Exhibit: Saturday, August 24-Sunday, October 27, 2019
Exhibit Opening: Saturday, August 24th, 11AM-5PM as part of Art Rokeby Festival
Structures define our world. Some of us live among skyscrapers, row houses, condominiums. In Vermont, many of us live among houses and barns. Rokeby Museum, a National Historic Landmark, is a collection of houses, barns, and outbuildings that served a variety of ends. The exhibition temporarily repurposes these historic spaces as platforms for contemporary art and asks the viewer to contemplate the role that structures play in shaping our experience of the world and how structures can inform and shape the experience of others. The exhibition is curated by Ric Kasini Kadour, Curator of Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum, and is the second of two exhibitions this year that are introducing contemporary art to the historic site.
The art on view at eleven locations throughout Rokeby reflects on, responds to, or contrasts with structures on the site. In the Toolshed, sculptures by Meg Walker juxtapose ready-made elements with newly fabricated forms as a means of commenting on the role these structures play in the identity and history of rural communities. Inside The Other House, Axel Stohlberg‘s floating series invites the viewer to consider how humanity activates structures. Outside The Other House, Stohlberg will install black and white house sculptures. Informed by the memory of playing in dairy barns in his youth and Inspired by an old cemetery near his house to create monuments, two large sculptures by Denis Versweyveld, one installed outside the Education Center and one in the Slaughterhouse, express the archetypal house shape while considering the lath and plaster that make up old homes and barns. In the Main House, Judith Rey‘s colorful box and gable paintings intermingle with the historic artifacts. Rob Hitzig will install two, interlocking, amorphously shaped, colorfully painted, plywood cut-outs on the Granary. An installation by the pond of Steve Hadeka‘s modern birdhouses will form a neighborhood that will be “developed” over the course of the exhibition as new houses are added to it. Two “shack” sculptures by renowned African American artist Beverly Buchanan (1940-2015) are on display in the Education Center. Buchanan’s work is on special loan to the Rokeby Museum from Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans. A conceptual work by internationally renowned multimedia artist and performer Yoko Ono will activate the Dairy Barn Foundation.
Built in the 1930s, the Tourist Cabin, the last original structure to be built at Rokeby, will play host to an international exhibition of Mail Art. Rokeby Museum has invited artists from around the world to send a piece of mail art that reflects or responds to their home or a building in their home community. These “postcards”, arriving from across the United States and Canada and from such far away places as Brisbane, Australia; Rosario, Argentina; and Stuttgart, Germany, bear artists’ thoughts about the idea of home and the buildings that inform their sense of place.
“One thing Rokeby does exceptionally well is provide us the opportunity to imagine how people lived in the past. The buildings at this historic site tell important stories about resistance, persistence, and resilience. They speak to how people fed themselves, stayed warm, and lived together,” said Kadour. “By pairing these buildings with contemporary art, we hope to continue to tell these stories and add new stories that speak to the role buildings play in our day-to-day lives.”
The opening of the exhibition will take place during the Art Rokeby Festival, a day-long event celebrating art at Rokeby.
About Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum
Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum is an ambitious two-year project designed to engage artists and the public with Rokeby Museum archives, objects, buildings, and land. Project activities will demonstrate how contemporary art can pick up the unfinished work of history and foster civic engagement in social, economic, and environmental justice issues. In 2019, Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum will present two exhibitions, introduce an artist membership program, conduct a symposium about the relationship between art and history, and host an artist lab designed to support the development of an artist’s practice. Artists will be invited to make art at or about Rokeby Museum and their work will be shared online and at a festival in August. Contemporary Art at Rokeby Museum is a collaboration with Kasini House. www.rokeby.org/contemporary
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Noted for her exploration of Southern vernacular architecture through her painting, sculpture, video and land art, Beverly Buchanan (1940-2015) held a Bachelors in Medical Technology from Bennett College and a Masters in Parasitology and Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. She studied at the Art Students League, where artists Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden became friends and mentors. She became a full-time artist in 1977. In 2016, the Brooklyn Museum held a retrospective of her work. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Addison Gallery of Art at Phillips Academy, and the Georgia Museum of Art. Among her many awards was a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Women’s Caucus for Art lifetime achievement award and the 2002 Anonymous Was a Woman award. Buchanan was born in Fuquay, North Carolina and died in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She called Orangeburg, South Carolina her hometown. Beverly Buchanan’s work is on special loan to the Rokeby Museum from Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans.
After twenty years of professional experience in the music, media and design industries, Steve Hadeka began woodworking in 2012, studying with friends who were guitar builders, as well as instructional videos on the Internet. In the summer of 2014, he became a full-time woodworker and in January 2018, he opened a shop and studio in Winooski, Vermont, where he creates one-of-a-kind wooden art, home décor, barware, kitchenware and furniture under the Pleasant Ranch brand.
Montpelier, Vermont-based artist Rob Hitzig has been showing work in solo, group and juried exhibitions in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, DC and across Vermont since 2007. In 2019, he was awarded Juror’s Prize, 2nd Place at the Vermont Studio Center’s 35th Anniversary Vermont Alumnx Exhibition. At the South End Art Hop in Burlington, he won first place in 2009 and Outdoor Sculpture Juror’s Prize, 2nd Place in 2014. He organized Montpelier SculptCycle 2008. His work is in the collections of Johns Hopkins University and the City of Newburyport, Massachusetts. He is represented by Cross MacKenzie Gallery in Washington, DC and Skyline Art Services in Houston, Texas.
Originally from Tokyo, Yoko Ono was the first woman admitted to the philosophy program at Gakushuin University in Tokyo, where she studied for a year before moving to New York, where she studied writing and music at Sarah Lawrence College. Ono became an influential conceptual and performance artist prior to her marriage and artistic partnership with John Lennon. George Macunias, founder of the Fluxus collective, gave Ono her first solo gallery show in 1961. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Ono worked on music, both solo and in collaboration. The Whitney Museum of American Art presented a retrospective of her work in 1989, as did the Japan Society Gallery in 2000, and the Museum of Modern Art in 2015. She received a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Yoko Ono lives and works in New York City.
Judith Rey holds a degree in Art Education from the State University of New York, New Paltz, as well as a Masters degree in Counseling. Rey has shown her work throughout New England and Florida. She has received a number of awards and her work has been included in major juried regional exhibitions. She lives and works with her husband, the sculptor Denis Versweyveld, in their home–studio in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Axel Stohlberg holds an MA and BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, with studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and the Art Institute of Boston. He owned and operated Axel’s Frame Shop & Gallery in Waterbury, Vermont from 1983 to 2013. His residencies include four at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson between 1980 and 2003; artist-in-residence at Basin Harbor in Vergennes, Vermont in 2003; and at Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine in 2014.
Denis Versweyveld has spent most of his professional life in the arts and arts education. He holds a degree in Art Education from the State University of New York, New Paltz; an MFA in Sculpture from Indiana University, Bloomington, with studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He has exhibited throughout New York, New England and the Midwest, and has received a number of awards, including three grants from the Vermont Arts Council. His work is in a number of private collections in the U.S. and Europe. He lives and works with his wife, the painter Judith Rey, in their home–studio in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Meg Walker studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and Moray House College of Education, both in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work has been shown extensively in solo, two-person and group exhibitions in Scotland, New York, and across Vermont. Her commissions include work installed at the Broughton House Garden in Kircudbright, Scotland and the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont. Her work is in private collections in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the collection of the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont. Meg Walker lives and works in Charlotte, Vermont.
Ghost Barns (Nether Roscoe) (installation view in The Toolshed)
by Meg Walker
70″x43″x33.25″; mixed media; 1999. Courtesy of the artist.