Chaffee showcases Vermont’s diverse art
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | February 13,2013
Vermont is said to have more artists per capita than any state in the United States. While this is not easily verifiable, this state is certainly home to some very fine visual artists.
On Friday, the Chaffee Arts Center will open an exhibit showcasing some of the area’s finest artists at its Main Street location, Chaffee Downtown. The annual “Full House Exhibit” will feature work by Katherine Langlands, Brian Sylvester, Richard Weis and Johanne Durocher Yordan, and run through March 23. The exhibit opens with a public reception 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Langlands’ “The Ladies” is a series of 17 interconnected paintings of women first exhibited in July 2011 in Hollywood, along with designer Isabelle Donola’s apparel collection inspired by the art.
“Every canvas is first layered with pages from books, creating depth to the figures and filling the vacant faces with tumbled literary passages,” Apparel News blog said of the show.
“Each painting hangs as its own entity — collectively the series vibrates and harmonizes,” the review continued. “At times the ladies may appear vulnerable and exposed and in other instances they look at ease and self-assured. Langlands has created a stunning collection that probes the compilation of Everywoman.”
Langlands was born and raised in Vermont and currently splits her time between Vermont and Los Angeles. Her family owns and operates Darkside Snowboards. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in art and has exhibited in Vermont, Oregon and Los Angeles.
Langlands was chosen along with eight other artists out of a pool of 700 submissions to exhibit “The Ladies” at the first annual UVM Alumni Art Show in October 2011.
Sylvester, a Rutland artist, describes himself as “a traditional brush-to-canvas painter.”
“My 15 years working in floriculture are one of the many influences of my current work,” Sylvester said in his artist’s statement. “I am exploring the way that abstract forms and bold colors can carry deep and complex meaning in our lives, be they the decorative and architectural elements in the structures we create around us, such as portals, gates and fašades in tile, brick and iron, or the spiritual imagery of devotional mandalas that seem to combine the geometry of both the natural and spiritual world.”
He added: “I’m finding that there is indeed a universal place where art and science, the sacred and the mundane can meet, in certain forms and colors that seem to appeal to us unconsciously on a variety of levels, and hope to take this exploration further.”
Sylvester has exhibited at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester and the Somerville (Mass.) Museum, as well as the Chaffee in Rutland and galleries in Massachusetts and West Virginia.
Richard Weis, a retired Green Mountain College art professor of 21 years, will be represented by “The Ladder Series.”
“During the last 30 years I have frequently allowed my paintings to come off the wall,” Weis said in his statement.
“Sometimes this has involved free-standing works, works that were displayed on the floor, and works that had three-dimensional elements projecting into or occupying the viewer’s space.”
“The Ladder Series” is the most recent of these explorations.
“The first work in the series, ‘Kuskurza,’ was thought to be a one-of-a-kind piece; I had no plans to develop a series,” Weis said. “However, the artist does not always have total control over the process and more works utilizing a ladder metaphor began to emerge. Although some of these works have been shown individually, this is the first time I have been able to show a group of them together.
“Much like my other work, the process is fluid, beginning with a basic structural/metaphorical idea and then evolving as the work progresses—sometimes into totally unexpected directions,” Weis said.
Weis, who lives in Castleton with his sculptor-wife Nancy Pulliam Weis, has exhibited widely in the United States as well as in Canada, Wales and South Korea. In 2010 his work was included in a traveling exhibition, “Cross
Cultural Visions,” celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in South Korea. The exhibition venues included New York City, Washington, D.C., and Seoul.
Yordan, who lives in Burlington, describes herself as a self-taught artist.
“As an adult I went back to school to redefine what it was I wanted to accomplish with my art,” she said in her statement.
Yordan attended classes at the University of Vermont over a two-year period, which she said helped her to grow as an artist.
“After experimenting with my art for a while, a life-altering event caused a complete shift in how I painted,” she said.
Prior to this shift, Yordan painted about what she saw and knew — still life and landscapes.
“It then became more about what I felt and about pushing the boundaries of how I had previously painted,” she said. “This release allowed me to paint with freedom and emotion, which for me led to a very different means of expression, a very abstract expression.”
Abstract painting has led to more exploration and experimentation.
“Some paintings are deliberate and are meant to evoke specific emotions while others are an exploration of technique, color and texture,” Yordan said. “Many of my paintings are well planned while others are very impromptu.
Some of my paintings have included found or collected items which add depth and meaning to combine form and function to my work.”
Over the past 12 years, Yordan have exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions as well as commissioned work, mostly in the Burlington area and Quebec.
“I continue to pursue every avenue so that I may share what I love to do with others,” she said. “Art imitates life and is a continual process of growth, experiences and curiosity.”