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Brandon artist shows ‘sunny’ side in new work

BRANDON — “It’s like icing a cake,” said renowned artist and Brandon resident Warren Kimble of his process in creating his new work, unveiled for the first time at an opening reception on Sept. 5 at Brandon Music on Country Club Road. As fate would have it, Kimble revealed the work in Brandon Music Café, the same studio and gallery he worked in years ago.
While internationally known for his folk art and iconic cows and red barns, Kimble has made a significant departure with his “Let the Sun Shine” series. He described his process to the first wave of visitors to the exhibit, saying he started by spreading a thick layer of gesso, a form of the mineral calcium carbonate mixed with an acrylic polymer medium latex, on a canvas or board to create a textured surface, often using something like a ketchup bottle to spread the gesso. He used a palette knife to create the forms he wanted, then heavily sanded the surface before painting. The result is a melding of sculpture and painting, creating very textural pieces depicting Kimble’s interpretation of the sun, moon and other images.
“The whole series is about the sun and how it creates the earth and so forth,” Kimble explained.
This is not the first time Kimble has stepped away from his folk art. In 2006, he began the “Widows of War” series during a stint at the Vermont Studio Center. The collection of 30-odd pieces using dress mannequins and paintings, gesso and barbed wire depicts Kimble’s feelings about the Iraq war and the families, particularly the mothers, wives and girlfriends, left when U.S. soldiers were killed. A few of the “Widows of War” pieces are included in the Brandon Music exhibit.
Kimble said the “Let the Sun Shine” concept is an offshoot of “Widows of War,” inspired by a shift in the country’s energy during the last election, paintings that evoke feelings of hope and promise of the future.
He also said the shift to new artistic concepts is the only way to prevent stagnation as an artist.
“It’s branching out and being experimental and playing with new ideas,” he said. “You have to do that as an artist — to branch out with a new energy and new direction.”
While he has gained international renown and is a rock star in the folk art world, Kimble was asked if he felt a new audience might emerge from his new work.
“Yes, that would be wonderful,” he said. “One never knows.”
Experimenting with a new form of art has proven to Kimble that he can, in fact, do it, which is key to his growth artistically.
“It would be very easy to ride on the folk art for the rest of my life, but does that make me interested?” he asked. “And, how do I grow? You have to experiment. That’s what art is. It’s the same with anything. If you don’t grow, you’re stagnant.”
The artwork will be displayed for viewing and sale in the music café and The Gallery at Brandon Music. The show is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day but Tuesday.

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