Sunday, August 7, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: "Out of the Woods" at the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury

Here, in Vermont's portion of the Great Northern Forest, trees sustain us -- body and soul : we use them to build and heat our houses, to grace our landscapes, and to restore our spirits. A new exhibition, Out of the Woods, at the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild, explores the many ways that artists and artisans celebrate wood as a medium both for fine art and for elegant and practical handcraft.

"Out of the Woods" opens on August 12 and continues through September 28, 2011. Located at 430 Railroad St., St. Johnsbury, the Guild's hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:30am to 5:30 pm.

There will be an artists reception on Saturday, August 20, from 3:00-5:00 pm, and the public is cordially invited.

Artists in this exhibition include Al Stirt, whose work is in the Smithsonian Institution, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the American Craft Museum in New York, and many others; Ford Evans of Hanover, and David Brown of Craftsbury Common. All three make extraordinary bowls, as well as other work. Naomi Bossom of Lyndonville and Claire Van Vliet of Newark, are printmakers; the wood blocks from which they make prints are works of art in themselves. Van Vliet is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, and has works in the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery. In addition, the exhibition will have work by Doug Clarner, from East Burke, and Bill Peberdy, from Corinth, who both make furniture, mirrors, cabinets and other household items. Jack Alan Stewart, of Barnet, sculpts in wood. Louis Pulzetti, in Concord, is inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement and combines wood, metal and stained glass to make lamps, tables and other pieces that, while functional, are also works of art. .

These artists find not only inspiration but spiritual qualities through working in wood, as the quotations below make clear.

Al Stirt, says, " From the earliest times bowls have had meanings for people beyond the purely utilitarian. The bowl as vessel has a resonance deep within the human psyche . . . Even in the most simple pieces I try to find a harmony of grain and shape. I seek a balance in my work between the dynamic and the serene . . . By playing with the tension created by combining the circle's perfection with the energy of pattern I am trying to make pieces that have life.

Jack Alan Stewart believes that "All that we do and all that is within nature is art. Art is a process where form transforms and reforms again and again. In life, in art, it is important to practice over and over again so that what was at first most difficult and unnatural becomes a very wonderful and natural act."

"Out of the Woods" will delight and surprise you, and you are invited to meet the artists the Guild's August 20 reception..’

Image: Curly Maple bowl, by Al Stirt