BRATTLEBORO — Five new exhibits open at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) on Saturday, June 19. They include group shows featuring paintings inspired by the idea of “expedition” and artworks reflecting the legacy of famed photographer Minor White, as well as solo exhibitions by Delano Dunn, Erick Johnson, and Bellows Falls painter Charlie Hunter.
BMAC will be closed from Monday, June 14 to Friday, June 18 to install the new exhibits.
All five new exhibits will remain on view through Oct. 11. During that time, the museum will offer a number of related in-person, virtual, and hybrid events delving deeper into the artistic and social concerns reflected in the new exhibits.
An opening reception, free and open to all, will take place on Saturday, June 19, at 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served outdoors, and many of the exhibiting artists and curators will be in attendance.
Discovering the new
Organized by painter John Newsom, “expedition” features works by a diverse group of artists, many of whom have never shown in Vermont: Donald Baechler, André Butzer, Ann Craven, Matt Dillon, Inka Essenhigh, Torben Giehler, April Gornik, Andy Hope 1930 [sic], Richard Jacobs, Michael Kagan, John McAllister, John Newsom, Erik Parker, Raymond Pettibon, Alexis Rockman, Ouattara Watts, and Wendy White.
“To discover the new is what we as painters strive for daily,” said Newsom. “This is the 'call to adventure,' the starting point of inspiration and wonderment. The 17 artists in expedition heed that call and invite you to join them on their journeys.”
expedition marks the first time that artwork by Matt Dillon, well known as an actor and filmmaker, has been included in a museum exhibition.
A tribute to Minor White
“Sequences: Ode to Minor White,” curated by Katherine Gass Stowe, is a group show of contemporary works reflecting the aesthetic and philosophical ideas of photographer-writer-educator Minor White (1908–1976).
Artists include Jessica Judith Beckwith, Andrea Belag, William Eric Brown, Niqui Carter, and Kevin Larmon, with a selection of vintage photographs by White on loan from the Bank of America Collection. Beckwith's contribution is an outdoor art installation in an apple orchard in Walpole, N.H., a video of which will be on view at BMAC.
“The works in this exhibit reflect the spiritual possibilities of abstraction that White aimed to capture and teach,” Gass Stowe writes in her curatorial statement. “Their contemplative turning inward creates a bridge from White to the art of today - and in particular, to art made during a pandemic, infused with presence, meditative energy, inner luminosity, and most importantly, spirit.”
• “Delano Dunn: Novelties,” the artist's first solo museum show, brings together two bodies of work that explore love, racial identity, family history, and the experience of making art during quarantine.
“Paradise” incorporates collaged elements from several sources, including Walt Disney's Uncle Remus Stories, a 1947 book whose content is widely viewed as racist today.
“Roux” explores issues of cultural appropriation via the artist's tightly guarded family culinary traditions.
• “Charlie Hunter: Semaphore,” curated by artist Eric Aho of Saxtons River, focuses on the Bellows Falls–based painter's precisely rendered images of anachronistic railway structures.
“I've been painting and drawing signals, semaphores, and crossing gates since I was a child,” Hunter said. “As the years pass, these unremarked pieces of vernacular design become a way to read the passing of time.”
In an essay accompanying the exhibit, Aho writes, “Charlie's bridges and railway overpasses remind us of necessary infrastructure - as crucial to the dynamic composition of a painting as it is to a vibrant society. Indeed, these unmistakable crossing signals and semaphores stand at the intersection of life and art. Still in active use, they direct us, and him, toward some unknown destination further down the line.”
• “Erick Johnson: Double Take”: For this exhibit, BMAC Chief Curator Mara Williams challenged the artist to create an immersive installation incorporating his paintings with his Instagram feed, which often features pictures of patterned objects seen on the streets of New York.
“Johnson enlivens pictorial space side-to-side and top-to-bottom in his vibrant oil paintings, his street photography, and this newly created matrix for viewing,” Williams said.