Thursday, January 7, 2010

Veronica Terrillion at the Fenimore Art Museum

I usually wait a few weeks before posting anything relating to something that has already found its way onto these pages. My latest post, on Veronica Terrillion and her “Woman-Made” environment, however, provoked so many responses (mainly on my Facebook page) that I thought it would be nice to show the individual artworks of hers that we acquired in the early 1990s.

In my post I alluded to a 3D painting that was brought to my attention by a gallery in Buffalo. It’s a depiction of Veronica’s father sledding logs in the Adirondacks. Here is a couple of photographs that show the inventiveness of the work, which has a base of about 20” x 24”, from its abstracted naturalism of the landscape and horses to the mixed media dimensionality of the figure and the sled. When I put it on view I always show it on about a 30 degree slant so that viewers can appreciate the 2D and 3D aspects of the painting. This is the piece that made me want to visit Veronica’s environment in person.

The next two pieces came directly from the artist or her family. I mentioned that when Veronica graciously invited me into her home I noticed hand-made floor mats made of a layer of concrete and brightly painted. She made portable versions on wood panel of one of these, “Spring Runoff,” which she generously donated to the Fenimore Art Museum. Here it is. Again, her ability to express the vibrancy and abundance of her natural surroundings is astonishing. This piece is about 18” x 30”.

Lastly, a few years after I first met Veronica, her son Richard offered us a sculpture of hers depicting the crucifixion. I immediately bought it, as it made sense to have an example of a work reflecting her devout religious beliefs. The crucifix, seen here, is remarkable similar to the large one on her property, seen in the photo from my first post. It is, like the floor mats in her house, made of layers of concrete molded by hand and painted. It always reminds me of the great Proletarian novel, “Christ in Concrete,” by Pietro di Donato, about the sufferings of the working man.

The concrete Christ also makes me recall the first time I met Veronica, a woman in her 80s, hunched over a large bin with her hands deep into a mixture of concrete, sand, and water. Reshaping her world and emphatically asserting her place in it.


  1. Paul, I also visited Veronica's house and environment, in the early 1980s. I went with a friend from Syracuse who had said I had to go there with her, she'd heard that it was something not to miss. I can still remember the visit quite vividly, and Veronica was very welcoming. I'm so glad the museum has some of her work... so nice for the museum, so nice for Veronica

  2. Thanks, Mary. You were so lucky to go and meet Veronica while she was still alive. For me, she was as much a part of the environment as anything she had created. Quite a remarkable woman! Take care.


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