Lens by Cathy Osman

New to the Tour this year,
painter Cathy Osman makes
large-scale collages.

Trash Can Installation by Le Xi

Le Xi's "Trash Can"
installation uses video
projection and shadows from
crumpled paper to create the
illusion of patterns from nature.

Open Studio Tour: Brattleboro-West Arts

Glass sculpture by Josh Bernbaum

Detail from a fused-glass
sculpture by Josh Bernbaum

Brattleboro-West Arts, an association of over two dozen artists and craftspeople working in the villages of West Brattleboro and Marlboro, presents its second annual open studio tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 25 and 26. Twenty artists will be working at sixteen studios in a six-mile radius along the Whetstone Brook watershed.

Tour maps will be available in advance and on Tour weekend at the "trail head," the C.X. Silver Gallery in West Brattleboro. The Silver Gallery is also hosting an opening reception during Gallery Walk for a preview exhibition by artists on the tour, who all produce work that resonates with their natural and cultural surroundings.

The group has even coined a term for the area's unique convergence of the rural and the urbane, a deeply ingrained feature of Southern Vermont. "They call it articulture," says Tour trustee Douglas Cox. "Our corner of Vermont is a very special place. Our goal is to share the place and the process from which our creativity flows."

The artists will exhibit and sell their art but also hope visitors will linger a while at each studio to chat, ask questions, and watch them work. "The tour is a way for our neighbors to see what is happening in their community, and for travelers to our area to see below the surface," Cox said.

Painting by Janet Picard

"View from the Cappy's"
by Janet Picard

The Tour weekend -- and throughout September in accompanying exhibits -- features some work that responds directly to the Vermont countryside: landscape paintings, figured stoneware, and blown-glass flowers. Other artists offer a contemporary twist on a traditional local art form, such as quilting, fine cabinetry, and wood-fired clay vessels. Still others incorporate trees or stones from their own property, or take inspiration from the ripples of the Whetstone Brook, the brilliant autumn leaves, or the geometry of a freshly mown hayfield.

An example of this synthesis of art and environment is embodied in video artist Le Xi, who recently settled in Brattleboro. He finds that the rhythm and content of his animated drawing has been changing through his experience of shadows and patterning made by Vermont moonlight and starlight, as compared to shadows and patterns observed while living in New York City: "It's hard to go to sleep early because I feel energized by these night conditions, and I translate my experience of shadows and patterns of Vermont nighttime into my video projection installation entitled, 'Trash Can.' The moving shadows of paper also become night foliage in the wind."

More information on Brattleboro-West Arts and its annual Fall Studio Tour -- including artist profiles and examples of their work -- may be viewed at www.brattleboro-west-arts.com (note the required hyphens in the URL).

Copyright 2010, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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