The Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services maintain an exhibit at the Council offices at 136 State Street in Montpelier — next door to the Capital Region Visitors Center. The Garden is a public/private collaboration featuring rotating two-year showings of contemporary work 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.
Through Fall 2019: SiteTime
Michael Zebrowski, curator | Martin De Geus, technical assistant
This installation will evolve over two years, linked to the rhythm of slowly drying cordwood. Physical constructions, video and sound installations, artifacts, and event-based movement performances will come and go between fall 2017 and fall 2019.
Scene One: Slumping opened the exhibit October 6, 2017. Scene Two: Falling, was presented February 2, 2018 and "Scene Three: Breathing" May 11, 2018. "Scene Four: Level Stacks" was installed September, 2018.
“The tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.” (Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982)
The theme of this exhibit considers time specificity relevant to site specificity in the practice of contemporary sculpture, installation art, and performance. The work installed for "SiteTime" invites the public to think about and create new perspectives of what is then, what is now, and what is to come — all relative to Vermont and our global relativity.
Erika Senft Miller, Nancy Winship Milliken, and Michael Zebrowski will work collaboratively performing additive and subtractive actions in the Sculpture Garden over time.
The artists have chosen to work directly with the cyclical activity of sourcing, processing, and consuming cordwood for heat during the cold months because of its vital way of connecting our hands and our energy to the Earth as it rotates around the sun. The cordwood process itself is active and constantly in flux. The artists are collectively taking direct cues from researching and experiencing the process for themselves in creation of the work — all in an effort to share a series of new perspectives of an age-old practice. The actions and physical products will be encountered, discussed, and documented. Evolution of the exhibition answers the question of what makes space productive and challenging at the same time. The community will be invited to participate as elements of the exhibition are revealed. The clock will start ticking in October 2017.
Eating of Morals
The entrance to the Sculpture Garden is anchored by Justin Kenney’s “Eating of Morals.” This monumental concrete sculpture was chosen through a competitive call to artists who participated in the Vermont Arts Council’s Breaking Into Business workshop. As with the wood, Kenney’s piece is transformative. Created from negative space, the wax molds holding the concrete reveal the two forms coming together.
Visiting the Garden
The public can enter from the city sidewalk on State Street, or from the parking area where there are two accessible parking spots at the garden's entrance. All sculpture is visible from a walkway that crosses through the garden; the surfaces are concrete, finely crushed gravel, and flat slate. There are two steps into the lower garden, and snowbanks may block access to some areas of the garden in the winter. In the summer, visitors may enjoy the picnic table on the grass just beyond the pathway.