Sunday, October 31, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Sandra Berbeco at 215 College Gallery in Burlington

The next exhibition at 215 College Gallery is Been There: Three Series of Paintings, recent work of gallery member Sandra Berbeco. The opening reception is Friday, November 5 from 5-8pm.

Been There: Three Series of Paintings contains visual statements of idyllic to distressed locations, both real and imagined. Overall, they may appear to be placid land and seascapes; however, they confront issues of flooding and neglect along with a quiet absence of life. Where there is sunlight, it is weak; where there are clouds, they are foreboding. In its entirety, these three series encompass travel the artist has recently done in Greece, Italy, Albania, west and east coast of America and Vermont as well as places yet to be traveled.

Sandra's exhibition can be viewed until November 28, 2010 from 12-8pm on Fridays, 12-6pm on Saturdays and 12-4pm on Sundays.

Image: 6am- Looking Towards Spain, 2010, acrylic on linen, 28 ¼” x 32 ¼”

PRESS RELEASE: Brian Whitney at Francis Colburn Gallery in Burlington

Like so many before him, Brian Whitney packed his bags and headed towards the Great American West! Equipped with a motorcycle, a camera, and his sense of adventure (among various other supplies), Brian set out to have his own great "western" experience. O! West
documents this young American’s trip.

Recent UVM Graduate Brian Whitney has now returned to his Winooski residence, where he spends most of his time trying to commune with his dog. He hopes to some day make a connection with her, and sell his artwork.

PRESS RELEASE: Jennifer Ranz Art Talk in Craftsbury

First Friday Art Talk by Jennifer Ranz
The Art House Gallery
1146 North Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury Common
Friday, November 5, 2010
6:30 - 7:30 pm

Join us as Jennifer Ranz, potter and watercolorist from Greensboro, Vermont, takes us through a slide-show tour of her career as an artist. Jennifer shows examples of her sculptural, whimsical, and functional ceramic work, and speaks about her experiences and creations.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: VSA Vermont Session for Artists in Newport

VSA Vermont, the state's organization on arts and disability, is offering a free informational session for artists of all genres in the Northeast Kingdom. This session will cover inclusive teaching methods and forming communities of practice, along with an introduction to VSA Vermont programs and an opportunity to network with peers. We're holding the session on Wednesday, November 17th, from 3-5pm at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport. Please RSVP to Sarah at 802-655-1044 or

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Good Fibrations at T.W. Wood Gallery in Montpelier

The T. W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center Presents, as part of the Year of Craft Celebration created by the Vermont Crafts Council, a show featuring works in fiber by over 20 Vermont Artisans we are titling Good, Good, Good, Good Fibrations - The Fiber Art Show 2010.

This spectacular celebration of the art and craft of fiber work opens November 2nd and will be up for exhibition through December 19th, 2010. An opening reception with many of the artisans present will be held on Thursday, November 4th from 5-7PM in the gallery.

Featured are the creations of Elizabeth Billings, Anna Ferri, Judy B. Dales, Carol MacDonald, Viiu Niiler, and Judith Reilly, all of whom have garnered critical praise throughout Vermont, New England and beyond for their stunning and sensual works. In addition, Ms. Dales, an internationally renowned quilt artist, will present an informal and informative Artist's Talk on Tuesday, November 16th at 7:00PM.

And while visiting the Good, Good, Good, Good Fibrations show be sure to stop in the Wood Room to see a newly refreshed exhibit of the work of our founder, Thomas Waterman Wood, whose work graces some of America's most prestigious museums from coast to coast.

And for the early holiday shoppers among you, stop by the South Gallery to browse and buy unique gifts from The Wood Shop - now open and fully stocked with fine art and crafts from artisans throughout Vermont and beyond.

Finally, while visiting the Wood, you can to make your reservations for our gala Holiday dinner & concert featuring the Brookfield Community Singers on December 3rd. We would be most happy to have you join us for this festive evening of fine food, delectable drink and magnificent music!

T. W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center is located in College Hall on the Vermont College of Fine Arts Campus, 36 College Street - Montpelier Vermont. Our regular operating hours are Tuesday-Sunday, Noon -4 PM and we are Handicapped Accessible. Please call us at 802-828-8743 or visit our website at for an ever-growing list of our special evening events and activities.

The events and exhibits at the T.W. Wood gallery and Arts Center are sponsored in part by Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Image: Butternut and Scotch Pine (detail) by Elizabeth P. Billings

PRESS RELEASE: Kim Bombard Oil Paintings at Davis Studio Gallery in Burlington

Please join us at the Davis Studio Gallery, 404 Pine Street in Burlington, on Friday, November 5th from 6:00 - 8:00 pm for the First Friday Art Walk to enjoy Kim Bombard’s oil paintings. The exhibit will be up until November 30.

Kim is a Vermont artist and Davis Studio staff member. She studied art at the University of Vermont and is very much inspired by Vermont. She explores her creativity through faux finish techniques and oil painting.

Find out more about Kim online:
Find out more about Davis Studio online:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

REVIEW: Jane Pincus at Studio Place Arts, Barre

By Janet Van Fleet

Tell me a Story, seventeen mixed media (acrylic/collage) works by Jane Pincus, is on exhibit in the Third Floor Gallery at Studio Place Arts in Barre from October 6 - November 6, 2010.

Much of the punch of these works – and certainly one of the pleasures of seeing them all together – is Pincus’s rich, jewel-tone palette: chartreuse, turquoise, magenta, gold. The impression of jewels is augmented by her frequent use of diagonal lines and loosely gridded spaces, which suggest facets (a word having both physical and interpretive meanings that is highly appropriate in describing this work).

Pincus deals with big topics – life and death, pain and joy, inside and outside. For example, Singing Martin into the Next World (2008) features a central figure whose blue face of death is attached to a body with serenely folded hands; his leg bones are shown as in an x-ray, but with celestial gold on red (vs. black on white). In the lower left of the composition, figures are singing and weeping (cantamos, lloramos; we’re singing and crying). The refrain of the song is inscribed at Martin’s head and feet: No me lloras, no. No me lloras, no. Por que si lloras, me muero. En cambio, si tu me cantas, Yo siempre vivo y nunca muero. Don’t cry for me, no don’t cry for me, Because if you cry, I die, Instead if you sing for me, I will always live and never die.)

The work is mostly from the last three years, and there are motifs that have appeared frequently in Pincus’s work. Many pieces contain cut-away views of houses – Windows (2005), The House’s Dream (2008), Coming Home to Roost (2009), Entering (2010), City Dreaming Women (2003) and Open House. Another, related motif is furniture and other domestic appointments – things such as beds, chairs, tables, cups, and lights that just fit the human body, things that are always part of the stage-set of our dreams and narratives. Sometimes women are sitting in the chairs. In My Mother’s Box, her mother (a strong, focused presence) sits at a table on which are displayed necklaces, rings, papers, and an address book. A photo of her mother’s younger self relaxing in a hammock ornaments the lampshade on a side table.

One of the constraints I have observed as I’ve looked at collage work over the years is the size limitation created by cut-out collage elements. When you cut something out of a magazine or photo print, it imposes a particular scale, and the other elements of the composition have to work with that. Pincus often dances gracefully around this issue (in large works that are up to 36" on a side) by completely painting over the collaged elements, and also by creating compositions (whole houses, large landscapes) whose scale easily accommodates the delicate collaged pieces.

But in one of the most compelling pieces (hung in a prominent position), Barbara and Jane have Lunch at the Edge of the Universe (2010), a huge 8" collaged Jupiter dominates the composition. Other planets, stars and nebulae (in many different sizes, as makes sense in a universe where things are separated by light years) are scattered about the picture plane, drawing the eye around in a spinning motion. It’s a long time before attention is drawn to the friends mentioned in the title, upside down in the upper lefthand corner! The artist says in a statement,

That’s just it. We were eating sandwiches in the corner of Barbara’s porch, and talking about how vast the universe is. And just how many universes and galaxies are out there, out here, anyway? During the month of September I worked on this painting, little by little, paying most attention for weeks to the women and the porch. Then, three days ago, I turned it upside down. We didn’t fall off the earth. Here we are, hanging, calm, with the universe sounding all around.

Jane Pincus is an artist who knows where she’s going and how to get there. When you’re on your way to see her exhibit, you might want to schedule a bit of extra time to check out the other two shows at Studio Place Arts – the Tenth Annual Stone Show in the Main Gallery and Little Stories by Axel Stohlberg on the second floor.

Images: Detail: Singing Martin into the Next World, acrylic/collage, 2008 Barbara and Jane Have Lunch at the Edge of the Universe, acrylic/collage, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

CHANGES: Bradley Fox Memorial Service in Johnson

Vermont artist Bradley Fox died last weekend, and there will be a memorial service for him at the Vermont Studio Center's Gallery 2 on Pearl Street in Johnson this Friday, October 26. There will be a potluck at 5:30, and a chance to share stories, photos, and reminiscences at 7PM. His work will also be on display.

Bradley’s work will be remembered for his paint handling and use of color. His works were deceptively simple, not about being flashy, just painted with joy and a sense of place. Centered in the Johnson area, he was actively involved with his community. Bradley was a driving force behind the East Johnson Plein Air Club (that we thank for the above image), and formerly ran the Painted Caravan Gallery. He earned his MFA from Johnson State College/Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT in 2006, received a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 1990, and Diploma Academia Internazionale Estiva de Belle Arti, Duino Italy in 1991. He was a well-respected artist, and will be missed by many.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

REVIEW: "After Dark" at Vermont Photo Space Gallery in Essex Junction

By Lindsay Shumway

Recently, I visited the After Dark exhibit at the Vermont Photo Space Gallery, on Main Street in Essex Junction. Walking by the space, it seems like just a tiny building sandwiched between two restaurants. Once inside, the room opens up to high ceilings and white walls, with benches down the middle. There are pictures from right next to the door until the far wall; there isn’t an excess of pieces, but they aren't scarce either. On a table, there are also booklets of pictures from exhibits past, so one can revel in pictures of different subject matter, from exhibits such as Beautiful Things and others.

The exhibition displayed photographers from all around the world - from Vermont to Arizona to India to Australia. All the pictures were taken in the evening or at night. Put together, the pictures worked to present a melancholy, somber feeling. Because they were taken at night, the pictures show things in an unusual way and evoke strong emotions. The ability to use light strategically gave the pictures a different air, adding a touch of mystery. Although the pictures are night scenes, they're all lit up somehow. These photographs definitely go well with the time of year, invoking a spirit similar to that of Halloween.

According to juror Tom Paiva, "A night shot should have a sense of mystery." All the pictures in this exhibit had a mysterious air in common. As members of my high school photography class entered the gallery, their chattering quickly turned into a reverent silence. People spent a good amount of time at each photograph, admiring the works. The people's choice photograph was Porthole by Dan Squires, and a popular one among the photography classes in my high school was Spirits by Steven Duncan. The juror's choice, chosen by Tom Paiva, was Garage, by Katherine Winter.

Being an artist, I felt completely in my element in the gallery and quite enjoyed the photographs. I would say it's definitely worth an hour or so of your time to come check it out. To find more information about the gallery itself and this exhibit, visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

REVIEW: In-Sight Photography Project Annual Silent Auction and Exhibition in Brattleboro

By Jamis Lott

For me, the art world never runs out of surprises.

My latest venture into Brattleboro led me to The Vermont Center for Photography building, a quaint headquarters for the In-Sight Photography Project, and gallery housing the organization’s 12th annual silent auction and exhibition.

The gallery is a small half-pint space with walls blanketed in pictures: if any more were to be added, they would have to be the size of a baseball card. Below the framed and matted prints of various sizes are signed photography books, aligned edge to edge, devouring what’s left of the gallery’s space. All in all, the collaboration consists of 350 pictures and books, donated to the In-Sight Photography Project by more than 300 photographers.

“This is the most donators that we’ve ever had.” said Joan O’ Beirne, a former director of the In-Sight Photography Project. “These silent auctions generate some of the best talent all year. There’s such a wide variety of work, that there is something for everybody’s taste.”

I am amazed by the selection of photographers that have donated prints. The collection includes local photographers Lynne Weinstein, Evie Lovett, Robert George, and the late Mark Shaw, who was a family photographer for the Kennedy’s. The list of national donators includes Fred Cray, Duane Michals, Kevin Bubriski, and Lawrence McFarland, a prominent artist featured in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. There is even a print (featured and for sale) by Edward Curtis, who took portrait pictures of American Indians in the 1800’s.

An additional shock came when I found out what these prints were going for. The opening bid for each piece is 20% of the actual price. Meaning that a signed book retailing for 30 dollars can sell for as little as 5 dollars. And a $2,500 Fred Cray has an opening price of 500 dollars.
It’s totally absurd.” said Sophia LaCava-Bohanan, one of the organizers of the In-Sight Photography Project. “There are these multi-thousand dollar pieces for 20% of the valued price, and there are a lot of works that don’t even have bids.”

The most highly-priced pieces offered are a book and print that are so valuable that the Vermont Center for Photography keeps the two under lock and key. The print is a limited edition by Jen Beckman. Her other prints of the same picture sold out elsewhere almost immediately, raising the price of this copy. The print is accompanied by a book, alleverythingthatisyouth, consisting of pictures by photographers Doug and Mike Starn. Joan O’Beime figures that the book is worth even more than the print. The opening bid for the two starts at $500, but the worth of the two by the end of the auction is yet to be unveiled.

“These silent auctions are our largest annual fundraiser.” said Sophia. “This silent auction determines our budget for the year and it is a very necessary event for us.” All profits go to the In-Sight Photography Project, for supplies and in scholarships for students who are unable to pay. Last year, 87% of students joining the program received full or partial scholarship, and the majority of the program’s money comes from their annual auction.

“Around 500 students, ages eleven to eighteen, are allowed into the program, regardless of their ability to pay.” Said Steve Dybas, one of the directors of In-sight.

Everybody wins: buyers pay for gallery quality art, while the money goes into teaching kids photography. Where else have you seen a system more fair and noble? In my life so far, I would have to say nowhere.

To learn more, visit

Mark Shaw,
Backstage Balmain Tartan Gown, 1954 printed 2007, Giclee Print on Hahnemuele Photo Rag paper, Certificate of Authenticity, 22 x 17 inches, Retail: $1,100

Edward S. Curtis, Untitled (Portrait of a Native American Man), Toned Gelatin Silver Print, 20 x 16 inches, Retail: $400

Fred Cray, Untitled Self Portrait, 2010-S, 2010, Archival Pigment Print, Signed, 20 x 16 inches, Edition 1 of 5, Framed, Retail: $2500

Daisy Frederick, Untitled, Gelatin Silver Print, Signed, 6 x 6 inches, AP 2 of 2, Retail: $60

PRESS RELEASE: Vermont Watercolor Society at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe

The Vermont Watercolor Society Exhibition opened on Friday, October 15th at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT. The 33 paintings in the show were juried by artist Susan Wahlrab from over 75 submissions. The result is a striking survey of the range and talent of Vermont watercolor painters. The artists’ subject matter ranges from new looks at the landscape, through figurative work, to seductive abstractions.

James Gardner of Vershire, VT paints City in a rain smeared gray and brown that tells you all you need to know about what he saw in Detroit when he painted there. Lois Macuga of Quechee, VT let The Garden evolve from plant studies into a piece populated by figures, fruit and trees that alludes to the Garden of Eden. Cristina Pellechio of Waterbury Center paints Nothing but Blue Skies as a dreamscape of shapes and marks borrowed from her accomplished ceramic work.

Mastery of the medium is evident at every turn, and the exhibit balances the Vermont vernacular of landscape and architecture with striking forays into other worlds. The landscape work itself holds many surprises and revelations as well as a full dose of straight beauty.

The exhibition runs from October 15th through November 21st. Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5:00.

Images: LoisMacuga, The Garden; MarkNielsen, West Fairlee Barn

PRESS RELEASE: Steven P. Goodman at Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne

Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery of Shelburne will be showing Highways and Byways: Recent Paintings by Steven P. Goodman October 29-November 30, 2010. The exhibit will open with a public reception on Friday , October 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

There is nothing static about Goodman's landscapes.
Employing fluid brushstrokes and often startling patches of color,he captures all the immediacy of the fleeting moment as we pass through familiar and exotic settings.

In speaking of the recurring byways that transport us through these images, Goodman says "Roads, rivers, highways and byways... these man-made and natural conduits provide access into the landscape. In addition to the obvious metaphors, I am interested in how they function as unfolding ribbons that lead your eye forward to the unknown or perhaps back home."

Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery is located at 86 Falls Road, in Shelburne Village. Hours are Tue-Fri 9:30-5:30, and Sat 10-5. For more information please call Joan Furchgott, 802-985-3848, or go to

Image: Bend in the road 7"x11.75" Oil on panel

" A Parallel Universe "
An annual group show featuring the work of
Kate Hartley and including:
Annelein Beukenkamp, Elizabeth Allen, Matt Brown, Kevin Fahey, Kathleen Kolb, Alice Murdoch, Lynn Rupe, Adelaide Tyrol, Barbara Wagner, Dick Weis, and Nancy Weis

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CARTOON: La Macarena by Sam Kerson

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Press Release: Art Hop News- Burlington

2010 Art Hop Original Juried Show Winners Exhibition:

Works by Ida Ludlow (first place); James Riviello (second place); Sophie Eisner (third place); and John Brickels (people’s choice). Through November 30th, at SEABA Gallery 404 Pine Street in Burlington. Opening Reception November 5th at 6pm. Info, 859-9222

Adam Devarney Exhibit continues through November 30th at Speeder & Earls (Pine Street) in Burlington.

Evan Earnstorff continues to exhibit art work through November 30th at Pine Street Deli in Burlington.

South End Arts + Business Association (SEABA)180 Flynn Ave.

Burlington, VT 05401

p 802 859.9222 f 802 859.0222
Fusing Culture + Commerce in Burlington's South End

Would you like to stay informed about SEABA happenings? Join our eNewsletter today by following this link:

image: Sophie Eisner

Saturday, October 16, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Marjorie Kramer at Julian Scott Gallery, Johnson State College

Marjorie Kramer, who has so often painted the green hills and mountains of Vermont in her more than 40 years here has now turned her back (temporarily?) on this motif. Instead, in this show, her two main themes are flowers and lower Manhattan. What could be more contradictory than large, rigid, steel and glass buildings and almost weightless colorful temporary flowers? Neither can be entered, like a field, or climbed, like a mountain. Although the body can not imagine entering they are glorious, like ikons. But there are also other smaller works that have passages, courtyards, doorways: the gas station and parking lot (Vermont), the steps to the old building by old trees (not Vermont- where?). So this is a second set of contradictions, oppositions, in Kramer's work. With each show the artist reveals more of themselves.

top image: Marjorie Kramer Lower Manhattan From Governors Island with Sailboat 24x30" 2007
lower image: Marjorie Kramer Daylilies and Phlox in Abbreviated Vase 18x24" 2009

Paintings and Recent Work
Reception Wednesday, October 20, at 2:30
October 18 through November 6, 2010
M-F 9am-6pm Sat 10am-4pm

Julian Scott Gallery
Dibden Center for the Arts
Johnson State College
Johnson, Vermont 05656

contact info:
Gallery: 802.635.1469

Friday, October 15, 2010

Press Release: Lisa Forster Beach at Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville

Stowe artist Lisa Forster Beach is the featured artist in Bryan Memorial Gallery’s Middle Room this fall through October 31. Featuring over 50 watercolors of Vermont scenes through the seasons, Beach’s exhibit also includes a selection of nature derived abstract paintings in acrylic, and a small number of oil paintings.

Beach is one of four artists featured in Bryan Memorial Gallery’s Middle Room this year, as The Bryan pays tribute to a selection of its artist members who are also members of the Northern Vermont Artist Association. Beach is not only a member of both organizations, but has also been a member of the National Watercolor Society since 1986.

Bryan Memorial Gallery is open Thursday – Sunday, 11 – 4, after October 17. The gallery is at 180 Main Street in Jeffersonville. For more information, call 802-644-5100 or visit

image: afternoon shadows on mansfield by Lisa Beach

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Show Invitation: David Kearns at Vermont Studio Center, johnson

Hi all...

I am currently having a show of Drawings and Paintings from the last year at the Vermont Studio Center. Please stop by if you are in the area, please enjoy the attached images if you are not....



Press Release: Fleming Museum Fall Reception, Burlington

Director Janie Cohen and the Board of Advisors of the Robert Hull Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont invite you to the Fall 2010 Reception, hosted by President Daniel Mark Fogel and Rachel Kahn-Fogel. The festive reception celebrates the opening of the Museum's three special exhibitions:
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection
Featuring live music, free hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. Opening remarks at 6:15 PM. Regular Admission. Please join us!
IMAGE ABOVE: Christo, The Gates, Project for Central Park, New York, 1980-2005, 1992. Serigraph with U.V. lacquer. The Tom Golden Collection, Sonoma County Museum
For more information on the University of Vermont's Robert Hull Fleming Museum:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Art Review: Collaborations with Nature – Janet Van Fleet and Emiko Sawaragi Gilbert @ the Flynndog

by Rob Hitzig

There is a fascinating show of wood sculptures, titled Afterward, at the Flynndog Gallery in Burlington, VT, Sept 30 - Oct 29, by Emiko Sawaragi Gilbert and Janet Van Fleet. Emiko's part of the show is titled Cornucopia and Janet's is All Aboard. Both artists have collaborated with nature to create the work. They haven't carved, painted, or significantly altered what is normally viewed as refuse and debris by most people, thereby helping the viewer to see the world in new and interesting ways.

Though not in a formal gallery, this show is likely to be one of the best you will ever wander into in Burlington; the rest of Vermont; or just about anywhere. Better still, the work is also some of the most affordable you'll find anywhere -- all but two of Emiko's pieces are available to a loving home as gifts from her and the Vermont forest from which they came while all of Janet's pieces, which she vows are not returning to her now clean studio, have no prices because she is happy to accept offers. Hence, this is a great place to do early holiday shopping (Janet's work is available as individual pieces or as their current groupings).

In Cornucopia, Emiko has used "scrap" branches and trees, left over from a firewood collection event, that are reshaped into interesting forms. Each is made from a single, continuous section of a tree. They are so well crafted that the viewer may wonder whether the forms are natural tree growths or caused by some other force of nature like bugs or wind.

Janet Van Fleet's half of the show, titled All Aboard, she has cleaned out her studio and repurposed her found object sculptures from the last 12 years to create a metaphorical and visual "train" that depicts life in all its beauty and ugliness. Appropriately, The Eagle Points The Way To A Different Future, leads the parade. With its gnarly wood face and driftwood chip feathers, the eagle seems to have the wisdom needed for charting a better direction.

For a full review of the show and more images, please visit Rob's blog,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Art Review: Art in the Round Barn: 200 Years of Farming... 20 Years of Art!, Waitsfield

by Bev Kehoe

It’s been 200 years since settlers cleared some land on the way to Waitsfield Common and decided that it was a good place to build their homestead. It’s been 100 years since the farmers in that house felt they needed a big round barn to store the hay, milk the cows and feed the chickens. It’s been 25 years since the Simko family restored the grounds and created the luxurious Inn at Round Barn Farm, and 20 years since Doreen Simko and Anne Marie Simko deFreest felt that the milking parlor deserved an up-close experience with Art. And this is the first year that the Green Mountain Cultural Center chose to create an ‘invitational’ show rather than the juried show that usually occurs each September in the Round Barn.

Twenty-six artists were invited, and all said “Yes!" By creating an invitational show, Anne Marie felt that she wanted to “recognize and honor the artists who have been so supportive of the

art show in the past, and who have greatly contributed to the Vermont art community.” This enabled deFreest to curate a show that displays a diversely coherent range of styles and techniques that flows through the circular space with balance and grace.

This is a showing of Vermont artists in every configuration: in mediums that include metal and clay, watercolor and oil, encaustic wax, pastel, photography, granite and wood; in styles that span the modality from realism to abstraction; with artists that live here just a few months a year as well as those who are first or sixth generation Vermonters; in a display of artistic experiences that are described from the hearts of venerable masters, diligent devotees and ambitious newcomers. The whitewashed walls and natural burnished floors of the barn create a warm but neutral backdrop of Vermont-wide artists, with a healthy mix of Mad River Valley artists.

When you walk in the door you are charmed by five pieces by Bill Brauer, who has nurtured his world-renowned career in a studio located just one mile up the road. His inspiration from the Renaissance is evident, as he says, ‘in a fascination with the human form, taking Renaissance concepts of the figure and combining them with my contemporary design sense…Formally the paintings are about shapes next to shapes and colors next to colors, with influences from the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians. A single light source and shallow visual field create a tension and dramatic dark-to-light patterns that help to emphasize that something is happening just beyond the picture plane.” This mystery and drama plays out with pieces entitled, ‘Cleopatra Meets the Sphinx,’ ‘Art Lovers,’ and ‘In Another Place.’

These pieces pull you in the two directions that lead you around in a circular array of art, paintings on the walls interlaced with sculptural structures that are as heavy as granite and as light as the air between the intricate —or massive— three-dimensional shapes. Robert Birbeck’s wood or stone pieces display a well-polished sense of humor in pieces such as ‘Honey I’m Home’ and ‘You’re Not In Kansas Anymore.’ John Brickels’ humor, by contrast, emerges from clay and ceramic constructions that juxtapose gritty dirt-colored structures with colorful vinyl dime-store props. ‘Vertico Barn III’ is singularly creative, topsy-turvy and one-of-a-kind (oh, wait, there must have been a ‘I’ and a ‘II’…)

Three Mad River Valley sculptors—Mireille Clapp, John Matusz and Mark Eliot Schwabe—put their hearts into steel and copper, aluminum and bronze. Mireille Clapp, with a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT, delights in the concept of order/disorder, taking the strength of steel and transforming it into statements of freedom and roughness. Mark Schwabe has plied his art for 40 years with a scale that ranges from 12 feet one half inch wide. He pushes pure geometric shapes into a precarious balance; he cuts away a simple clean form to show lava-rock-like inner turmoil; he works intricately, intimately in fantastical miniature scale.

John Matusz wields his welding equipment in the old firehouse in town where he burns up rock and steel into industrial-sized monuments. His pieces are raw, massive statements of a fierce artistic temperament. In contrast, the sculptures of Bruce Hathaway, especially ‘The Perfection Within’ are lilting melodies in metal. His aluminum & ‘mild steel’ pieces on maple or cherry bases are soft excursions into an artistic sensibility that dances with a Calder-esque mobility.

While the sculptures anchor the flow of the artistic expression, the soul of the show is the diversity of the paintings. Three Mad River Valley painters (in addition to Brauer) are displayed: Candy Barr in oils, Gary Eckhart with watercolors, and Marilyn Ruseckas in pastel. Candy Barr’s duo of moose images, ‘Stillness in Winter’ and ‘Early Spring Moose’ have the viewer tiptoeing up quietly to avoid disturbing the woodland creatures in all their massive glory. The complementary palette used creates a compelling lightness within the deep, rich colors. Candy reiterated this very natural theme by personally hewing the frames from birch trees right outside her Warren studio loft. Marilyn Ruseckas creates alluring visual oxymorons with her dense, dark pastels. Her play of dark against light and semi-surrealistic earth forms move into organic abstractions. Gary Eckhart’s watercolors contain a heightened sense of representation in pieces such as ‘Simply Buckets’ and ‘Exposed.’ Although the subject matter is traditional imagery of barns, sugar houses and buckets, the textural layering of muted pigments within these shapes emerge into a depth of color and form that create moving, nostalgic reminders of simpler times gone by.

Bonnie Acker, a strong supporter of the Art in the Round Barn through the years, finds flame and fire, air and water within the abstractions of her landscapes. A strong horizontal landing zone within the paintings allow for soaring skies and fiery vertical breath. Simple, strong oils that dance deeply in the pastel modes of jewel-like color flicker one against the other for a luminous expression of love for the Vermont landscape. Elizabeth Allen’s oils, by contrast, are dreamier, more realistic representations of ‘Waitsfield Autumn’ and ‘Sundown on Lake Champlain.’ If dreamy art is intriguing, discover the large scale oils of Janet Fredericks in a display a faraway fairy tale abstraction. They seem to clearly state a reflection of inner emotional landscapes in concert with sketchy flora and fauna while fading in and out of sunny, summery color schemes. And if radiant light is to your liking, the oils of Joy Huckins-Noss are landscapes that seem to echo pointillism until you look up close and detect the three dimensional, rough layering of oil that create rifts and valleys of shadow and high peaks of complementary colors that glow with the luminosity of seasonal colors.

The oils of Kevin Fahey garnered him a ‘Best of Show’ accolade at the 2009 Art in the Round Barn Show, and especially his ‘Modern Explorer’ and ‘Mesmerized at Basin Harbor’ clearly show why. His sweeping drifts of shadow and light along the waves and beaches create bold statements of color and form. A more whimsical version of bold color opens up in Anne Cady’s oils where shapes and rhythms, patterns of light in nature reflect a simple playfulness that reveals the artist’s involvement with children and art.

If your idea of pastel is dreamy impressionistic styles, take a bite out of the pastels of Lucy Petrie. They revolve around a degree of detail that is dramatically literal, with mouthwatering explosions of color in ‘Orange Slice & Lime Wedge’ and ‘Kiwi & Orange.’

Frank Woods takes in his landscapes, feels and then responds to the “pull of abstraction.” His modernistic take on Quebec landscapes is strong pure color anchored by a dark under painting. In contrast, Helen Shulman starts her oils as realistic figures, and through a series of layering, works them into a powerfully geometric matrix of abstraction that shows little of the original sketch. Even so, they contain an organic depth that intuitively breathes light into pieces such as ‘Shifting Sands.’ Shulman concludes, “I work in a space patrolled by knowledge and challenged by intuition.”

This sentiment could be the theme of the 2010 Art in the Round Barn. The 26 artists hold an immense volume of technical knowledge in the areas of

materials, surfaces, color theory, composition and history. They use those skills and experience to transform their emotion and intellect into paintings and sculpture that challenges and soothes, inspires and animates the world around them. The Art in the Round Barn is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily except on Saturday when the Barn is closed at 2:30, and runs through October 11. For more information, call 802-496-7722 or go to

Bev Kehoe is Coordinator of the Vermont Festival of the Arts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Art Review: Ethan Azarian, Melissa Knight at Rose St co-op, Burlington

by Darby Parsons

Ethan Azarian and his wife Melissa Knight are showing simultaneously at the Rose Street Artist Gallery Co-op at 78 Rose St. in Burlington. An opening reception on Saturday October 2 included the artistic duo playing music live. Originally from Barre, Vermont Ethan Azarian and his wife, from Australia mainly reside in Austin, Texas but have kept close ties in the Vermont and Burlington community.

Ethan paints tiny wood blocks and large unstretched canvases in bright simple forms; city scapes that are very linear with a row of houses in the back slightly abstracted with a curve or slant. White Village is a large triptych of an off-white village that would disappear into the same shade of sky if it weren’t for the dark, impossibly simple lines that make the home’s roofs. Multiple wood block sets are filled with the skylines of Mexico and New York City. Many of the pieces have only been recently completed in and around Burlington. Ethan stresses his intent to get out into the community to create his art as part of his job as an artist. Melissa Knight’s fabric collages of birds, flowers and gardens hearken back to a folk craft except the brilliant colors are too vibrant and moving to speak of antiquity.

The couple pursue community as much as graphic arts and music; their home in Austin serves as a gallery and Ethan recently painted a 40ft mural in an old rail yard building near the tracks of Flynn Ave for the South End Art Hop. The small family returns to Austin at the end of October. The show will be on view at the Rose Street Gallery until then.