All over Maine art is teeming, and in Lincoln County proper great
artwork is everywhere, though sometimes, one must work a little harder
to find it. Down the narrow roads of Damariscotta Mills lies a gem of a
contemporary art gallery. Curator Yvette Torres has been creating an
art space that is "committed to excellence." Indeed, Barbara Brady's,
"Land-Marks" is a testament to that commitment. Each piece is hung
deftly inside the clean, pale walls of the gallery space. The high
ceilings and hardwood floors of the restored church provides the
reverence in which Brady's work deserves.
Throughout Brady's current show, she is drawing upon her experience as a
plein-air painter, using natural patterns to create landscapes within
landscapes; little worlds within larger spaces, drawing one up close to
the very surface of the paint.
Nose to nose with "Solitude," pale peach, sky blue, and yellow ochre
shape this composition into a towering wall of color. At its peak, the
landscape cascades back down from three pouring-like gestures of thinned
paint. The drips and cracks from oils mixing and drying evoke a
From a distance, "Stonington" appears to be remnants of landscapes,
stripped bare and fractured like a Cubist painting, yet upon closer
examination, it is realized within each stroke of paint, each scratch
upon the canvas, each delicate line placed ever so thoughtfully, framing
a larger area, that there is life brimming over the entire surface. A
life that surpasses the stark realism of perception and sails straight
through into the pure thrumming of energy within each breath of nature.
"Dividing Line" pulls back into the recognizable structure of land and
sky with raw umber separating the horizon. Peach and yellow ochre are
added with lavender and blue to shape the rolling hills against
otherwise flat planes. The variation in line weight and line direction
calms the abstraction to a pleasant solution.
Fervent marks of green, umber, and lavender, coupled with ecstatic
scratches, drips, and scribbles make the surface of "The Cows Are Out" a
sensory delight. Each layer of paint added, scrapped off, then
re-added, pulls together into an art making narrative, a story of
struggle, playfulness, laughter, and then pure bliss when it all comes
The process of art making is much like the process of life. The
intention is direct but the experience is very emotional and intuitive.
Brady's oil paintings are operating at the very core of intuition and
expression. Glimpses of inexplicable moments are distilled into
brushstrokes and colors.
Maine can and does go against the grain of what is expected. And for
that we should all be eternally grateful. From an article by Renee Lauzon, Lincoln County News
Barnes is a consummate documentary photographer, but in this event he takes his skills to another realm. He departs from rationalism to become a conceptualist - an artist who finds images that conform to his conception of what the image should be. In a sense, the images are partially pre-formed in his mind; he knows what he is looking for.
His subjects are the derelict hospital and contagious-disease wards at Ellis Island. Their walls are scabrous, leeching paint and plaster into corridors that have endless vistas. The tug - the tension - between the original governmental solidity of the structures and the current leprous decay is palpable. You can feel it with your skin.
The subject matter is obvious and evokes loneliness and despair, but Barnes' images transcend the obvious. They are magnificent extractions of powerful architecture with an eye for metaphor and the surreal. The prints are not titled but one of a toilet invaded by ivy into which a dead bird is embedded would be surreal if it were not real. Another print is of the cast-iron monster of a furnace, virtually a railroad engine in captivity. It is all done with available light and a flawless compositional sense.
We have seen Fiore's paintings over the years. He is a master of the urban idiom and his perceptions of the waters that surround New York are those of an intimate. He paints the waterfront, the rivers, the railyards, the underside of the West Side Highway, the gray skies and winter ice as only an intimate can. It's a pleasure to see such emotional and evocative painting.
FROM THE MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM AUGUST 6, 2006
Philip Isaacson of Lewiston has been writing about the arts for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 40 years. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
The gallery has built a solid reputation for putting on high quality shows since its inception only two short seasons ago. But with its current exhibition, it leaps into another category of sophistication all together. The exhibit, entitled Up From New York, displays some impressive work from artists who were prominent in the New York art scene in the 1940's and 50's and whose work was shown and/or is in collections at such premier institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of Art (in New York City), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. And at least two of the artists, Joseph Fiore and Charles DuBack, have strong connections to Maine, Fiore having summered in Jefferson with family for nearly 50 years and Charles DuBack summering in Tenants Harbor for a long time. The thread tying together the six artists in the show are that they all studied or taught at Black Mountain College, the iconoclastic school near Asheville, N.C., that was a unique experiment in education from the 1930's to the '50's. Such maverick artistic spirits as Willem de Kooning, Merce Cunningham in dance and Buckminister Fuller of geodesic dome fame, spent time teaching there. Fiore taught painting and drawing at the college from 1946 to 1956. The show presents a fascinating evolution of his work from the 50's to the present. However, it doesn't follow what one may think of as a logical and typical trajectory - from roughly realistic to abstract. The earliest works are abstract expressionistic in style, then in the 60's he experimented with a more impressionistic style of landscape painting, evidenced in oils such as "Ledges and Stream." From the 70's, there's a medley of styles on display, from the more impressionistic "Woods" to the more abstract and geometric "Sunset Through Cloud Band." In the 1980's, Fiore was playing with shapes and colors, departing from the more rigid Neo-Plasticism ideals of the color field painters like Josef Albers, a Black Mountain teacher himself for many years. Paintings such as "Sikeytaki," from 1984, have a more organic feeling. Many of the works from the 90's continue this style - fun, Paul Klee-like paintings of mysterious markings and figures within curved color field spaces, a wonderful example being "Winter Solstice XI," its glyph-like creatures in a brown-gray background reminding one of ancient cave paintings. John Urbain studied matiere under Albers, an art form using different materials to explore geometric design in a three dimensional expression. Wallpapers, book covers and even metals were combined to create works of rich texture and interesting pattern juxtapositions. Collage works on display are from the 70's through the present and are quite similar in style, except perhaps that later ones, such as "Three Roses" from 2000, are less geometric and more organic. All of this viewer's favorites are from the 80's, in particular "Brown Sun," "Yellow Figure" and "Purple Strip." DuBack, primarily a painter, has mostly drawings on display, from the 1980's to the present. They are dark and dramatic, such works as "Haze" depicting trees wildly swaying in the wind. He also has a number of watercolors in the show representing a more abstract style. DuBack, represented by the Greenhut Gallery in Portland, has shown widely both in Maine and in New York, including at the Whitney and MOMA. Elaine Schmitt Urbain was a student at Black Mountain where she met her future husband, John. She spent time as an artist in Paris and has lithographs on display depicting scenes from her life there. They exude a lively, gay atmosphere in that unmistakably French artistic manner. Elaine's sister, Elizabeth, also studied at the college and met her future husband, Pete Jennerjahn, there. She was probably more involved with dance than with art, studying with Merce Cunningham while there. A large impressionistic oil of hers is included in the exhibit. Similarly, Jennerjahn was involved with music more than art, taking classes from the minimalist composer John Cage at Black Mountain. A few of his abstract paintings are in the show.
FROM THE MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM
SEPTEMBER 2, 2007
‘THE CRANBERRIES’ WORTH THE TRIP
I also applaud “Encountering the Cranberries” in Damariscotta. Curated by writer and art critic, Carl Little with a family affiliation with the Cranberry Isles, it is a handsome compendium of current and barely erstwhile art from that favored land.
Almost 60 two dimensional works and at least four pieces of sculpture have been selected by Mr. Little, and my impression is that he has somehow encased the sunshine of past summers and set it free in a splendid old house half a state away. The atmosphere in it’s rooms is a tonic for the late weeks of the season.
Seventeen artists are represented and with few exceptions I could describe their work as celebratory. It extols the summer so fluidly that it makes your heart sing. I make this point because my preferences run to intense works that give your stomach a wrench and Little’s show is so effusive that it almost startled me.
There is a dark moment or so in a pair of drawings by Emily Nelligan. They are a tender contribution to the mystery of eventide. Without bypassing admirable paintings by, John Lorence, Daniel Fernald and Carl Nelson, I accept the show as a gift of an opportunity to see work by the late William Kienbusch. History has confirmed the singularity-at least in local terms-of his vision. No one working in these parts in the 1960’s embraced both the severity of his abstraction and his fine touch for the tangible world. The balance is often exquisite and Mr. Kienbusch is a master for it.
Myers' Work Creates a Whole From Contrasting Halves
August 25, 2009From an article by Kay Liss, Lincoln County News
In his artist's statement, Winslow Myers evokes one of his seemingly favorite statements by the author of a work on the French abstract painter, Georges Braque: "The poetic image is born of the bringing together of two more or less distant realities, between which only the spirit grasps the relationship." Myers goes on to say that Braques' work, some of which embody this principle "literally" in that they are actually bisected into two contrasting images, helped inspire him to create a series of diptychs entitled "Passages," now on view in Damariscotta Mills. Myers, who lives in Vermont but is from Maine and is the son of Julia and the late Edward Myers of Walpole, works primarily in a very large format, most of his "Passages" series being nearly or over, five by five feet. The two halves of canvases play with a variety of contrasting elements: in views from close up and far way; in machinery and nature; interiors and exteriors; and in seasons. They are meticulously painted, another interesting contrast in that, though the works are large, upon closer inspection the viewer can often see a pointillist approach to applying the paint on an almost invisible grid system, creating the illusion of depth in a background. This technique is used to particularly impressive effect in "Passages XIV" of an old train trestle in a fall scene contrasted with an interior scene of a cozy couch, a window behind it depicting snow falling in the woods beyond. In such works, machinery, represented by the bridge, doesn t create a threatening image, imposing itself upon nature, but rather seems to blend into and become part of nature. This is evident in another wonderful work, "Passages VIII," in which an old iron train, though spouting black smoke, is sprinkled with a mossy green, making it almost meld into the green hillside background and, actually, making it a thing of strange beauty. On the other half is a snow packed trail between two pines. The colors, as in most of the paintings, are finely balanced in both halves, creating a connecting harmony. The most important connecting element in these diptyches, notwithstanding all their contrasts, is the theme of "Passages," they each depict passages of some kind, whether it's a passage by train or the implied skiing down a snowy mountain pass, the passage of the eye through a window or traveling by plane or boat. The latter type of passage is majestically represented in "Passages IX" of a close-up of the front of a sailboat, its jib tilting starboard in the wind and the bottom of its mainsail hanging steady. Ahead is a spit of Maine coast with its tall pines and rocky ledge. On the other side of the canvas is a distant snowy ski slope. Myers also has displayed some smaller studies to the larger works. In most of them, it's obvious that such close-up scenes of large objects, such as bridges or train trestles, work much better in a large format. There are a few, however, that belie this rule. One is "Plane Study," 16 by 16 inches, of a tip of an airplane wing as seen from a window looking out and the mountains below, all in gray tones with a bit of white. For some reason, it simply works as a small piece, though its larger relative is not part of this show to compare. The artist's careful preparation for embarking on a large work is evident as well in skillfully drawn pencil sketches. The paintings, all in acrylic, have the capacity to make one linger in looking, as a gallery visitor commented. There's so much to see and think about, though perhaps not in a "hidden" symbolic way; they are complicated, surely, yet not in a psychological sense. They indeed create a poetic whole from "the bringing together of distant realities," grasped best by the spirit and the delighted eye. Myers, recently retired from teaching in Massachusetts and formerly at the Rhode Island School of Design, has previously shown in this area, at Gallery 170 and the former Round Top Center for the Arts. His work has been shown extensively in Vermont and Massachusetts beginning in the early 1970s.NEW WORK/OLDER WORK (Review by Leon Nigrosh, Worcester Magazine, June 27, 2002) Born and raised Down Maine, Winslow Myers reflects his upbringing. He is reserved and self-effacing, but he has a great deal of inner strength. He just received an award for 30 years of teaching at the Bancroft School, where he is chair of the visual arts department. Coincidentally, his current exhibition of 19 paintings at the ARTSWorcester Gallery at Quinsigamond Community College is a retrospective of the same 30 years of his personal artistry. And much like the artist, the paintings are quiet, modest and unpretentious. Many of these paintings fall into certain categories with themes that reoccur over the years. One of his earliest works in the show, the 1973 "Marine 3," is a close-up study in furled sails, with the treatment of the fabric carried out in much the same manner as earlier artists handled classic experiments in clothing drapery. Four other canvases continue to explore this motif, each with different results, colorations and attitude: "July Squall" from 2000 is painted in monochromatic greens with foaming chop on the waters, showing the sails wrapped up for safety. Completed last year, "Arrival" depicts a brighter day with sails tied because of the immanent landing. The majority of the canvases on exhibit are nearly five- feet square. They are, for the most part, painted in thin layers, which allow the texture of the linen to lend pebbly appearance to the works. As with many artists, Myers spends a lot of time in his studio, and derives inspiration from this experience. The early "Interior with Drive-in Screen" is a look through his green window frame toward a view of a large pale blue rectangle. This spare composition is intensified by tiny green diamond-patterned wallpaper that frames the window frame, while the top of a brown radiator skirts across the bottom of the canvas. The character of his spaces is always changing depending on the time of day or season of the year. "Garret Room" is so darkly painted that we almost miss the hanging smock. But his latest studio painting, "The Floodlight," is bright and cheerful, even though it is set in winter, as the snow-covered trees outside attest. The painting, with a large, old lamp reflector to one side, shows a glass bowl with large flowers centered in the window with an easel alongside holding a painting of a still life, unfinished. Myers is also interested in trains, or at least in parts of trains. Several paintings in the show feature railroad imagery, such as the 1981 "Freights in Afternoon Sunlight," where we see the tops of boxcars as they pass by a jumble of houses in the distance. These brightly colored, blocky buildings are reminiscent of Edward Hopper's (1882-1967) flat-surfaced renditions of ordinary American architecture. By placing the vantage point from above in his recent "Trestle with Coupler," Myers creates a layered look through the yellowing leaves to a rusty train coupler, then beyond that through the tracks and down to the rushing river below. Virtually all of the works on display appear to be simple, straightforward depictions of some particular place, but they are actually all composites of different spaces and elements, often combining natural, organic components with man-made architectural objects. In Myers's 2001 painting, "Construction with Freight," there is an array of empty boxcars, a concrete highway overpass, steel fencing, and mounds of dirt making up strong horizontals that are bisected with with several bare trees to create a single space. This painting, like most of the others, has a frame-wiåthin-a-frame that draws our attention to the major elements within the composition. Those paintings framed with windows are obvious, but here gray trees act to bring attention to the ghostly open rail cars, producing an almost abstract appearance. The only painting that does not seem to fit this style is Myers's self-portrait. No frame-within-a-frame or composite assemblages of organic and inorganic objects-just himself. Luminous, built up shades of green and orange, but just him, looking out at us, at once real, and yet not real, a modest representation of a modest man. Leon Nigrosh may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 25, 2009
Nancy Freeman's New Art Inspired by Friend
From an article by Kay Liss, Lincoln County News
Nancy Freeman, artist and founder of the former Round Top Center for the Arts in Damariscotta, has created a series of paintings inspired by her good friend Jody McCorkle, who passed away the first of this year. Often, it seems, creativity is sparked by remembering someone special and offering a tribute. Perhaps it's a way of keeping that someone alive. Last spring, Freeman organized a special exhibit of McCorkle s artwork at the Round Top farmhouse. The one-day show was filled with all manner of objects McCorkle would find to paint her nature-inspired designs upon - from watering cans to goose eggs. Some fine watercolor paintings were also on display. Her creative instinct seemed to take any form it could find. "She was a very good artist, but didn't really think of herself that way," Freeman said. "She created art for the sheer pleasure of it." Freeman first met McCorkle about 17 years ago, three years after she began Round Top Center for the Arts on the farm that was part of her estate. They became fast friends, working on the exhibition committee together, taking classes and visiting galleries and artists' studios. "Jody was so appreciative of other artists," Freeman said. "She and her husband, Henry, were avid collectors and he was on the acquisitions committee at the Portland Museum of Art." With the passing of her friend in January and the turmoil at Round Top - the art center's board of directors, which Freeman served on, left the premises by the spring after a difficult period of trying to resolve issues relating to the property deed - Freeman was feeling downcast. The art center she had devoted herself to was no longer at Round Top farm. The show for McCorkle and Freeman's subsequent inspiration to do a series of collages with her friend's spirit in mind is what lifted her out of her sad state. "Jody, above all, was a happy, joyful person," Freeman said. "She also represented the happy part of Round Top for me." Thus, working on art inspired by her friend was healing in multiple ways for Freeman. The Jody Series, as Freeman calls it, is currently part of an exhibit at Gallery 170 in Damariscotta Mills. McCorkle's spirit is obviously present in these playful works. Freeman's previous artwork has had a playful aspect to it - in its exploration of shapes and color in rhythmic patterns, reminding one of Paul Klee's art. Yet there was something more defined in their patterns than in these more free-form expressions. Most of her prior work is in printmaking with inks and watercolor, so this collage making - with wood, paper, fabric, bits of colored paper, acrylic paint and even pieces of wire screening - is also something of an adventure for the artist. "The collages are little studies about the pleasures of seeing and sharing visual memories as if they are like the flowers in Jody's garden," Freeman said. Freeman was a student of music before she was of art and the influence of the rhythms, repetitions and abstract quality of music is readily apparent. Other inspirations have come from oriental thought and gardening, she has said. The artists who most influenced her were Matisse, Klee and Ellsworth Kelly. Her art has become progressively more abstract over the years; 30 years ago, she was doing portraiture and other representational work. Yvette Torres said the Jody Series seems to have motivated Freeman to go back to work in her studio, "making herself happier in the process, and in turn others who see her work and enjoy it. I'm delighted to be able to show her work" The exhibit, the last of the season, will be up only until Sun., Sept. 21 and can be seen Thurs. through Sun. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The two other artists in this interesting show are Frances Kidder and Diane Langley. The gallery is located on Borland Hill Rd. just off of Rt. 215. Freeman has also recently returned to giving her popular art history and art classes at the Round Top Farm, now administered under the auspices of the Damariscotta River Association (DRA). The property reverted to the DRA when the art center, now called River Arts, left for it s new location in the old Coffin House on Main St. For more information about this class and other activities taking place at Round Top, call the DRA at 563-1363.
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation awards the 2011 Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant
The Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant provides an opportunity for an individual visual artist to receive financial support of up to $25,000 to promote their artistic growth. Since its inception in 2002, the program has awarded nearly $300,000.
Ms. Bernard will use the grant for professional development, research of and experimentation with new techniques and equipment, and continued pursuit of her work.
The driving force in Ms. Bernard's work is summarized by the equation: Movement plus materials equals form. Fascinated with movement, kinesthetics and the basic laws of motion, Ms. Bernard works from the premise that the understanding of movement can be revealed through repetition. Beginning with the body, combining materials with movement, her work synthesizes a personal history and deep connection to body movement informing kinetic sculpture, drawings and video that are both experiential and interactive.
"My present projects investigate the intersection where the hard and fast science of physics collides with sublime spirituality," says Bernard. "These projects choreograph time and space where terror and fear converge with veneration and wonder, where flight and anti-gravity serve as metaphors for the state of suspension, meditation and layered interpretation."
The Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant grew out of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's long-term commitment to support the arts. The grant recognizes the importance of the artists who live and work in the region and help to make it such a vital community. The Artist Advancement Grant was developed to show respect for artists, create meaningful substantive support, help artists advance their work and career, and mutually benefit individual artists and the region as a whole.
Artist Advancement Grant recipients are selected on the basis of work that demonstrates an artistic vision and a plan for how they will use the grant to grow their artistic development. The first grant was made in the spring of 2002 to sculptor Gary Haven Smith from Northwood. Subsequent recipients were: painter Kate Doyle from New Castle, potter Maureen Mills from Portsmouth, eco-artist Tim Gaudreau, an eco-artist from Portsmouth, installation artists Barbara Rita Jenny from Portsmouth and Kirsten Reynolds from Newmarket, new media artist Ross Cisneros from Sanbornville, woodworker and sculptor Lynn Szymanski from Rollinsford, and painter and installation artist Gail Spaien of Kittery Point, Maine.
Applicants for the 2011 award came from 17 communities and represented a variety of media, including glasswork, painting, textiles, photography, mixed media and others. Two independent juries reviewed the artwork and the plans submitted by the applicants.
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation manages a growing collection of charitable funds created by individuals, families and businesses, and awards approximately $30 million annually in grants and scholarships. It serves communities throughout New Hampshire, southeastern Maine and eastern Vermont. The Foundation is nonpartisan, frequently playing the role of convener and catalyst on a broad spectrum of issues. Based in Concord, the Foundation roots itself in the communities through regional advisory boards. More information is available at www.nhcf.org or 603-225-6641.
If you’d like to be removed from the email list, simply reply with “remove” at the subject and I will promptly do so.
Art New England July/August 2011
Robert LaHotan (1927 - 2002) was a classic seasonal Maine painter: summers on Great Cranberry Island down east and winters in New York City, where he taught for many years at the Dalton School in Manhattan. Like fellow New Yorkers Dorothy Eisner, John Heliker, William Kienbusch, and Gretna Campbell, LaHotan found just about complete artistic sustenance on the island; Great Cranberry was his number-one muse from the 1950s on.
Like his peers, too, LaHotan rarely showed in Maine. Represented by Kraushaar Galleries for most of his painting life, he would ship his work back to the city in late summer or early fall. This makes Robert LaHotan: The Early Years a special treat-a substantial sampling of his Maine oils come home (more or less) to roost.
The paintings in the show date from the 1950s and 1960s. They range in aesthetic from modernist-representational-Western Way (1956), which was shown at the Twenty-fifth Corcoran Biennial in 1957; to wholly abstract-Mostly Green (1960), which edges into color field.
LaHotan was for the most part an expressionist responding to island motifs-rosebushes, dappled woods, rocks, and coast-with an abstraction flair, his brushwork uniformly activated. Several paintings have the quality of sketches, as if the artist were testing out color and compositional combinations.
One can see kinship with the works of other members of what might be called the Great Cranberry School. Potted Plant by Window (1960) brings to mind Eisner's island interiors from the 1970s, while the dynamic Blue Sea (1959) has a Kienbusch feel to it. Standouts include Landscape Maine (1957), Landscape with Trees and Rocks (1963), Back Shore (1950), and Red Quarry (1959), the last-named a highly expressive addition to this subject that has appealed to many artists.
LaHotan's legacy is carried on in his art, but also in the foundation he and Heliker established that supports artist residencies at their home on Great Cranberry Island. This exhibition underscores the special energy of the place and the painter.