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The University of Vermont Medical Center Online Art Collection

New Acquisitions: A Look Back at 2017

Winooski River, Intervale

Bruce Conklin, Winooski River, Intervale (Burlington, VT)

Bruce Conklin says: "During my working life, I have been involved in various aspects of design and implementation. These have manifested as aerospace hardware design, graphic design, photography and illustration, museum exhibit design and, most recently, as a working chef. My days now are divided between painting in the mornings and cooking at Vermont Respite House in the afternoons.

"I am a self-taught painter, working primarily in the studio. My painting is heavily influenced by the Impressionists and by more recent painters as diverse as Milton Avery, Giorgio Morandi, Vilhelm Hammershoi and Avigdor Arikha."

Birch Series (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

Sandra Reese, Fall (Birch series)

Sandra (Sandy) Reese is a landscape oil and watercolor painter from South Hero, Vermont. Sandy discovered her love for painting as a child and remembers being influenced by her first art teacher, Rita Boyd of Winooski, Vermont. Over the years Sandy has studied with many nationally recognized artist from around the country in both studio and plein air workshops, including her mentor, Lisa Beach of Stowe, Vermont.

Sandy’s work is expressed in vibrant impressionistic style while retaining its representational roots. Much of her work reflects her love of Lake Champlain and the Champlain Islands that she now calls home. The pink hues of a morning sunrise and the gold and yellow afterglow of an exquisite sunset are forever inspiring her. To capture the beauty of the moment, she paints quickly and lets the paint capture that moment and memory in time.

Passing Shower

Phil Laughlin, Passing Shower

Phil Laughlin was born in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Like most kids, he enjoyed drawing, but you wouldn't have guessed from his childhood that art would become his passion. At home, the idea of a career in the arts was never discussed. School offered one art course in 12 years of public education. The prevailing attitude was "Okay, we've checked the art box on the curriculum form, let's move on to the real business of life."

His academic strengths were math and science, so it seemed like engineering would be a good course of study at college. This seemingly straightforward plan collided with the social upheaval of the late 1960s. In his second year at SUNY Stony Brook, he began to question his career path in the counterculture style of the times. Doing something in the creative arts seemed more meaningful than building rockets, so he switched majors to studio arts. When he graduated from Worcester Museum Art School, Abstract Impressionism was relinquishing the spotlight. Several other art movements emerged in rapid succession. The ones dealing with formal abstract geometric qualities were of most interest. He moved to New York City and continued to paint. The need for employment pushed him to study applied arts and work as a graphic designer. Creatively, commercial design work wasn't very fulfilling, but the opportunities presented by the city itself and the exposure Manhattan offered to new ideas and new standards of artistic professionalism were their own reward. World class galleries and museums were everywhere. He passionately consumed it all. On a fateful shopping trip to Pearl Paint’s, a popular Manhattan art store, he saw a large set of Senelier pastels showing hundreds of bright colors spread out on display. The appeal was irresistible, he bought them and has been a devoted pastel artist ever since.

In 1986, Phil moved his family to the beautiful state of Vermont. At the same time, desktop computers hit the scene. After a period of experimentation, he found himself gravitating towards illustration software, rendering product and technical subjects. Painting time had to share with work time while he raised his family. Children grew, moved out, and he gradually rebalanced his schedule to once again favor the landscape painting. Along the way he discovered the rich tradition of New England subjects that has inspired generations of artists. Casting aside the last bit of guilt over leaving the formal concerns of modern abstraction behind, he joined the mass of contemporary artists working with and extending that tradition. Currently, he paints daily at his rural home in Williston, Vermont.

"I take color and shape, raw materials with no intrinsic value and assemble them into something coherent that has the power and purpose to speak. If there ever were societies without art, we don’t know about them. It’s artists, through their art, that tell the future of who we are."

Owl's Head Light

Ken Russack, Owl's Head Light

Ken Russack started his painting career as a freshman in high school under the tutelage of one of his early mentors, Maynard Sandol. He continued to paint and take classes during his underclass studies at Oswego State. He then took a 30-year hiatus, moved to Vermont, raised a family, and never got rid of his paints. One day he was drawn to the idea of plein air painting and what became a minor obsession of grasping the nuances and complexities of this new found art. His work was supported by several key individuals, including Fioanna Cooper, Carolyn Walton and Mark Boedges. 

Ken paints both the urban landscape and pastoral scenes whenever possible. His style is a compilation of the impressionist slant, with a bit of Hopper thrown in for good measure. Ken lives with his wife and best critic, Janice Lara, in Burlington, Vermont. He has three daughters, Chloe, Vanessa and Charlotte, and two grandchildren, Rowan and Hazel.

The Journey Together #1

Johanne Durocher Yordan, The Journey Together #1

The Journey Together #2

Johanne Durocher Yordan, The Journey Together #2

Johanne Durocher Yordan is a Burlington-based artist. She was born in Quebec, Canada, but has lived most of her life in Vermont. It was not until 1998 that Johanne began committing herself to her artwork and finding her own voice. She studied at the University of Vermont and has since developed a diverse body of work that is a testament to her ability to succeed as an independent artist. Creating work that fits a variety of audiences, while always building upon her unique self-taught style, is the secret to her success. Johanne has always been the type of person who explores on her own, tapping into the unknown and developing her own fashion and techniques. Many of her paintings include found or collected items which add depth and meaning to combine form and function to her work. Her abstract work captures her emotions and represents her unique style and expression. Johanne has exhibited her work extensively throughout Vermont in both solo and group exhibitions over the past 12 years.

These two mixed media collages were commissioned for the Breast Care Center. Johanne says: "As I started my work on these two pieces I was overwhelmed with a feeling of how important they would be. They would be more important than just how they looked and what spaces on the walls they would fill in the infusion bays. They would add beauty and wonder to a patient’s day and also be a distraction in a positive way from what they would be going through during that particular visit. I cannot even begin to understand the emotions but most of all the strengths that these patients have in their journey through this fight and healing process, and I feel honored to be connected to them by sharing my work and to share something from my heart.

"The three crows that you see in each piece are traveling together, just as many patients travel together with their families as well as with other patients. Crows are highly intelligent birds and are considered spirit animals. The power of this bird as a spirit guide is to provide insight but also support to the individual(s) through a transformation.

"The beauty of the sunflowers and poppies with the added symbolism of the crows work nicely together and gives some depth and meaning to each piece. The background pieces of Vermont maps that I use bring a sense of place, places that one has been or wanting to go.

"The Journey Together #1 & #2 are a representation of the journey that the staff, family and fellow patients travel together. Giving each other support, knowledge and light."

Rock Point #1

Gary Hall, Rock Point #1 (Lake Champlain, VT)

Gary Hall is an internationally published fine arts photographer, specializing in architecture and interiors, and known for his luminous black and white landscape prints. He was educated in fine arts photography at Southern Illinois University where he studied with Charles Swedlund–a student of Aron Siskind. A native Vermonter, he has been exploring with his camera, in and about the Champlain Valley, for over forty years.

"I am attracted to landscapes that have a timeless appeal. I am drawn to the movements and reflections of water as a liquid, its sculptural pulse as snow, its ambiguity as fog, as well as its abstract qualities while frozen. Rock and stone–once in a liquid state under great heat or bent by intense pressureleave lasting impressions. Evidence of glaciers in the form of lakes and boulders left behind present a recurring theme. Guided by the light created by various weather phenomenon, it is the interaction of these seemingly primordial states, along with the various signatures of man, that intrigue me."

New Acquisitions: A Look Back at 2017