by Marc Awodey, Seven Days Vermont, Sept 19, 2007
The black-and-white photography of Connie Imboden, showing at Pine Street Art Works in Burlington, creates a kind of abstract poetry with nude figures without altering or manipulating them. By examining how illuminated female forms are refracted and reflected under water, Imboden’s work achieves a visual grace. Her dramatic contrasts of value suggest subtle movement in the figures’ supple yet ethereal forms. Imboden is an artist of international stature. Her exhibition,titled “The Beauty of Darkness,” shows why. It’s on view through October 2.
From ArtMap Burlington, May 2007
Denis Versweyveld doesn’t paint things. He paints how light bathes things, which is to say, his subject is luminosity. He exhibits a refined technique, chooses simple objects, and has an intense knowledge about how light falls upon a surface that makes for a remarkable selection of work.
Denis Versweyveld, Painting, Sculpture and Drawing
Seven Days VT, April 11, 2007
by Marc Awody
Denis Versweyvelds elegantly understated paintings and sculptures are on view through May at Burlingtons Pine Street Art Works. His sparse aesthetic is unique, as his still lifes are both minimal and representational. Versweyveld is also a subtle colorist, more concerned with value and intensity than with hue. The painter walks a fine line between light and shadow. Pictured: "Josette's Bowl."
John Anderson Show reviewed in Art New England, June 2007
By Claire Robinson-White
The Burlington-based architect-artist John Anderson has produced vibrant architecture and public art throughout Vermont since the early 1970s. His projects include the SkyGates murals at Burlington International Airport, and renovations to the Ethan Allen Firehouse (now known as the Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts), and murals for the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont, and the Magic Hat Brewing Company, to name a few.
The fourteen large-scale drawings and seven mixed-media drawings on view at Pine Street Art Works showcase Andersonâ��s interpretations of architectural space. The choices of materials, such as brick dust, lumber crayon, concrete dust, and builderâ��s tape add literal substance and weight to each drawing, and imbue them with the illusion of scale and depth. Yet, in the execution of these drawings, we find ourselves not intimidated by the lifelike scale; instead, we are drawn closer to Andersonâ��s real explorations of architectural voids and frameworks.
In Glass Block Wall, Anderson depicts glass architectural blocks in a fixed grid form (presumably a mortared wall). This rigid structure appears to alternatively support and dissect the marks behind the glass, which emerge as a fragmented and topographic landscape study. The emergent lines nonetheless appear fluid and elegant in their form.
Three Dimensional, Three Foot Cube is an isometric drawing of a neutral cube with a grid framework forming its sides. Within it we see fragments of colored gestures and dashes, which convey a strong sense of motion and direction, but also appear entirely contained. By encouraging concentration on the volume and presence of the structure and the space around and within it, Andersonâ��s work draws particular attention not only to the relationship between the object and the viewer, but also with what the object contains.
Tankscapes are seven mixed-media drawings that depict elements of the oil storage tanks that were once scattered along Burlingtonâ��s waterfront. Cool white tones reminiscent of an arctic landscape and earthy but dirty browns are the backdrops to these edifices. The oil storage tanks rise from the ground evoking a visionary architectural landscape choreographed with organic structures, and illuminating ecological-utopian ideals.
The interaction of the human body with and within our environment, and simultaneously, with and within architecture, is a significant point Anderson attempts to answer with his large-scale drawings, but ironically the small Tankscapes offer the viewer a more poignant exploration.
Â©2004-2006 Art New England
Exhibit Gives New Meaning To Old Scrap. From Vermont Cynic, Independent Student Newspaper at The University Of Vermont.
By John Landry, Novermber 6, 2006.
Artifact," a new exhibit at Pine Street Art Works, opened Friday night to a sparse crowd. Directors of the exhibit, Liza Cowan and Christy Mitchell, have assembled a collection of items salvaged from various places around Burlington as well as pieces of art by local artists.
The collection is varied and includes everyday items such as the glass beads made by local Madelyn Erb and vintage items like a 1917 poster from Spain advertising perfume.
But some of the "artifacts" created by local artists had more practical, everyday uses. One of the more interesting parts of the exhibit was a collection of lamps made from old radios and cameras by Christy Mitchell, whose work has also appeared on Home and Garden Television.
Similarly, Paige Russel's pieces featured boldly-colored lamps-made from Tupperware-reminiscent of typical 1960s house dÃ�Â©cor. Russell also contributed her pottery to the exhibit, which included candle holders and, to keep the theme going, vessels for food and liquid storage.
Local furniture makers like John B. Marius and Stew Design Workshop had items in the exhibit as well. One of Marius' most interesting pieces (though maybe uncomfortable) is a chair created from the seat of an old farm tractor.
The "Artifact" exhibit featured photography too. Keeping with the theme of human relics, Gary Hall's stunning black and white photographs captured the unlikely beauty of objects like shafts in quarries and spools for winding electrical wire.
Scattered amidst the artwork were time worn objects like old windowpanes, a door with chipped paint, a porthole from a yacht and a metal Chinese checkers board, to name a few.
Even the gallery itself is an artifact. Pine Street Art Works' space previously belonged to the A.L. Whiting factory, and a table remnant from the company's production space was on display. The table, from the factory (which made bristles from natural fibers like animal hair), exemplifies how the seemingly mundane can become an artifact of Americana.
"Artifact" runs through December. For more information visit Pine Street Art Works at 404 Pine St. or online at http://www.pinestreetartworks.com. Ã�Â© Copyright 2007 Vermont Cynic
The Art Of Pine Street. From Burlington Free Press, Living Section.
By Eve Thorsen. December 9, 2006
Anyone looking to buy something different and cool for Christmas should take a walk -- probably a brisk one, since the snow's here -- down Pine Street and into the South End of Burlington. The area has blossomed into a micro-studio neighborhood that boasts the largest concentration of working artists in the city. Here are a few of the studios that are full of inspirations for good gifts, but there are plenty more to be found simply by exploring up and down Pine Street.
Pine Street Art Works
This is a terrifically eclectic gallery that was opened a year ago by Liza Cowan to show work by "mid-career" artists and a handful of up-and-coming Burlington artists.
Don't expect to find anything traditional in this gallery. Its artists are notable for the avant-garde and, often, fun quality of their work. On the regular "A" list are Steve Goodman's atmospheric landscapes that bridge classical landscape and abstract photography, Denis Versweyveld's pristine white sculptures, and Cowan's own playfully skillful paintings based on work by the masters. The gallery also has some of Alison Bechdel's framed original art from her "Dykes To Watch Out For" comic strip as well as framed triptychs from her autobiographical "Fun Home."
Through December, the gallery is featuring a show called "Artifact" with some fun furnishings such as metal tables made by Katherine Clear and Christy Mitchell's lamps made from old cameras and radios. The gallery also sells "Flashbags," durable bags made of laminated paper that feature reproductions of various artists' work.
Paper Play: New Work by Alison Bechdel and Phranc reviewed in Out In The Mountains
by Fran Moravcsik, October, 2006
If you were among the crowds swarming at this year's Art Hop, you might have ducked into pine street art works and noticed some unfamiliar art by some familiar names.
Certainly you know Vermonts own Alison Bechdel and her Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip right here in OITM. Well, she has taken a giant step outside the small frames of her elegantly detailed lesbian universe (and I am not just talking about her recently published autobiographical book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic).
In addition, for those women who found their way into our community during the golden years of womyn singer/songwriters, the name of Phranc the Folksinger brings up memories of some clever lyrics from a cute butch with dark eyes and a trademark flattop haircut. Unless you were uncommonly smitten, however, or have been in certain corners of the Los Angeles scene more recently, she is probably not someone you have thought of in years. And anyway, what does she have to do with art?
Well, all of you who were, like me, far behind the times on what has been going on with these lesbian icons, are much indebted to Liza Cowan. Cowan opened pine street art works last December, and is featuring these two women in one of her first major shows. In fact, we are doubly indebted to her, as she was the one who introduced Alison and Phranc during a Michigan Womyns Music Festival back in the mid 80s. The friendship has been going strong over the years and when Liza suggested a joint show, the two of them inspried each other not only to present their latest work, but even to create pieces together.
So, if you dropped by at Paper Play: New Work By Alison Bechdel and Phranc what would you see? I stopped in as they were hanging the show, and the first thing that caught my eye was a life-size cardboard cutout, drawn in Bechdel's instantly recognizable style, and just as recognizably a portrait of Phranc. This flat figure was wearing a three-dimensional striped shirt, clean and crisp and cheerful, made from painted and sewn paper.
Pharnc has been working in cardboard for many years, making toys, advertisements, shoes and all kinds of objects. (do check out the cardboard chocolates in he corner.) Only in the past nine months, however, has she rolled out the paper, painted it like fabric, cut out the patter, and actually sewn it together on her grandmother's old sewing machine, rather than just using glue. The natural stiffness of the kraft paper gives a three-dimensional liveliness to the clothing that no starch can deliver, eternally fresh and new and somehow humorous.
My personal favorites of Phranc's paper creations are the pairs of shoes, in which I enjoy the hint of communication with that couple. Even when the shoes have a slightly used shape, they have the characteristic freshness of the paper material, not a hint of grime, mildew, and stinky feet. You could put these on the table without a qualm.
Phranc has been showing her paper art in galleries in Los Angeles and New York, but that is not all that is going on in her life. She still performs her music, has appeared in several films, and raises two kids with her partner. If you would like to know more, you can check out her blog at phrancthecardboardcobbler.blogspot.com.
Now, what about Alison Bechdel? Well, you can see the original sketches for her strips and her book, and I hear they are quite collectable these days, but for the surprise, you need to go into the next room. She has burst out of her meticulous little squares, grabbed a large brush and huge sheets of paper and filled them with freehand, life-size figures. One after another, these seem to engage in some nightmare of a struggle or a predicament of mythic proportions, stepping well beyond the careful objective reality of what she has shown us previously. But like everything that Bechdel does, these monumental drawings are absolutely truthful. Her work is so personal that it can sometimes feel almost intrusive to look at it. She is so naturally honest that it is beyond courageous - it is simply how she is. This is the way artists are supposed to be, but very few of them reach this level. If you are a fan, you can also find her on the web at www.dykestowatchoutfor.com.
You have until October 31, 2006, to catch the exhibit. What you missed if you did not come during Art Hop was to see the two friends together. They agreed from the first that they understood each other, appreciated each other's ideas, admired each other's work, and enjoyed each other's inventiveness and imagination. Wouldn't we all like a friend like that? Step into pine street art works, next door to Speeder and Earl's, and see what Phranc and Alison Bechdel have come up with together.
Steven Goodman Exhibit reviewed in SevenDays VT
By Kevin Kelly, August 23, 2006
Irony abounds in Steve Goodman's gloomily beautiful show at Pine Street Art Works. Trained as a painter, the South Burlington artist uses 21st-century digital technology to create images that resemble 19th-century daguerreotypes. Some are sepia-toned or gussied up with decorative flourishes, accentuating the aged or old-timey quality Goodman seeks to impart to his art. Through imaginative applications of Photoshop's properties, he also transforms sunny-sky snapshots into dark and moody scenes that suggest the influence of American painter J.M. Whistler's Nocturnes.
Goodman says he regards himself as a "traditionalist," even though the process culminating in the 20 or so works included in "Landscapes: Vermont/Italy (and New Jersey)" is as contemporary as it can be. He is using his nontraditional medium to develop a unique visual vocabulary.
The 51-year-old UVM alumnus further sees himself as a "composer assembling parts," rather than a photographer manipulating whatever his camera captures. He also doesn't think of his pieces as paintings, despite the year he spent at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Brest, France, early in his career.
And please don't refer to him as a computer artist. While acknowledging that his pieces "could only be done using the computer as a tool," he stresses, "That's all the computer is — a tool.
"It's been difficult to characterize my work because the medium is new and still evolving," Goodman continues. "Eventually, the newness of digital work will wear off and the work will have to be judged on its own."
Most of the unframed printouts hanging in the Pine Street gallery integrate abstract and representational elements. Goodman's work will thus strike viewers as simultaneously straightforward and mysterious. Which is why he puts the California painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) at the top of his list of artistic heroes. "I just love the way he's abstract and realistic at the same time," Goodman says. "That's not at all easy for a painter to do."
In the "Hopewell" series included in the show, photographs shot from his brother-in-law's home in New Jersey have been given a painterly look, with washed-over sections of the images seeming to have been produced by brushstrokes. These textured passages blur the sky and wooded landscape in ways both austere and luxuriant.
Similar, though even more radical, results are seen in his "Italian tree series." Here, what may be cypresses have been cast in purples and browns to the point where they look like mountain peaks, or simply jagged shapes on which semi-legible cursive has been scrawled.
Goodman achieves these distinctive effects by starting with photos of landscapes, buildings, his own paintings and incidental objects such as scratched sauté pans. He then goes about "building up layers" and cobbling together combinations using his keyboard and mouse. Decorative doodads such as dots and colored squares are sometimes added as well.
When he decides a work is finished — and it isn't always obvious when that point has been reached, Goodman says — the manipulated image will often have acquired a multidimensional character. And that seems anomalous, because Goodman says he likes to keep his surfaces flat. "I'm not trying to produce depth or perspective," he insists.
The final product is then printed out. Transferring one of his images from the computer screen to paper is an expensive proposition, with each print costing up to $100. But that's less than it used to be, Goodman points out, noting that the printing paper has also become "more archivally sound" — meaning that the image will remain sharp for a longer period of time.
Still, the price of production is one reason why Goodman keeps his day job. He's worked for the past 25 years as a graphic designer at Laureate Learning Systems, a Winooski firm that makes educational software for children with cognitive or developmental disabilities. A gallery in Manhattan and two in Vermont represent him, and he'll soon debut a show in Philadelphia, but none of this enables him to earn a living solely as an artist.
In keeping with his paradoxical approach, Goodman has a low opinion of computer art in general. Much of it is "amateurish," he says. "I'm not into 3-D or videos. Because I'm coming out of a painting background, I want my work to be hung on a wall — matted or framed."
At the same time, Goodman defends the aesthetic integrity of computer-generated art. Some critics "have a hurdle to get over in their perception that this technology is inherently cold. No one has that issue with movies, though."
The computer also allows him to be much more creative than does the paintbrush, he adds. "I can experiment now in ways I couldn't with painting. I'm totally unafraid to make mistakes because they can be fixed so easily. I find painting incredibly frustrating in comparison."
Another advantage offered by the computer is that it allows him to work in short bursts. That proved particularly attractive when his daughter and two sons were still children, Goodman notes. "I could spend 20 minutes at a time on a computer piece and come back to it later at no loss. With a painting, you need two to three hours of sustained attention."
He's never entirely given up on painting, however. "There's something about the texture of paint that keeps pulling me back," he explains. In fact, four small, dreamily swirling paintings are included in the Pine Street show.
Along with his choice of media, Goodman's art has evolved stylistically over the years as well. Text used to be an integral part of his computer compositions, and the words often conveyed a clear political meaning — opposition to the war in Iraq, for example. Goodman moved away from that format because, he says, "I wanted my work to be a little more universal, less tied to a particular moment."
He isn't sure where he's going next in his art. "One thing does lead to another," Goodman suggests. "You can see that when you look at the career of someone like Picasso or Matisse. But for myself, it's hard to predict. Besides, being an artist means you can do whatever you want."
Review of Steven P. Goodman, Landscapes: Vermont/Italy (and New Jersey). By Eve Thorsen, Burlington Free Press, July 8, 2006
Landscapes are a staple of the Vermont art scene: Buyers come from around the country, perhaps even the world, to feast their eyes on Green Mountain scenery and then take it back home with them on a canvas. So, with a glut of beautiful landscapes on show across the state, it's refreshing when an artist takes a slightly different approach to a familiar theme. That's what Steven Goodman does in his work.
Goodman's work will be familiar to many Burlington art lovers through the Doll-Anstadt Gallery, which closed at the beginning of the year. He works with both paint and digital images to create pieces with a contemporary -- and often abstract -- feel to them. His recently opened exhibition at Pine Street Art Works in Burlington shows how skillful Goodman has become with this style. His exhibition of 20 prints are not your regular prints. Nor are they your regular landscapes. Goodman's images are skillful combinations of dissimilar qualities: atmospheric yet bold; brooding yet luminescent. The scenes seem familiar but, at the same time, otherworldly.
The way he achieves this impossible blend is through a technique that combines classical painting skills with the artistry of modern digital photography. Goodman takes photographs of his subject and then works on the image in his digital studio, sometimes adding details from other photographs and images, as well as text and symbols. In this way, he builds a textured work, much in the same way that an oil painter builds layers of paint.
Another technique that Goodman uses is to paint the landscape that he's already captured in a photograph. Then he takes a photograph of the painting and uses that to add to the layers of his digital image. In this way, he creates prints that are full of depth and subtlety, that are at once reminiscent of a Turner painting and representative of contemporary print making.
The pieces on show reflect Goodman's perspective on Vermont, Italy and New Jersey. They are well-executed and exciting pieces, but they also show that contemporary art, in the right hands, has just as much atmosphere and subtlety to it as good old-fashioned paint and canvas.
Review of Charlie Hunter and H. Keith Wagner show. By Marc Awody, Seven Days Vermont, March 22, 2006
A complementary pair of artists is currently presenting dual exhibitions at Burlington's Pine Street Artworks. The gallery aptly describes "Where I Live Now," by Bellows Falls designer and painter Charlie Hunter, as "post-pastoral, post-industrial portraits of Vermont." The other show, entitled "Collections: Pods, Seeds & Stones," is composed of sculptures and assemblage works by landscape architect and sculptor H. Keith Wagner of Ferrisburgh. Both artists seem to discover, rather than simply create, images. Both also reexamine the "post-pastoral" world in similarly somber, muted hues.
Hunter presents 20 monochromatic landscapes, and his lines of perspective are so perfect that it's surprising to learn he paints en plein air. A viewer's first thought may be: These have got to come from slides. But Hunter is just that good - really a master landscapist. The spatial design of "Mill Street Railroad Signal" is particularly complex, as thin wires crisscross the vertical composition behind the perfectly drawn heavy hardware of the signal light. An expanse of low rooflines fills the lower third of the piece.
Hunter describes his palette as consisting of "warm white, a cool white, unbleached titanium, Naples yellow, transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue." The paintings look much simpler, as if they are made up of raw-umber details described on pale yellow-white backgrounds. The chromatic richness of Hunter's actual harmonies imparts subtle variations of depth and atmosphere.
"Farm and Sky" is nearly all atmosphere. Hunter employed wider contrasts in value for the tall, vertical painting, and, while it's not exactly more colorful than his other pieces, there's a wider delineation of warm and cool grays. That's quite effective for the subject, as a heavy thundercloud rolls over mountains and pasture on a warm summer's day.
Hunter's largest piece in the show is the 48-inch-square "Closed for the Winter (Burlington Ferry in Snow Squall)." Silhouettes of the dock's port facilities sit atop a high horizon line, with curved tire tracks sweeping toward a vanishing point. The curves enliven and deepen the picture plane.
Sculptor Wagner explains in his artist statement that he is "inspired by the agrarian landscape of my childhood." He is known around the region for creating sculptural spheres from metal, and three of them are in this exhibition. While they are appealing, his non-spherical work is far more original.
"Pod" is a weirdly organic, conical form made of rusted steel. It's about 3 feet high and contains spikes within its tubular core. Wagner welded and inscribed lines over "Pod" that echo the rhythms of its interior spikes.
"Vessel" stands at human scale, just about 6 feet tall, and has more of a seed form. Small sections of screen appear on the four outer surfaces of the bulbous body, and a small pyramidal tip rides atop it. Two thin bars, extending down to flat, square plates on the floor, support the work. "Vessel" seems like an out-of-context relic from a closed factory - something that once had a function but is now a strange object of curiosity.
The three sparse assemblages in Wagner's "Collection" series appear to hold smaller curios from the natural world. Each is a horizontal, wall-mounted box, with minimalist specimens of stone, bone, bits of metal and other objects equally spaced within them. "Collection 1" holds six pieces of dug-up industrial detritus, and "Collection 3" includes the skull of . . . something.
Wagner's pieces seems to be assembled from dusty natural-history treasures gathered from an old box, say, in the basement of the Smithsonian. Charlie Hunter suggests we think of his paintings "as photographs pulled out of a box 40 years from now." Fortunately, we don't have to wait that long to discover either of these bodies of work.
Ben Finer, reviewer for ART MAP BURLINGTON, wrote this about the Charlie Hunter Show:
Charlie Hunters work is simple and honest and straightforward and real. Nostalgic and monochromatic, Hunter's recent paintings of Vermont landscapes executed en plein air are on display at the Pine Street Art Works. With a sharp eye and a deft hand, Hunter presents those pockets of the countryside that subtly meld the contemporary with the past. Go-Go Marts sit beside rusting railroad bridges. Farmscapes evolve into factories. Slowly the viewer begins to map the strange combination of eras the modern Vermont landscape captures. So much of the work speaks of the past: the simple muted colors, the dedication to painting from life, the landscape as a subject matter. At the same time there are moments of the paintings that are unavoidably contemporary. Hunter composes the work dramatically. In Windsor Depot (oil-on-canvas, 2005), the corner of a building, scraggly tree limbs, a dumpster, and dangling power lines sit by a set of curving train tracks pushed powerfully to the top quarter of the canvas. Hunter animates the expansive lower section with delicate brush strokes, carving subtle shadows and textures into a simple empty plot. The layout of each painting is considered and designed. Hunter shows a dedication to composing a picture rather than simply recording what sits plainly in front of him. Many of the pieces could be album covers or book jackets, using design as a major element of their construction. Hunters facility with oil paint is obvious. Each work is painted with care and attention. Yet it is in the larger pieces that his ability to orchestrate the composition becomes evident. Where the smaller work sometimes feels packed and tight, the larger pieces expand beyond the canvas. Here the space of an environment becomes as much the subject as the structures that occupy it. Hunter presents a Vermont landscape that is sparse and beautiful, old and new, and filled, if not with physical objects, with the intangible feeling of passing time.
Art Map Burlington
From the review of Liza Cowan, David Klein Show. By Marc Awody in SEVENDAYS VT January 2006
"Cowan's paintings are intentionally derivative, and the mimicry is masterful....Glass may be Cowan's favorite painting surface, but 'Liza Gauguin's' 'Mme. Gauguin with Text" is confidently painted on canvas. The simplified drawing style of the portrait is neatly juxtaposed with scrawled, nonsensical mathematical equations in the background..."
"Cowan isn't the only one paying homage to art history in this show. So does Marshfield artist David Klein in his "Beanie the Singing Dog" series...Klein and Cowan's ruses are too original to hide"