New Turf: It’s Not Easy Being Green

As the environment inches closer to the forefront of the collective twenty-first century conscious, we see an increased presence of environmental representation in numerous venues. The New Turf exhibition, currently showing at the Fleming Museum, may then be a case of life art imitating life. The exhibition showcases the work of fifteen contemporary artists, many of them from Vermont, and their interpretations of the “shifting terrain” of the environment and its art. Varied sensibilities of the fifteen artists have resulted in a startlingly wide spectrum of “postmodern approaches to landscape.” Content of the pieces range from reverence to the environment to explicit illustrations of its degradation. However, the pieces feature no traditional landscapes of discernable forests or sunsets in watercolor or rich oils. Instead, candy wrappers and digital chromogenic color prints have taken the place of traditional media, often suggesting corruption or contamination of nature in a post-industrial world. Ultimately, the abandon and irreverence to tradition with which these fifteen artists render the environment is a truly valuable resource in a postmodern setting, as we try to come to grips with the reality of existing in an environment that we have destroyed. I urge all those who are interested in either contemporary art or a modern perception of the environment to view the exhibit, as it runs until October 30th. A further detailed article of each exhibit at the Fleming Musuem will be included in the coming weeks.