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Rutland, Castleton Galleries Celebrate 50 Years Of Art From Richard Weis

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Richard Weis
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This mixed-media piece called "Ceredigion" is one of the many pieces in a showcase of the artist Richard Weis at three different galleries in Rutland and Castleton that pays tribute to his 50-year career.

Three different art galleries in Rutland and Castleton will simultaneously showcase the work of local artist Richard Weis, paying tribute to his 50-year career.

Weis took time out to talk about the show at the Chaffee’s Downtown Rutland gallery. Surrounded by an eclectic mix of landscapes, abstracts and figures, Weis hedged when asked to describe his style. “I have real difficulty answering that,” he said with chuckle. “Style is a result of a person’s time, place and temperament.”

That’s something an artist friend told him years ago and he believes it, saying place has been very influential to his work.

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Credit Richard Weis
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Richard Weis says the rural Mississippi river town where he grew up was anything but artsy.

Born 70 years ago in Bemidji, Minnesota, Weis’s father was a logger and carpenter and he says the rural Mississippi river town where he grew up was anything but artsy. 

But he says his two older brothers showed him how to draw as soon as he could hold a pencil. “It was how I expressed myself,” says Weis. “I never wanted to be the fireman or the cowboy or all those other things,” he laughs. “I wanted to do art, but it was strange because I didn’t know any artists. I didn’t know what it was. I just knew I wanted to draw.”

Weis pursued painting in college and grad school and taught art in several states, eventually coming to Green Mountain College. A little over 10 years ago, he spent time in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar. 

He says all of those experiences converge in his painting, and he says it’s been both exciting and daunting preparing for a show that will include up to 90 pieces and span five decades. He says, “It’s been really, really difficult at times because I look at some of the older pieces some of which I haven’t seen for 25 years and I’ll think, 'Wow, why did I stop doing that?'  There are things that I really like, and should I start doing that again?” 

“I never wanted to be the fireman or the cowboy or all those other things. I wanted to do art, but it was strange because I didn’t know any artists. I didn’t know what it was. I just knew I wanted to draw.” - Richard Weis, painter

Weis says it’s been fascinating to notice threads that carry through the work. “I think what’s going to be fun – it’s been fun for me and I think it’ll be fun for others too – is when they walk through the different galleries and retain a memory of what they just saw at another space, and what are the threads and how do they connect? Is there something from this piece from 1974 that I can see a glimmer of in what’s showing from 2005?”

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Credit Richard Weis
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Weis made "Figure at the Cupboard" with Magna acrylic resin on canvas in 1981. He says it's been interesting going through the process of putting together a retrospective and looking at his pieces from many years ago.

As for what comes next, Weis admits he doesn’t know. "But I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen with my work," he says. "I don’t think I’ve peaked yet. I think I’ll do some of my best work in the next 30 years.”

Weis’s artwork is on display now at the Castleton and Chaffee galleries in downtown Rutland as well as the Christine Price Gallery in Castleton.

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Credit Richard Weis
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This piece, from 1972, is titled "Still-Life with Yellow Tea Kettle."
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Credit Richard Weis
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"The Earth Stripped Bare" is on display in Weis's multi-gallery show.

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