Pig sculpture by the Gatskis

Cow on a pole by the Gatskis

Painting by Deborah Lazar

Rodeo Warmup by Kate Spencer

Matt with pony by Kate Spencer

Grazing Through a Few Other Farm-Related Exhibits

I've begun referring to this as our "livestock issue" . . . featuring, as it does, a number of four-footed (and two-footed) creatures and a business with "moose" in its name. In addition to Caryn King's exhibit of animal portraits (see page 5), there are three new farm-related shows on this month's Gallery Walk (plus a kickoff event for the Strolling of the Heifers weekend). Excerpted publicity profiles of the three exhibits are included below.

Ben and Kate Gatski: Art Farmers
at Gallery in the Woods

Art and farming fit together like, well, two peas in a pod. Often the skills of farming translate into winter's warm creative fires when fall chores are done.

Chicken by the Gatskis

Sculptor-farmers Ben and Kate Gatski work from their hilltop home in rural Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, within view of their pigs, chicken and cows.Using their skills in the constant repair of their equipment, they reclaim farm machinery from farmers and dealers, cut it apart, hammer and weld the pieces into cows, pigs, chickens and sheep for everyone's enjoyment.

The Gatskis plan to attend the Strolling of the Heifers and check out art and farming with us in Brattleboro on the weekend of June 1. A parade of their animals decks the front window at Gallery in the Woods in celebration of the life of farming and art.

Reception for the artists during Gallery Walk on Friday, June 1, 5:30 to 8 pm, at Gallery in the Woods, 145 Main St., Brattleboro; (802) 257-4777, galleryinthewoods.com.

The Artful Barn: Deborah Lazar Returns to Her Brushes
at Amy's Bakery Arts Café

When Deborah Lazar put away her oil paints back in 1989, she had no way of knowing when she would ever resume painting again. Two years ago, after watching painter Richard Schmidt demonstrate his technique at Putney Village Arts, she was bitten once again by the painting bug.

Brookline farm by Deborah Lazar

"It took a lot of dusting and a pair of pliers to get the oil paints out of the tube back onto my palette," says Lazar, who holds a degree in Studio Art from Windham College, "but the results have been worth it." For the last two years she has been laying down oil paint on canvas again. Most recently she has been studying painting at the Village Arts of Putney with Dennis Sheehan and Rosemary Ladd. Her latest subjects have been portraiture and Vermont farm landscapes.

Three oversize barn or farm paintings are featured at Amy's, 113 Main St., Brattleboro, during June. Also exhibited are a few portraits, Lazar's fine art photography (this and graphic design have kept her creative juices flowing in the intervening years), and some "words and images" collaborations. Artist's reception from 5:30 to 8 during Gallery Walk on June 1; (802) 251-1071 (bakery), (802) 387-8739 (Deborah Lazar); artworking.com.

Kate Spencer: The Horse and Rider, Big Skies and Closer Pastures
at Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery

Best known as the head honcho at Maple Leaf Music in Brattleboro, Kate Spencer was born and raised in Montana, so it comes as no surprise that her primary interest in painting is her native landscape and cowboy culture. While she sometimes works from photographs in the studio, Spencer prefers to paint en plein air. "I'm big on skies -- that's the Montana influence. The color and the grace in the West is where my soul is." Rodeo riders, wranglers, horses, wildlife, and vast western vistas are rendered in vibrant color with a loose brush and a bold attitude.

The show also features a few East Coast scenes including some small oil sketches done on Monhegan Island. Most notable is a large triptych of a bucolic western New England meadow graced with a delicate, almost lacy -- but decidedly un-PC -- stretch of powerlines. Spencer is unromantic in her compositions, juxtaposing with wild elements of nature and objects of civilization. Her paintings are at once real and dreamy, rendered with a keen observation of how the spirit of the land intersects with the material world she sees.

An opening reception is planned for 5 to 8 pm during Gallery Walk on June 1 at the Hooker-Dunham Gallery & Theater, 139 Main St. (down the alley and downstairs); (802) 254-9726; hookerdunham.org��.

Copyright 2007, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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