Monday, January 27, 2014


The Parade reception on Thursday, January 23 was wonderful -- lots of fun, great visitors, good conversation. Here's an image taken by Robert Ostermeyer as Joan Watson was introducing us:

I just read in New Scientist, one of my favorite publications, that between 30 and 50 percent of our planet's land surface is used in one way or another by humans. Plus "the UK's fishing fleet works 17 times harder than it did in the 1880s to net the same amount of fish." The glaciers retreat. Grasslands disappear. Our art is whispering in the wilderness...

If you're looking for another reception to enjoy, Sofia Shatkivska has been making passionate charcoal drawings of the events unfolding in her native land, Ukraine. She's installed them at the Aldrich Public Library, Barre, in their Milne Room, where they will be on display in a hastily organized exhibit she's calling Standing For Human Dignity through February 14. There will be a reception tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 28, from 4:30 - 7:00). She will be adding more pieces as she finishes them, and will probably have another event as it gets closer to the conclusion of the exhibit.

And the opening reception for the new shows at SPA, including Chaos in the main gallery, is on Saturday, February 8 from 4-6 PM.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

More Boxes

I'm back into boxes (so to speak). Here are two that have rolled out since I last posted about my boxes. I've made another small-ish one (14 x 6 x 4") that uses some of the gum nuts I brought back from Australia -- and declared at customs and got permission to bring them in! They are the heads of the small figures in the box.

And the most recent box is a BIG one -- the shell of a bureau I bought to scavenge the drawers for boxes.  But then the large empty space remaining was very appealing, and I removed the drawer slides, did some more staining on the inside, and used a collection of wonderful old hammers given to me by Carolyn Enz Hack. And made some nail people larger than any I've made before.

The top, studded with nails, is particularly appealing to me, as I've always loved African minkisi figures.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Playing With Chaos

The new show at Studio Place Arts (SPA) in Barre is Chaos: Pandemonium, Disorder & Turbulence in Art.

Today a small group of artists met to create a collaborative installation suspended from the ceiling of the gallery. Jody Brown, Chris Diego, Meg Hammond, Mark Lora, Ben Matchstick, Delia Robinson, Lars Hasselblad Torres, and I worked all day. Things were hung, switched, and re-jiggered.

We had a break for lunch and interesting conversation, and then we went back into the fray.

The final installation was really satisfying. Next week Jody Brown, Sue Higby and I will be hanging all the other 2- and 3-dimensional work that we selected for the show, which runs from January 21 – February 22, 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

PARADE: Thin Sections

PARADE: A Collaborative Installation
Janet Van Fleet: Thin Sections
Riki Moss: Passing Through

On Exhibit at the Living/Learning Gallery at UVM January 13 - February 7, 2014
Gallery Reception and Artist Talk, Thursday, January 23, 5:30 PM

When we think of a parade (or our life's journey) we imagine a beginning and an end, with a fairly straight path between the first and the last points. But if we broaden our vision a bit, we will notice that we are not alone; other people are traveling along with us in the parade, sometimes marching very close by, but then moving away, sometimes disappearing onto unknown other paths and not coming back into our view.

If we broaden our scope again, we see that it is not only other humans parading along with us, but also animals, viruses, and millions of other lifeforms that surround us, each living lives that occasionally intersect with ours.

In this installation my wooden human and animal figures are interacting with Riki Moss's ethereal white paper beings. When she and I set up this exhibit, it was like a dance party, with each of my wooden creatures finding a paper partner with which it connected, often in wonderfully evocative pairings that suggest play, dance, love, and solidarity.

My original intention with this installation was to remove the bases from my figures and suspend them from the ceiling in a kind of curtain, like a thin section in biology or minerology -- a wafer thin slice of a material that allows scientists looking through a microscope to see how and where parts of a whole are connected, information that could not be known by looking only at the outside of the material.

But collaboration, like life, sometimes takes us in new directions, and now I think that the thin sections of the title may be the thin veil of our own skins, the place where I end and the Not-Me begins, that critical synapse across whose tiny gap we must leap to connect with others.

Come and have a look if you can, and join us on January 23.

Friday, January 3, 2014

More Office Art

GNI has moved to new, spiffier offices on State Street in Montpelier and I hung some more pieces in their space. It looks pretty good!