Doug Trump: By Rail

October 4, 2019 - February 9, 2020

By Rail is a suite of twelve intimately scaled abstract paintings by southern Vermont artist Doug Trump. Although small, these works have a rugged physicality that invite us in for a closer look at their materials, their making, and their meaning.

Trump repurposed window trim and sash boards from a studio improvement project as his painting ground. He covered the narrow boards with old Polaroid photographs, building surface texture. Over these rhythmic structures he layered a full range of energetic mark making, flowing brushwork, and unexpected use of color.

With no figurative or central form, the work’s meaning is ambiguous. The horizontal formats suggest horizon lines; the clusters of rectangles imply structures. Spaces shift seamlessly between interior/exterior, built/pastoral, order/chaos. The paintings are imbued with a sense of place without directly describing landscapes or architectural settings.

Trump formerly supported his artistic career by working as a railroad yard clerk. With this bit of “extra-aesthetic” information, you may understand why I think the structural shape and rhythm of each piece, as well as the cumulative effect of viewing the series, has an analog in train wheels running along the rails through the landscapes and towns of the northeast. 

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

     For me to write about these dozen panels:
     they’re single planes with visual activity,
     begun with window trim and Polaroid photos.

     The possibility of art is the bare encounter,
     autonomous, independent of discourse.

     These pieces maintain the supposition of
     their actuality only.


     An object of art may be chewed and ingested,
     and yet the serving remains.

— Doug Trump


Photo Gallery


January 16, Thursday, 7 p.m. — Artist Talk: Doug Trump