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State of the Arts


Published March 19, 2008 at 5:31 a.m.

Marilyn Skoglund - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR

Never mind juried shows; the works in "Marilyn Presents . . ." were selected by a single judge. A real one. Justice Marilyn Skoglund has been curating art exhibits in the lobby of the Vermont Supreme Court building on Montpelier's State Street for a decade - voluntary "side work" she took on just six months after joining the state's High Five. To mark her 10th anniversary, Skoglund selected a dozen artists - out of 55 total - who have shown at the court over the years. Last Friday, she presided over a packed reception in the capacious lobby, its white walls lined with artworks in various media.

"This show is 12 of my favorite artists," Skoglund said. "I spent a lot of time thinking about it - I wanted a huge variety of styles, and I think I pulled that off."

Indeed. Two vibrant abstract acrylics by Galen Cheney greet viewers near the entrance, and numerous land- and skyscapes in various styles dominate the main lobby. In a rear alcove, Philip Godenschwager's mixed-media works are playful but also pointedly political - one, a faux television monitor filled with toys, figurines and other found objects, is topped by a black army tank. On an adjacent wall, an enormous polyptych by Adelaide Tyrol comprises a large rectangular canvas flanked on each side by two smaller square ones. Tyrol's paintings employ masterful figuration and powerful, though mysterious, symbolism. The images include an arresting portrait of an ape and a hazy sea-and-sky scene with oil rigs in the distance.

Tyrol brought another, unofficial creation to the show: headgear for the hostess. The plastic headband, decorated with tiny fake flowers, pastel-hued ribbon streamers and a small white rat, seemed inspired by Easter baskets and Maypoles in equal measure. Skoglund, clad in a white pantsuit and turquoise camisole, sported it with characteristic good humor . . . and looked very un-judicial.