Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Toward Form opens at BigTown Gallery

Saturday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.—ROCHESTER—Toward Form is a current exhibit at BigTown Gallery in Rochester that opened Oct. 5. Although the three artists in the new exhibition seem utterly different—Rick Skogsberg’s painted women’s vintage shoes; Laurie Sverdlove’s psychedelic landscapes; and Marcy Hermanstader’s “black through black” collages—all three Vermont artists share a deep and abiding interest in color and form.
An opening reception for Toward Form takes place Saturday, Oct. 15, 5-7 p.m., and the exhibit is on view through Saturday, Nov. 19
Here, Skogsberg might say, is a pair of high heels-skinny, pointy, curving, exotic-what will happen when I apply paint to them, when I mark them with a kind of wild graffiti-like design? Are they still shoes? How are they different? What happens when I take a familiar cultural artifact and change it with color and added forms?  It is the viewer’s challenge and delight, as she ponders Skogsberg’s painted shoes, to pose and answer these questions, too.
Swerdlove’s and Hermanstader’s works raise similar questions. Although Swerdlove’s landscapes, for example, include the usual forms—a field, trees, a path or railroad track—unexpected images float across the canvas-a flower, wire, a rope. Layers of elements transport the viewer to mysterious and enchanting places. Hermanstader’s black paintings—intricately layered, coiled, or woven paper collages—seem surprisingly alive, as if black has a personality only just being discovered.
All three artists’ works are interwoven at the gallery, displayed next to one another in a playful, colorful montage. Sverdlove’s yellow bush points to Skogsberg’s yellow zigzag stripe on a boot. Hermanstader’s layered, feathery, watery strips of paper echo the wandering path in Sverdlove’s painting to its right.
Gallery director and owner Anni Mackay says of the exhibit, “Each artist’s vision is distinct, but shown together, the gallery becomes a vortex of swirling symbols. A mystery is posed, and a way in to discovery offered. Each artist creates a place you can imagine.”
Beyond this exhibition at BigTown, Mackay is looking forward to showing Skogsberg’s shoes in Miami this December at the alternative art fair “Satellite Art Show,” (during Miami Art Week).  Full of creative energy and original, pioneering art, Satellite, Mackay says, will provide an exciting venue for Skogsberg, an outsider artist who has lived and worked in Rochester for thirty years.
BigTown Gallery is located at 99 North Main St., Rochester. For more information, visit or call 802-767-9670.

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