and keep my work fresh and make me feel like I am giving back to the community in some small way.

I am still a member of 215 College Gallery, so I have the support, encouragement and opportunities that provides. I also show at other galleries across the country from time to time and have the flexibility in my schedule to allow for these travels and opportunities. Life is good!

See more of Jude Bond's work at the 215 College Gallery website.

Images (top to bottom):
Jude Bond in front of Niagara Falls, 7x11' hand painted backdrop; Yo Yo Domestic Goddess/Sex Kitten (detail);
Hand in GLove #2, textile; Finger in the Pie, art textile, 2007; Tomatoes, textile and metal sculpture

Thursday, December 10, 2009

REVIEW: Survey: 215 College Gallery Group Exhibition at Living/Learning Gallery

Unfortunately this exhibit closed on December 4, so you can't see it for yourself, but we thought it was good to get it on record and at least allow our readers to see it through Emily and Shawna's eyes. -- Ed.

By Emily Wilson and Shawna Cross

Earlier this month we traveled up the hill to UVM from our headquarters at Borough Gallery and Studio on lower Pine, in support of the 215 College Gallery exhibition installed in the Living and Learning Gallery. Because of Borough Gallery and Studio's interest in connecting with local artists, venues and community art programs we truly support the overall mission of the 215 College Gallery and wanted to respond to their latest exhibit. The exhibition titled Survey: 215 College Gallery Group Exhibition was on display at the L/L Gallery from November 2 until December 4th. The show consisted of eleven artists with either one or two showcased pieces, including works on canvas, paper, photography, sculpture and site specific installations.

The gallery itself is nestled in the Living Learning quarters of the UVM campus, on the second floor near to the Fireplace Lounge, which situates it among young energy, academia and shifting traffic. This juxtaposition enables the gallery to become a space of quiet contemplation, and takes you a step away from the hustle and bustle of undergraduate study. As you enter the room you notice its very box-like quality, clean white walls and very balanced layout. This contrast and shift from spaces surrounding the gallery is an intriguing aspect of the overall gallery experience. This relationship heightens the appeal of actually entering the gallery space and presents it as almost intimate to approach. The show installation was thoughtfully mediated and very carefully planned out in order to give weight to each artist and each piece. There seemed to be a natural path beginning to the left of the door as you entered. As you followed the perimeter of the room from a Sumru Tekin drawing to a pair of prints by Rosie Prevost, there was a sense that most of the pieces were similar in scale and allowed you to move from one two-dimensional piece to the next two-dimensional piece. However, just as you thought you were on to the next, there was an element of surprise with a subtle sculptural addition, which truly added excitement to the overall viewer experience because the room was so linear.

Sumru Tekin's Rough Draft, a pencil and ink drawing on marbled paper, peaked our interest as we first began our venture through this intriguing exhibition. Its swirling colors and winding lines called out for careful attention, drawing us in further to what this story tells.

Rosie Prevost's pair of black and white prints stood proud, simple, and were reflective, in both the image and the presentation, of ones capacity for extreme attention to detail.

Diane Gabriel’s set of three gelatin prints – Halloween, NY State; Children Playing, Huntington VT; Two Children Playing, Huntington, VT – created a vivid landscape of felt moments as their subjects’ emotions leapt through the frame. Movement vibrated through the frame as our eyes wandered through blurred edges to an eventual sharp center, creating the sense that as a viewer you've suddenly stumbled upon secrets, invoking a stunning sensation of absolute silence.

Jennifer Koch's silvery, Eiffel tower-like, shoe-trapping structure casually stood, as if a woman in uncomfortable heels, in the left quadrant of the room. Four sides, four legs, tilted, filled with silvery shoes (perhaps mostly 8 1/2) was curiously enchanting.

Linda Jones' mixed media piece Right On It tugged at our curiosity and brought waves through the mind as its bold oranges and captivating yellows rumbled upwards, eventually highlighted perfectly by vivid, bright violet precisely where the eye asks it to be. Its loud chaos left us dying to know what it is saying.

Sandra Berbeco's acrylic landscape Autumn, with its tender approach to each application of paint, was reminiscent of a memory traveled before.

Kate Donnelly's series Heritage was hung in both presentation and process as if exemplifying the various layers and faces of ones own heritage. In utilizing cut paper, repetition and scale, these pieces linked all that is authentic about building imagery to explain a series of ideas.

Jude Bond's solid presence lingered delicately in the back right hand corner of the space. First, we encountered Hunger is the Best Sauce, where we felt as if the movement of the potato masher realistically implied the action and the overall movement of mashing potatoes, visually as well as physically, and created this very real transformation beyond the domestic realm. Then draping, growing, clinging, limited by constraints, Bond's installation Home is Where the Doilies Are was just as much about the positive space of the actual construction of multiple layers of crocheted doilies as it was about the negative space, visible in the shadows created by how the piece was installed.

Elise Whitmore-Hill's acrylic Crown of Thorns brought on the nostalgia of the fall season. Her painterly application of warm tones ranging from orange to brown to green were perfectly planted on the canvas, combining whimsical brush strokes and strong line quality.

Katherine Hall's installation of 13 encaustic dog heads confronted you snout on near the end of the show. The dogs, molded and styled, hung in rows, as if piled in a dog pyramid. Each expression was as detailed as the next; this installation barked presence and definitely got your attention.

Mary E. Johnson's three silver gelatin prints provided fantastic light quality and crisp, yet still fluid, images of personal moments as we wandered through Aunt Helen, Gram, and Aunt Angie. These stunning photos invited the viewer to stay a while, pour some tea and chat.

Survey: 215 College Gallery Group Exhibition tapped on the viewer's mind and left an imprint on the heart with its images varying from loud and bold sculptures and abstracts to soft and quiet photos and landscapes. The personal and inviting nature of the exhibition as a whole allowed your thoughts to wander to your own family and special memories, as well as take privledged views into the artists'. 215 may as well have invited their viewers to tea and friendly conversation, only to then spike the tea and gently challenge all previously held ideas and notions, urging everyone to look closer, listen more and open their minds wider -- because that is certainly what they did. For that, Burlington's art community is lucky.

Images of visitors at the opening reception courtesy of Jude Bond

Friday, December 4, 2009

REVIEW: The Word Show at Flynndog

by Riki Moss

Curator Sharon Webster, poet and visual artist, is interested in the collision of word and image as they play off each other in work that depends equally on the language and the image. To explore this theme, she's put together a provocative show of 8 artists working in a variety of media. Her own work explores an exciting range of collisions: handwritten letters strung across digital prints, words highlighting images, found objects placed over text, etc.

Within the guidelines of the show, each artist interpreted the theme freely.

Maggie Stanley, also a poet, writes freehand across the canvas, creating lines of a map filled in with oil paints and pastels. Words and images merge, dissolve and reappear colliding explosively in abstractions of brilliant color where words become lines and images burst into pure shapes and color.

In contrast, PK Ellis uses a muted palette to unify separate elements of words and images. At times the words are strung in sentences around root balls, other times she uses pages, or the books themselves, one of them open to a page with an image that seems to be a root, or bush or root ball - hard to tell in the dim light of the Flynndog. Playing with natural found objects: twigs, roots and the accoutrements of reading and writing - pens, glasses, books - she creates small exquisite sculptures that are both mysterious and nostalgic.

By looking for work that depends equally on the language and the image, Webster assumes that they can co-exist in the same piece as two different tools used to create a whole experience. At times I find the experience jarring, as if that part of my brain engaged with the visual piece is pushed aside by some other part that pops up to read the words, as if in order to read, it's necessary to disassociate (reluctantly) from immersion in the visual.

The two large collage assembles hanging side by side on the brick wall confounded me at first - Do I look? Do I read?

At first, Winnie Looby's enormous piece comes off as a collage of random elements on paper - images, thoughts, notes, events, drawings - tacked together and framed on top by a painting of a pelvis and on the right by one of a skeleton, and on the left by a beautiful cascading paper river of painted words, which turns out to be Neruda's poem, Los Nacimientos (births). It's the reading of the poem: We will never remember dying. We are so patient about being, noting down the numbers, the days, the years and the months, the mouths we kissed...that suggests the nature of the collage: these are the artist's notes of her being, the numbers, the months etc.

Roger Coleman's adjacent collage/assemblage provides a similar experience, moving in and out of perspectives. The initial vision is so visually rich, that once you absorb the beauty of the piece, the elegant palette, you're drawn to "read" each element, the separate images in the collages as well as the text, which are poems by Coleman's collaborator, Anna Blackmer. The text/image relationship is perfectly balanced, the context as richly poetic as the collages. The poems are typed on top of 78 vinyl records, an association that isn't just a strong visual element but which also points to the quality of the prose, questioning, poetic and self-absorbed, as if you're in someone's mind, or else picking up a conversation in the background. It's audible. If this is the snow at the end of the world, we're looking/listening.

In Alex Stohlberg's deceptively simple and exquisite small paintings/drawings the words drift through the pictorial plane with the same velocity as the images. The words don't describe, the pictures don't illustrate: they exist on the same plane, with exactly the same value. Would you know what the painting was "about" without the sentence below? Not explicitly, but still, you would know.

The two artists from the formidable, courageous paper making project Combat Paper, Jon Turner and Drew Cameron, add another element to this project: interactivity. By writing the purpose of the project on hand-made sheets strung on a line of wood with the one image- vehicle, gun, squatting soldier - you're hooked in the narrative. Once you read that the paper's made out of shredded uniforms, you're aware of the message. And finally, when you see the combat boots, vehicles now for paper prayers of the viewers, you're hooked on the response.

PRESS RELEASE: Holiday Art Show at SPA in Barre

Through December 31 Studio Place Arts (SPA) offers an annual Holiday Art Show on all 3 floors of its historic building in downtown Barre. Visitors will discover an ever-changing collection of fine art and crafts, creatively displayed, and accessibly priced. The artwork is made by an exceptionally talented group of member artisans who primarily are from central and northern Vermont. A handsome, 4-foot wizard with an owl perched on his shoulder, carved from wood by Scott Crocker, greets visitors at the front of the SPA building . Visitors are encouraged to hang their coats, slow down, and enjoy a mug of hot tea along with the artwork.

The walls of SPA are hung with more than 200 paintings, collages, photographs, drawings, a variety of prints (e.g., block, monotype, stone lithograph), and paper works. The subjects and sizes vary widely, offering many options for homes, offices, and institutional settings. On the first floor, for example, botanical enthusiasts will be drawn to the detailed watercolor paintings of tree leaves rendered by Susan Sawyer of South Woodbury, the lush scarlet, layered encaustic poppies by Beth Kendrick, and the vivid lime and red canvas of a gardener at work by Marc Awodey. Animal lovers smile at the 4 small, earth-toned acrylic canvasses of a playful dog by Heidi Broner, a gaggle of hens rooting for food by Kathy Ravenhorst Adams, and humorous, bright blue, paper mache dog assemblages by David Klein. Landlocked Vermonters taste the salt in the air upstairs in a group of seascape oil paintings by Candy Barr and a detailed watercolor painting of sailboats bobbing at sea by Michael Ridge.

Throughout the main floor gallery, there are islands of jewelry, hand-made baskets and one-of-a-kind buttons, ornaments, handcrafted furniture, and crafts made from clay, fiber, glass, wood, and even recycled license plates. There are burnished, sawdust-fired clay vessels by Elizabeth Roman in an array of rust and black tones, which are displayed alongside a collection of winsome porcelain dolls and clay sculptural vases by Georgia Landau.

Luxurious, hand painted silk scarves by Maggie Neale hang next to bold, hand embossed velvet scarves and pillows by Tausha Sylver, which are arranged next to richly-colored, turned wooden vessels by Joe Bedard. In addition there are quirky sculptures for the mechanically inclined art lover by John Brickels and Aaron Stein has shaped historic license plates into hip-looking cuff bracelets, light switch plates, and a chic wine holder. A wide variety of art enthusiasts are enjoying the selection and spirit of the Holiday Art Show at SPA. There are expanded hours at SPA starting December 8, including evening hours on Thursdays. Call 479-7069 for information on current gallery hours.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Helen O'Donnell etchings at Amy's Bakery and Art Cafe in Brattleboro

Helen O'Donnell of Twin Vixen Press has a show at Amy's Bakery and Arts Café for the month of December. Included in the show are five new black and white etchings. There is an opening reception Friday December 4th from 5:30 to 8:00. Amy’s Bakery and Arts Café is located at 113 Main Street in Brattleboro. The show will be up through the month of December.

Image: Walk to the Pond, etching

REVIEW: Two new exhibits at Catamount in St. Johnsbury

by Janet Van Fleet

The two new exhibits at Catamount in St. Johnsbury are Critters and Thea Storz and the Kirby Quilters, both on exhibit through the end of December, with a public reception from 5:00pm – 7:00pm Friday, December 11. The public is cordially invited to attend this reception free of charge. Refreshments will be served.

The Kirby Quilters, one of the most community-spirited and committed organizations in the Northeast Kingdom is celebrated in Thea Storz and the Kirby Quilters. The exhibit spotlights the work of group member Thea Storz. Storz, who recently finished The Great Kirby Documentary Quilt, a huge project featuring hundreds of images of the town's people, after three years of work. The exhibit shows a selection of Storz's quilts and photos (many of which, such as the image at right, appear on the quilt as cyanotype prints on fabric). Also on display are a variety of group and individual quilts that the Kirby Quilters have completed over the years. The Great Kirby Documentary Quilt (seen at right in the image above left) is the centerpiece of the exhibit, displayed on several standing racks in the gallery. A visitor could spend an hour looking at all the photos on fabric that both celebrate and monumentalize the individuals and families who live in Kirby. This is exactly the kind of exhibit that we hope for in a community-based visual arts venue, and Catamount should be commended for mounting it.

In the other half of the gallery, Critters features animals, both wild and domesticated, variously depicted by Catamount Gallery Group artists.

One of my favorites was Patty Mucha's Two Cats, with a Japanese-y gestural ink drawing of leaping cats.

Bob Manning's A Vermont Family, a Work in Progress (left), 1999-2009 features a jumble of painted cutouts of the human and animal members of his family. Many people really DO feel that their animals are part of their families.

Friends (right) by Amy Delventhal is another look at the bonds of affection between human and animal, in the girl-and-her-horse mode.

And finally, it was good to see a piece that wasn't as immediately accessible. Meryl Lebowitz's mixed-media piece Taming the Best (That's what it said on the tag; did it mean Taming the Beast?) is a wonderful riot of animal-and-plant colors, mixed with crushed bottle caps and bits of photographs. In the center is a photo of a person guardedly holding out a hand to what might be... US, the viewer, seen though an aperture ringed by either teeth or machine bolts. Or both. Wow, lots of think about!

PRESS RELEASE: First Friday at Gatto Nero in St. Johnsbury

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: "A Partridge in a Pear Tree" at Lazy Pear in Montpelier

A Partridge in a Pear Tree, on exhibit through December 31, 2009, features works by over 15 gallery artists. The show is a perfect opportunity for finding a special gift that will be cherished for years to come.

The Lazy Pear Gallery will host a opening reception during the Montpelier Art Walk on Friday, December 4, from 4 - 8 pm to give the public an opportunity to meet the artists and talk about their work.

Images: Mary Jo Krolewski soft sculptures, left and Beth Robinson ornaments, right

PRESS RELEASE: Craft Emergency Relief Fund celebration!

Craft Emergency Relief Fund holds art stimulus celebration and holiday bash

When: 5:30-8:30 Friday Dec. 4

Where: Wood Art Gallery, College Hall, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier

Contact: 229-2306

Eat, bid, be merry and make art, too, at CERF’s first art stimulus bash at the Wood Art Gallery in Montpelier on Dec. 4. Your host for the evening is the inimitable emcee David Schutz. Gabrielle Dietzel and Suzanne Rexford Winston will be on hand to help you make paper arts. The eatery Kismet is catering the nibbles; the Black Door is providing the cash bar; and Lewis Franco and the Missing Cats is supplying the gypsy swing. The silent auction includes pottery by Jules Polk, Lana Wilson, Linda Schutz and Bonnie Seidman; glass by Josh Simpson; paper arts by Polly Allen; and jewelry by Thomas Mann, Kerstin Nichols, Jaclyn Davidson and Lochlin Smith.

Proceeds from the auction go to help support CERF, a Montpelier-based, national nonprofit that provides no-interest loans, grants and services for artists facing career-threatening emergencies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: The Place You Hang Your Hat closing reception


The Place You Hang Your Hat Closing reception: December 4th, 5pm-9pm

BOROUGH GALLERY & STUDIO 180 Flynn Avenue (through the SEABA entrance), Burlington Borough Gallery & Studio wants to extend an invitation for you to join them and their creative cohorts for the closing of their latest exhibition “The Place You Hang Your Hat.” The show, which opened at the beginning of November, will be closing on December 6th with a local cooperative celebration. The show includes ten artists from Burlington, greater Vermont, New York, and Philadelphia who will display work centered around the theme of "home." Works for sale include pieces on canvas and wood, photography and mixed media installations. During the opening reception live music by Mathias Kamin will take place from 6pm-9pm. Borough Gallery & Studio and its neighbors Vintage Inspired and Miss Pickles Attic, also opening their doors and presenting a holiday display, are located at 180 Flynn Avenue via the SEABA entrance.

Curated by resident artists Emily Wilson and Shawna Cross, "The Place You Hang Your Hat" represents the varying ideas and observations about what an artist calls home. Each artist was asked to contemplate their definition of home and write a Home Statement to be displayed at the show. With these statements as a guide, images with an emphasis on togetherness, space, or randomized inanimate objects soon reveal that notions of home are unstable and unlimited and ultimately transient. To make a home is a journey and these artist have drawn inspiration from both its comforts and uncertainties, both domesticity and wilderness, and through their work offer a place to hang your hat. For information about these artists work and perceptions of their work, in addition to more images please check out our artists interviews, conducted by resident author Stephen Orloske on our website.

On display inside and outside the studio, artists exhibiting in "The Place You Hang Your Hat" include mixed media installations by Jude Bond and Emily Wilson; paintings by Shawna Cross, Philip Hardy, Cristin Manner, Rachel Moore, and Adam Wimble; Photography by Kathryn Combs and Jon Demske; stories by Stephen Orloske; Open Studios of Mary Heinrich Aloi and Richard Corbet of Vintage Inspired LLC and Miss Pickles Attic; and live music by Mathias Kamin.

For more information or to schedule a tour please contact Shawna Crossvia email at, 802-782-1675 or Emily Wilson,

TOP IMAGE: Emily Wilson "Looking Inside Out", 8' x 12' , ribbon, yarn and nails, site specific installation Borough Studio and Gallery Entrance
MIDDLE: Jon Demske "R, S" Digital Fine Art Print 18" x 24"
BELOW:Philip Hardy "Burning Desire" Oil on canvas, 20" x 30"