Friday, December 23, 2016

Black Lives Matter

I've curated a small exhibit at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center in Montpelier, VT entitled Black Lives Matter. There will be a reception on Friday, January 13 where artists will speak about their work, followed by a panel discussion. I hope you will come if you are in the area.

I'm also involved in an organization called Reading to End Racism, which will be reading to children at Union Elementary School. If that's something you'd like to participate in, we're having a training on January 17 at 5:30 in Plainfield. Let me know if you'd like to come.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Six New Pieces!

Here is a look at six new pieces, photographed by Randolph photographer Jack Rowell. These pieces are built on long, shallow wooden boxes that were used to ship stained-glass-maker Chris Jeffrey's lead channeling. They are different sizes, rough, sometimes a bit torqued. I've sanded down the worst of the weathered, splintery surfaces and either finished them with beeswax, oil, or stain.

The overall title of this series is The Long Haul. I am seeking venues where I can exhibit the whole group of six suspended from the ceiling at different heights and angles.

The following piece was shown at The Front in Montpelier, suspended from the ceiling, an homage to my late friend Marge Trautz.

Next is one I call Chaos, created post-election, filled with cooking and eating implements, clay letters, and wood-and-metal human figures:

Next, a numerically-sequenced piece, associated with a quote from a poem entitled "No Title Required"  by Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996:
I'm no longer sure that what's important is more important than what's not important.
 The piece has 17 compartments (the number of syllables in a Haiku), with bits of everyday stuff. It was photographed without the glass covering that protects the items in the box.

The next three pieces rise up out of their boxes.

I love this simple piece of a wagon loaded with logs that makes its way back and forth along the tracks, moved by cranks on either end, over ballast of puffed and toasted clay.

 This Long Haul piece begins with a straw man and ends with a death rolodex.

 Finally, a piece that was reworked using figures, a few of which were exhibited at Studio Place Arts a year ago, and then appeared in greater numbers in an installation at The Front.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Work Being Photographed

I have six new pieces built on shallow boxes that once held lead channel for stained glass. Jack Rowell, a friend and excellent photographer, has shot all six, and I'll soon have all the images, some of which I will post here.

Today, he sent me a sequence of images of this piece that has a kinetic element so I could make a GIF. More coming later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Anniversary

One of my Loose Grids pieces featuring numbers was recently acquired for a 40th Wedding Anniversary. Here it is, installed in the collectors' dining room.

I made a few extra pieces featuring numbers that were special for them (the wife of the couple is, among other things, a mathematician, so numbers have a definite significance for her!). What a wonderful way for them to celebrate their anniversary! I hope they will enjoy it for many years to come.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Studio Place Arts has a public installation project called Soft Bomb Barre in downtown Barre, through August 27, and I am participating with  Find the Cutie.

I hid twelve soft dolls (see below; each about 18" high) in the the windows of 12 different businesses on Main Street in Barre. It was really hot on the day I put them out, but I think it's been fun for folks to search for them! Here they are in a group in my studio:

These little figures are built of red fleece and red yarn over a wire armature, so they are flexible and can be configured in different ways. I made them about 20 years ago, and installed them several times in hanging groups I called Falling People (seen below in an exhibit at the Lazy Pear Gallery in Montpelier).

When re-purposing them for this project, I wrapped them in yellow and orange yarns, and made clothing out of fabric and donated sock waste. I guess anything can be a "found object," even my own old work...

STAIRS at Jaquith Library in Marshfield, Vermont

I haven't posted about the exhibit called STAIRS that I did at the Jaquith Library in Marshfield because I was so busy with the installation at the Berlin Mall. But finally here are some images and information about that show!

On the left wall above I hung eleven images that are on the pull-out trays of the piece called Two, sitting on the shelf. I posted previously about this piece here, where you can see all eleven of the images.

The other sculptural piece on the shelf is Stairs.

The exhibit also had a group of photographic images. My husband, RD Eno, and I were in New Orleans during the early part of 2016, and I took a lot of digital photographs of the fronts of houses in Mid City and printed them in black and white. Later, I placed objects (some collected in New Orleans) on those prints and then re-photographed them and printed those shots in color.

On the right above (and below) you see a staircase on which some of the objects in the photographs were displayed.

The opening reception was on Friday, May 27, and RD Eno presented a reading from his work (poetry and prose) at 7PM. The exhibit ran from May 23 - July 16, 2016.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Big Art at Berlin Mall

I've been straight out these last few months, working on a very cool project called Big Art at the Berlin Mall in Berlin, Vermont. The mall is owned by Heidenberg Properties, which wanted to do a creative project as an introduction to their intention to make creative changes at the mall. I was asked to propose an art installation, and came up with the idea of mounting huge blowups of work by 16 Vermont artists in the windows that face the parking lot. I discovered that there's a type of vinyl that these images could be printed on that is visible from both the outside AND the inside of the mall, and that was the ticket!

It took a long time to research and choose work of the right dimensions that I could arrange in what I call "conversational groupings" in each of the areas of the building's facade.

The installation of the vinyl on the windows was completed today, and I am now relieved that it all turned out fabulously. Here's what the Main Entrance looks like, with Jayne Shoup's Waterfall on the left and David Smith's Poplars on the right. I wanted to have two pieces with a diagonal structure, in which the diagonals stretch down toward the entrance, moving viewers from the outside (and the exterior landscape of trees and water) into the interior of the building. You can see how impressive the scale is, with the front doors and the guy walking toward them. The images are HUGE (as Bernie Sanders said)!

And here's what it looks like at the other entrance at the end of the mall, with (L-R) Steven P. Goodman's Beach Study, Arthur Schaller's Blue Ship and White Object, Maggie Neale's Red, Rosalind Daniels' Spring Rain, Mark Lorah's Gate, Kathy Stark's Nano's Melons, and Elizabeth Nelson's Grass.

As I said, you can see the images both inside and outside. Here's Wendy James' Underpass from the outside

and the inside (where, of course, things are reversed -- in this case turning the car into a (British? Australian?) vehicle with the steering wheel on the other side! You can see that there are some fake mullions that are seen from the inside that create a grid.

These are ten of the 16 images. I'll post more later.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Birthday Enchilada Cake

It's The Front's first birthday, and we're celebrating tonight with birthday cake, sparklers, art, and conversation! I made a savory cake with corn tortillas, red chili sauce, and "frosted" with sour cream and cilantro. Yum!

Photo taken by my friend Pat Taylor, who is visiting.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Browns' Burden installed at The Front in Montpelier

Come to the opening reception for the new show at The Front during Montpelier Art Walk on May  6, 4-8 PM! We'll be having a birthday celebration at the gallery, with cake, party hats, sparklers, and lots of interesting new work.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Window Installation for "Encountering Yellow" at Studio Place Arts

The new show at SPA is called Encountering Yellow, and I've made an installation in the front window (and over the front door) using a bunch of lampshades I found while dumpster diving in New Orleans when we were there in January and February. They have a gorgeous yellow color inside (from years of people in motels smoking next to them, someone suggested...).

Here's a photo that James Secor took of the installation after he came down off the ladder (and it was also he who suggested some of them should go outside as well as inside):

I took this one with my phone after Sue finished taking the old signage off the window; I'll get more images later.

This is a fun show, and SPA's annual BASH (Big Arty SPA Happening) will be on May 13 -- so plan to come and party with us!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Militarization of Our Police

So this is the image I said I'd post.

Here we have exactly the same vehicles, army green on the left, and police black on the right. Somehow the black vehicles are more sinister -- maybe because we know that WE are the ones who might be the objects of their actions, not "those people" somewhere else in the world...

And again, the brand name "Rescue  Team" is like the "Peacekeepers" from the last post. Who is being rescued here?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

War Games

What do you think of when you think of Peace? Apparently the makers of war toys have appropriated the word Peacekeeper to market the old familiar war toys -- soldiers, tanks, guns, and other weapons.

I happened upon these because I was looking for Army vehicles for a project I'm doing. I prefer to have old, well-used toy vehicles (some of which I got from my grandson), but I have also used some new ones (more about which in a future post).

I'm working on a piece that combines my interest in the destruction of animals and their habitat, war, and the series of pull toys I called Rolling Boil. This piece is still in progress, as I'm not sure whether (and how) to connect the animals carrying war vehicles to the cart of people behind.

Monday, March 28, 2016

More Stairs

I'm continuing to work with the black and white photographs of stairs that I took in New Orleans. I have printed them out in black and white, placed objects on those photos, then photographed and printed those second-generation photographs. I've run into some technical snags, but they still seem quite appealing to me. Here are a few of the most recent ones:

I've used a clay head I originally made for my Dante's Inferno installation back in 1996. I've also been interested in text cubes and African carved animals.

Today I started working seriously on my large barrister's case cabinet.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Last Words

As I may have said here before, I work with the GRACE program, doing artmaking with residents in nursing homes in Greensboro and St. Johnsbury, Vermont. When I got back from New Orleans in late February, I found that there had been a lot of illness in one of the nursing homes, and several residents I worked with had died.

Death is real, and I often think how here in America (unlike in other places in the world) most people are not dying from bombing, murder, or starvation, but from old age at the end of a long life.

I bought a cool little alphabetized business card holder at a junk store in New Orleans, created by the Gordon K. Allen Company, "Funeral Coach Headquarters of the Southwest".

I have made cards with words related to death and end-of-life that are filed alphabetically.

Mark Waskow says he regards it as an "artist book". That's interesting.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

THEM, US & YOU Video!

The Times-Argus interviewed me for a video about the current show at SPA that Sue Higby and I co-curated. Have a look!

"Salvage" at the Chandler Gallery in Randolph

I was away in New Orleans pretty much during the whole run of Salvage, an exhibit curated by the irrepressible Josh Turk. The last day of the exhibit is next Saturday, March 19, when the gallery is open from noon until 3:00. I'm showing two large pieces, Men's Cabinet and Medicine Cabinet, as well as three smaller boxes with figures.

Meg Brazill wrote an extensive review of the show for Seven Days, in which she said:

No salvage-based exhibit in Vermont would be complete without work by Cabot artist Janet Van Fleet. This one includes five of her mixed-media works. During this writer's visit, the 21.5-inch high "Men's Cabinet" attracted many gallerygoers, perhaps in part because Van Fleet invites viewers to open it. Inside, the cabinet resembles both a tiny curio shop and a dollhouse, with its invisible fourth wall and three levels. It holds some miniatures, including a piece of dollhouse furniture, along with human-scale objects such as full-size photographs. The piece suggests a glimpse into an unknown family's history. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Them, Us, & You

I've co-curated an exhibit at Studio Place Arts called Them, Us, & You that I've been installing this week.

Here's a link to the interview I did on Vermont Public Radio about the exhibit.

I hope that, if you can, you will come to the opening reception on Saturday, March 12, 4-6 PM.

We are also having day-long activities on Saturday, March 26:

Special Event:  Sat., March 26th
Join us for all or part of the following:
10 – 11:30AM  –  Art project led by SPA artists (all ages)
1:30-2:30PM  –  “Walk & Talk” with the exhibit curators, Janet Van Fleet
& Sue Higby
4PM  –  Talk by anthropologist, artist & writer, Dana Walrath, Ph.D., MFA
“From Slavery to Syria:  Art and Social Justice”

Monday, February 29, 2016

NOLA Stairs

Here are a few of the pieces I made in New Orleans with photographs I took there. There's something too bare about a photograph, as though additional life needs to be injected into it. That happens here with found materials.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


We're back from New Orleans, where in addition to making a garden in our daughter's backyard (in the second week of January! -- the snap peas were starting to climb by the time we left on February 19...), I installed a studio for myself in a kitchen cabinet. I didn't realize how hard it would be to be without my tools and studio (even though my daughter has great tools, they weren't always the ones I am used to working with).

I made, as planned, some photographs of stairs, which I will be using in the coming months, but my major piece was one called Nesting. I scavenged some cypress wood from a dumpster a few blocks over (work is still ongoing to try to repair damage caused by Hurricane Katrina) and, after trying to remove the nails and metal with a hammer and rip and cut it using a circular saw, I gave up and found a young man named Roland to cut and join the wood to make a skeletal house, to which I added the small houses on each side, cut from the same wood.

The house is 24"H x 16"W x 16"D, and it sits up on 4 foot pipe legs. I have proposed it for an exhibit called Anarchitecture at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and, if accepted, I will make a 20 x 20" steel base for it to sit on.

I said in my statement:  
The work in my current series uses an iconic "house" motif to explore issues of displacement, appropriation of resources, and impermanence. All humans build and occupy structures, and this necessarily involves the displacement of other living things (whether plants, animals, or other humans). However, each individual person has a limited lifetime, so there is succession, as these structures pass to a next generation of ownership, to new occupiers, or are destroyed deliberately or  by misadventure. The pieces in this grouping are all made with materials from that process of destruction or disaggregation, each part bringing with it a former life....Nesting, was created in New Orleans in January and February of 2016. I salvaged cypress boards from a dumpster in Mid-City to create a skeletal house, with streetscapes on four sides. Nestled in the attic are white houses, suggesting eggs or ghosts (precursors or successors).

I took some photos at a neighbor's house, where I used their digital projector to create light from a white screen, but it clearly had other colors in the projected pixels, and this cool image was the result!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Orleans!

I'm here in the Big Easy, while it's snowstorming in Vermont. It's amazing to me how much diversity there is on our planet -- different plants, different climate, different people. But there are still cats, pooping in the vegetable garden I planted here.

We're staying with our daughter Berrian, who's one of the leads/creators of the Krewe of Janes, that will be rolling with the Krewe of Chewbacchus on January 30 at 7 PM (after one of my favorites, Tit Rex. Here's a look at the sign we made for carrying in the parade. The letters are cut into a big, shallow cardboard box we modified, backed with stiff translucent plastic, with cool led strings of lights bought by the other lead, Kristy.

Berrian has made fabulous costumes for the members of the krewe out of gold crushed velvet, as well as modifying a shopping cart with bicycle tires. Exciting. I'll post more as more happens!