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Ray Ruseckas, "A River Passage" (2015), pastel on paper.

The Arts

BMAC plans major exhibit of work by Jim Dine

Art by pop-art icon, former Vermont resident is one of five exhibits opening June 27

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. The museum’s exhibits and gift shop are open every day except Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 ($6 for seniors and $4 for students). Members and children 18 and younger are admitted free. The museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

BRATTLEBORO—A major new exhibit of work by the celebrated U.S. artist Jim Dine opens at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) on Saturday, June 27, alongside four other new exhibits opening concurrently.

“Jim Dine: People, Places, Things” explores themes and imagery that have preoccupied the artist from his earliest creative endeavors. Best known for his bold depictions of domestic objects, Dine imbues hand tools, bathrobes, hearts, and skulls with emotional and aesthetic tension.

A special preview of the new exhibits and a reception for BMAC members will take place the preceding evening, Friday, June 26, at 5:30 p.m.

A seminal figure in contemporary American art, Dine lived in southern Vermont from 1971 to 1985. The artwork in the BMAC exhibit, which fills the museum’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery and the adjacent Ticket Gallery, draws extensively from private collections in the region and includes pieces that have never been shown in public.

Dine has also produced a significant body of work involving flowers, portraits, and nudes. Delicately and deftly rendered, these works are quieter, more romantic, and sensual.

According to BMAC Chief Curator Mara Williams, “The inclusion of these works allows for a more complete understanding of the scope of Dine’s expression and his mastery of a wide range of media.”

In 1962, Dine’s artwork, along with that of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and others, was included in the exhibition “New Paintings of Common Objects” at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif. That exhibition played a major role in launching the pop-art movement in the U.S., which fundamentally altered the course of modern art.

Now 80, Dine resides primarily in Paris and Walla Walla, Wash. According to BMAC director Danny Lichtenfeld, Dine is unlikely to attend the exhibit in Brattleboro but was pleased to learn of the exhibit taking place in a region that contributed significantly to his growth as an artist and of which he has many fond memories and lasting friendships.

“Jim Dine: People, Places, Things” remains on view at BMAC through Oct. 25.

Other new exhibits

Four other new exhibits will explore a broad range of materials, techniques, styles, and concepts.

“Art Computer / Time” (“art plus computer over time”) presents computer-generated artwork from the Anne and Michael Spalter Digital Art Collection.

Fifteen of the most important early practitioners of digital art are represented in the exhibit. Seven recent digital videos by Leslie Thornton and Anne Morgan Spalter are also shown, including their new collaboration, “Digging in the Water.”

Comprising more than 1,000 works collected over the past 20 years and encompassing works from 1954 to the present, the Spalter Collection is one of the most comprehensive bodies of early computer art in the world.

“Close to Home: New Pastels by Ray Ruseckas” features a new body of work by the Walpole, N.H.–based artist depicting the hillsides, forests, and glades of the Connecticut River Valley.

In her essay accompanying the exhibit, Williams has written, “Ruseckas manipulates pastels like no other artist. He creates a dialogue between what is seen and what is implied, or felt, emotionally and physically.”

“Threaded Dances: Debra Bermingham” consists of mysterious, evocative oil paintings reminiscent of landscapes shrouded in mist. Bermingham lives and works in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, where she and her husband own Bloomer Creek Vineyard.

“Being out-of-doors corresponds to my innermost imagining of who I am,” Bermingham says. “The French use the term ‘terroir’ to describe the magic in wine. In the same way, perhaps it is the terroir of my rural studio that has ‘flavored’ my paintings over the years.”

On view outside the museum, alongside site-specific sculptures by Gregory Gomez, Bob Boemig, John Tagiuri, Dan Snow, and Jim Cole, visitors will encounter “Expanded Forms: Rodrigo Nava.”

Nava is a sculptor and faculty member at the Putney School. The body of work on display at BMAC consists of large, welded-steel, geometric objects that appear to be bursting at their seams. In fact, in the process of their creation, these objects have been filled with volatile gas, which has been exploded to produce the bursting effect.

All five new exhibits remain on view through Sunday, Oct. 25, with the exception of “Art Computer / Time,” which closes Sept. 27.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #311 (Wednesday, June 24, 2015). This story appeared on page B1.

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