Past Lives, Present Tense | Art Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Past Lives, Present Tense 

Art Review: "Heads, Hands & Hearts", B. Amore, sculpture. Gallery in-the-Field, Brandon. Through October 26.


Vermont sculptor B. Amore typically combines ingredients as enduring as bronze and stone, but she also creates installations and assemblages that appear to be meditations on past lives. Amore’s powerful Gallery in-the-Field exhibition “Heads, Hands & Hearts” finds a personal iconography in passport-photo-sized faces, work gloves, silk flowers and embossed sections of antique tin ceiling, all infused with an air of transience.

The 9-by-9-foot wall assemblage “Stepping Stones Panels” and the 12-by-12-foot floor piece “Floating Stones” appear dramatically expansive in the architecturally elegant Brandon gallery — designed by noted artist and gallerist Fran Bull. In “Floating Stones,” a square bed of crushed stone lies beneath a dozen variously sized slabs of white marble that rest on glass bricks. The marble bears straight etched lines, as if broken when it was cut, and 16 work gloves rest on top of the slabs. About 70 of Amore’s gloves appear in the exhibition, nearly all of them cast in bronze and painted to resemble actual worn-out fabric.

The vertical “Stepping Stones Panels” consist of four horizontal strips of rusted tin ceiling, with chunks of white marble and photos of faces. Amore wrote passages of cursive text over the design elements, which are not easy to read. Text also appears on “Mysterious Muscle,” a pink marble stone that looks like an oversized heart. The stone is nestled in a pile of white silk threads resting on a 20-by-20-inch dark aluminum tile. The word “peace” can be discerned, but Amore’s handwritten lines seem more like ambient whispers or quiet prayers than clear, declarative statements.

The 12-by-12-inch “Amour, Eros, Agape II” also features a heart of stone. The heart-shaped rock is affixed in the center of the composition, surrounded by more writing and a border of small faces of silk. The motifs of hearts and faces are ubiquitous in this exhibition. As reported in a 2007 story in Seven Days, Amore captures the faces by surreptitiously taking digital shots on the streets of New York City.

A piece of bone that resembles a heart appears in the middle of the 29-by-29-inch “Heart of the Matter II.” It doesn’t incorporate text, but faded pink silk flowers add color to the composition. Still more passport-sized portraits appear along the top of the piece, and, like most works in the show, the whole thing is attached to a square of embossed tin.

The 2008 assemblage “Singapore Fling” is one of the few works featuring no little faces. A red rectangle of indeterminate substance contains an actual pair of painted gloves — not bronzed — and crumpled pieces of plastic. The enigmatic 19-by-29-inch mixed-media piece seems more focused on commingling diverse textures into an abstract whole than on conveying a complex narrative. Amore does tell mysterious stories with her works, but it’s their formal organization that makes them intriguing.

Amore is the founder of West Rutland’s Carving Studio and author of the 300-page An Italian American Odyssey: Life Line, described on as “a moving blend of words and images.” She also completed a monumental installation at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York, which spans several rooms.

“Heads, Hands & Hearts” is an eloquent compendium of variations on technical and conceptual themes. While there are many similarities among the individual pieces, their differences keep them fresh.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

  • Ground Crew
  • Ground Crew

    Art Review: Wendy James, Lynn Rupe and Carolyn Hack, Burlington International Airport
    • Dec 14, 2011
  • Net Gain
  • Net Gain

    Art Review: Barbara Wagner, Green Mountain Fine Art Gallery
    • Dec 7, 2011
  • Branching Out
  • Branching Out

    Art Review: “Trees,” Bryan Memorial Gallery
    • Nov 23, 2011
  • More »

About The Author

Marc Awodey

Marc Awodey

Painter, poet, writer, musician, guerilla publisher and numismatist Marc Awodey, 1960-2012, was the Seven Days arts critic for more than a decade before his death at age 51. We all miss him.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation