The Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services invite the public to visit the current exhibit of outdoor sculpture in the Council's Sculpture Garden. The garden is located at the Council offices at 134-136 State Street in Montpelier, next door to the Capital Region Visitors Center and is fully accessible.
This year's exhibit features work in marble and steel by sculptors Maeve Doolan, Carlos Dorrien, Carol Driscoll, Iva Fabrikant, Jamie Hatch, Wendy Klemperer, Rick Rothrock, and Casey Wright. The Sculpture Garden is a public/private collaboration that features rotating two-year exhibits of contemporary sculpture created by Vermont artists. Designed in 2002 by Burlington landscape architects H. Keith Wagner and Associates, it offers a place to picnic or engage in quiet reflection in Montpelier's downtown.
The 2013-2015 Sculpture Garden Exhibit was curated by Marie Bernier, former Executive Assistant at the Vermont Arts Council in collaboration with Carol Driscoll, director of the Vermont Carving Studio and Sculpture Center. Special thanks to State Buildings Curator David Schütz, and his assistant Tracy Martin, for their ongoing dedication to bringing art into the downtown Capital complex.
Artist Statement: I relate some aspects of art making to the Greek myth Sisyphus, the story of a king who was given the punishment of being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. Despite this fact he approaches each attempt with a zealous resolve. I equate Sisyphus’ experience of rolling a boulder up a hill to my relationship with art. He rolls a boulder and I try to understand and master sculpture. His boulder falls and I am left with more questions never giving up on the quest to solve them. Sometimes I don’t quite understand my urge to create but I know that it is there and that I cannot deny it.
Artist Statement: My drawings and sculptures are interpretations of shapes and textures from my environment. I’m inspired by natural objects and landscapes, and use drawing to learn about and create these objects and landscapes over and over. I enjoy describing something carefully, and going on to play around with it and present it as pared-down, repeated and layered, or as a contributing element within a more complex form.
I made these pieces as an answer to the imposing texture of their surroundings at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center; quiet objects that someone might find on a walk through the sprawling, nature-reclaimed, defunct marble quarry. They’re variations on a curled-up figure that I’ve been thinking about, drawing, and making in one form or another for several years. I enjoyed shaping their full, pressed forms that result from the figures’ folding in on themselves. Their postures reflect my own sometimes shy and inward-facing states of mind. They originally sat on a slab of stone low to the ground, in a secluded part of the Carving Studio’s brushy landscape, partially hidden by grass, small trees, and other stones.
Artist Statement: As a medium, clay has left the deepest mark on my life. It has stimulated a subconscious drive to create with its ability to ascend from the damp ground to the pristine pedestal. I am drawn to the tangible plasticity of minerals once crushed by erosion then collected from riverbeds. My fascination with the pure chemistry of ceramics is rejuvenated with every firing cycle. When sculpting I often juxtapose clay and steel, sometimes for sheer structure and other times as commentary on the tension between the organic and the industrial. I am intrigued by metal’s paradoxical aesthetics: its dense strength yet forged malleability, its enticing composition of layered color yet its connection to the transportation system that spews toxic waste across our landscape.
I am interested in calling attention to the beauty of the natural world and elevating its status and permanence to that which is adorned. I abstract natural subjects to emulate what I perceive to be their salient qualities. With close observation and on-going experimentation I aspire to create fine art that mimics the texture and striking balance of nature: the sun-scorched bark and wind-gnarled trunk of a bristle cone pine, the precarious support of a colossal boulder by a slowly receding pillar.
My latest series is inspired by aspen groves found in high alpine fields. Their stoic eyes, horizontal markings and stretched-porcelain skin that gestures upward has captured my attention. I am also in awe of their grand interconnecting root system, one that seconds as a metaphor for the idyllic life where harmony exists in shared spaces.
Although I am humbled by the history that precedes me and influenced by the diverse minds that create around me, I remain unrestricted by the “acceptable” limits of any material. By coupling creative engineering with a focused intent to magnify nature’s uncanny beauty, I aspire to motivate an appreciation for myriad ecosystems and to initiate conversation about their past misuse. I have been moved by the wind rushing the canyon as I have marveled at the slurry that collects downstream. There is something so splendid about the physical and visual properties of the natural world that as an artist I feel a responsibility to note the merit of their preservation.
Artist Statement: The imagery that pervades my work reflects a lifelong fascination with animals. To make the large scale sculptures I search scrap yards for industrial refuse ravaged by usage and demolition. Bent and twisted, such pieces contain energy and potential new life. My welding process is a kind of three dimensional gesture drawing. A network of steel lines builds a skeletal form containing both presence and absence. I investigate the body language of animals to express a feeling or state of being, with motion conveying emotion. Focusing on the animal realm seems no less important to me than on that of humans; it probes the continuity and relationship between all forms of life on earth.
Artist Bio: Rick Rothrock’s artwork encompasses studio work and public environmental installations. With its vocabulary of geometry and composition, Rick’s artwork strives to communicate the sense of beauty, reconciliation and peace that he finds predominant in nature. Stone has been the primary material featured in Rick's work for decades. Most of the artworks are monolithic yet have compositions relying on multiple relationships of material, form, light, color, texture, balance and movement. The abstraction in these works reveals the physical and visual phenomena that exist in nature rather than represent fauna and flora. Many of his artworks contrast the natural surface and structure of stone with its inner and invisible beauty.
Rick Rothrock holds a B.S. in Education, a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, studied stone carving at Pelicani Blasco Studios in Italy and teaches stone carving at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in Vermont. He has been active in the arts for over 30 years, participating in symposiums and exhibiting internationally. He received the Christy Award for Outstanding Achievement as an Artist and was awarded the Delaware Masters Fellowship Award in Visual Arts. He is represented in various corporate, public, and private collections and has designed and installed exhibits and collections for the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Minnesota Museum of Science and Technology. Rick has created major public artworks, several of which are listed in the Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog. www.rickrothrock.com