SUNY Adirondack exhibition honors LaVerdiere, prominent artist and educator

Self-portrait of late artist Bruno LaVerdiere
January 22, 2024

'Rites of Passage' chronicles artist's journey from brotherhood and beyond

QUEENSBURY, New York (Jan. 22, 2024) — SUNY Adirondack is proud to honor the late Bruno LaVerdiere, a longtime adjunct professor who died in 2022, with an exhibition of his works, “Rites of Passage: Bruno LaVerdiere,” which runs Feb. 1 to April 18 in the college’s Visual Arts Gallery.

“Bruno's cool teaching style and approachability made him popular among students throughout his more than 30-year tenure," said Rebecca Pelchar, director of SUNY Adirondack’s Visual Arts Gallery and assistant professor of Art History. "We are fortunate to have several of Bruno's artworks in the collection to enhance the campus for our students and community."

“Rites of Passage” chronicles LaVerdiere’s career, beginning with his time as an artist-monk in the 1950s and ’60s, following his career to artist-bohemian, artist-archaeologian and, finally, artist-mystic. Featuring dozens of works of art, the exhibition highlights sculpture, drawing and print.

LaVerdiere started his artistic career at St. Martin’s Abbey in Olympia, Washington, where he practiced liturgical arts as a Benedictine monk for 14 years. There, he apprenticed with Henry Takemoto, who introduced him to the American Studio Craft movement. LaVerdiere later studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1965-67, after which he began teaching as “Brother Bruno” at Greenwich House Pottery in New York and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

He left the monastic order in 1969 to establish a reclusive sculpture studio in the Adirondack Mountains, where he lived and worked the rest of his life. LaVerdiere taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Georgia in Cortona, Italy, and the NYU Steinhardt studio program. He held a 31-year adjunct professorship at SUNY Adirondack. 

His artwork has been exhibited with Franklin Parrasch and John Elder galleries in New York, and is included in the collections of American Craft Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, Everson Museum of Art, The Hyde Collection and J. Patrick Lannan Foundation, among others. 

LaVerdiere received artists fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. He traveled through England, Scotland and Wales to study stone circles, dolmens and ancient churches. He was awarded a residency grant from La Napoule Art Foundation in southern France.

LaVerdiere is recognized for his megalithic ceramic sculptures, stoneware horns, graven Images and commemorative valentines. 
“Rites of Passages” runs through April 22 in the Visual Arts Gallery, which is in Dearlove Hall. An opening reception with a special presentation by Julian LaVerdiere, the artist's son, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 1. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.