Painting by Ann Stokes

An abstract by Ann Stokes


Sculpture by Kathleen Gatto-Gurney

"Form in Motion 2" by Kathleen Gatto-Gurney


Watercolor by Arlene Distler

"Glads," watercolor by
Arlene Distler


Painting by Lynn Martin

"All day I heard the noise of waters," oil on canvas
by Lynn Martin




"Two Roads Diverged":
Celebrating Women Artists at the Dianich

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could....

Thus begins a Robert Frost poem that I love, "The Road Not Taken." The next-to-last stanza goes:

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

There is more than a bit of melancholy here. But, it turns out, with our longer-lived, more fluid, and more leisured lives, there is a chance to "travel both," a second chance to take that less-traveled road.

The idea for this show came to me as I shared a friend's invigorating reclamation of her artist self -- a self she had ignored for some forty years as she strove to support her family as a single mother. On the brink of retirement, she has found some time to "do art" once again, even showing her work at The Vault in Springfield. I realized I knew a host of people who were discovering art-making and were thrilled to be in that territory for the first time in their lives, or thrilled to find that part of themselves still alive and kicking.

Mixed-media painting by Meris Morrison

A richly colored mixed-media piece by Meris Morrison

Those of us in the show have had paths as different as the paintings and sculpture on exhibit. In many cases, there has been over the years a connection and involvement with some form of artistic endeavor -- for Kathie Gatto-Gurney it has been dancing; Marcia Hammond has been a weaver for decades; for Lynn Martin, Muriel Wolf, and myself, writing became the dominant artistic discipline. And among us there are those who sublimated the "art spirit," as Robert Henri called it, into other areas of our lives -- Marya Koskoris "loved to teach art" to her schoolchildren; I drew with my children, illustrating stories we came up with (ending up with all four children involved in the visual arts one way or the other!); Ann Stokes was a big supporter of the arts before she took the plunge herself.

The paintings, sculpture, and prints on exhibit at Dianich Gallery are as different as our paths through life, lives whose many years of wisdom, heartache, explorations, pain and triumphs we hope are there in our work.

From Kathie Gatto-Gurney's dancing forms and Ann Stokes' explosions of energy and color, to the more "realistic" subtle landscapes by Marya Koskoris and portraits by Marcia Hammond, "Two Roads Diverged" is about as diverse as you can get. Lynn Martin straddles various "genres" of painting -- she has both figurative paintings and some lovely mystical abstractions. Meris Morrison's paintings in mixed media are rich in texture and color, and vibrate with unseen worlds. Barbara Baribeau's sculpture is gorgeously sensuous with the subtlest reference to the seen world. Muriel Wolf's monotypes are in a genre class by themselves -- very original and very personal works that use fabric and drawing in a process known as Chine-collé.

Marble sculpture by Barbara Baribeau

"Music," a sculpture in Vermont marble by
Barbara Baribeau

However different our paths and our work, almost all of us owe a debt of gratitude to the River Gallery School and/or the Senior Center's Stone Soup class led by Marilyn Allen, whose programs corraled our latent, or long-sleeping urge to create. They celebrated our attempts at expression, encouraging us to go further, deeper.

We hope you will come to the Dianich Gallery to have a look.

A portion of proceeds of any sales of work displayed will go to one of the following organizations, to be chosen by the artist: The Warrior Connection, an organization that helps women veterans dealing with PTSD through expressive art therapies; the Women's Freedom Center, which helps women suffering from physical or emotional domestic abuse; the program for women at AIDS Project of Southern Vermont; Stone Soup, an arts program of the Senior Center.

"Two Roads Diverged: Painting and Sculpture by Women Who Have Started -- or Returned to -- Making Art in Later Life" is up for the month of March. Opening reception on March 1, 5:30-7:30; otherwise, hours are Fri.-Sat. 12-3 and by appointment: (802) 380-1607.

The Dianich Gallery is at 139 Main Street, through the glass doors down the alley that leads to the Hooker-Dunham Gallery. This exhibit was made possible in part by a grant from the Crosby Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation.

Copyright 2013, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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