SVAC exhibition explores the question through the works of 11 contemporary Vermont-associated artists
MANCHESTER — “Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives,” featuring work from 11 contemporary Vermont-associated artists working in sculpture, fiber art, drawing and painting, opens on Saturday at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. There will be an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m.
The exhibition strives to connect viewers to current contemporary American art and will showcase the artists’ interaction with their chosen tools, mediums and environments. Guest curator Ric Kasini Kadour explains the history of the Regionalism movement below and why it is still relevant to art and artists today.
In the early part of the 20th century, Americans wrestled with Modernism and Europe’s dominance over American art. American Scene Painting as expressed by Social Realism in urban areas and Regionalism in rural communities rose in popularity. The movement led by Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry sought to wean America off the influence of European art and conceptualize an approach to art that was uniquely American and expressed the nation’s values.
With its relatively conservative style and embrace of traditional themes, Regionalism was intensely popular with the American people. But the movement fell out of favor with the art world in 1942 and the realism of Regionalism was put, artificially, into conflict with Modernism. The break up left a schism that remains today and forms the basis of nearly eighty years of antagonism between the art world and the American public.
Kadour considers this moment in history as a stepping-off point for “Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives.” The exhibition uses SVAC’s permanent collection as a point of departure and presents contemporary art from eleven artists in light of the themes raised by 20th century Regionalists and relates how…
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