Art Show, April 2019

Fran Bull: “Flamingo Steryopticon,” acrylic on canvas, 1985. This work is part of a new exhibit at 77 Gallery in Rutland.

Artwork in the new exhibit that opened Saturday at 77 Gallery ranges from straightforward portraits to surreal dioramas to even more abstract and conceptual pieces.

The diverse collection — work of 67 artists filling two floors at the Grove Street gallery — is tied together by the age of its creators.

“Everybody in the show is over 70 — from 70 to about 93,” curator Bill Ramage said. “This generation — I think somebody should step back, take a look at it and appreciate because this generation is disappearing. They’re the ones who lived on both sides of the modern and postmodern era.”

Ramage said the age cohort saw great changes not just in the art world, but in society as a whole.

“In 1950, Margaret Sanger raised $150,000 to get some scientists to invent a birth control pill,” he said. “The FDA made it legal in 1960. There’s a big shift. ... That’s right in this middle of this generation. ... John Kennedy was considered the first TV president. Rocket ships. The moon. It was just everything. We’re the last generation who can remember a world where there is no television.”

The first floor is dominated by a hanging sculpture of Greek mythical figure Icarus, plunging to Earth after getting too close to the sun. Sculptor Mark Prent, of St. Albans, said the sculpture is part of a series he calls “Angels of the Apocalypse” and that he frequently pairs it with another piece, titled “Addabon,” to represent the struggle over the environment as akin to the war between angels in heaven.

“A lot of my work has to do with statements against war, statements about destruction of the environment,” he said.

Prent said Icarus represents preserving the environment in that pairing not because of any allegory in the Icarus myth, but because of the piece’s “classical beauty.”

Prent said his own eye was drawn to Sally Jenne Keefe’s colored pencil drawings, saying he was impressed by the way she captured and contrasted textures.

“These reflections are absolutely beautiful,” he said, gesturing to a picture of polished metal crockery.

Lou Scott, 83, of Chittenden, produced a series of dioramas. In one, a Buddha overlooks a waterfall. In another, farm animals emerge from a mouth in a globe.

“These come with a narrative,” he said. “I try to deal with current issues — women’s rights, racism, global warming. I use animals as a metaphor. I don’t really have any formal training, but I ran an ad agency in New York for many years.”

Scott said he preferred the exhibit’s more abstract work.

“I can bring my own emotions,” he said. “For downtown Rutland, people are coming from all over the state and we’re well-represented in the art world.”

The show runs through May 17.


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