It Could Have Been Worse

Brenda Garand, Abenaki / American, born 1959



Steel, rope, roofing felt paper, wire, wool, and a fishing weight

Overall: 80 × 80 × 15 in. (203.2 × 203.2 × 38.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Acquisition and Preservation of Native American Art Fund, the Winky Fund, and the Kira Fournier and Benjamin Schore Sculpture Fund



Place Made: United States, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Native American

Native American: Woodlands

Not on view


Brenda Garand investigates the language of abstraction and the symbolic potential of found objects. Her work evokes a sense of history and place while drawing upon her personal narratives. She writes, “Vermont, New Hampshire, and Québec are regions that I cull ideas from, as well as my own heritage of Abenaki, French Canadian, and English. Materials hold great significance. . . . I believe that the visual recording of a moment in time is analogous to the oral tradition of history: both are interpretations of events.”

The artist created It Could Have Been Worse after Hurricane Irene in 2011, which flooded her home and studio in West Hartford, Vermont. The title references a frequent refrain the artist heard by those not understanding the pain Garand experienced during and after the storm. Drawing in space, Garand composes severe and loose lines out of materials from her studio as if an attempt to bring together elements lost or affected by the hurricane and render them visible. Marking a shift in her practice, this potent and moving sculpture continues her interest in the formal complexity and emotional power of her work.

From the 2021 exhibition Drawing Lines, curated by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art

Exhibition History

Contemporary Abstraction: Works from the Hood Museum of Art's Permanent Collection, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 4-March 13, 2016.

Drawing Lines, Dorothy and Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 10, 2021– September 4, 2022.


The artist, Hartford, Vermont; sold to present collection, 2014.

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