REVIEW: Varujan Boghosian and Erick Hufschmid at BigTown Gallery in Rochester

A Summer Afternoon with Collages and a Photographic Studio Visit at the BigTown Gallery in Rochester

by Dian Parker

Henry James said, "The two most beautiful words in the English language -- summer afternoon."

It was a perfect late summer afternoon. The bees were buzzing in the lush flowers in the front of the gallery; inside people buzzed in front of intriguing art; out back the BigTown Big Tent outdoor amphitheater was abuzz as technicians prepared for the first starlight show of the summer. Summer in Vermont is a wonderful time to see creativity, especially where it is well tended by Anni Mackay, who, as usual, brought together a delightful mix of artists to fill your mind and heart with the creative spirit.

Currently in the gallery are two artists, octogenarian collagist Varujan Boghosian and the anthropologist-like photographer, Erick Hufschmid. It is an ingenious pairing.

Hufschmid photographed the busy studio where Boghosian creates his collages. These photos are mysterious; the colors rich. A tumble of wooden tops in blue and red. A large carved stone head hovers over a tiny red ball. An old upside down green baseball game. A ticket stub; tiny leather Chinese slippers. All these and more are a hodgepodge of disparate objects, which Boghosian uses in his collages. The photographer uses only natural light and often succeeds in making the tiny appear large, like the pearl tipped sewing pins beside a yellow metal truck. All the archival pigment prints are framed, but one can also purchase the prints unframed or as a set in a beautiful handcrafted leather bound portfolio (made in Bogota, Colombia) set in a cloth box. Hufschmid told me he had to sit in Boghosian's studio for many hours before he could even begin to know what to photograph, it was so dense with interesting objects. He pared down his 1000 photographs of the studio into 18. He chose not to move anything, making use of three cameras, zooming into the objects so that often you aren't sure what you're seeing, which makes for an interesting study.

To create his collages, Boghosian selects from the objects in his studio and combines them to form stories of his making. Maker of the Beautiful was inspired by a short story by Hawthorn (it is also Boghosian's self portrait). Cygnus is a star map with a swan and old paper poker chips. Another collage, Homage to Stanley Kunitz, uses the backside of an old Paris map. There is faded wall paper and hand inked music scores he collects, as well as a paper ledger from the 1600's he found in Italy. The titles alone give you the flavor of his collages: Gauguin Leaves Tahiti, Tears of the Mandarin, Trophy (for Elisabeth Bishop) based on her beautiful poem The Fish.

After enjoying the exhibit we made our way outside and around behind the gallery for a picnic, followed by one of the most remarkable dance performances I have ever seen. The Bridgman/Packer Dance is a couple who have been dancing together since 1978. Their current show is a gorgeous pairing of live dance with video technology. The couple dances in front or behind the screen and often you can't tell which is the real couple and which is the film. Breathtaking.

On a summer afternoon while you're wondering where to stroll, try a jaunt over to the gallery at BigTown. Stroll through two artists' creations. Take in a performance at the BigTown Big Tent in the evening. You too might share the sentiment with our Henry James, that not so perfect but all too splendid gentleman.

This review was first published in the Randolph Herald

Images (photos by Dian Parker): Erick Hufschmid, Untitled, 19.38” x 19.44”, archival pigment print Varujan Boghosian, Gauguin Leaves Tahiti, 23” x 22.25” x 2.75”, construction

PRESS RELEASE: Carolyn Enz Hack at the Vermont Arts Council’s Spotlight Gallery in Montpelier

Carolyn Enz Hack’s exhibit, Evil Divided By Good, will be at The Spotlight Gallery at the Vermont Arts Council, 136 State Street in Montpelier, during July and August. Gallery Hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

ARTIST STATEMENT: This work starts with an idea of how I want to manipulate the materials. Cutting, folding, sewing, etc. creates an interplay of surfaces. While I am crafting the basic structure there is time to let my subconscious wander until an idea intersects with the piece that is taking shape. The left-brain aspect of planning and executing is overtaken by the right-brain gift of free association. The piece is then finished with the influence of that idea hovering in the background.

The act of making is highlighted in each piece. Hand making has become rare in our culture and is often trying to mimic the machined and mass-produced as a value judgment against the “homemade.” This work invites the viewer to explore both the technical and fun aspects of turning a piece of paper into a complex work of art.

“Why do we make things?” is a question that I often ask myself. Many objects are made out of necessity but others are made to extend the limitations of communication. These pieces are expressions of the subconscious bubbling away even while I’m focused on cutting and weaving. Metaphors that come from the depths are then literally expressed with openings in the picture plane.

Image: Antigone, Paper, Watercolor, Wire , 18x23x5”

PRESS RELEASE: Historical Potographs and Documents at Goddard College in Plainfield

The History of Goddard College Exhibit:
An Era of Growth, Expansion, and Transitions, 1960-1969

When: June 25th—December 20th, 2011

Where: Eliot D. Pratt Library, Goddard College, 123 Pitkin Road, Plainfield, Vermont

Curated by Goddard staff and alumnus Dustin Byerly, this exhibit of historical photographs and documents focuses on the ways in which Goddard College responded to the rapid growth of the 1960s. It examines the development of several different College programs and experiments using photographs, historical records, college papers, interviews and video recordings.

These were also the years when Goddard began developing "low-residence" adult programs: the Adult Degree Program (ADP), in which students planned semester-long independent studies in two-week intensive residencies; and the Goddard Experimental Program in Further Education (GEPFE), originally a Head Start Staff Supplementary Training Program, which expanded to serve low-income and other working adults living near the college with a combination of "weekend workshops” and independent studies.

Topics covered in this exhibit include the Adult Degree Program, GEPFE, the Goddard College Fire Department, the construction of the Village for Learning, the Multi-Campus Experiment, the construction of Northwood Campus, the Countercultural Movement, Allen Ginsberg’s 1966 visit, the construction of the Eliot Pratt Center and Library, and President Tim Pitkin’s departure from the College after 31 years. This is just the fourth in a series of exhibits that will eventually document the entire history of Goddard College.

For more information, contact Michelle Barber at 802.454.8311 or visit

Image: Eliot D. Pratt, about 1950

PRESS RELEASE: Jan Ghiringhelli at the Drawing Board in Montpelier

Montpelier native, Jan Ghiringhelli, will present The Still Life: Flora & Fruit, the theme of her new show at the Drawing Board in Montpelier.

Painting Alla Prima in oil & acrylic, the representational artist paints from life close up floral & fruit portraits using a shallow depth of field. There is a quiet beauty in the shapes & colors of her simple and ordinary objects. Working on a toned surface, she lightly blocks in her shapes and the painting evolves shape to shape without any preliminary drawing.

Ghiringhelli also works in the genres of landscape and the figure.

The show runs August 1st - 31st.

For more information about the Drawing Board, contact 802 223 2902, or the artist, PainterJan2004

Image: Mock orange & Blues

PRESS RELEASE: Photography Contest and Exhibit at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland

The Chaffee Art Center is excited to announce the 4th Annual Amateur Photography Contest and Exhibit opening Saturday August 6th, from 4-7 PM, at the Chaffee Art Center, 16 South Main Street, Rutland, VT. Over 150 photographs have been submitted by amateur photographers on the theme of "Special Places: the place we like to go".

This year's Photography Exhibit is featuring photographs by professional photographer and juried artist Katrina Mojzesz, of South Royalton, VT, as well as photographs from Chaffee Juried Artist Members in the second floor galleries. A special reception has been scheduled for Katrina on Art Hop Friday, August 12, from 5-8 PM.

Grand prizes and popular choice awards will be given away at the Closing Reception on Saturday, August 27, 5-7 PM. People's Choice Voting starts August 6 and runs through August 26. Stop by to vote for your favorite photo!

Exciting changes have been made this year. All photos have been matted and framed and will be auctioned off as part of a silent auction, benefitting the amateur artists as well as the Chaffee. The 4th Annual Amateur Photography Contest and Exhibit runs through August 27, 2011, and is sponsored by Cape Air and Phototec.

Image: High Rise, by Kiernan Lackney

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