I have a cool little collection of “big” art openings to share this week. Among them is Gleason Fine Art’s presentation of Birds, Boats, and Big Fish, featuring David Witbeck’s iconic portrayals of fisherman holding very big fish. Witbeck’s piscene giants will share space with Jeff Barrett’s nautical art featuring recycled materials, as well as the Portland gallery’s other two simultaneous shows, Urban Geometries and Tong Series.
There is also a monumental installation by Anna Hepler, The Great Haul, opening July 24 at the Portland Museum of Art. The installation is made of “from a nest-like mesh of salvaged and sewn sheet plastic.” Says Hepler: “Most recently I have been using tape and found sheet plastic to construct balloon-like, inflatable forms that slowly deflate and flatten. With these forms I can observe transitions between two- and three-dimensional states, and revel in both.” This sounds like a truly fascinating show, and there is something transcendent to the experience of being “dwarfed” by a piece of art.
There will be plenty of great openings up and down the coast as well in the next few weeks, if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying the ocean breeze!
See you next week,
Openings + Shows
Water Street Artists at The Stable Gallery in Damariscotta was created in 2006 by artists for artists. Luckily, they have a stunning place to show their work. The Stable Gallery is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture that makes a delightful showcase for the Water Street Artists. Originally owned by clipper ship builder Eldridge Norris, the stable’s classic box stalls and tack room are faced with black walnut and topped with wrought iron grillwork.
Today it displays the work of up to ten board members and 25 to 30 represented artists with changing monthly shows with opening receptions. This Friday July 16th, 5 -7 pm, The Stable Gallery presents an Opening Reception for Coastal Color featuring artists Bob Thomas (member), Caroline Davis (member), Kathleen Mack, William Hallet, and Kevin James, painting; Mary Hall (member), jewelry: Kevin James, sculpture: Janet Redfield,glass; Susie Stephenson (member), and Phyllis Loney, textiles: and Adero Willard, ceramics. Stable openings are known for good music, great eats and interesting people.
The Stable Gallery is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm every day from mid-May to mid-October at 26 Water Street Damariscotta, Maine 04543, tel. 563-1991.
Galerie Dufour in Belfast will exhibit From Limb to Limb, July 16 through August 5, with an opening reception on Friday evening, July 16, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Galerie Dufour features traditional landscapes, seascapes, and fine art figure photography by Maine artist Charles Laurier Dufour. “From Limb to Limb” is an exhibition of fine art nudes composed primarily within forest settings, with a few images featuring a lone tree. This exhibition is comprised mostly of black and white photographs that were shot in Maine at Acadia National Park, Moose Point State Park, Presque Isle, and Howland, as well as in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
Some of the photographs are tranquil and bring Rip Van Winkle to mind, while others have characters that would probably reside in darker fables. Either way, they’re certainly evocative. Artist Dufour says, “Growing up in Northern Maine, I’ve always found wonder in trees and forests. I’ve photographed and assembled an exhibit which takes the gallery visitor into my own world of trees and deep forests, absent the deer flies, black flies, mosquitoes, poison ivy, and those dreadful ticks!”
You won’t want to miss this opening reception! The final appearance of Georgia’s delectable edibles and a backdrop of cool jazz guitar numbers played by Madison Martin will round out the evening’s festivities. FMI, 338-6448 or visit www.du4photo.com.
The Maine Crafts Guild will breathe new life into the old Round Top Center for the Arts space in Damariscotta with this beautiful new show, held Saturday July 17 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday July 18 from 10 am to 4 pm. The finest in high-quality Maine craftsmanship will occupy the beautiful Farmhouse gallery building and lawn as approximately 50 craftspeople display their work at this wonderful venue. FMI, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 557-3276 or visit www.mainecraftsguild.com.
Gleason Fine Art in Boothbay Harbor opened Anne-Emmanuelle Marpeau: The Seaman’s Secret on July 7 and the show will be on display until August 3. This highly anticipated show is the artist’s first show with Gleason Fine Art since 2006. Anne-Emmanuelle lives with her husband and children in the Breton fishing village of Audierne. She is traveling from France for this exhibit, as well as to see earlier pieces from private collections that are on display at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. Anyone going that way should avail themselves of the opportunity to see nearly two decades worth of Anne-Emmanuelle’s Maine coast creations. FMI, 633-6849 or visit www.gleasonfineart.com.
Gleason Fine Art in Portland has several shows at the 545 Congress Street gallery, opening July 17 and on display until September 4. Birds, Boats, and Big Fish; Urban Geometries; and Tong Series will fill the gallery, with a reception during the First Friday Art Walk, August 6, from 5 to 8 pm.
Birds, Boats, and Big Fish will feature the fun nautical paintings by David Witbeck and the funky sculpture of Jeff Barrett. David will be exhibiting his trademark fishermen holding huge fish as well as paintings of boat-filled harbors in his inimitable style. Jeff Barrett turns discarded and leftover materials into wonderful pieces of folk art based on nautical themes as well as his widely collected bird pieces.
Urban Geometries features cityscapes by Murad Sayen and works from the estate of Robert Solotaire (1930-2008). Although residing in South Paris, Murad Sayen is often drawn to the more rugged side of the urban environment. However, this does not prevent him from capturing the strength and endurance of the people and structures populating these spaces. Through precise draftsmanship and Old Master style light effects, he imbues his subjects with both light and dignity. Robert Solotaire was known throughout his career as a recorder of urban environments, especially Portland, Maine and New York City. This show will offer selections from his estate.
Tong Series features the welded sculpture of Roger Majorowicz. Now living in Whitefield, Roger has had an international career, exhibiting in Europe and the United States, especially in New York and Los Angeles. Roger takes a more formal approach to in his sculptures reusing old metal tools and farm implements, with great craftsmanship in his welding and finishing. FMI on these shows, 633-6849 or www.gleasonfineart.com.
The Portland Museum of Art will display a monumental installation by Maine artist Anna Hepler inside the Museum’s Great Hall from July 24 through October 17. Made from a nest-like mesh of salvaged and sewn sheet plastic, The Great Haul will take advantage of the Museum’s expansive entry space. A second exhibition of Hepler’s work, on view in the fourth floor gallery, will feature a series of cyanotype prints (blue prints) made from digital photographs of small sculptures, and like her large installations, these works are defined by light. This will be Hepler’s first solo exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art, and this exhibition is the first in a series called Circa that will explore compelling aspects of contemporary art in the state of Maine. FMI, 775-6148 or visit www.portlandmuseum.org.
River City Cinema of Bangor will continue to host Heist School Vacation film showings Fridays through July 30th in Pickering Square. Bring your lawn chair! Shows are free and begin at dusk (around 8:30 PM). FMI, 745-1202 or visit rivercitycinema.com for complete movie listings.
Isalos Fine Art in Stonington will display John Woolsey: Fernald’s Neck – New Pastels from July 20 through August 8, with an opening reception on Friday, July 23 from 4 to 7 PM. The pastels were inspired by Fernald’s Neck, on Lake Megunticook in Camden. Woolsey focuses on small spaces in the dense woodland, referring to them as “interiors” because, like rooms, they are enclosed on all sides by dense woods. In these spaces, Woolsey finds dynamic compositions among the tangled branches, pine needles and boulders. Fernald’s Neck, a preserve managed by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust, encompasses 328 acres and about four miles of shoreline. FMI, 367-2700 or visit isalosfineart.com.
David Dewey, “Harborside,” at Caldbeck Gallery
Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland will exhibit the work of David Dewey, Jeff Epstein and Tim Van Campen from July 21 through August 14 with an artists’ reception Wednesday July 21 from 6 to 8 pm. David Dewey’s exhibit of recent watercolors, Moon Tide, focuses on the waterfront of Rockland and the viewscape from Drift In Beach in Martinsville. But identifying the location is not important, for what the artist is seeking is the intrinsic and exquisite beauty of the place, where the moon rises out of and sets into the water, or when his passion for the shapes of boat hulls, tied up at the docks and up on the railway, demands the skills of his unsurpassed draftsmanship.
Jeff Epstein’s Summer Paintings will feature 20 canvases and panels in oil painted in Cushing, Prince Edward Island and in Frenchtown, New Jersey. In the painting, “Garage”, a bicycle’s antler-like handlebars twist into view, silhouetted against a bright summer day outside. In “Fire Pit”, two Adirondack chairs, drawn perfectly, are behind a ring of stones, all defined in color and outline, surrounded by a green aura, which,in fact, is the lawn. Epstein’s paintings reveal further worlds as one looks longer. This exploration of the intersection of the man-made and the natural landscape invite us to experience things in a new way, perhaps finding beauty or even a hint of menace where none was perceived before. The unpeopled spaces described in his work usually share indications of human presence yet the pervasive feeling is one of solitude.
Tim Van Campen’s work revolves around symmetrical, hard edged, geometric abstraction. Color play and design matter the most to him. They are meant to be decorative; they are sophisticated in color and style. At present, the artist designs custom carpets for the individual clients of architects and designers; the rugs are hand knotted in Nepal, India, and China. FMI, 594-5935 or visit www.caldbeck.com.
Shaw Gallery in Northeast Harbor exhibits Human Form, a painting and photography exhibition, through July 22. Artists include Jack Ledbetter, Michael Seif, Robert Shetterly, Ted Davis, Karen Rosenthal, Robert Neuman and Alex Minewski. The pieces for this collection include paintings, drawings and photographs, all of which honor the shapes, figures, and lines of our tangible selves… but more than that. A collection like this pays tribute to all of the daily, yet sacred duties our bodies perform as well as the pleasures in which we physically indulge.
Karen Rosenthal, in black and white photography, abstracts the human form by creating landscapes out of the contours of thighs and shoulder blades. The sumptuous image of the human form is made monumental as Rosenthal’s work suggests that the beauty of the body is as paramount as the mountains and as everlasting as oceans. Michael Seif’s work in this exhibition is equally evocative, displayed in his portraits of women experiencing the whim and weightlessness of nudity in bodies of water. There is something completely liberating in the way Seif captures human creatures in the unpretentious beauty of nature. His work is alive and raw, gracefully playing with both the vulnerability, and strength of the human form. FMI, 276-5000 or www.shawjewelry.com.
The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland will be one of only eight sites worldwide to host New York City’s Lincoln Center Institute’s International Educator Workshop, beginning on July 26. Lincoln Center Institute’s International Educator Workshop is a one-week workshop intended for educators, artists, school or arts administrators, curriculum developers, and college and university professors focused on imaginative teaching and learning through the experiential study of theater and visual arts for K-12 teachers.
The launch of this strategic alliance will be celebrated with a performance of Nightingale at Rockland’s Strand Theatre on July 26 at 6pm. This performance, free and open to the public, is put on by Figures of Speech Theatre of Freeport. Nightingale is Figure of Speech Theatre’s exotic musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story of the Emperor who is moved by the song of a plain gray bird until he receives the gift of a jeweled mechanical bird with which he becomes obsessed. It is intended for children and adults of all ages. FMI, 596-6457 or email WriteUs@farnsworthmuseum.org.
Round Top Farm in Damariscotta will exhibit 12 Annual Eastern Views by Jean Kigel from July 29 through August 4 with a special reception on July 30 from 5 to 7 pm. For one week, treat yourself to Jean’s spectacular series of lotus paintings inspired by water gardens in China and in Maryland. These paintings on silk and on “rice paper” boast of colorful flowers in varying tones of red, pink, yellow and white. Their magnificent leaves seems to float above the water’s surface, adding to the mystical appeal. Following the Taoist tradition, Kigel’s lotus series depicts the duality of all things in nature. No part is independent of the whole. No lotus is so pure that it doesn’t contain its opposite in diminished form; hence, the wabi-sabi of the torn leaf or the insect-eaten petal. Characteristically, Kigel paints by cross-pollinating painting techniques of Asian brush and watercolor. Her concept of Eastern Views juxtaposes scenes from China and New England. In this exhibit dense forests and wide seas complement her colorful florals. FMI call 832-5152, or see more of Kigel’s work at www.jeankigel.com.
Music will fill the street in Northeast Harbor this Thursday and every Thursday night all summer long. As a way to enjoy the luscious nights of summer, we welcome you to stroll down Main Street and listen to a variety of music from live bands from 4:30 – 6:30 PM. This week welcomes the “COOL SWELLS” playing classic rock and blues. Enjoy free ice cream, and visit gallery openings and special store events. On Main Street in Northeast Harbor. FMI, 276-5000 or email email@example.com.
Of Interest to Artists
Barn Gallery in Ogunquit will host weekly figure drawing classes, beginning Tuesday, July 7 and running through August 31. Draw or paint the human figure with host Russel Whitten and other artists from 6:30 to 9:30 each Tuesday. OAA members & Friends of Ogunquit Art pay $8. All others pay $10. No registration necessary; just show up prepared to draw!
Painter Dustan Knight will hold an exciting one-day workshop, Vibrant, Alive Watercolor Florals! on Tuesday, July 20 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Work on gorgeous color combinations and dynamic designs in your floral watercolors during a step-by-step demonstration/participation workshop for artists of all levels. Informative and fun! OAA members & Friends of Ogunquit Art pay $60. Others pay $75. Pre-registration is required. FMI or to register for classes, call 646-8400 or visit www.barngallery.org.