Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Schedule Information and Links

We will be doing workshops with children while we're in Japan (see below).

January 27 (Wed)

Two performances by Sophie Hood between 14:00 and 18:30

January 29 (Fri)
Workshop for kids 1 (in Daiko Nursery School)

January 30 (Sat)
Artist talks 1 (13:00-15:00)
Performances (LEIMAY . Melon All Stars)17:00-19:00

January 31(Sun)
Symposium 1: Panel discussion with Izuru Mizutani, Yoshiharu Nagano of the Echizen Ecovillage exchange center, and Janet Van Fleet 13:00-16:00

February 6 (Sat)
Workshop for kids 2, 10:00-11:30 and 13:00-14:00
Artist talk 2 (Midori Harima) 16:00
Symposium 2: Panel discussion with Hariu Ichiro (lecturing about Art, Environment, and Society), Masayuki Nishimura, and Izuru Mizutani 17:00-19:00

Friday, November 27, 2009

Artwork Auction

The auction is on until January 10th!

Help send the artists to Nagoya and take advantage of the low opening bids for artwork:

2 beautiful prints of Janet Fredericks
4 stunning illuminated sculptures (lamps) from Riki Moss
an incredible necklace from Sophie Hood
a major piece of artwork from Janet Van Fleet

as well as outright purchase of:

earrings from Janet Van Fleet
the souvenir booklet

Friday, November 13, 2009

Exchange between Nagoya and Boston children

From Janet Van Fleet: I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last weekend, and was amazed to find an exhibit of a children's art exchange between Nagoya and Boston children! Here's a link to a description of the exhibit on the MFA's website. A Japanese translation is available at the bottom of the page.

Wonderfully, many of the children's pieces featured animals, so biodiversity is apparently on the minds of many. We will be working with children in Nagoya too, when we are there (see schedule, two posts below) so the connections keep asserting themselves!

Click on images for a readable version.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From Janet Van Fleet's Installation

From the 36 foot In The Web

Installation pics from Riki Moss

These elements, minus the 9 foot tree which so far has eluded a decent photo, are elements of the approx 27 foot installation called From The Paper Forest. 25 - 30 masks will be suspended from the ceiling, casting shadows on the wall.

The Schedule in Nagoya


January 27 (Wed)
Two performances by Sophie Hood between 14:00 and 18:30

January 29 (Fri)
Workshop for kids 1 (in Daiko Nursery School)

January 30 (Sat)
Artist talks 1 (13:00-15:00)
Performances (LEIMAY . Melon All Stars)17:00-19:00

January 31(Sun)
Symposium 1: Panel discussion with Izuru Mizutani, Yoshiharu Nagano, and Janet Van Fleet 13:00-16:00

February 6 (Sat)
Workshop for kids 2, 10:00-11:30 and 13:00-14:00
Artist talk 2 (Midori Harima) 16:00
Symposium 2: Panel discussion with Hariu Ichiro, Mr. Nishimura, and Izuru Mizutani 17:00-19:00

From Sophie Hood's Installation "You Never Know"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Janet Fredericks "The River Runs Through Me"

The flyer for ON THE PLANET

Please click on the image for one large enough to read the text for a clear explanation of the exhibition's theme and purpose.

Maya Lin's Final Memorial Project is on the topic of Biodiversity

The sculpture below is part of Maya Lin’s last memorial and is the first component of a multi-sited, multimedia artwork dedicated to raising awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. Rethinking the traditional stationary monument, What is Missing? is a memorial that will exist in several media and in multiple places simultaneously. The permanent site-specific What is Missing? sculpture, installed at the Academy’s East Terrace, is part of a larger commission awarded to the artist by the San Francisco Arts Commission that includes Where the Land Meets the Sea, which was unveiled last September to correspond with the opening of the Academy’s new facility designed by architect Renzo Piano.

The permanent "What is Missing?" sculpture consists of a 8'6"h x 10'8"w x 19'2"l bronze “Listening Cone” lined with reclaimed wood. A 2' 4 ¼"h x 4'6"w screen, located within the cone, features more than 20 minutes of compelling video footage that links extinct as well as threatened and endangered species to the habitats and ecosystems that are vital to their survival. The featured species, which include the tuna, dodo bird, monarch butterfly, golden toad, and others, were selected because they are either already extinct or will most likely disappear in our lifetime. The video footage is overlayed with text describing the decline of the featured species and the alarming degradation of their habitats. The text connects the viewer to the main causes of extinction—direct harvesting, non-sustainable hunting and fishing practices, the introduction of non-native species, habitat destruction and global climate change.

Photos: Bruce Damonte Photography, Inc.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Logo for the Nagoya Conference

Japan has marked the one year countdown to the start of the tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10), which will be held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. To mark this occasion the COP 10 logo and slogan was launched at the Ministry of the Environment in Tokyo. Read details here.

The COP 10 slogan, “Life in harmony, into the future” articulates the need for coexistence between humans and biodiversity for the sake of future generations. The logo, in the form of origami conveys the same message, by arranging diverse flora and fauna in a circular shape with an adult and child in the center.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Disks on Exhibit

I've installed some of my disks in the Art Resource Association annual exhibit at the T.W. Wood Gallery and Art Center in Montpelier, on view from November 3 - December 20 (reception Thursday, November 5, from 5-7 PM).

I took a photo with my phone after I finished installing it. Not great picture quality, but it gives a notion of what the finished product will look like in Nagoya. This is only about nine feet long -- about a quarter of the wallspace the installation will occupy in Japan!

--Janet Van Fleet

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday, October 24th

Dear World— This is an invitation to build a movement—to take one day and use it to stop the climate crisis (Bill McKibben), www.350.0rg.”

Saturday, October 24th

2pm at UVM’s Davis Center

PHOTO: giant human #350 Aerial Photo

WALK AND BELLS: silent walk from UVM to the downtown as the bells of UVM’s

Ira Allen Chapel, Firehouse Gallery and 7 downtown churches toll 350 times


Friday, October 2, 2009


Pamela Polston interviewed Janet Van Fleet in Seven Days about this project:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meet the artists heading for Nagoya

Sophie Hood is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College, where she received the Melissa Brown Hurlock-Hobson 1993 Award for studio art. She majored in Asian and Middle-Eastern Studies. She works in three-dimensional media, creating jewelry in both fine metals and found materials, and making larger sculptural works in welded steel, fiber, and re-purposed plastic, some of which can be worn as costumes and used in performance art. In addition, Sophie is proficient on the violin and studies Japanese. She is currently living in Hanover, NH where she works as a post-graduate Intern in the Studio Art Department at Dartmouth College and Visiting Artist at the Claflin Jewelry Workshop at Dartmouth College. Statement: “I am very interested in the relationship between people and art and blurring the lines between fantasy and reality; playing with every day life and creating wonder, amusement, or even confusion through performance art. In this exhibit I am continuing my exploration of performance, using plastic bags and creating plastic bag creatures. This plastic takes over 1,000 years to decompose – to die. These beings are ancient and ageless in the eyes of humans. Like long-lived turtles, they move slowly through this world and like the alignment of the planets will only be witnessed, alive and moving, once during the exhibit. They are all different heights and they move in a line, on a journey with no end in sight. As plastic bags move through our daily lives, never given a second glance, so do these creatures. Their arms hang down to the ground, aiding in their movement. They are covered in a coat of plastic bag frills, creating a swishing/crinkling sound effect as they lumber forward, going about their daily lives.”

Riki Moss was raised in Brooklyn, earned a BA at the University of Chicago, studied ceramics at the San Francisco Art Institute and received an MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has exhibited works in clay, encaustic and paper sculpture widely throughout New England. She was an Art Matters grant recipient and is the author of a novel published in 2009 by North Atlantic Books. For the past five years, her work has revolved around the idea of a Paper Forest, an ongoing sculpture evolving in her studio on an island North of Burlington, Vermont. Statement: “The Planet, the one I will live on, is forest, rock, soil, leaf, cloud, lake, rain, wet air, mold and weather. It is filled with creatures, their nests and their bones, plant, animal, insect life, one thing the food for the other, everything manifesting and decomposing like mad. It provokes me. I want to see it all, the ruinous marks made by my species as well as the tiniest hints of renewal, the left-over light. I make my portrait of the forest with abaca paper, pressed into sheets using traditional papermaking techniques, formed over various structures and merged into collaborative life forms. The experience of creating objects to populate the installation - stand-ins for a disappearing natural world – with its substitute materials and problems of structure, with its inescapable futility and replacement purpose, draw both the artist and the work, unbidden, toward shock, surprise, joy and sadness.

Janet Van Fleet grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, then earned a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Education. She is a founder of Studio Place Arts (SPA), a three-story community center for the visual arts in Barre, Vermont, where her studio is located. Van Fleet has been awarded grants by the Vermont Council on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts and the Vermont Community Foundation for the creation of three large installations. She was chosen in 2008 to create the central gateway exhibit in the Environmental Exhibit Collaborative's Smart Art: Exploring Science and Art, which is touring to museums in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Quebec. Van Fleet is also active as a curator, writes about the visual arts as a reviewer for Art New England, and is an editor of Vermont Art Zine. Statement: “Circular Statements, my work with disks in wire grids, has been described as “the architecture of spacetime.” In all the pieces in this body of work, I use the humble materials of buttons, tin disks, and the shadows they create to represent, both formally and symbolically, all the different orders of magnitude in the material universe -- from sub-atomic particles through suns and galaxies. In this exhibit, created as a meditation on biological diversity and the death of species, the grids have become much looser, appearing to be torn apart, or unraveling, The edges of these grids reference not only ripping and tearing, but also growing tendrils and unwinding strands of DNA. The blank disks suggest death and extinction, but also the appearance of new life, new species, and new possibilities on the planet.”

Janet Fredericks spent her early years in Vermont. She studied art at Green Mountain College, William Patterson College and received her Bachelor of Fine Art Degree from Barry University. She has had major shows, both in this country and abroad, steadily creating bodies of work informed by her interest in and observations of her natural environment. A Vermont Arts Council /National Endowment for the Arts and New England Foundation for the Arts Fellowship recipient, she has received artist residencies at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, Venice Printmaking Studio and the International School of Art, Umbria. Her current work expresses the artist’s continuing interest in water and the complexities of its language. Mysterious and sensory, Fredericks’ drawings and paintings are at once maps, conversations and prayers linking the observer to a deeper communion, a reverent awareness of the history of water as a conduit and amplifier of intuition, a repository of ever changing but expanding memories and markings. Statement: “The water drawings evolve from the artist's observation of the New Haven River, a local stream flowing from the mountains of Vermont. Probing the essential surface patterns, light and rock forms beneath, Fredericks has discovered in the flowing water what she calls “water's language,” a lexicon of linear patterns consistently found in moving water. By standing in shallow water the artist is able to replicate, with a lithography crayon, the flow on heavy watercolor paper. She then makes notations and brings the paper back to her studio to add color and further visual information. This is part of on-going projects in which drawings are made in and by bodies of water, most notably the New Haven River in Lincoln, Vt.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Helping Us Out

We are asking for your help to make this great project financially feasible for the four Vermont artists who will be taking their work to Japan in January, 2010. We are hoping that our community will come out to support us in this effort. Every person contributing will get a thank-you postcard from us when we get to Nagoya, and those donating $25 or more will also receive a souvenir booklet (shown below) containing materials from each artist's artwork. We'd love to list contributors' names here on the blog, so let us know when you contribute if you do not want your name listed. Be a part of this project! A diverse group of supporters can help make it happen!

This exhibit has so many great components:
  1. the environmental consciousness Vermont is known for,
  2. high-quality visual arts,
  3. and a collaborative venture that connects diverse communities!

But it's going to cost almost $5,000 just to transport the artists and artwork to Nagoya, Japan.

You can donate via the PayPal button on the right of the page, whether or not you have a PayPal account. Major credit cards are accepted. Or, you can send a check made out to Riki Moss (with a notation, "On the Planet" to:

Riki Moss
31 Townline Road
Grand Isle, Vermont

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bag Lady by Sophie Hood

And so, over the past couple of weeks, I've begun the somewhat daunting process of ironing hundreds of plastic bags together to create rolls of usable material. I must say, I have definitely come to embrace the title, 'bag lady.' As I stand ironing plastic bags, as ridiculous as it may sound, I'm getting more and more excited at the prospect of creating these creatures with such an interesting material. The bags are transformed into something incredibly different and incredibly fantastic to cut, sew, and glue. You'd be surprised at the possibilities!

*One note: Some may be wondering/worrying about plastic bag ironing fumes - I have done a bit of research into the matter, and it appears that as long as I am just fusing the plastic together, rather than burning them, no harmful substances are released into the air. All is well!

Looking at the rolls of plastic bag material that I have been collecting, I couldn't help but make this comparison which surprised and delighted me:

Isn't is interesting that the inorganic, plastic bags so easily and accidentally bring to mind flowers? Just some unexpected revelations brought about by experimentation with a new material, while also provoking thoughts on biodiversity; organic vs. inorganic, our attempts to create 'nature,' etc.

Moving forward, here is a sketch/blueprints of what exactly I'm going to make with said plastic material...thus far...

I hope to construct at least five of these - all different heights, though all able to be worn by a performer. The arms hang down to the ground and really add to the movement of the creature. They are covered in plastic bag frills which really (I hope!) will create a neat sound effect as they move in a single file line together and go about their daily lives...

And so... the journey continues!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Munch, Munch

Gigantic black Spider Wasps, (family Pompilidae), genus Anopliu - or Psorthaspis (P. brimleyi) hang around the studio doors, very hyperactive. Now and then, I see one dragging a giant black spider across the floor or up the walls. The spider is on its back, apparently paralyzed. I learn that the wasp is a female, a loner. She'll bring the spider into her nest, lay an egg on top of it. When the larvae hatch, there's dinner. Biodiversity, very specific.

It is only a conceit to think of ourselves at the top of the food chain? Or is something larger, smarter, brighter and hungrier out there waiting?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

River Scroll Falls to Pieces

The idea of hanging the 30 foot river scroll from the ceiling seemed like a good one except for the difficulty of transporting it and hanging it in Japan. As I most likely will be relying on some generous and good-heated people to do that for me another plan has emerged thanks to our very productive meeting yesterday.

Plan B takes the scroll and sections it so that the drawing can be transported as a small stack of folded or torn to the same-size drawings that can be re-assembled with pushpins on the wall in the Nagoya gallery.

Some of the drawings can spill onto the floor. I started tearing a large scroll into 15 x 16.5 inch pieces. Some I drew into and others had some existing drawing of the river on them. In the photograph you see some larger pieces that I wanted to keep together however, all the pieces fold into the 15 x 16.5 format (to fit into carry-on luggage) or are torn to size. I like the dynamic quality of the large and small pieces together and can see them working in a more meandering way than what is shown in the photograph.

The paper is heavy watercolor paper that curls a bit if not pinned down which adds more dimension like to the water drawing. This is the beginning first I wanted to walk the river and draw at several places but I think a more close-up drawing of various aspects of this one particular S curve in the river with its field of rocks, glacial eratics and various types of flow would be better for the wall arrangement.

Van Fleet: Loosening the Grid

So many interesting people have been in my studio lately, giving critiques of the work in progress for Nagoya. Primarily, the insights resulting from these conversations have been:
  1. Hello, you don't need to have a frame anymore. The edges are important in ecosystems and can be much more interesting in this work.
  2. What colors are plants and animals? Those colors should predominate. All the disks don't have to have images, but the disks should have meaning. What is black? The end of the line for a species? A dark womb from which something new will emerge? It can be both!
  3. Are these real species or imaginary ones? This question led me to do more visual research to create some of the new disks below. Click on the images for more a more detailed view.

I modified the most recent sketch on the studio wall to change the color profile and also to begin to break up the grid. In the next iteration it will be even looser, possibly not even suggesting a grid anymore, but rather a web...

I didn't have enough mammals in the disk paintings. Now they're more represented. Next group: African animals with horns: gazelles, ibex...

The Nagoya Tree Part One

Here are two bad outdoor studio shots - bless this weather - of the intended Nagoya Tree, cut off from the original, sliced into two foot sections and taped together in preparation of inserting connective tissue for reassembly.

It'll take about a week to put it all together again. The point is to see if a 12 foot tree with (how many?) side branches can be stable on a 24 inch tall base, the size that will fit into a box shippable by small parcel or able to take on the plane. If it is - bingo, for a 30 inch wide plywood base will also fit into the box. If not get ready for plan B.

I burned through two Dremel tools before leaping up the power tool ladder to the next step - the Roto Zip - very cool.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Janet Fredericks' Place to Sit and Imagine

To sit quietly and imagine a healthy planet for our children, our children's children and their children is what I would like to offer the viewers in Nagoya.

I am thinking about creating, with translucent paper panels, a space that one could sit and contemplate the future or present life on the planet. The panels would be about 36" wide and 10+ feet long. They would have subtle map-like imagery drawn and maybe images transfered on them along with printed flow and vine patterns (monotype and woodblock.) Each panel would fold up into a small square that could easily be packed. The hanging arrangement would be four rigid horizontal supports upon which the panel would attach and from that line would go to the ceiling. The paper would be Japanese paper layered and coated with a liquid polymer making it sturdy and flexible. I'll experiment with it this week.

Sophie Hood: Plastic Bag Beginnings

I've decided to work with plastic bags. I've worked with them before, and I just think that they can be a very dynamic material that also takes into account many issues concerning the environment and our influence on the world. Briefly about plastic bags from an environmental stand point:

Plastic Bags:
- cause pollution, kill animals, use up limited resources (petroleum)
- 100 billion plastic bags are used each year in the US - add to that the rest of the world....
- litter the landscape
- kill animals - animals mistake them for food - even after the animal dies, the bag remains..disturbing image
- are non-biodegradable - plastic bags stay 'alive' for 1,000 years.
- petroleum is required to make them

For more info:

So here is some of my brainstorming:

- using plastic bags to ‘create’ creatures that have their own ecosystem – that fits into ours or doesn't.

- using waste plastic to create something new

- plastic bags into living creatures

- waste into ‘art’ – cheap art (thank you Bread and Puppet Theater!), recycled art

Thus, I'm thinking about creating plastic bag creatures. They have their own story, their own purpose. It's interesting and fun to figure out how this imaginary race works - if plastic bags are such an important part of our world, be it negative or positive, how would they fit/behave as a species? What is this connection between humans, waste, the world - how we all fit into the complex web. There is something very interesting about creating art out of waste and seeing the interactions and the questions that are brought up.

The plastic bag culture: This is an endearing culture – it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. They are almost immortal in the eyes of humans. They are like an ancient race. They are like trees and stones. They move slowly, they age slowly. They are slow. They are always walking, walking forward, but to where? No features, just shape. Movement. A feeling.

I am definitely thinking about a performance piece. It is important that these creatures become 'real.'

Here is a quick mock up of a plastic bag creature and a drawing: The creature is made from ironed plastic bags, cut into strips and sewn/glued together.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Riki Moss bio-combos

I'm still thinking about a 13-14 foot paper tree cut down into modules to be reassembled on site. The attachments get more dicey as the branches get narrow: I'm still working on it. On the right, you can see part of the tree - I'd like to double its impact - next to the 4' tall "graces", a series of curious life forms - to borrow a phrase from Janet Van Fleet - which may or may not go to Japan.

I'm thinking about dropping animal and people masks from the ceiling (the track lighting) that fall around the branches of the tree, suggesting leaves. Or the masks could fall around the base of the tree, (fallen leaves - fallen angels). Or they could pop out from the wall.

Here are some faces of the Graces. These exact pieces may or may not actually go to Japan, but something like them will - curious combos of trees, animals, humans. The bio-morph all star body shop, germinating in the Grand Isle, Vermont, studio. The question is, how to stuff these guys in a 24" x 15' x 15' cardboard box and fly them across the universe.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Janet Van Fleet: Getting going

I am finally getting a firmer sense of what I want to do for the exhibit in Nagoya. I've been thinking about this project using circular forms since last December, when I wrote about it on my blog. But I had ideas in between about working with cut steel, which I would really have liked to do, but it's just too heavy to transport and we have discovered that the gallery can't handle heavy things hanging from the ceiling. Also, I've been thinking that we really should use those nice big walls for something, and not have everything on the floor.

So, it's back to circular forms in a grid, imagery I've been working with for a number of years now. Here's a link to a film called Quantum Entanglement by Gail Marlene Schwartz that uses imagery from one of my larger pieces called Circular Statements. This time, in this context, I think it nicely suggests the web of life, which is what I think about when I think about biodiversity.

Here's a first sketch, using the disks I'd made before, interspersed with buttons. I found that I could hang the grid on the wall with push-pins, which puts it about a centimeter away from the wall. But I can make it stand out farther from the wall by putting a piece of cork behind, which clings to the wall and pushes the disk up, making a larger shadow and a little more movement in the piece. You can also see in this image how the wires in the grid are attached to push-pins on the right. I will need to find out whether this is OK for use on the gallery wall.

So here are some more disks I've been working on over the last few days in the studio. I'm finding that plants, insects, and single-cell organisms are most effective at this scale -- but then they represent the majority of the planet's life-forms. Click on the photo below to see more detail.

I'm imagining having a grid on the wall, maybe across from the doors, about 20 feet long and 36" high, though it could also be a series of smaller grids/webs sprinkled around the wall. The first grid I made (at the top of this post) is a 5-inch grid. But I think I'd like to add some disks that are a little larger (cd's), so Maybe a 6-inch grid would be better. Or something metric! Or a series of diverse sizes and configurations...