Date Of Visit: August 6, 2017
Location: 10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT
Hours: The galleries are open every day except Tuesdays, 11-5 (closed January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25). On the first Friday of each month, the galleries stay open until 8:30 p.m., with free admission after 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for students, free for BMAC members and youth 18 and under. Free admission for all on Thursdays, 2-5 p.m.
Parking: There are about a dozen parking spots in front of the museum and next to the
Handicapped Accessible: BMAC is wheelchair-accessible, and a guest wheelchair is available. Upon request and with advance notice, we will provide an ASL interpreter.
Website: Brattleboro Museum And Art Center
Highlights: the following exhibits: “Free Fall”, “The Boomer List”, “Boundaries, Balance and Confinement”, Spaceship Of Dreams”, “Lost Porches”, “Density & Transparency” are all on display until Oct. 8.
- parking in front of the museum is limited – there is street parking available in the area
- The art isn’t only in the museum itself: there are additional works of art on the grounds of the entrance to the museum
Have you ever dreamed of spaceships? Do you ever wonder if a piece of art can be dense and transparent?
Then the Brattleboro Museum And Art Center is just the place for you.
Brattleboro is a “non-collecting museum.” So, the exhibits do not stay there permanently and they often switch out exhibits.
Although it is only one floor, technically two if you count the five stairs that lead to the “Spaceship Of Dreams” exhibit, the Brattleboro Museum And Art Center (BMAC) has a wide variety of art to view and appreciate. The small size of the museum is actually comforting for people like me who can be overwhelmed by museums with a lot of art. You can certainly look through all of the seven exhibitions currently on display, without rushing, in about an hour or hour and a half.
My favorite exhibit is “Spaceship Of Dreams” by William Chambers.
Formerly titled “Spaceship York”, “Spaceship Of Dreams” began as a window display at a vacant storefront in York, PA. For two moths during the summer of 2015, William built and displayed this exhibit for all to visit for free. The “Spaceship York” project culminated with a countdown and blast off day, reports of travel, and return of the ship.
As people began to visit the exhibit, the work of art transformed into more than just a rocket display. People were able to connect with the artist and the work of art by working on the ship, using the space library and sharing ideas for change in York and the world. The ship became a metaphor for imagining possibilities and realizing dreams. Most significant was the chance to write or draw personal visions to be sent up with the ship. William would incorporate this as well as other family friendly aspects to the exhibit. It was great to see the messages and drawings the children left to be placed into the ship.
The exhibit is stopping off at the museum as part of its national museum tour. It will be on display until October 8.
Also on display is the “Density And Transparency” art display by Wolf Khan.
Wolf Kahn, who has macular degenerative, experiments with new methods and materials. He begins each painting by scrubbing in the basic composition and colors. Then, he uses a variety of oil sticks to produce bold forms and densely filled, saturated forms colors.
“Scrub, scub, scrub” that is how Wolf describes the process of making this art. Wolf uses this method to create layers of thinned paint.
Below is a sample of his work.
Pink Tangle Painting (2007) – oil on Canvas
Nathalie Miebach’s “Lost Porches” exhibit combines everyday items (such as paperclips). Her sculptures use designs that resemble weather maps and what she calls “numeral logic.” Her sculptures are meant to mirror our weather and the unfortunate consequences of some of our extreme weather patterns. I couldn’t help but think of a weather doppler or meteorological radar screen as I looked at her work (given the earlier mentioned intentions of her art).
This sculpture called, “Build Me A Platform, ” she asked, “high In The Trees, So I May See The Water.” It is made of wood, paper, string and data.
She describes this piece as being about four different flooding events that have impacted the Louisiana area since Hurricane Katrina. This is what makes Nathalie’s work so interesting. Many of us may not have known there were other flooding events since Katrina.
Nathalie used weather data from each of the flooding events while asking how we can come to terms with and perhaps prevent these flooding events in the future.
The sculpture below titled, “The Last Show Was For The Bleachers.” This sculpture, completed in 2016, is made of wood, paper, data and string.
This sculpture is based on an aerial view of the New Jersey/New York shoreline. The piece translates Hurricane Sandy data. The domino pieces represent retired hurricanes that are sitting on bleachers, looking on and waiting for Hurricane Sandy to join them on their benches.
The last sculpture titled, “Lost Porches” is meant to represent the front porches which is considered a traditional gathering place for the people in New Orleans. However, when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area this important social element was lost for many people. This sculpture tracks the redevelopment of a small section of the Lower Ninth Ward during the last 10 years. If you look closely, you may see what looks like houses and other housing structures – without porches.
I’m always in awe of how artists can make great art of out seemingly ordinary materials. This is the case with “Boundaries, Balance And Confinement: Navigating The Elements Of Nature And Society”, an art exhibit by Vermont resident Mary Admasian that explores the physical boundaries between objects as well as the implicit boundaries of familial and social covenants and conventions.
Barbed wire is considered the border between the natural world and cultivated land. Admasian uses barbed wire as a unifying material in her work. She incorporates barbed wire with feathers, butterflies and branches among other natural materials with manufactured materials.
“The Nest”, completed in 2015, uses goose egg, Vermont birch log and stove trivet in its design.
“Go Cut Yourself A Switch”, also completed in 2015, combines pine plank, willow branches, barbed wire (Of course) and acrylic paint.
To the left in the photo below is “Lessons That You Won’t Forget” which combines fencing, barbed wire, willow switches and gold wire. it was completed in 2015.
Created in 2015, “Dowsing For Center” (to the right in the photo below) is made of maple branch, barbed wire, a rusty metal ring and white paint.
“The Hive”, completed in 2016, uses barbed wire, powder coating and a rusted steel chain.
“Progression”, from 2015, is a barbed wire and bank plank construct. Imagine getting spanked with that!
Mary’s last addition to her exhibit is located outside of the museum, hanging from the eaves of the art museum.
“Weighted Tears” is made of barbed wire, aluminum rods, wire and powder coating. The five teardrops vary in size and are stabilized by spherical weights. The smallest form is lit 24 hours a day as a symbol of hope during difficult times.
“Free Fall” is an art display by Barbara Garber.
Barbara says she often starts from a “place of not knowing” when she begins her works of art. You can see the theme of falling in many of her photos.
Below are Barbara’s paintings that are featured as part of her Free Fall exhibit.
Ripples, 2017, acrylic and colored pencil on drafting film
Free Fall, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
Out Of The Oven, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
Spin, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
Xocian, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
From Nothing, 2016-2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
I Don’t Know, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
Notch, 2017, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film
Upside Down, 2016, acrylic paint and colored pencil on drafting film.
“The Boomer List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders” is a large portrait display of 19 “boomers” who were born between 1946 and 1964. The 19 photos line the walls of the right hand side of the art museum in an area that seems more like an annex to the museum. Timothy’s portraits have a short summary of the subjects as well as a short story or a lesson the person has learned. The portraits are incredible. While the subjects were certainly posing for the photos they also look remarkably natural.
The people included in the “Boomer List” are listed below:
1946: Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran/author
1947: Deepak Chopra, New Age guru
1948: Samuel L. Jackson, actor
1949: Billy Joel, singer/songwriter
1950: Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer
1951: Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
1952: Amy Tan, author
1953: Eve Ensler, playwright
1954: Julieanna Richardson, The HistoryMakers
1955: Maria Shriver, journalist
1956: Kim Cattrall, actress
1957: Virginia Rometty, CEO, IBM
1958: Ellen Ochoa, director, Johnson Space Center
1959: Ronnie Lott, athlete
1960: Erin Brockovich, environmentalist
1961: Peter Staley, AIDS activist
1962: Rosie O’Donnell, entertainer
1963: David LaChapelle, artist
1964: John Leguizamo, actor
Little known fact (at least to new visitors to the museum): the museum is on the top floor of Brattleboro Train Station. An old ticket counter from the very same train station is located next to the “Spaceship Of Dreams” exhibit.
Now, an Amtrak train makes stops each day at 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock, backing up traffic for quite some ways.
As if that wasn’t art for one visit, there are also pieces of art outside of the building as well as decorative flowers and signs on the museum.
“Wrench Bench” is a bench made of cast fiber, resin and oil paint. It was made by John Tagiuri.
“Land Lift”, made by Vermont-based Bob Boemig, is made of turf, steel and stone.
Located in between the Brattleboro Museum and the Marlboro College Graduate School, the Sculpture Garden has two rock displays. A sign on the wall of the museum indicates the garden is dedicated to the memory of Dan Freea.
Today’s featured link is a link to a post about an exhibit by Chris Page that was displayed at the museum last year called “Eyes Toward Heaven.” I wish I could have seen this in person!