Vermont Marble Exhibit Highlights Local History
September 12, 2014
**My story about the SculptFest Vermont marble exhibit was originally published in the Rutland Herald.
Kate Katomski’s family heritage lives deep in the historic marble quarries of West Rutland.
Both her father and grandfather worked in West Rutland back in the thriving stone industry, when Vermont marble was shipped around the country and the world to create buildings and monuments. Now the multi-media artist is participating in her first SculptFest2014 exhibit to celebrate the work of her family and highlight Vermont’s important place in architecture history.
SculptFest will be Sept. 13 to Oct. 26, 2014 at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center on Marble Street in West Rutland. The annual event features large-scale, outdoor installations in a post-industrial setting on the grounds of the old marble quarries at the former Vermont Marble Company. Katomski is one of nine artists selected to participate in the exhibit with work based on the theme, “When the work stops and it becomes more than it was.”
The Lasting Legacy of Vermont Marble
The Vermont Marble Company, which closed in the 1970s, was a leading supplier of architectural marble, and its product was used in the making of buildings and monuments during the rise of the metropolitan centers of the Northeast, including Washington, D.C. Katomski’s grandfather was a Polish immigrant who worked for the Vermont Marble Company for two decades before he died in 1929. Her father, a West Rutland native, worked there in the summer of 1946 before heading off to college.
“My work examines what is not usually considered when looking at buildings sheathed in marble. It focuses on the men and families that worked in the quarry. It is both a public and private narrative significant to our cultural heritage about labor, industry and the people that made a living working with their hands,” Katomski said.
Katomski’s background includes art and architecture history, environmental and landscape design, costume and set design. Her body of work includes sculpture, printmaking, performance, video and installation. She brought her father back to the West Rutland quarries in 1999, and began working on a marble quarry oral history project in 2003.
Celebrating Her Family’s Heritage
Her work at Sculptfest honors both her grandfather and father in two parts – framed prints inside the gallery, and a sound, image and light installation in the same quarry her grandfather worked a century ago. Her prints use several methods of printmaking, including etching, photo silkscreen, and chine collé, and the images are layered to represent the past and present. The prints are archival samples and archeological findings that consider the atmosphere of the quarries when they were active and as they stand today.
Her multi-media projection installation, “The Quarry Piece,” which she worked on with Judd Mulkerin, will reflect the sounds of men physically cutting the marble from the earth, as well as the voice of her own father describing what it was like to work in the quarries. “The Quarry Piece” installation will be shown for one night on Sept. 13 at the opening reception at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center.
“I was interested in how this now humble landscape was instrumental to our cultural heritage. Participating in SculptFest provided me the opportunity to finally bring to fruition the quarry sound piece — using the dormant quarry as a natural amphitheater,” Katomski said. “The grounds encapsulate everything I’ve been doing in my work, and it has such a strong relationship to place and our cultural memory with our industrial past.”
**If You Go: The opening reception will be Sept. 13, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to view the installations and meet the artists at the event, which will also feature refreshments, live music by Swing Noire and the drawing for winners of the 2014 Fine Art Raffle. For more information, visit www.carvingstudio.org.