Sunday, September 30, 2012

CALAIS: "Full Circle" at the Kent Museum

From the editor:  I wanted so much to attend the opening of this exhibit but couldn't. This morning I discovered that Abby Raeder had written about it on her blog and, with her permission, I've reprinted it below. I admire the work of so many of these artists, from sculptors Axel Stohlberg to fiber artist Karen Henderson to the inspired constructions of Janet Van Fleet, to name just a few. I'm so excited about this exhibit and what the curators have put together!

Full Circle: Vermont Artists Give Round a New Shape, will run through October 7, 2012 daily from 10 am to 5 pm at the Kent Museum in Calais. There will also be a silent auction to benefit CERF+ and you can find some additional information on the CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) Web site, including directions to the Kent Museum.

Some of the artists included are: Axel Stohlberg, Chris Miller, Pat Musick, Gowri Savoor,  Karen Henderson,  Janet Van Fleet, Susan Sawyer, James Teuscher, Ken Leslie,  Sam Talbot Kelly and Gabrielle Dietzel, and Lochlin Smith. While Abby was not able to identify all of the work in her photos, some of you may recognize the artists by their work. Either way, I hope these few photos will be enough to entice you there.

- Meg Brazill, editor

Ephemeral Art

by Abby Raeder, Executive Director of The Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts

The only certainty in life is nothing lasts forever.  Buddhists have made impermanence central to their philosophy, opening our eyes not only to the adverse side, but to the positive side of change. Impermanence can be frightening but also exhilarating.

On a cool, grey fall afternoon, on a drive to Burlington to meet with an artist, I took a detour, a detour to the remote town of Calais VT.  I was told of an art exhibit at the Kent Museum that was worth a visit. With 15 minutes to kill I drove through Montpelier, cruising north on an idyllic back road. The landscape was reminiscent of a romantic foreign epic. A thick opaque mist clung to the hills, as the meadows still glistened, moist from the morning dew.  Entranced by the scenery, not realizing until I hit a dirt pothole, the road went from paved to dirt. “This can’t be right”, I thought, “why would a museum be so off the beaten path?” I persevered and finally reached my destination, a historic red brick building, with a vinyl sign reading, The Kent Museum.

From what I understand, The Kent Museum is owned by the State and used to host a 9 day art exhibit during Open Studio Weekend in the fall. This year the exhibit, Full Circle, runs from September 28th – October 7th. The building is art in itself, lovingly restored. The interior is textured with old wood floors and walls stripped down to the bare original lathing slats, exposing its history and charm. Some walls have the peeled remains of a handsome colonial blue wallpaper giving evidence of a time gone by.


Then there is the artwork: metal mobiles, textured fiber art, bronze sculptures, and wall art made from found objects fill the building, two floors of it. The exhibit is spectacular, I was moved to tears. One room after another opens to additional work, installation art and metal work abound. There is a grace and elegance to the entire exhibit. The simplicity of the stark space gave focus, emphasizing the sheer beauty of the artwork.


The main feature for me was the ultimate example of impermanence, a sand painting (actually colored rice). I came upon the piece as three volunteers were laboriously adding grains of colored rice to the sketched design found on the second floor. The designer of the piece, artist extraordinaire, hovered over the three crouched women on the floor as they giggled with pride and excitement. How fortunate they were to be part of this unique installation. 


There are two extraordinary gals that are curating this show, Allyson Evans and Nel Emlen. I applaud these two for after months of preparation, they put this unique show together for a duration of just 9 days, then it all disappears. What is even more commendable, they do it just for the love of art.


Please, I implore you, treat yourself and make the bucolic drive to Calais to experience Full Circle, a collection of the best and brightest artists in our region, exhibited in a gracious historical building, made possible by the efforts of enthusiast volunteers.


For me what makes this exhibit even more riveting is with all the hard work needed to put this together, it disappears in just a few days.  Ahhh, the beauty of impermanence!

Oh, this joy of the rose, that it blows, and goes.  Willa Cather

Live in color,


To see more photos of the Full Circle exhibit please check out VTica's facebook page.


This article is reprinted here courtesy of Abby Raeder at VTica. The original story can be seen on their blog, and additional photos on their Facebook page.
Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts (VTica) 
15 Depot Street PO Box 972
Chester, Vermont  05143