Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Cheryl Conklin's Escherism

Cheryl Conklin holding "House of Stairs" (Joey Kulkin photo)

M.C. Escher self-portrait (

BENNINGTON -- Fiddlehead at Four Corners is continuing its tradition of featuring Bennington artists with new works that conjure up images of Escher.

Six of Cheryl Conklin's pieces will be on display, including "House of Stairs" -- her favorite. It is an homage to a Dutch master.

"M.C. Escher is my favorite artist," Conklin said Friday afternoon.

Escher's talent spanned graphics, book illustrations, tapestry and stamp design, and many of his famous works mesmerize fans because of their 3D'ism.

One of Escher's most famous works is "Ascending and Descending" and fans can recognize his influence on Conklin's House of Stairs. I posted a picture of House of Stairs on Facebook and within minutes it caught the eye of Trenton City Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson, one of the city's biggest proponents of art. "It looks like an Escher," she wrote. "I'm actually a huge Escher fan. I have some of his work."

Of her masterpiece, Conklin said "I like drawing stairs and labyrinths."

The 47-year-old was born in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in Cambridge, New York, and Bennington. She used black Sharpie pens and other black-tipped pens and pencils to make House of Stairs. It took two weeks to complete at the rate of an hour a day.

Conklin's pieces feature circles and squares and shapes and pipes and rotors and swervies and curvies and swiggles and jiggles and an array of other images within images -- some on a 3D level -- and it all appeals to our imagination. Most of her work is dominated by pointillism.

"You can't find a person a better imagination than my wife, Cheryl," said Rick, her partner of 9 years. He grew up in Springfield, Vermont.

Rick and Cheryl participated in a commitment ceremony on July 26, 2003, at her mom's house here in Bennington. They wrote their own vows.

Each of Conklin's pieces will sell for $100.

To buy her work or for more information call Fiddlehead at (802) 447-1000.

Cheryl and Rick holding an untitled piece
(Joey Kulkin photo)