Never tell me that not one star of all
That slip from heaven at night and softly fall
Has been picked up with stones to build a wall…
Robert Frost- “Star in a stoneboat”
This series of paintings looks at the traditional New England stone wall in the forested landscape. These walls were built 200 years ago using oxen and stoneboats. They were a way to use all of the stone left in the soil after the glaciers retreated. Since all of Vermont was agricultural in the past there are thousands of miles of walls across the landscape. If you dig or plow the soil here you can’t help but unearth field stone. The easiest thing for the farmers to do was build walls with all the stone both to delineate property lines and fields and keep in animals.
These walls lend a sense of time and history to the landscape. Since Vermont has substantially reforested over the last century most of the walls are in deep forest now. The juxtaposition of the wildness of the forest with the hand-wrought aspect of these ancient walls I find moving. They show the temporality of our existence on the land.
“Vermont Contemporary Traditions” at the Southern Vermont Arts Center is an exhibition about the examination of rural imagery painting and what elements have endured the test of time alongside what elements have changed. The discussion will also encompass how the actual changes in Vermont’s countryside are now seen in the art of contemporary painters.
“Vermont Contemporary Traditions” a juried exhibition at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, Vermont.
September 8th through September 30th 2012, opening reception September 8th 2-4pm.
I hope to see you there!
Here is the full text of Robert Frost’s “Star in a stoneboat”