Walpole artist explores recycled and reinvented media

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Christine Price Gallery at Castleton University in Castleton, Vermont is pleased to present “Breaking New Ground / Modularities” by Walpole, N.H. artist Bruce Blanchette. This exhibition will feature many new works exploring manufactured, recycled or reinvented media, which has been appropriated in the form of modular reliefs.

“Breaking New Ground / Modularities” by Walpole, N.H. artist Bruce Blanchette. Photo provided

“The idea of a work in relief is to present the viewer with art that pushes into their space ever so slightly. Enough perhaps, to separate it from the sheer verticality of it’s support wall or away from the illusionistic appearance of painting. I hint at an aerial viewpoint by creating real shadows which give form to elements in the piece and enhance a feeling of actual space or of floating in it’s own unique reality. There is a concerted effort in my more recent wall pieces to avoid the traditional frame that still ties some earlier works to their frames, thus also, too much to painting. Changing the geometry of the artwork from a literal rectangle or square is hardly a new concept, but because my working method allows me to be more deliberately intuitive in the process, I think more interesting results occur.”

The artist reveals that his methods have always emphasized surfaces and texture. Regardless of the expressive form, they are always key elements in his relief art. However, in 2016 his decision to develop a collection of modular shapes cut from thirty year old white-board panels that were still taking up space in his studio proffered this whole new direction to try. These Modularities required an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 analogous shapes sized and cut to eight conformable configurations.

In “Breaking New Ground / Modularities” you can compare earlier artwork and see how Blanchette’s methods have incorporated different techniques and approaches although the final result has been determined by his working process, his tools, intuition and a developing ideas. Some works may resemble paintings, yet the process of modeling their surfaces with common wallboard compound, or combining sand, organic peat, cardboard, wooden shapes, carved insulation foam, or sawed and sanded shapes, all come from his preference for assemblage and experimentation. Particularly in works dated after 2009 the viewer will make note of the persistence of subtle allusion to our Earth as our only home. Blanchette’s most important message seems to meditate on that.

The exhibit runs from now until May 13, 2017. An artist’s reception is planned for Friday, April 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Christine Price Gallery is open Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and is located at Castleton University, 45 Alumni Drive, Castleton, VT 05735.

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