Vermont, known as the Green Mountain State, lies at the westernmost edge of New England. The richness of its landscape of mountains, lakes valleys and nature give inspiration to three artists, who in their unique interpretation share the natural beauty of their place of residence. Julia Purinton, Gary Eckhart and Stephanie Bush.
Julia Purinton: “As an artist, I am immersed in the distillation of landscape with narrative rather than purely descriptive intent. Utilizing familiar imagery from the natural world, I explore psychological passage and growth: finding joy, accepting loss, releasing regret. In the way that fairy tales dramatize elements of life, my paintings illuminate aspects of human endeavor”.
Gary Eckhart: “I am particularly interested in capturing the rural beauty and rustic quality of the Vermont and New England scene and picturing it in a way that others will look at it with a new vision. I want my work to be visually soothing and comforting while creating strong emotional responses of a simpler, more bucolic life”.
Stephanie Bush: “Cows are an everyday presence in my experience of Vermont, but they are largely peripheral. It was the desire to examine more closely that which is peripheral and overlooked that lured me to look more closely at a being that shares my space and ecology”.
Considering the product of labor as the language of a 21st century society that is organized by financial markets and global commerce, how can creativity or the act of making artwork sustainably fit within a capitalist framework? And for that matter, if not for its monetary value, how is the value of expression determined?
Painting Library includes 20 new paintings created specifically for this exhibition. Hanging on the walls of the Beland Gallery in a grid, the works are available for visitors to borrow from the collection. Each 10 x 8 inch work is created to be loaned to patrons of the gallery and the community of Greater Lawrence, who are then invited to enjoy the works by re-hanging them in their places of residence, work, or leisure. Included, as part of the show, is a binder where the names of visitors appear next to their borrowed works.
"Artwork" is what we call the product of our creative efforts. How, and with whom it is made and exhibited, have been at the center of John Gonzalez' recent work. Much of this work involves collaboration, with individuals and institutions, as a central mechanism to examine these questions. In this sense, for John Gonzalez, the art object points to its labor, not only within its construction, but also in its presentation. The context of where and how these objects are shown have an equal expenditure of resources and time associated with their exhibition, ultimately influencing their value.
Painting Library should then offer a possibility for us to interrogate the labor relationship within how we choose to see this show and potentially ask what the value of these works might be within a the context of our everyday lives.
John Gonzalez makes things with other people - a cabin for artist residencies, a restaurant menu reimagined as a family meal, a garden built together with the landscapers that often work on the campus of the university where it's built. Born and living in Providence, RI, Gonzalez's projects and work have been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, among many others. In 2012, he was Artist in Residence at sübSamson, Samson Gallery, Boston, MA.