Thursday, January 28, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Dragon Dance Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont

Dragon Dance Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont

Beginning Saturday, February, 6, 2010 Dragon Dance Theatre will exhibit a series of large masks at the City Center in Montpelier, Vermont. The City Center is open every day. This mask exhibit will be open to the public and free of charge until Saturday, March, 6. This exhibit comes to you thanks to the Artist Resource Association and the invitation of Jane Pincus.

The masks on exhibit will be, a selection of larger masks, from Dragon Dance shows that you might have seen during the early part of the last decade. The masks are made of papier maché, and painted with acrylics, making them light weight and durable.

Dragon Dance Theatre was founded in Vermont in 1976. Many local artists have participated in Dragon Dance production over the years both in Vermont and in Mexico. Since 2004 Dragon Dance has been on tour, crossing back and forth from Mexico to Europe and performing in France and Finland as well as Queretaro and Puebla, Mexico.

Usually we make new masks for each show and leave the masks with our hosts. We have considerable collections of masks at different sites where we have created theatre works; here on Hunger Mountain, but also in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico and Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro, Mexico and in Ii, Finland. Not to forget a formidable collection of masks in Montpellier, France. As more and more characters appear and as the number of masks grows we begin to imagine an exhibit of all the masks with a fanciful title like, People of the World. Imagine giant space with hundreds of masks lining the halls but also climbing up the atriums filling the spaces, hanging from the ceilings, covering all the windows, and representing not only the multitude of humanity but also the brotherhood of humanity.

This exhibit at city center can be seenas a first step in the process of organizing such a big show. Here we have brought together masks of people from the Americas; people from Mexico, some of them recognizable and people from the Caribbean, plus a few personalities from literature, the long nosed adversary from The Master and Margarita, the guide and companion from Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, the accuser from The Devil and Daniel Webster.

We hope you enjoy the exhibit. If you would like to know more about Dragon Dance and our activities please visit our webpage;

If you would like to be on our mailing list, you can reach us at: and send us your e mail.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Artists of GRACE 2010 on display at the State House cafeteria

A show of art entitled, Artists of GRACE 2010, will open in the cafeteria of the Vermont State House in Montpelier on Friday, January 29th and will run through March 1st.

GRACE (Grassroots Art and Community Effort), a not-for-profit organization based in Hardwick, Vermont, provides programs that discover, develop and promote self-taught artists. GRACE brings weekly art making workshops to the places where people live and work including; nursing homes, mental health centers, senior meal sites, adult day centers, and artists' homes. GRACE workshop facilitators travel to workshop sites throughout northern Vermont, conducting over 500 workshops annually.

The State House show includes works by some newer GRACE program participants alongside those of artists whose work may be more familiar to viewers, including works by beloved GRACE artists, Gayleen Aiken and Merrill Densmore.

Works by GRACE artists have been exhibited nationally and internationally and many have found their way into the collections of museums and individuals. Barbara R. Luck, Curator of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in Williamsburg, Virginia has stated that “works produced by GRACE artists quite often exhibit extraordinary aesthetic quality and appeal, and they may be judged entirely on their own merits.”

Artists of GRACE 2010 was sponsored, in part, by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Works displayed in the show are for sale with 65% of the proceeds going to the artists and 35% going toward continued programming. For further information, contact GRACE at (802) 472-6857 or

The State House cafeteria is open to the public Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Tuesday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Monday, January 25, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Andy Warhol: Fashionistas and Celebrities

Building on a recent gift to the Fleming Museum from the Andy Warhol Foundation of rarely-seen photographs and Polaroids, Andy Warhol: Fashionistas and Celebrities presents a select group of these images, which offer a glimpse into the world of fashion and celebrity from the 1970s and 1980s. Collectively they position Warhol as a figure at the nexus of a world where art, fashion, and celebrity converged.

The show includes photographs of such fashion icons as Halston, Carolina Herrara, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, and Diane von Furstenberg, among others, and will highlight Warhol's impact or influence upon their careers. Celebrity likenesses include those of Muhammad Ali, Paul Anka, Henry Fonda, Henry Kissinger, and Dracula, as well as a host of artists including Georgia O'Keefe, and Gilbert and George. For Warhol, photography was more than a medium indexical to the real; it was a fictionalizing tool that represented the very aspirations on which Warhol based his career: it could actively manufacture celebrity and, ultimately, identity itself. Fashion has a similar transformative power.

Friday, January 22, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Goddard College Art Gallery Opening

Inaugural Reception for the Goddard Art Collection January 29, 2010

The Goddard community will celebrate the gifts of paintings, sculptures and other art donations from friends of the College with a reception on Friday, January 29th from 3:00-5:00 pm. Please join us as we celebrate the inception of the Goddard College Art Gallery.

The collection includes works from Joseph Epstein, Bread & Puppet Theatre, 19th century prints from the collection of Richard Hathaway, and many more artists that have passed through Goddard.

The public is welcome and refreshments will be served. The reception will be held in the Elliott Pratt Library Conference Room on the Plainfield campus.

The formation of this permanent gallery space will be dedicated to the growing collection of art at Goddard College and be a resource for students and community members for decades to come.

For more information, contact Michelle Barber at 802-322-1617 or or visit

image: Jacob Epstein sculpture, photo taken by Dustin Byerly.

Monday, January 18, 2010

INTERVIEW: Part Two, Fran Bull and "In Flanders Fields"

By Janet Van Fleet

Ed: This is Part 2 of an interview with Fran Bull, in which we talk about the background and inspiration for her installation In Flanders Fields. You can read Part 1 here.

JVF: A project of this size must take quite a while to put together! How long have you been working on it?

FB: For almost two years now, taking into account the work in Barcelona and the work in my Vermont studio. I leave in March for Barcelona again, where I plan to continue work on this installation.

JVF: Tell us a little bit about the original motivation for this project, and how it came about. Did it come full-blown out of a response to the poem In Flanders Fields, or did the poem kind of bring together some thoughts and ideas you'd been having for awhile?

FB: Janet, I almost can’t recall the precise moments when a series of paintings I was working on entitled Dark Matter moved into etching and became Season of Bones and when Season of Bones evolved and became In Flanders Fields—all during the past four years.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” came to me, emerged from the Rolodex of the mind, (as I’m fond of calling my faculty of memory), memorized in its entirety, (probably from grade school) and I use it here to symbolize all war, all battlefields, through human history. “Flanders Fields” is for me, the metaphysical locus of all battles fought by human beings to solve interpersonal dilemmas—economic, social, religious and otherwise.

Poetry exerts a powerful influence on my visual art. In Flanders Fields, the poem, arrived concurrently with an impulse to move into work that treated the subject of war blatantly. I took it gladly for the overall title of the installation. The poet Frank Reeve, who has read his mordant, sardonic political poetry at Gallery in-the-Field, sent the poet James Scully to my studio while I worked in early stages of the piece. Scully sent me his powerful poem Gaza soon afterwards. Frank had sent me Scully’s wonderful poem that takes off from Donatello’s sculpture of the young biblical King David, Donatello’s Version. I include those two poems in the show, which thus far has gathered into itself a number of elements: poetry, literary quotations, sculpture, etching, flags, banners, and will soon have a series of collage works, large scale sculpture and a Performance piece.

I add, most humbly, I write poetry as well. Certain images showed up in my poetry long before finding their way into the art – mummies, bones, things found on archeological dig. I am mad for these objects – how they look and feel (to the eye) after having been buried for centuries. I find them to have a poignancy and a beauty that invokes transcendent themes such as death and love and what survives or remains for the living – the relics, the tattered fragments, the shards, the stories and histories, the lesson – and of course, the mysteries, the questions that go unanswered and merely hover there, tantalizingly. Early on, I had never seen myself as a political or activist artist, preferring instead to focus on issues relating to art itself, to the contemporary conversation around formal concerns. At a certain point in my life I moved away, very naturally, from self-referential concerns in art and shifted my focus to the world at large. I found myself wanting to respond to global issues, terrible injustices and horrors – as an artist, but through a mythic prism, to try and discern the cosmic dramas being enacted in the present world, and to find in current events the age-old stories. Locating the mythic within the quotidian is a way to apprehend a larger dynamic and to see events in an a-historic, timeless context.

Early in the nineties I took up a range of social issues, Women’s issues in particular, in my art, and these works were my way to respond to feelings of outrage and grief, and they became a way for me to translate response into “responsibility”, or some would say, symbolic action. I looked to such artists as Picasso, who through Guernica and the preliminary drawings for same, commented powerfully on War; to Daumier, who characterized the human condition in a series of satiric paintings and sculptures; to Goya, whose exquisite copper plates for Desastres de la Guerra and Los Disparates I saw in Madrid. These artists and others were and are still sources of inspiration.

The painting series Dark Matter (for images see my web site and go to Painting/Dark Matter) was inspired by strong feelings I had, and still have, regarding the so-called Iraq “War”. I have no wish to denigrate brave soldiers who choose a military life and its consequences, but I see this war more as the willful, profligate vandalizing of a country.

In Dark Matter (Above: Figure in the Ground Group, 2007, each 12x12"), while many of the pieces are abstract, they are intended as images of a “cover-up”, just as the real nature of and reason for this war has been covered up. I suggest that the luxurious folds and drapery, such as found in Renaissance art, conceal bloodshed and body parts-- heads, legs, torsos as well as broken, contorted machinery—the grotesque and hideous covert facts of this war, covered in “gold and velvet”, in silks and brocades, concealing atrocity and senseless wasting of lives.

JVF: Tell us about the materials you’ve been using for these pieces.

FB: A friend, Robin Carter, an artist who specializes in decorative interiors, suggested the use of Italian plaster when I shared my vision for the Dark Matter series. This stuff is a viscous calcium carbonate, a thick slurry. You shape it and as it dries, it returns to a stony state--limestone, becoming very hard and stable. It turned out to be the perfect material with which to create this work, along with the sculptural pieces that came afterward for In Flanders Fields.

Other materials used included what are often called mixed media. I used materials that I found in the building of the overall image. Styrofoam crates, especially large ones made to encase particular items for shipping, were turned into plinths and pedestals. For the Larks (among other materials, including muslin) I used wooden sticks, Gorilla glue and whatever worked to build armatures. The Poppies (see below) were put together with sticks, Styrofoam and metal screening—I see this way of working as a kind of improvisational approach—the materials were put together, securely yes, but in the spirit of a kind of 3-D sketch aimed at creating an illusion.

JVF: How about the two-dimensional work?

I am very fortunate to be working with master printer Virgili Barbara, of the Barcelona family of master printers and editors. Virgili has been a collaborator and mentor for ten years now. His father Joan (Catalan for Juan) worked with Picasso to make some of the latter’s great and innovative etchings. Virgili grew up working with such greats as Miro, Saura, Chillida, Dali, Cruspinera and many others. Far from taking a traditional approach to printmaking, Virgili continually urges innovation, and supports it in his shop (see below).

Every year since 2000 I have made etchings in this workshop (Taller 46). In 2008 I created the series Season of Bones based upon a startling image I found in Archaeology Magazine of two human skeletons found buried in an embrace. These were discovered in Italy and were determined to be around 4000 years old. Working with this image led me to a deep personal meditation on love and death, and I attempted, in my artist’s way, to penetrate to the mystery presented by the image in the photograph, to ask perhaps some of the same questions scientists might ask, such as who were these people, how did they die, why were they together in this particular way, etc. and to attempt to answer them in an artist’s way, through imagination and intuition. The body of work I eventually completed is my speculation on these questions, and my riff on the photographic image as I found it in the magazine.

From Season of Bones (see left), the odyssey towards Flanders Fields progressed. I’d already begun the large sculptural piece, the Wall of the Fallen Ones in my Vermont studio, when I returned to Barcelona early in 09. The poem In Flanders Fields served as a blueprint, and as an image for this current Installation and became my meditation on War and a personal plea for peace. Beyond this intention is a larger aim: to join with those for whom the paradigm of War itself as a solution for human dilemmas is no longer viable.

I layered etchings from the Flanders Fields series, literally, over Season of Bones. In this way, I layered and combined their meanings – Season of Bones became an image of the love that survives death, the liebestod. It now stood for that unknown quantity of love held in bones, in lives lost and interred – on the battlefields and in the cemeteries of War. The violence that had ended the lives of the embracing lovers was a subject for speculation, for the theorizing and investigations of science and left, as well, for the imaginations of poets. This archaeological find was a gift from antiquity. It brought me to a meditation on those fallen in battle, the recent dead ones, who lay buried without acknowledgement or ceremonies. What quantity of love died with them, and of course, what sorrow? And weren’t they all, in a way, also lovers manqué?

Picasso said, “I paint not what I seek, but what I have found”. I have learned, as an artist, to trust my impulses however wild, and seemingly dissociated, and to act upon them. They come to me as memories, dreams, flashes of insight, and most of all, as mind pictures. Certain ideas arrive to my imagination fully realized, and my task is to set about bringing into “incarnation” that which glares at me from an internal screen. I “saw” for instance, the field of wrapped heads I now call The Wall of the Fallen Ones. I “saw” the Greek women of Lysistrata’s circle as “witnesses” and I can trace the voyage of this image back to the poem, Cantata for Leone Andrews, (see poem above) written years before. I know the process is a kind of poetic one wherein seemingly unrelated pieces come together strangely and perfectly. My task then, is to build these images convincingly in the outer world, to “orchestrate”, so to speak, the score living in my imagination.

On my many visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I always make a special pilgrimage to the Classical galleries to commune with the Roman busts of marble. I stand in front of these mute personages, going from one melancholy face to another, marveling at the craftsmanship in their making, and sensing that these are portraits of real human beings. They never fail to move me, and now, I am able to pay a kind of homage to them. They have a great part to play in my “drama”.

In Barcelona in March-April of 2009 I made a total of almost 81 (based upon the number 9) etchings for In Flanders Fields only one of which appears in the current installation. In a very real sense, these works are a kind of “Art of the Fugue” in etching. As a body, they expose a wide range of etching techniques and possibilities, based, as they are, upon the idea of theme and variation. In Flanders Fields, the poem, has three main elements that correspond to an experience of the natural world: the sky with larks singing; the earth, flowering with poppies (the same ones veterans now distribute as they solicit donations!); and the underground space—the domain of the fallen ones.

JVF: I believe the Carving Studio exhibit is the first in a series of exhibits of this work, some of which may add additional elements. Can you tell us where In Flanders Fields may travel next, and when?

FB: I will install In Flanders Fields at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago in June or July of 2010, and in 2011 at the Christine Price Gallery in Castleton. We are currently in conversation with the directors of a number of other exhibition venues. I want to bring this work across America, and let it gather moss, so to speak, see it evolve.

JVF: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us at Vermont Art Zine. We wish you great success with In Flanders Fields as it continues to unfold.

CHANGES: Lazy Pear in Montpelier closes

By Janet Van Fleet

Rob Hitzig and Mary Jo Krolewski -- owners and operators of the Lazy Pear Gallery -- have been a busy and creative presence in the last four years, turning up often at receptions and openings of other galleries, establishing the First Friday Gallery Walk in Montpelier, and also the annual Sculptcycle event in conjunction with Montpelier Alive. Their gallery has exhibited and promoted many interesting and "quirky" artists, providing a breath of fresh air to those who are looking for contemporary art in Vermont. At the end of December, the Lazy Pear sent out the following notice to their email list:

We need to take this opportunity to let you know that we will be closing the gallery on January 10. After four years in Montpelier, we have decided that it makes more sense to concentrate on creating and promoting our own work than running a gallery in which we need to divert a lot of resources to other artists.

As we focus more on our own art, we will occasionally (2 to 3 times per year) write newsletters to let supporters know what we are doing. If you would like to be added to the email list of either of our newsletters, please let us know. In addition, you can continue to follow Robert Hitzig's work through his website,, and his blog, Mary Jo Krolewski will also be developing a food art/recipe blog and will notify interested individuals of its development through her newsletter. We will also be maintaining the gallery for display of our own work which visitors will be welcome to visit by chance or appointment. Feel free to look for Rob in his studio/workshop behind the gallery.

Last night we held a party for gallery artists and supporters at the Lazy Pear, to give folks a chance to say a heartfelt Thank You to Rob and Mary Jo. We ate a potluck meal together and drank a champagne toast. There were tears, laughter, and many wishes for good luck as they continue their journey as solo artists.

Photo by Mary Admasian

PRESS RELEASE: Mary E. Johnson at 215 College Gallery in Burlington

The 215 College Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition, Constructed Spaces, featuring the photographic work of Mary E. Johnson, opening on Friday January 29, 2010 from 5-8pm with an artist talk and reception. The exhibition runs through February 21, 2010.

With quirky lawn ornaments, gently waving laundry, rambling vegetable gardens and perfectly sculpted shrubbery, Constructed Spaces explores the construction and individualization of outdoor yard space as an extension of each occupant's home and personality. Johnson uses a vintage 4x5 Speed Graphic View Camera to capture her images and hand-prints black and white Silver Gelatin Prints in a traditional darkroom as well as Cyanotypes, a blue printing process from the 1800's.

Johnson, who lives and works in Burlington, studied at the New England School of Photography and Johnson State College, and is currently the Photography Program Director for Burlington City Arts. She also teaches photography at the Community College of Vermont and Champlain College.

Gallery hours are Friday, 12-8; Saturday 12-6, Sunday 12-6 or by appointment. Call the gallery at 863-3662 for more information or email the artist directly at

PRESS RELEASE: Panel at Helen Day in Stowe

Art, Audience, Free Speech and Democracy panel at Helen Day Art Center

Friday, January 22nd 5:30 pm Helen Day Art Center

While a visiting artist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Wafaa Bilal's exhibit including the video game "The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihadi" was shut down immediately after the exhibit opened and Bilal was barred from the art building by the school's administration. Days later the city of Troy, NY forced the closure of The Sanctuary for Independent Media, who had agreed to show Bilal's piece after it was censored at RPI. The Sanctuary for Independent Media - had been in agreement with the City's code office about the pace and scope of their renovations - until they chose to exhibit Bilal's artwork at which point Bob Mirch, Public Works Commissioner shut down the exhibition for code violations. Mr. Mirch who was also the GOP majority leader in the Rensselaer County Legislature then joined a group of protestors outside the Sanctuary for Independent Media suggesting the piece was a form of terrorism.

The New York ACLU is currently suing the city of Troy for violating the first amendment rights of the Sanctuary for Independent Media and Wafaa Bilal. The video game that he appropriated for his artwork is part of the exhibit "Wafaa Bilal: Agent Intellect" which opens Thursday at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe. Curator Odin Cathcart chose to include it along with other work by Bilal "The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihadi speaks to our increasing disengagement from our sanctioning of violence outside of our own nation and the shared and contrasting experiences of that violence in the 21st century. In context with Bilal's other work at the Helen Day, the video game piece furthers Bilal's themes of the human condition." Bilal said he created the game in order to "hold up a mirror" to an American society which believes that such a game is perfectly fine when it is an American killing Iraqi's (referring to the original basis for Al-Qaeda hacked video game; "Quest for Saddam" created in 2004 by Jesse Petrilla) but finds itself outside the 'comfort zone' when the circumstances are reversed.

"We asked Wafaa to come to Stowe in September to present his work to the board of trustees. We knew this was a potentially controversial show and that we needed their support. The conversation about his artwork, this video game and the role of the artist in society has been going strong ever since." said Nathan Suter, Executive Director. "I personally find his perspective fascinating. Wafaa came to the US in 1992 as a refugee from Saddam Hussein's regime. he is now a US citizen and a professor at NYU. Still, he identifies with both America and Iraq. This makes his artwork incredibly powerful in the midst of our conflict in Iraq."

"Part of the vision of the Art Center is to bring contemporary artwork to Central Vermont, where our audience might otherwise never have an opportunity to view it. It is our role to show artists who we think are relevant and to do the work of explaining and contextualizing their work for our audience. We create public programs around issues and themes that are present in the work." Suter says.

The first of these is this Friday, January 22nd at 5:30pm when the Center hosts a panel discussion on "Art, Audience, Free Speech and Democracy". There will be a brief film screening followed by a discussion with four panelists: The artist, Wafaa Bilal; the editor of the Stowe Reporter and free speech expert, Tom Kearney; a staff attorney from the Vermont ACLU, Dan Barrett; and Art Center Director, Nathan Suter.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

INTERVIEW: Part One, Fran Bull and "In Flanders Fields"

By Janet Van Fleet

Ed: This is Part 1 of an interview with Fran Bull. You can read Part 2 here.

Fran Bull is an artist of huge energy and accomplishment, with a career that goes back to the mid 1970's, when she was an artist in the Photorealism movement in New York City. In addition to her work in the visual arts, she is a trained musician and a practicing poet. She has operated Gallery In-The-Field (in the same building as her studio) in Brandon for several years. Sadly, the gallery will soon be closing (though others may take it up; stay tuned...).

Fran Bull’s most recent installation, "In Flanders Fields: An Installation in Nine Parts”, is on exhibit at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland through March 28. I came across this work in her studio (see below) when I was at Gallery In-The-Field to review an exhibit of Barbara Pearlman. The work in progress was very compelling, and I wanted to know more about the process and the product.

This major installation is highly complex, and Fran intends it to evolve over the next few years, as it travels to other venues. This interview with Vermont Art Zine is presented in two parts, the first of which will look at the current exhibit at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center (below right, photos by Michael Heeney), as well as the elements that Fran intends to expand on in future efforts. The second part of this interview, to be published in a few days, will look at the background of this effort – where Fran got her inspiration, and the precursors in her previous work.

The work is related to a poem by John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw su
nset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel wit
h the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

JVF: So how do you feel about this poem?

FB: Here is a reprint of the statement I wrote for this exhibition:

My piece In Flanders Fields: an installation in 9 parts, is one artist’s attempt to add my “silent scream” to the chorus of those for whom war is anathema. It is a meditation on the fact that we-- as whole countries, as societies, as small bands linked by shared hatreds and as human beings with our pitifully short lives given the privilege of inhabiting a magnificent planet--continue to engage in warfare mired in the delusion that we are thereby solving our human dilemmas.

The famous poem from World War I, In Flanders Fields written in the midst of “seventeen days of Hades”* by Lieutenant Colonel John Mc Crae, forms the central image from which I draw my inspiration. Dead soldiers lie buried in a field of poppies. Larks fly overhead, singing, oblivious of gunfire. Soon enough the fields will harbor just beneath the surface, an array of human bones. The Lieutenant Colonel imagines the dead speaking. They implore us to “take up our quarrel with the foe” in order that they might sleep for all time. My piece takes issue with the poet, and with his assumption of the rightness of retribution and the implied glory of “winning”.

May we come to understand that the unbridled mortification of human flesh known as War is a shameful betrayal of who we are and of all that we are.

Fran Bull
Vermont 2009

JVF: I see... so the poem created some categories and images for you to work with. This is such a large and complex installation, it's hard to get my head around the whole thing! What are the Nine Parts referred to in the subtitle?

FB: Encouragement for the use of the number "9" as a structural device came from poet Frank Reeve. He came by the studio when I was in a very early phase of the work, and just sort of "got it". I asked him about the number "9" and he said, "Yes, 9 is a good number!" So here are the Nine Parts as I now see them evolving.

1. The Wall of the Fallen Ones: The piece itself is a kind of vertical "field"—a field of buried bones, buried lives, silent, yet speaking volumes. There is a small writing area supplied with red rice paper, and I have invited visitors to write comments on little pieces of gorgeous red paper and insert these into the "wailing wall", and do you know, they've been doing it. I am so pleased. (Photo at left, cropped by VAZ, by Cam Camarena) To see the red messages tucked into the boxes is very moving. I'll compile these at the end and put them into the catalogue.

2. Lysistrata and her Circle: inspired by the play of Aristophanes, this section includes eighteen sculptures of (imagined) women of Classical antiquity, busts on pedestals, contemplating the Fallen Ones from across the centuries. These are the women of Greece, who, at Lysistrata’s entreaties, refused to have sex with their husbands until they signed a peace pact during the Peloponnesian Wars.

You’ll see that I show, for example, the exposed parts of the understructure of each piece, intentionally, to dispel the illusion, even while creating it. I want to give away the trick. I am interested in an alchemy whereby disparate and humble parts conspire to create an illusion of some complexity, (almost in the same way that brush strokes in a painting by Van Gogh can be seen and appreciated for themselves, and then seen as participants in the construction of an illusion). In other words, I take a perhaps post-modern stance wherein I reveal the artifice in the art and I urge the viewer to see the illusion as a created one, referential in its relationship to the gorgeously carved marble works of Classical antiquity, but in reality, smoke and mirrors – and detritus such as Styrofoam packaging from our time recycled into art. (Photo at right by Michael Heeney)

3. The Larks: These are made of Styrofoam, wooden sticks, glue and Paverpol™ dipped in muslin. The poet has them flying above, in the sky, while gunfire rages below. They sing, they represent temporal continuity and the indifference of Nature towards the more base dramas of human beings These plane-like birds are suspended from the ceiling. There are 36 of them. (Photo: Michael Heeney)

I have thought about stenciling numbers on the bodies of these Larks, corresponding to the tattoos on the arms of concentration camp inmates.

4. The Etchings: These are so fresh and new, I am just beginning to see or edit them at the moment. But at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center Gallery exhibit I have only shown one, owing to limited space in the gallery: a version entitled A Moire of Birds, an etching on paper with a silk translucent veil of the same image, hung in reverse, over it (see installation shots above).

5. Etchings on cotton batiste and silk fabric, banners or hanging flags: This work, for me, invokes prayer flags, ancestor scrolls, blood on bandages, and even the Shroud of Turin. A friend, Brie Patterson, is currently crocheting lacy borders on the cotton batiste hangings, like the handkerchiefs my mother and grandmother had, and also like banners hung in windows when a family loses a son or daughter in war.

6. Other banners or scrolls with combinations of the principal motifs taken from the poem In Flanders Fields. These are printed in red on handmade paper from Barcelona, where I make the etchings. To this will be added wall hangings of flags of all nations: This hasn't been worked out as of yet. It may or may not be a sewn thing. My impulse is to create a work that fuses the nation states and jumbles their patterns. My feeling is that nation states are moving towards obsolescence as we become increasingly globalized, but we haven’t caught up to this reality yet. Nationalism, various forms of chauvinism, provincialism are still very powerful forces in the world. These need not disappear, but a world consciousness along with a caring for one another, already present in some spheres, needs to predominate if we humans are to survive on Earth.

7. Caryatids: I will begin work in 2010 on a group of six monumental sculptures of Caryatids who bear combat soldiers aloft over their heads. Caryatids are those sculpted women/goddesses who appear to be holding up the temple at Erechthion, like so many columns. Along with Lysistrata’s Circle, these are images of ancient women presented as strong protagonists in the service of peace, strength and support.

Like a veritable apparition, a woman named Renee Marie, a Captain in the National Guard here in Vermont appeared at a gallery talk I gave at the Carving Studio Gallery on the work. She’s a medical technician and was literally on the eve of deployment for service in Afghanistan. She spoke about her experience as an army officer, and most passionately, of her feelings as an Army officer/pacifist . She’s a member of a global group that inscribes the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in numerous locations publicly. She told those of us gathered at the talk that she intends to be an agent for peace in Afghanistan, even as she serves in the war. I couldn’t help but feel that my Greek women, and my Caryatids had come to life in the person of this woman. Art and life had converged, and, in some sense, the art itself became enlivened by its having been an impetus for Captain Marie’s astonishing sharing.

8. Collages and Poetry: There will be a series of collages with poetry as text, as another one of the elements. My father, to whom the installation is dedicated, was a journalist in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, reporting for the New York Times and other publications. He designed the press coverage for the Nuremberg Trials “down to the last sharpened pencil and note pad” as he was fond of saying. He told me that he’d hired bi-lingual German-American reporters to cover and report on the Trials. These were men and women, ironically, who’d escaped Hitler’s Germany. I will include my father’s letters to my mother from the Trials in the collage pieces, fairly astonishing pieces of writing. His reportage is colorful and of course, redolent of tragedy. The letters are typed, single-spaced, with skinny margins, on an old-fashioned typewriter, on fragile, sheer onionskin paper. I have long wanted to bring these wonderful letters forward in art, and now the moment has arrived.

9. Performance: There will be a performance piece that includes projections onto the Wall of the Fallen Ones-- a piece I will score (I have a degree in music as well as being a trained classical singer) for voices, dance movement, instruments and projections. This piece will be made in collaboration with some of the very talented performers I know here in Vermont. This piece will be presented at the Christine Price Gallery at Castleton in 2011, thanks to an invitation by Bill Ramage.

JVF: It looks like the last three or four of the nine parts are yet to come! You have a lot of work cut out for yourself in the future, and I have no doubt that you'll be able to make it all happen. I look forward to speaking with you in our next interview about your work in the past, and how this current project is related to what you've done previously.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: New Paintings by Bradley Fox

Art At The Bistro Presents;

"You're Blocking My View"

New Paintings by Bradley Fox

Opening Reception Wed, Jan 13 4-6pm

Winding Brook Bistro

933 Rte. 100C, Johnson, VT

info: 802-635-9950

Show Dates Jan 8- Feb 28

Local Johnson Artist Bradley Fox is presenting new paintings from the studio dealing with how we perceive our landscape,the nature of landscape painting, and what we take for granted in the scenery around us.

Artist Statement:

" In this body of work I am concerned with how we perceive the landscape around us and how we think about Landscape painting as a genre.

Every landscape painter is confronted with some of the same concerns as they begin: What is it about this view that makes me want to paint it?, How do I take the medium beyond just a rendering of the scene?, How do I edit the information in front of me to create a painting out of it?, and how do I keep the work current? As I began to look for subject matter for these paintings I was struck by the amount of stuff we look past to see the environment around us. Do we perceive it as being in the way, being an integral part of our world, or do we edit it out to see the beauty of the landscape. As I looked more and more around me I realized this was forming the question central to this body of landscape paintings. The closer I looked, the more I realized there is a tension between the stuff we pass by everyday and take for granted, and the place where it exists. This also grounds each view in its’ moment, making it contemporary for the time it was painted.

As oil painting is my chosen medium, there is always the concern of handling the paint in a way that keeps the viewer on the surface of the canvas “in the paint” being aware of the way the mark moves you over the canvas. I am asking the viewer to consider the surface as well as going into the depicted scene. Does this quality render the scene as a mute point to the painting or does it bring a validity to the landscape genre verses abstraction?

Concurrently I was investigating how much detail I take for granted in the most common view of my day, and asking You to think of that in your own day, as you view the paintings. In October, I set out to paint the view outside my studio window at dawn everyday. The result is the small paintings in the show which show just how different and spectacular nature can be if we just take the time to look. " - Bradley Fox

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


NAGOYA/VERMONT: On The Planet: An International exhibition in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on Biodiversity. Work by Vermont based artists Janet Fredericks, Sophie Hood, Riki Moss, and Janet Van Fleet that is be part of an international exhibition at the Nagoya Citizens Gallery in Yada, Nagoya Japan, January 27th - February 7th, 2010. The vision they offer will be shared with the 191 attendees of the UN Convention on Biodiversity to be held in Nagoya in October, 2010.
A presentation/talk/panel is at 6, music by Occam's Razor and reception to follow (with opportunity for donations to raise some funds for the trip.) The exhibit runs only from January 5th-8th because after the 8th it's packing and flying away to Japan~ sayonara~!

More info on a brandie new website at
FLYNNDOG 208 Flynn Ave 05401 802.363.4746

PRESS RELEASE: Black, White, and Brilliant Color

The Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild opens the new year with an exhibition of the brilliant colors of stained glass artist Fred Varney and the intricate, intriguing pen and ink drawings of Sarah Kinsella Waite. The exhibition opens on January 14, and the public is invited to an artists' reception on Saturday, January 16 from 3:00-5:00 pm. The exhibition will be on view through March 4. The Artisans Guild address is 430 Railroad St., St., Johnsbury; hours are 10:30 am-5:30 pm Monday-Saturday.

Varney, a Marshfield resident, remembers being fascinated by stained glass windows in the elegant homes he saw in his hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Varney attended Clarkson College in Potsdam, N.Y. from 1966-1969, then moved to South Woodbury, Vt. where he bought land. Just prior to moving to Vermont in 1970

Fred began working with glass. Restoration of some damaged windows for his future Vermont home, and constructing a lamp from leftover pieces of glass were his first experiences working with glass.

Since then, over the years, he has completed hundreds of commissions and autonomous works: free standing glass clocks with curved " slumped glass" sides, original design "Tiffany" type lamps, skylights and numerous windows. His work has been widely exhibited, and he was commissioned to produce figurative stained glass windows for the United Church of Hardwick. A love of drawing and designing, fascination with the beauty of the glass itself, and the desire to work with his hands made stained glass a natural career choice.

nd try to bring h its surroundings.

Sarah Waite's pen-and-ink illustrations, inspired by art of the Northwest coast, uses the natural forms of animals, plants and trees in a symbolic style. Their subject is the Northeast ecosystem and the relationships among the flora and fauna within it.

While Waites's work emphasizes the natural world, it's also informed by design. Her training as a graphic designer and years working in the print industry have led her to develop the clean, black and white imagery on display in this exhibit.

"My drawings come from spending a lot of time in nature; hiking, fishing, or just being in my backyard," Sarah says. "I am especially intrigued by the patterns of the natural world and try to bring this to each drawing, keeping in mind how the parts make up the whole. When working on a new illustration, I learn as much as I can about the animal, considering its place in the food chain and its interactions with its surroundings."

The Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with the work of over one hundred Vermont artisans on view. For more information visit the Guild at 430 Railroad Street, St. Johnsbury, on its Website,, or by telephone (802) 748-0158.



Opening Reception
Friday January 8, 5-8pm

The Brick Box at the Paramount is pleased to announce the opening of Karen Swyler's exquisite porcelain vessels on Friday, January 8, 2010. Swyler's work functions on a variety of levels to investigate subtleties of communication and preserve these ephemeral experiences found in personal relationships.

"Personal relationships are integral to our survival; they bring meaning to life and satisfy the need for interaction on both an emotional and physical level. In these situations communication is usually verbal, however nuances that arise in the absence of words are even more evocative. These interchanges occur through a touch, a glance, a smell, or a whispered word. They are quiet, subtle, and often transitory.

This work investigates subtleties in communication and the importance of the lasting effects individuals can have on each other. It is also illustrative of how meaning changes as thoughts and emotions are conveyed from one person to another. In this regard, interchange and progression are used to explore ideas about intimate, platonic, and familial relationships.

Sensuous surfaces, muted colors, and fluid forms create quiet relationships meant to entice visually and physically. Due to their understated nature, the nuances of these pieces take time to notice; they require close attention and a heightened level of involvement from the viewer. Closer investigation yields different colors; surfaces reveal themselves and hint at a level more sensually profound. In this work form, surface, line, and color bring attention to delicate and subtle elements of design; they are metaphors for fleeting experiences often not valued until they have passed."
The opening reception coincides with the January 8 Art Hop from 5:00 until 8:00pm. This exhibit runs from Friday, January 8 through Tuesday, February 9. The Brick Box is open 11am - 6pm Thursday - Friday and Saturday 10am - 2pm. and during Paramount Theater performances. For further information, please call Beth Miller @ 235-2734 or Wendy Fannin @ 235-2412.