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Art Notes: Mother and Son Artists Put on Shows in White River Junction

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    Scott Miller's photographs of lichen are part of a show with his mother Judith Miller's "Birds of the Bayou" watercolors at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt. (Scott Miller photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/19/2018 12:05:12 AM
Modified: 4/19/2018 9:09:49 AM

In an art exhibition at Zollikofer Gallery, at Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, a mother and son from Norwich have put unexpected spins on familiar elements of nature.

“Birds of the Bayous,” a show of delicate yet vibrant watercolors by Judith Miller, was inspired by a recent trip to Sanibel Island, in Florida. While visiting, she was struck by the number of bird species that, it seemed, had followed her there from home.

Sanibel Island “is on the flyway between New England and farther south, like Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean,” said Miller in a recent phone conversation. Flyways are the paths migrating birds use to navigate between their summer and winter destinations.

It was a strange, destabilizing yet comforting sensation, “to see the same birds in both places ... the red-winged blackbird, the blue heron that sits on our pond in the summer, here in winter,” she said.

She has been making art since she could hold crayons, she said, but she favors watercolor because although she considers the medium a difficult one to master, “you get wonderful effects if you do it right.”

“Lichen,” a show by Judith’s son, Scott Miller, was inspired not by distance, but by proximity. As a young adult, around 20 years ago, Scott climbed onto his family’s roof and took photographs of the lichen he found growing there. In the Zollikofer show, the photos are blown up to 12x magnification, producing an end result that does not resemble lichen at all — or at least, lichen as it appears to the bare human eye.

Patches of lichen “look flat to us when we’re standing up looking at them, but they’re not at all flat. They’re little growths,” Judith Miller said, adding that viewers have compared the photographs of lichen to everything from undersea habitats to Impressionist paintings.

In an email this week, Scott said he was struck not only by the aesthetics of the growths when viewed up close, but also because of the “symbiotic biology” of lichen, which is made up of algae, fungus and sometimes bacteria.

As a founding partner of World Story Exchange, an international documentary workshop program, Scott appreciates symbiotic relationships in nature as metaphors for human connection.

“Symbiosis, I think, can teach us about relationships, specifically how to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship,” he added.

Scott had played around with the idea of leaving the show untitled, letting the photos’ true subject remain an open-ended question, but ultimately he decided to toss viewers a line.

“It’s quite a surprising thing,” Judith said. “It takes a lot of looking to see what it really is.”

Both shows close June 30.

Of Note

AVA Gallery and Art Center, the City of Lebanon Recreation and Parks department and the Mascoma River Greenway Coalition announced the two winning artist teams of their sculpture competition: Margaret Jacobs and Justin O’Rourke, of Enfield, for their project Steel Umbrella, and Susan K. Johnson, of Lebanon, for her project Wheels.

The winning sculptures, which incorporate aspects of Lebanon’s history and environment, will be permanently installed along the Northern Rail Trail in Lebanon this summer, in time for the grand opening of the Mascoma River Greenway in late July.

Call for Art

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, in White River Junction, invites submissions to “Momenta IV,” a juried exhibition of prints by artists from New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. All types of prints, from artists at all stages in their careers, are welcome.

To submit, send up to three digital files to, complete an entry form and pay a $25 entry fee. The juror is James Stroud, a noted printmaker and founder of Center Street Studios in Cambridge, Mass., where he is based. There will be one $300 prize.

The “Momenta IV” exhibit will open May 4, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. For more detailed submission guidelines and more information, visit The deadline for submissions is Monday at 5 p.m.

The Chelsea Arts Collective is also looking for artists to feature in the inaugural Arts on the Green Market & Festival, which is planned for late August. The deadline to submit is May 15.

For more information about the event and how to apply, visit or email

The Randolph-based Clara Martin Center is seeking submissions for an art and poetry show on the theme of “Abundance: Celebrating Creativity in Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery.”

For applications and instructions on how to submit, go to The deadline is July 31. The exhibit will open Sept. 10 at the Chandler Gallery, in Randolph.

Openings and Receptions

Colby-Sawyer College, in New London, will host an opening reception for its senior art exhibition Friday at 5 p.m., in the Mugar Art Gallery of the Sawyer Fine Arts Center. On view through May 4.

The faculty art exhibition, currently on view in the Davidow Gallery at the college’s new Center for Art + Design, continues through May 5. The featured artist is Professor Bert Yarborough, who will step down at the end of the semester to return to his studio practice.


AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon. “Rain Impressions,” an exhibit of oil paintings by the Chinese artist Ting Zhou, shows through April 27.

ArtisTree Gallery, South Pomfret. A multi-artist exhibition on April’s most seasonally appropriate theme — mud — shows through May 5.

Barrette Center for the Arts, White River Junction. “VoxSomnium,” an exhibition of mixed-media work by Norwich artist Laura Di Piazza, is presented in conjunction with the Vermont Pastel Society’s group exhibition and Northern Stage, the theater company that calls the Barrette Center home. Through May.

BigTown Gallery, Rochester, Vt. “Dartmouth Influence,” which exhibits art by 11 women from Dartmouth College’s Studio Art Department, shows through June 30. A reception is planned for May 19, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Center for the Arts, New London. Exhibits in micro-galleries at Lake Sunapee Bank, the New London Inn and Whipple Hall are on view through April.

Converse Free Library, Lyme. Kathy Swift, of Lyme, shows work in “Japanese Ink Paintings on Paper” through June 30. Ten percent of sales will go toward Friends of Lyme Library.

Gifford Gallery, Randolph. Watercolors by Killington, Vt. artist Maurie Harrington are on display through May 2.

Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hanover. The installation artist Natalie Jeremijenko, who is artist-in-residence in Dartmouth College’s Studio Art Department, shows work in the Jaffe-Friede Gallery through April 29.

Howe Library, Hanover. Lebanon artist Sue Wheeler’s show of abstract work, “Immersive Tactiles,” is on view in the Ledyard Gallery through May 2.

Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon. Artwork by Mount Lebanon Elementary School students will be shown through May.

Long River Gallery, White River Junction. Work by the Hartland photographer John Lehet shows through May 31.

Norwich Public Library. “Spring Around the Upper Valley,” a show by the Odanaksis artist group, shows through April 27.

Orford Social Library. Today is the last day to see “Made in Orford,” an exhibition of work by Orford artists and artisans.

Osher at Dartmouth, Hanover. “Pilgrims, Parades and Politics,” a show of photographs of Ireland and Northern Ireland by Herb Swanson, of Lyndonville, Vt., continues through next Thursday.

Norman Williams Public Library, Woodstock. The West Windsor-based painter Lynn Van Natta shows work in “Impressions of New England in Oils” through May 15.

Scavenger Gallery, White River Junction. The Pennsylvania-based painter Dave Ohlerking shows work through April.

Tunbridge Public Library. Proceeds from sales of the South Royalton artist John Duffy’s show of photographs, “Where We Live,” will go toward the library and Royalton Community Radio.

Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction. A show by the Enfield artist Patty Castellini continues through April 30.

White River Gallery at BALE, South Royalton. “Petroglyphs, Flora and Frenzied Encounters: The Hand-Pulled Prints of Betsey Garand” features a variety of printmaking techniques by Garand, who lives in Hancock, N.H.

There will be a reception and artist talk May 5, from 4 to 6 p.m. Through June 15.

EmmaJean Holley can be reached at or 603-727-3216.

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