Shedding Light on the Working Forest

Release Date: 
January 4, 2017

Kathleen Kolb painting of grapple skidder

Grapple Skidder by Kathleen Kolb is part of the Shedding Light on the Working Forest exhibition now on display at the CVMC Art Gallery

A traveling exhibition of painting and poetry is on view now at the Central Vermont Medical Center until January 30, 2017

“We live in the forest, that huge biome named the Northern Forest, to be exact. In addition to all the products it gives us, the forest is our home. Perhaps that is the reason we often feel restored by simply walking in the woods.”  ~Tom Slayton

This exhibition celebrates the landscape of the working forest and the voices of those who have honed skills into a livelihood there. Shedding Light draws on the artistic friendship of a painter and a poet who are committed to subjects that have been largely overlooked by the arts.

Kathleen Kolb evokes what is solid, luminous, yet ephemeral in the scenes she gathers and painstakingly paints. She talks about how a moment of “emotional ignition” kindles a work of art. As a writing partner, Verandah Porche befriends, questions and listens, to unearth and preserve the poetry embedded in lived experience. She calls this process “finding the verse in conversation.”

Painter Kathleen Kolb and poet Verandah Porche have narrowed their focus to those who harvest timber in the rural northeast. The images and the accompanying narratives honor the workers and open their environment and their insights to the viewer. The artistic intent is neither critique nor sentiment, but to shed light on beauty and sensitivity, amid the danger and the din of machines.  Kolb’s visual art spans a twenty year period and includes many pieces that are in private and public collections. Porche’s work distills and amplifies the voices of people engaged with the working forest.

SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE WORKING FOREST is currently on view at the Central Vermont Medical Center until January 30, 2016, in conjunction with several pieces from the show spotlighted at the Vermont State House. Shedding Light on the Working Forest opened at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in October 2, 2015, where it was the centerpiece of the Windham Regional Commission’s awareness campaign on the working forest economy. The Vermont Folklife Center presented the exhibition in during the winter of 2016. Since then it has traveled to sites in Maine and Connecticut.

Some of the paintings are on loan from private collectors. Several are for sale. Purchase may be arranged with the artist directly. A full color 72 page catalogue including all the paintings and text is available at the CVMC gift shop.

More information about this exhibit is available at the website:

A contemporary realist painter working in oil and watercolor, Kathleen Kolb is known for her dramatic handling of light.  She has participated in roughly 40 solo shows and 80 group exhibitions, including at the New Britain (CT) Museum of American Art and Sanford Smith Fine Art in Great Barrington, MA. She is represented by West Branch Gallery in Stowe, VT, Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne, VT,  Michael Findlay Gallery in West Palm Beach, FL and Mary Ann Doran Gallery in Tulsa, OK. Her large watercolor Bristol Sawmill won the Paton Prize for watercolor in 1998 from the National Academy of Design in New York. Another of her watercolors appears in John Driscoll’s The Artist and the American Landscape. Her painting Dawn Loading was published in Freedom and Unity, A History of Vermont (2004). 

Kathleen describes herself as a “landscape painter, working and living along the spine of the Green Mountains of Vermont.” which provides the “emotional ignition” that infuses her art. In 2009, one of ten artists selected from over 300 applicants, Kathleen joined the ART OF ACTION, a public/private project to create and exhibit work addressing challenges facing Vermont. Her paintings of the logging industry were featured in the winter 2009-2010 issue of Vermont Life.  With a grant from The Vermont Community Foundation, Kathleen created a series of paintings of icebergs to draw attention to climate change.   In 2014, Kathleen accepted a commission from the Vermont Hard Cider Company to create the artwork for the nationally-distributed packaging of Woodchuck Hard Cider. She recently was a resident fellow at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in County Mayo, Ireland.

Verandah works as a poet-in-residence, performer and writing partner. 

Based in rural Vermont since 1968, she has published Sudden Eden (Verdant Books), The Body’s Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books), and has pursued an alternative literary career, creating collaborative writing projects in nontraditional settings: literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200 year-old Vermont tavern and an urban working class neighborhood. Verandah’s year-long residency, Self Portraits in Newport: The SPIN Project, was selected to represent New Hampshire in the White House initiative, Artists & Communities: America Creates for the Millennium, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Broad Brook Anthology, a play for voices, honoring the elders in Guilford, Vermont was featured in the town’s 250th anniversary celebration.  Listening Out Loud documents her residency with Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT.  

Come Over is a CD of songs written with Patty Carpenter, performed by the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band.

Verandah initiated and for almost 30 years taught the poetry program at Vermont’s Governor’s Institute on the Arts. As a poet in the schools, she designs innovative residencies for students and communities. She has read her work on NPR stations, in the Vermont State House and at the John Simon Guggenheim Museum. She was featured in Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie. The Vermont Arts Council presented her with its Award of Merit in 1998 and Marlboro College, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2012.


images copyright 2016 by Kathleen Kolb, text copyright 2016 by Verandah Porche