Courthouse Update / August 21, 2017 / The Day of the Eclipse

Jeanette Fournier "Song of Spring"
Jeanette Fournier “Song of Spring”

On this auspicious date, Bryan Memorial Gallery’s curators installed the Second Segment of Vermont Landscapes at the Lamoille County Courthouse in Hyde Park. It had been seven months since the prior installation, which was well received to the point that the Courthouse invited Bryan Memorial Gallery to refresh and re-install the paintings, with some more appropriate for the fall and winter months ahead.

So on a day when just about everyone was giddy about the Eclipse of the Moon, Gallery Manager Tom Waters filled his truck with 37 paintings by 18 artists and returned to the now familiar but still hallowed halls of the Courthouse. Among the artists were three watercolorists new to this show: Lisa Forster Beach of Stowe, Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams of

Kathrena Ravenhost-Adams "Winter on the Farm"
Kathrena Ravenhost-Adams “Winter on the Farm”

Northfield and Jeanette Fournier of Littleton, New Hampshire. Most of the artists previously in the exhibit had returned with new paintings.   Some didn’t have new work to offer, which presented the curators with their first challenge – to make that which was not new look new.

Here is where the flexibility and majesty of the Lamoille County Courthouse comes into play. The building sings. It is lyrical to the point that a painting can be moved and look as good in the second space as it did in the first. It can even look new all over again. Different lighting or wall color can contribute to the viewer’s observation of something they hadn’t seen in the painting the first time.

Lisa Forster Beach "Golden Vermont"
Lisa Forster Beach “Golden Vermont”

With the last installation, the curators had noted that paintings with animals in them had a particular fascination for some of the Courthouse guests, and so they made sure there were several more this time, including two bright bird paintings by Jeanette Fournier. Many of the artists offered paintings of fall and winter scenes: Marilyn James’ “October,” Lisa Beach’s “Golden Vermont,” and John Clarke Olson’s “Winter Barns,” among them.

For us at Bryan Gallery, returning to the Courthouse felt like familiar experience, like an extension of what we normally do, adding a special dimension to the Day of the Eclipse.   Many people will remember this day for a long time, but especially for us at Bryan Memorial Gallery, we will remember the particular satisfaction of returning to the Courthouse to share artwork and artists with a wider community.

More photos and the original post of the Courthouse Gallery can be found here.

Dianne Panarelli Miller and Her Students

by Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery presents Dianne Panarelli Miller and Her Students in its Middle Room this summer. 25 paintings by Miller and paintings by 9 of her students are included in the exhibit.

DianneDianne Panarelli Miller, a native of Massachusetts, has been painting since studying at the late commercial art school, Vesper George, in Boston.  One of the last graduates of the school (1983), Miller went on to attend the Ives Gammel Atelier formed by some of the former Vesper George faculty, specifically Robert Douglas Hunter and Robert Cormier.  Her five year atelier education led her to parlay the classic atelier training of the “Boston School,” including a mastery of oil painting technique, with her own personal style, expressed through the harmony of color and design.  When her formal education concluded, Dianne continued.

Painting tirelessly for 35 more years, neither the birth of her daughter nor her employment as a bartender for 17 years distracted her from painting “en plein air,” in natural light, every day.  Her tenacious approach has earned her the distinction as “a Copley Master” at Boston’s legendary Copley Society, in addition to numerous awards.

From her mentors, Miller developed a love of teaching and mentoring herself.  In addition to teaching classes through the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA, Miller offers private painting instruction and provides opportunities for painting trips both in New England and farther afield, including Florida and Europe.  Recently she has returned from painting in Spain with a group of her private students.  MillerSundown

Miller originally came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through the New England Plein Air Painters.  She joined us in 2016 as one of the students in the exhibition ROBERT DOUGLAS HUNTER AND HIS STUDENTS.  Bryan Gallery has been exploring the relationship among students and teachers, particularly when the teacher’s reputation as an artist extends far beyond the classroom.  In getting to know Miller, it became clear that her distinct style of mentoring, including almost daily trips to paint outdoors, regardless of weather, up and down the East Coast, was to be explored.

MillerUpperPleasantValley

In addition to her work in plein air, Miller teaches and is commissioned forportrait work, and also for wedding in situ paintings.  As she has said of herself, “Never one to take the easy way out,” Miller’s boundless energy propels her into a wide spectrum of locations, always working with and encouraging others.  She has said of herself that she can hear the voice of her mentor Robert Douglas Hunter in everything she teaches, as she passes on the lessons that re-shaped her life and her art.

MillerOuttoPastureCurator’s Note:  Dianne Panarelli Miller has painted in many locations in preparation for this exhibit, including familiar situations in Lamoille County, Vermont, where she visited with her students a few months prior to the exhibition.  Subsequently she has returned twice for more plein air sessions.  She is a friendly figure outdoors  in front of an easel, known to carry on a banter with passers-by without taking her eyes off the canvas.  She’s also known to paint a passer-by into a painting, which she reports doing in particular at the beach.  Beach-goers will pass her and on their return, she’ll say, “By the way, you made it into my painting.”  Likewise at weddings, she not only involves the guests by depicting them on her canvas, but also she asks them to make a few strokes of color on the painting, under her direction, so it becomes a genuine keepsake for the new family.

Students of Dianne Panarelli Miller in the exhibit:
Lauren Bass
Bob Beaulieu
Maureen Brookfield
Cheryl Curran
Rita Delvechio
Margaret Finnegan
Ellen Little
Dottie Pentheny
Kate Sotolova

FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher

– Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery presents FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher in its Main Gallery this summer.  22 paintings by Mason and 60 paintings by students he taught in Vermont workshops over 40 years will be included in the exhibit.

Frank Mason (1921 -2009) was a classical realist painter of international repute and a beloved instructor at the Art Students League in New York City for over fifty years.  If he had done nothing else he would have found his place in American Art History by virtue of his teaching classical realism with steadfast purpose through the era of abstract expressionism.  Early in his life, however, he had the singular distinction of studying with Frank Vincent DuMond (1865 – 1951), who set him on course as both a painter and a teacher.

DuMond taught Mason not only classical skills, but also the cadence of his life, spending summers in Vermont, painting the atmosphere.  Though ultimately their works were distinctly their own, Mason assumed the “Mantel of the Masters,” offering his students the opportunity to study painting “en plein air” with him in Vermont during the month of June from 1968 until shortly before his death in 2009.

Smuggler's Notch
Frank Mason – Smuggler’s Notch

Mason was completely at home in the environs of Stowe, Lamoille County and Peacham VT, surrounded by students at their easels along dirt roads, often in a downpour.   Their loyalty to him and his ideas about painting has lasted throughout many of their lifetimes, as evidenced not only in their artwork, but also as many continue to meet in Vermont for the month of June, painting together daily and critiquing each other’s works, to this day.

Frank Mason - Peacham Orchard
Frank Mason – Peacham Orchard

To open the exhibition, Mason’s nephew, Scott Mason, will speak on the Bryan Gallery’s Artists Roundtable, Sunday, July 2 at 1 PM.  Mason’s widow, Anne, will be in attendance at the Roundtable and the opening reception for the exhibit.

Frank Mason will be the subject of a feature article in the July/August issue of American Art Review: Frank Mason in Vermont: Artist and Teacher by Mickey Myers, Executive Director of Bryan Memorial Gallery and co-curator of this exhibition.

Frank Mason - Forest Retreat
Frank Mason – Forest Retreat

This exhibit was co-curated by Bryan Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers and the gallery’s Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick.

Bryan Memorial Gallery is at 180 Main Street, Jeffersonville, VT.  802-644-5100.  A digital preview of this exhibit can be seen at www.bryangallery.org after June 29.  Summer gallery hours:  Open daily, 11 – 5.

Curator’s Note:  Frank Mason painted massive classically realist canvases, portraits, still lifes and landscapes.  His landscapes painted in Vermont and elsewhere in New England possess a particular atmosphere, relaxed and pungent with rich coloration and the lavish effect of the passage of light across a scene.

His work came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through its Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick, who studied with him over the last several summers of his life, and who continues to meet with other Mason students in Vermont each June.  Last summer (2016) she served as the “monitor” in setting up all the locations for the group painting in Vermont.

In 2015 when Bryan Gallery was preparing for the exhibit GENERATIONS, featuring the paintings of many artists and their teachers, Cooper brought a painting by Mason, and one also by DuMond to include in the show.  So captivating was the GENERATIONS exhibit (summer, 2015) that Bryan Gallery has pursued the concept of featuring just one teacher, to show how influential a great teacher can be.  In summer 2016 the works of Robert Douglas Hunter and a selection of his students were featured in the main gallery.

For the Mason exhibit, his widow, Anne Mason, who still resides in the Mason loft in Little Italy, has advised the curators and generously made the works available to Bryan Memorial Gallery.  Scott Mason, Mason’s nephew and executor of Mason’s Estate, has assisted in curatorial matters as well and will speak at the opening of the exhibit.

Frank Mason - Dawn Fantasy
Frank Mason – Dawn Fantasy

Courthouse Gallery

by Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery has been invited by the Lamoille County Courthouse to install artwork in its stately corridors in one of the final phases of the recent Courthouse renovation.  This current exhibit of Vermont Landscapes at the Lamoille County Courthouse features 38 paintings by 20 artists who paint in Vermont.  The installation was curated by Bryan Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers and Gallery Manager Tom Waters, and can be seen Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 4:30 PM (Closed 12 – 12:30 PM,) by visiting the Courthouse at 154 Main Street, Hyde Park, Vermont (fully handicap accessible.)  

There’s nothing like a new building or a newly renovated public space to summon soaring spirits and invigorated purpose.  When the building is a courthouse, a Superior Court House, renewed energy meets tradition for all to enjoy, as much as any courthouse is ever enjoyed.

So it is with the renovation of the Lamoille County Courthouse, age 105 years, in Hyde Park, Vermont, and its $7.5 million renovations, completed in May, 2016.  The majestic building, restored to its original, understated but elegant grandeur, has been re-appointed with many of its original fixtures, features and furniture, amidst the efficiency of demurely installed twenty-first century devices.  Adding to the spaciousness of its public areas are an additional 12,000 square feet of newly constructed functional space including a hearing room, judges’ chambers and deliberation rooms.

As with many such public renovations, its carefully crafted budget did not include much for the purchase of artwork.  After a few stately portraits, historic photographs and directional signs were reinstalled, the walls of the Courthouse’s public spaces were left blank.  Less than a couple of months after moving back to the building, the Judges and Staff of the Courthouse moved to solve this situation, extending an invitation to Bryan Memorial Gallery to address it along with them.

courthouse2Having been to the Courthouse only a few times prior, and not knowing what to expect, my breath was taken away as I passed through the metal detector, and found myself facing a sweeping corridor ahead.  In front of me lay a curator’s dream.  Soaring ceilings, tasteful benches, calmly furnished offices, and blank walls (save for those few portraits) calling out for art.

It was a big help that the Assistant Judge who articulated the invitation came over to talk with us at the Gallery, surrounded by art.  We watched what caught his eye and at the same time his attention to detail.  Dare we admit, we love attention to detail?

As Bryan Memorial Gallery is primarily a gallery for landscape painting, it was fairly instinctive that this is the kind of work we would be bringing into the Courthouse – specifically, landscapes painted in Vermont of Vermont.  As we thought about the function of the Courthouse, the people it serves in Lamoille County were our main focus.    As we thought about our Gallery, it was founded to feature the artwork of artists who came to Lamoille County to paint:  we eagerly anticipated a union of the two.

As the details fell into place, we put the exhibit together during the Gallery’s January Hiatus.   We called upon 20 artists whom we knew to have paintings that not only filled the immediate need, but also who could be nearby and available in the event that artwork had to be replaced.  Paintings in a variety of mediums – oil, watercolor and acrylics – were gathered.  Artists such as John Olson of Burlington loaned 2 paintings of his series of Vermont Towns – Morrisville and Johnson.  Johnson artist Eric Tobin offered 2 paintings of local scenes in autumn and winter.  Vladimir Vagin, originally from Moscow, Russia, now from Burlington, presented two fantasy watercolor landscapes of animals enjoying Vermont.  Susan Bull Riley’s watercolor of an unfortunate moose gathered animated attention during the installation while friends of various other artists recognized their works as they were installed.

courthouse3There were other more technical considerations, as it is the function of the curators to care for the artwork they install.  The watercolors made available to us would be installed primarily in the main corridor where they get a minimum of natural light which can be harmful to the fugitive pigments of watercolor over an extended period.  The hanging system in the Courthouse utilizes uniform fixtures installed from moldings, which delineated the size of the artworks from not too small, to not too large.  The work had to be portable from Jeffersonville to Hyde Park, and indeed we prayed for an absence of precipitation on installation day.

It is a priority for the role of the curator to assure that the artworks look good together, and that the individual pieces in a group show enhance each other, like so many voices in a chorus.  In a sense, as curators we are making a statement in assembling works that say, “This land is our land,” taking care of this particular installation to leave an impression that is genuine and clear about where we are.

Then, too, there is the more transcendent or demonstrative effect of an exhibit such as this one in a public space, especially in a Courthouse.  For whatever reasons people go to a Courthouse, to get married or divorced, to sue or be sued, to pick up a permit or pay a fee or look up a public record, a curator wants to offer a glimpse of hope to all involved.   A curator believes that art has a way of “making life more bearable,” (Kurt Vonnegut).

On behalf of Bryan Memorial Gallery, it is our hope for this installation of Vermont Landscapes at the Courthouse Gallery helps make “life more bearable,” and that it adds to the enjoyment of the Lamoille County Courthouse for our community.

To see the full gallery of images at the courthouse view the gallery on our website by clicking here: Courthouse Gallery
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Welcome to the Bryan Memorial Gallery Blog

Welcome to Bryan Memorial Gallery’s revised and refreshed BLOG, bringing you behind the scenes at the gallery. The more information we provide our artists, patrons, guests and visitors, the more questions they have: about the artists, the artwork, how something was done, where the idea for a show was initiated, and always, what’s next? So my part of this rejuvenated BLOG initiative will take you “back stage” where we put shows together, starting now.

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If you’ve ever been at The Bryan for an Artist’s Roundtable Discussion you’ve heard me say that we couldn’t do it without our “A” Team*. These volunteers install our exhibits and after years of doing so, have it down to a science, although they always welcome new members of the team.

They usually arrive at the gallery on Monday morning before an opening. Within an hour, they have dismantled the prior show in the Main Gallery, brought the artwork for the next show out of the vault and are starting to talk about an approach to hanging the show. Jim and I may offer a few “coach’s tips,” telling them what to expect in terms of the idiosyncrasies of that particular show, but they are off and running quickly.

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An assembly line of measuring, drilling, inserting screws, cables, and tagging is set up in the middle of the room, and by lunchtime, the installation is definitely starting to take shape. The “anchor” pieces are among the first chosen to be installed. Those are usually the paintings in 4 – 6 key locations around which other works are installed. While not all larger pieces are anchors and not all anchors are larger works, more often than not the anchor pieces have been obvious as the work as the works were delivered. Next time you’re at the gallery, look for the anchors.

Continue reading Welcome to the Bryan Memorial Gallery Blog