By Sue Higby, executive director of Studio Place Arts
The 18th annual stone show Rock Solid at Studio Place Arts (SPA) in Barre highlights another chapter in the cultural mosaic of a community whose history is tightly linked to the arts. The city’s reverence for stonework is clearly emphasized by its main gateways, which are each marked by large-scale stone sculptures that symbolize the community’s creative roots—the first art instructor in Barre (The Italian American Stonecutter); a cherished Scottish poet, (Robert Burns); and a nontraditional war monument that portrays the community’s desires for peace, not warfare (Youth Triumphant).
The show includes work by more than 25 Vermont artists, featuring sculptures in the round, bas relief, and stone assemblages. As with previous shows, it presents a mix of traditional forms and contemporary explorations, such as stone wrapped with embroidery floss. Native stones of Vermont–granite, marble, and slate–are the dominant selections by artisans.
Taken together, works in Rock Solid strike an exciting balance between traditional and contemporary responses to the durable, handsome art medium. A nearly universal response from visitors as they cross the threshold of the main gallery at SPA has been the single word, “Wow.”
Rock Solid features work in the main floor gallery and on the front plaza. It also includes the Art Stroll around historic downtown Barre to view a variety of granite sculptures (a description of the Art Stroll and a map is available at studioplacearts.com).
Rock Solid will be on view through November 3 at SPA on North Main Street. Hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 4 pm Saturday.