FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2017
West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park proudly presents two exhibitions of new and recent works by local artists Kathleen Kolb and Charlie Bluett this August, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 19th from 6 - 8 pm.
August 19 - October 15
Thin Places, Long Light: Paintings of Ireland and Vermont by Kathleen Kolb
“It’s not clear who first uttered the term “thin places,” but they almost certainly spoke with an Irish brogue. The ancient pagan Celts, and later, Christians, used the term to describe mesmerizing places like the wind-swept isle of Iona (now part of Scotland) or the rocky peaks of Croagh Patrick. Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.
…Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked.” (Eric Weiner in the NYT, March 2012)
Kathleen Kolb embraces realism with a warmth and emotional connection to her subject matter that stands in strong opposition to criticism the genre has faced in the past that it, with an emphasis on painting referencing photography, is cold, overly technical, or emotionally void. In the creation of this collection of new and recent works inspired by travels in Ireland and throughout her home state of Vermont, Kathleen was driven by two sustained, emotive forces: a deep attachment to place and a passion for the visual effects of light on our everyday surroundings.
As our fundamental timekeeper, the movement of the sun’s light informs how we define moments, days, and seasons, both literally and figuratively, in our lives. The artist’s formal treatment of its effects on the landscape invites us to pause our traditionally linear perception of time. In doing so, we’re encouraged to contemplate spaces in which light and dark, past and present, and feelings of longing and belonging are felt as fluidly as day drifting into night.
While the work on view here can be read on the surface as faithful descriptions of particular buildings, hillsides and vistas, they rise above their loyalty to observational accuracy and documentary detail to evoke a sense of home, in the most expansive of terms. As defined by the artist, home is the intangible force that draws us back to treasured spaces; it is the desire to root ourselves in the greater landscape and ultimately, to create and foster a sense of community in those thin places where we are all drawn that much closer.