Saturday, April 5, 2014

BRATTLEBORO: BMAC Blooms with New Exhibits Opening March 15

Opening: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
Robert Kushner, “Indian Summer – Homage to Bonnard” (2000), oil, acrylic, and mixed media on canvas, 6 x 18 feet, from “Flora: A Celebration of Flowers in Contemporary Art”
Robert Kushner, “Indian Summer – Homage to Bonnard” (2000), oil, acrylic, and mixed media on canvas, 6 x 18 feet

New England may be experiencing an old-fashioned, snow-filled winter, but spring is about to burst into bloom at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) on Saturday, March 15, when “Flora: A Celebration of Flowers in Contemporary Art” fills four of the museum’s six galleries with vibrant work by 13 artists. Opening alongside “Flora” are “Out of the Shadows: Paintings by Jim Giddings” and “Water Studies, Brattleboro,” a site-specific installation by Jennifer Stock. All three new exhibits open to BMAC members at 11 a.m. and to the general public at 2 p.m.

“Given the incredible beauty and variety of flowers, it is not surprising to find representations of them by artists working in virtually every medium,” said BMAC Chief Curator Mara Williams. “The artists chosen for this exhibit draw freely from established artistic conventions. They find inspiration in flowers themselves and in a host of generative sources, creating work that is deeply connected to aesthetic tradition yet uniquely fresh.”

“Water Studies, Brattleboro,” an audio-visual installation by Jennifer Stock
Those artists include Robert Kushner, whose 18-foot-wide painting, “Indian Summer – Homage to Bonnard,” anchors the north wall of the museum’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery, and Bobbi Angell, whose exquisite botanical illustrations share space in the Ticket Gallery with living orchids on loan from Brattleboro florist Windham Flowers. Janet Fish’s dazzling painted bouquets are complemented by Nan Montgomery’s minimalist renderings of lilies. Anne Morgan Spalter’s kaleidoscopic videos, displayed on large screens and on small, gem-like objects, create flower-like images from diverse source footage. Marta Bernbaum’s glass flowers and Floyd Elzinga’s steel leaves and pine cones add dimension to a visually rich, strikingly colorful exhibit.

Opening alongside “Flora” is “Out of the Shadows: Paintings by Jim Giddings.” From 1982 through 2013, Giddings worked as BMAC’s building manager and art handler, transporting, hanging, and focusing lights on the work of other artists, while continuing to maintain his own painting studio and exhibition schedule. “Out of the Shadows” reveals some of the transformations Giddings’s painting underwent during that time. “For me, painting is a path to discovery,” says Giddings. “When I begin a painting, I have no idea what will develop. My ideas change throughout the process; the process changes my ideas.”

Jim Giddings, “Disappearing Rocks” (1992), oil paintstick on paper, 23 x 34 inches

Rounding out the new exhibits is “Water Studies, Brattleboro,” a site-specific audio-visual installation by New York City–based artist Jennifer Stock. The work offers an abstracted portrait of Brattleboro through images of the Connecticut River and its tributary the Whetstone Brook. Flowing together just north of the museum, their combined topography and energy define the town. Stock made photographs, often of reflections in the waterways, and ambient field recordings at sites near the museum, which she assembled, together with synthesized music, to project an immersive composition that seeks to convey a unique sense of place.

“Flora” will remain on view through June 22, while “Out of the Shadows” and “Water Studies, Brattleboro” will close May 4. In connection with these new exhibits, BMAC will present a number of related events, including artist talks by Bobbi Angell, Tom Fels, Jim Giddings, and Anne Morgan Spalter; a guided wildflower walk at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center; a tour of the famed North Hill Garden in Readsboro, Vermont; an orchid care workshop; a lecture on the status of Vermont’s bumblebees; and much more. For information on these and other events planned for the coming months, visit

The museum’s exhibits and gift shop are open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11–5; Friday 11–7; and Saturday 10–5. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Members and children under 6 are admitted free of charge. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. 

For more information call 802-257-0124 or visit