Turtlehead print by Bobbi Angell

"Turtlehead" print
by Bobbi Angell

Violets by Janet Picard

by Janet Picard

Rug by Kris McDermet

Hooked and braided rug
by Kris McDermet

Rising Tide by Marrin Robinson

"Rising Tide"
by Marrin Robinson

Brattleboro-West Arts in Gallery at Headroom Stages

This June, around the corner from the celebration of Heifer Stroll, Brattleboro-West Arts presents "got art?" -- a showcase for the remarkable work of a diverse community of artists living along the picturesque Whetstone Brook watershed. Fifteen artists will be exhibiting and selling paintings, pottery, furniture, sculpture, fabric arts, and works on paper on June 3-5, 2011. The three-day exhibit, in the Gallery at Headroom Stages, upstairs at 17 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, offers visitors a chance to stroll amidst the artwork throughout the weekend. Gallery hours are Friday from 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. (open during Gallery Walk), Saturday from 12:00 to 8:00 pm -- with an evening reception to meet the artists from 5:00 to 8:00 -- and Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Exhibiting artists are Bobbi Angell, Josh Bernbaum, Jason Breen, Karen Kamenetzky, Naomi Lindenfeld, Steve Lloyd, Kris McDermet, Petria Mitchell, Cathy Osman, Janet Picard, Marrin Robinson, Tim Segar, Walter Slowinski, Matt Tell, and Doug Trump.

Covered Jar by Walter Slowinski

Covered Jar
by Walter Slowinski

The Brattleboro region is well recognized as a rich and invigorating arts community. Brattleboro-West Arts (BWA), an association of artists and craftspeople working in the villages of West Brattleboro and Marlboro, has become a prominent feature of this landscape. BWA members meet monthly to share artistic visions and foster community. Eighteen members will participate in the third annual Open Studio Tour on September 24-25, 2011.

"got art?" will be an intimate opportunity to view and purchase new work. While there will be a great diversity of artwork on display, there is a strong theme connecting the artists and their work. Whether viewing the artwork, reading the artists' statements, or talking directly to each individual, one feels the inherent common thread of a visceral connection to their surroundings. The sense of place is paramount. Using shapes, colors, and patterns observed in the gentle valleys and rugged hills outside their studios, each artist has found a personal connection to the earth, and a profound way of expressing it as art.

Traditional meets contemporary in the endeavors of BWA artists, and functional pottery is a fine example of what is created. Several potters will be represented in the "got art?" exhibit. NAOMI LINDENFELD's elegant porcelain pieces showcase her intricate process of layering and carving stained clay in patterns reminiscent of the movement of water and wind. WALTER SLOWINSKI and MATT TELL fire their pottery in wood-fired kilns, a process that enriches their creations with the kiss of fire and ash that gives each piece its own story. Whether fluted bowl, bird-like pitcher, dramatic vase, or free-standing bird bath, the ceramic work reflects the colors and textures of the Vermont earth.

BWA artists break new ground by using materials rooted in tradition in very untraditional ways. Glass blower JOSH BERNBAUM juxtaposes transparent and opaque areas of glass to create stunning vases and wall sculptures, relying on his refined sense of balanced color relationships. Furniture craftsman JASON BREEN's innovative tables and desks are created from locally harvested hardwood, with each piece honed to a silken luster. Fiber artist KAREN KAMENETZKY uses dyed and painted cotton and silk to create patterns inspired by microscopic/cellular imagery, allowing a process of stitches to unfold into a personal and intimate view of nature. KRIS McDERMET artfully blends age-old techniques to create hooked and braided rugs and wall hangings that transcend the traditional. Hand-dyed wool and silk are married into exquisite designs inspired by nature and family.

Sculptor TIM SEGAR connects the points between sculpture and drawing. His finely crafted bent-wood forms carry stitched drawings that delineate and divide planes and spaces. CATHY OSMAN, painter and printmaker, creates work in constant reference to the landscape outside her studio as well as the influences of her travels. Her large-scale collages suggest a microscopic world, or inversely the mapping of a geographical place. Printmaker BOBBI ANGELL focuses on an intimate view of plants to create intricate copper etchings enhanced by her life as gardener and work as botanical illustrator.

Amidst all the riches, the work of five renowned painters of BWA will be displayed to grand effect on the bright walls of the Gallery at Headroom Stages. PETRIA MITCHELL's dramatic and glowing oil landscapes, with her bold and expressive brush strokes, deliberately lead the viewer's eye to travel across the canvas. JANET PICARD's bold colors and unusual compositions mix reality and abstraction into a lively style that moves far beyond traditional landscape painting. MARRIN ROBINSON uses oil and mixed media to create a sense of nature and of place remembered or imagined, awash with the colors of the artist's imagination. STEVE LLOYD, influenced by his profession as architect, creates watercolor landscapes from Europe and West Brattleboro as well as abstract acrylic paintings, each with luminous soft hues and geometric tendencies. DOUG TRUMP, a painter of non-objective canvases for 30 years, finds an entity on its own in fixing fluid into solid, allowing him to express his connection to the world via place.

Summing up the pleasures that artists may take in creating their work, Trump states, "Seeing at the close of the day what wasn't there before is fascinating and deeply satisfying. And maybe even associated, there is that magical interest in looking." In the "got art?" exhibit in the Gallery at Headroom Stages, there is much magic and much creativity. It is well worth a stroll upstairs to meet the artists and see the artistic vision, quality craftsmanship, and rich talent on display. For information about the exhibit and the individual artists, see www.brattleboro-west-arts.com or call (802) 257-4021.

Copyright 2011, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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