In February 2020, I had the good fortune to spend two weeks at the Vermont Studio Center. It turned out to be their last residency session before the Covid lockdown forced them to close their doors, but we didn't know that then, and I was ignorantly happy to write all morning and hang out at meals and evenings with my new friend and housemate Vaune Trachtman. When I visited her studio, we laughed as we sipped gin from tiny paper cups meant for mixing chemicals. All around us, hanging from the walls on great sheets of heavy paper, was her work: gravure prints, layered black and white images that combined Vaune's photographs with snapshots her father had taken in the 1930s. The resulting images are haunting, surreal, and intimate, blurred with time and memory. Yet their details--a man's stare, a woman's profile, a boy's threadbare shirt--are so sharp they could cut you open.
I'm lukcy to have had that time--one last pre-pandemic moment--to have worked among a community of writers and artists, and I'm so lucky to have met Vaune Trachtman and to have experienced her work. She takes my breath away.