Artist, poet collaborate for exhibit


SAXTONS RIVER >> Artist Jeanette Staley and poet Verandah Porche are joining their considerable talents to create an exhibit at Main Street Arts they are titling "Unfinished Myth."

The show opens with a reception Thursday, May 5 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and continues through June 10.

"We found ourselves drawn back into familiar stories or fragments of them, from Grimm, the Bible and Greek mythology," Porche said in answer to a question about the theme of the exhibit. "Their stark predicaments and sparse detail have always invited improvisation."

In one poem, Rapunzel in the tower reflects on her mother's hunger. In the painting, Rapunzel's body becomes the tower, she explained.

While Staley works in oil and acrylics, Porche explores the oldest roots of the words she chooses, researching little-know versions of the fairy tales to find what strikes a chord.

"We are looking for innovative ways to integrate the text and visual art," Porche said. "I have always wanted to walk over a poem, or through words displayed on cloth."

A resident of Westminster where she maintains her Flying Canvas Studio, Staley has been a painter and collage artist for 30 years, drawing from a library of varied papers, photos, classical literature and poetry and her own early work (painted and written) to create allegorical paintings that weave threads connecting the viewer with the painter, time with experience and the individual with the whole.

Some of her agriculturally-inspired work reaches into the everyday to capture the essence of eggs, birds, chickens, fruit, and vegetables, including voluptuous pears that bring a new sensuality to the Bosc. She has also adapted the 19th-century art of the painted floor cloth to modern esthetics that embrace fantasy and the natural world.

She was the proprietor of an artist studio, gallery and performance space in Massachusetts for 12 years before moving to Vermont in 2001. Her work is sold in galleries throughout New England and can be found in private and institutional collections and published media.

A poet-in-residence, performer and writing partner, Porche has lived in Guilford since 1968. She has published a number of collections (Sudden Eden, The Body's Symmetry, Glancing Off) and has pursued an alternative literary career, creating collaborative writing projects in non-traditional settings such as literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200-year-old tavern and an urban working class neighbor.

She has been recognized with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Marlboro College, the Vermont Arts Council's Award of Merit, and the first Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education.

She had a recent splash in the spotlight when she questioned writer Gay Talese about the women writers who had inspired him and he replied that none had, creating a social media flurry.

Now in its 28th year and fully handicapped accessible in its newly-renovated space, Main Street Arts is a non-profit community arts center dedicated to serving the creative needs of the greater community by encouraging creative exploration and expression through a wide range of experiences. Further information is available by calling 802-869-2960, at or on Facebook.


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