A Readers Response to Life at the Vermont Studio School
To the Readers of the Rail,
This letter is written to correct a false impression, which might emerge from reading the article “Life at VSC” in the November 2003 issue.
It appears from the article that VSC is some sort of “art ashram.” It is no such thing. It is instead a gathering of all kinds of artists and writers, a few with an interest in Eastern religions, but most of them caring more deeply about their artistic development than anything else. VSC is an intense place, attracting intense participants, but the smoke of incense does not hang in the air, and the lights in the studios at night are evidence of work being done after hours, rather than meditation being practiced.
It is, perhaps, that the daily practice of one’s art is itself a striving for transcendence, so that no other disciplines are needed.
Michael Brenson’s David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformative SculptorBy Brandt Junceau
DEC 22–JAN 23 | Books
This artists life stares back at the would-be biographer, like a gorgon. The author turned a mirror on it. The tale is made to tell itself, witness by witness, snapped off in an unblinking chain of hard short chapters, almost voice by voice. By conscientious decision, maybe a matter of self-preservation, Brenson is a laconic guide rather than interpreter and thankfully, no explainer.
Charles Baxter’s Wonderlands: Essays on the Life of LiteratureBy Joseph Peschel
SEPT 2022 | Books
The hardest part of being a writer is learning how to survive the dark nights of the soul, Charles Baxter writes about halfway through his new book, Wonderlands: Essays on the Life of Literature. This isnt Baxters first book about writing and the life of the writer as an artist.
Francine Tint: Life in ActionBy David Ebony
NOV 2022 | ArtSeen
Mostly large canvases (up to 6 by 10 feet) painted within the past three years, in the midst of the pandemic, the works on view in Francine Tint: Life in Action appear as luminous and effervescent as any she has made. But within the parameters of the visual vocabulary she has established over decades, Tint reveals a highly nuanced range of emotional statesfrom exuberantly euphoric to introspectively pensive.
In The Hearth’s Happy Life, Kathy Ng Morphs Octopus Porn into Visions of Destruction—and RenewalBy Kally Patz
SEPT 2022 | Theater
Kally Patz profiles Kathy Ng, discussing how the playwright’s upbringing in Hong Kong and malleable interpretation of the body fueled her chaotic-good play, Happy Life
by Kally Patz