BY MARC AWODEY
EXHIBIT: "Images From the Road," new oil pastels
by Carol Boucher. Grannis Gallery, Burlington. Through February.
ARTWORK "Winter Sunset" by Carol Boucher
For her current exhibit at Burlington's Grannis Gallery,
Carol Boucher notes in an artist statement that she spends
summers roaming from art fair to art fair in a red Ford
Econoline van, hawking her oil pastels at every stop. Last
summer she logged 20,000 miles; "Images From the Road,"
her show of 14 exquisite paintings, was surely inspired
by her travels.
But not all the works depict wide-open spaces. Some of Boucher's
more unusual pieces capture vistas much higher than they
are wide. As in the renowned Japanese hanging scrolls known
as kakemono, she has created some tall, very skinny
landscapes. But her compositions generally differ from those
in kakemono: Boucher prefers quite low horizons rather
than craggy mountains or the blossoming branches of cherry
In the bottom third of her 39-by-5-inch pastel "Sentries,"
Boucher has placed a receding row of leafy trees along the
right bank of a stream, which meanders through emerald-green
hills. Above the Technicolor landscape is a gentle, cerulean-blue
sky and pink-tinted cumulus clouds. Although pastel crayons
are a drawing medium, pastel works are considered paintings
by virtue of their subtle chromatic modulations, of which
Boucher is a master.
In contrast to the placid "Sentries," Boucher's 39-by-7-inch
"March Sunset" is fiery: Vibrant hues of a nascent evening
cascade in a great diagonal, from deep crimson at upper
right, through vermilion, into orange, and white-hot yellow
at lower left. The landscape features a bending road flanked
by greenish-black hedgerows and shrubs.
While the vertical pastels are wonderfully unusual, Boucher's
equally thin horizontal painting, the 5-by-39-inch "Grown
in the Shadow of the Mountain," is just as successful. Meadow
and mountains roll in a soft, yet saw-toothed, progression
of pthalo blue and green beneath another rich sunset layered
from reds to yellows.
Boucher's skill enlivens even her normally sized images.
"Rte. 22A" presents a view of the scenic Vermont road in
a 29-by-39-inch rectangle. Though a standard proportion,
it's large-scale for pastels, and its composition is complex.
Zigzagging rows in a field that has been hayed are alternately
golden yellow and olive green; adjacent is a blue-green
stretch of highway. Boucher contrasted the smooth textures
of her field with rougher layers of road. The weight and
width of the white lines along Rte. 22A's shoulders, and
its amber centerlines, gradually diminish as they track
deeper into the picture plane.
"View From Antares" is the largest work in the show -- at
40 by 60 inches, it's just about the biggest pastel you're
likely to see anywhere. "Antares" is a popular name for
boats, and the painting's viewpoint appears to be from the
middle of Lake Champlain looking through a chain of islands.
For Boucher the work is unusually monochromatic: The calm
waters are arrayed in varied bands of Prussian blue; the
surrounding islands are ultramarine. Overhead hangs a rich
firmament of sapphire and indigo.
Whether Boucher travels on roadways or waterways, she has
a keen eye for dramatic colors and a sure hand for manipulating
them. So if, next summer, you spot an itinerant artist selling
paintings from a red Econoline, you'd be well advised to
stop and have a look.
Friend of Faux (01.11.06)
"Fake!" paintings on glass and canvas by Liza Cowan; and
"Beanie the Singing Dog," shadow boxes and installation
by David Klein. Pine Street Art Works, Burlington. Through
Seven Up (12.28.05)
"New Paintings," "Untitled 3" by Sara Katz, a group show
in multiple media by seven Vermont artists. Maltex Building,
Burlington. Through March.
Brand New Bags (12.21.05)
"Fifty-Fifty," Michiko Stehrenberger an exhibit of custom
handbags, or "sk8bags," from the Beck(y) label. Pursuit
Gallery, Burlington. Through December.
Art Supreme (12.14.05)
"New Paintings," by Galen Cheney, Vermont Supreme Court
Lobby, Montpelier. Through December 30.
High Contrast (12.07.05)
"Double Take" by Nick Chappell. Studio STK, Burlington.
Through December 24.
A Seasoned Artist (11.30.05)
"New England in Watercolor," paintings by Nancy Ellis.
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington. Through December
Two For One (11.23.05)
"Headache" by John Osmond: "Forge & Fracture," collaborative
and independent works in marble, bronze, canvas, paint,
steel, wood and glass by Kate Puccia and John Osmond.
Flynndog, Burlington. Through December.
Past Times (11.16.05)
"Dance" by Larry Bowling: "New Work," paintings and assemblages
. Doll-Anstadt Gallery, Burlington. Through November.
In Black and White (11.09.05)
"Like mother,like daughter, in an East Selma yard," by
Neil Callahan. "East Selma, Alabama: Forgotten America,"
photographs. Allen House Art Gallery, UVM, Burlington.
Through November 27.
"Coral Geraniums" landscape and still-life paintings by
Jill Barthorpe. Clarke Galleries at Cold Comfort Farm,
Stowe. Through November 13.