Monday, March 28, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Arcadia Now at Christine Price Gallery in Castleton

The Christine Price Gallery at Castleton State College explores the idea of "the country"—our actual and ideal relationship to the natural environment, in harmony (or at odds) with society—in Arcadia Now: Contemporary Art in Country, on view from Monday, April 11, to Sunday, May 15.

Combining photography, painting, sculpture and video, Arcadia Now is a collection of works that invokes the idea of the pastoral past and asks the 15 featured artists—each with a unique perspective—to envision what that pastoral idea, or an idyllic place of remove, might look like in the present. The exhibition addresses issues of nature and human consequence on nature, beauty and banality, and the ideal and the real in both abstract and figurative terms.

An opening reception on Wednesday, April 13, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., features a talk with three of the artists on art in relation to the rural environment: sculptor and installation artist Alisa Dworsky of Montpelier; photographer Sally Apfelbaum of Bennington and New York City; and sculptor and performance artist Nathaniel Lieb, of upstate New York and Brooklyn. The reception, free and open to the public, welcomes visitors to contribute to the discussion on how we "see" the country.

In creating the exhibition, Curator and Professor of Art Tom McGlynn says he reflected on his move to Vermont from the New York City metro area in 2007, and the tranquil imagery the state invokes with visitors and residents alike.

"In an almost uniquely rural state like Vermont, there has grown a complex web of interrelationships with the landscape—utilitarian, recreational and contemplative—which are most often utilized by the tourist industry so important to the state," McGlynn says. "There is, however, a deeper ideological relationship to the natural environment in harmony with society, which is a recurring theme in much contemporary art. Many of these artists seem to access a deeper, more complex relationship to the natural world, which might include an ancient longing or a symbolic reality that we may all feel at certain times."

"There is a long history of human society projecting idealistic intentions (with mixed results) upon the country landscape that go back to the ‘earthly paradise’ of the Garden of Eden. Do we see a need to return to this origin or do we need to reshape a newer utopia on the ruins of our previous intentions? ‘Arcadia Now’ leaves this as an open question."

The 15 artists featured in the exhibition are photographer Sally Apfelbaum of Bennington, Vt. and New York City; New Jersey-based painter and printmaker Tim Daly; multi-media artist Alisa Dworsky of Montpelier, Vt.; painter, performance artist and curator Bill Doherty of New York; Japanese sound artist Ken Ikeda of New York City; New York photographer Justine Kurland of New York City; sculptor and performance artist Nathaniel Lieb of upstate New York and Brooklyn; painter Mary McDonnell of upstate New York and Brooklyn; painter Rebecca Purdum of Ripton, Vt.; sculptor, printmaker and installation artist Kiki Smith of New York City; Swedish sculptor Frederik Strid; Canadian photographer and philosopher Scott Walden, of Newfoundland and New York; black-and-white abstract photographer Tenesh Webber of New York City; photographer James Welling of Los Angeles; and mixed-media artist Aaron Williams of Brooklyn. For more information on the artists, visit

Images: Justine Kurland, Peach Tree (2002); photograph: c-print; 17 3/4" x 22 ½ Sally Apfelbaum, Green Pathway (1994); photograph: e-print; 30" x 40"