Waterfall Arts in Belfast opens new exhibits on Friday, June 1 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. “David McLaughlin: the Art of Salvage” in the Clifford Gallery, is an ambitious show featuring many of McLaughlin’s sculptures, assemblages and handmade useful objects, along with an installation re-creating a portion of the Liberty Corn Cannery, where he worked and lived.
McLaughlin, an icon of Midcoast Maine, passed away in 2010. He was a prolific artist in metal and wood, an ingenious designer, builder of sophisticated woodstoves, passionate collector, visionary, and rigger of very large objects. His aesthetic eye and artistry, his dry wit, knowledge of tools and practices and his willingness to help his friends are greatly missed. He was a founding board member of Waterfall Arts and was very involved in his local and more wide flung community.
The Liberty Cannery complex of early 20th century industrial buildings was his vast live and work space – a rambling extravaganza and huge repurposed artwork in itself, 38 years in the making and always in process. He collected everything potentially useful that struck his fancy, selling some but holding most. Through his Liberty Salvage Company at this historic Cannery, salvage, re-use and storage itself became an art form.
The show continues through August 24th at Waterfall Arts Belfast, 256 High Street. While the exhibit is an appreciation of McLaughlin’s life and work, it also introduces his aesthetic and practice to new audiences and will hopefully spark an appreciation for New England’s industrial history, tools, the strong Maine work ethic and the role artists and designers play in keeping these traditions alive in local communities and economies.
Concurrent to the exhibit Waterfall Arts has scheduled affordable classes in metalwork, assemblage and creative re-use of materials at the Waldo County Technical Center and at their Montville campus. In collaboration with the Town of Liberty, its Library, Historical Society and the Davistown Museum, Waterfall Arts will bring long-time Waldo County residents together with the new crop of farmers, entrepreneurs and artists to discuss the continuing use of historic industrial buildings and the role of the Liberty Cannery in the community from its early days to the present. Historical talks on the canning industry, story telling and video presentations are planned as well, both in Belfast and Liberty. Please check waterfallarts.org for the complete schedule
A generous grant from the Maine Community Foundation provided start-up funding for this important and timely exhibition. Business sponsors are Cold Mountain Builders, the Davistown Museum & Liberty Tool, Liberty Graphics, Darby’s Restaurant, the Lookner Family, Bittersweet Landing Boatyard and private donors. Many individuals loaned McLaughlin sculptures for the show.
Also opening on June 1 is a wheat paste art installation by Maine artist Pigeon. Wheat paste is used to put up street art and posters, usually in urban settings, but in this case Pigeon is installing his artwork in an interior stairwell. In addition, BCOPE students working with Eleni Murphy will show photographs from their Photo Justice Series and a selection of work from the 100 Hammers project will be exhibited.
Gallery hours at Waterfall Arts are 10am to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 to 7pm on Fridays in July and August and by appointment. For more information visit waterfallarts.org or call 207-338-2222.