There are many major exhibitions taking place across Maine this summer and most are still open. With fall rapidly approaching, it’s a perfect time to take in the shows near you and a rare opportunity to see up-close and in person, world-class art that came to visit Maine this summer.
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is showing “William Wegman: Hello Nature ” through Oct. 21 and features over 100 works in a variety of media including photography, video, painting, and drawing, all of which were produced in or inspired by the state of Maine. Taken together, this body of work attests to Wegman’s rigorous and sustained engagement with the natural world and places the artist squarely within the American landscape tradition.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are Wegman’s postcard paintings, canvases that use vintage postcards as their starting points, physically incorporating multiple images into fantastic tableaus. In addition to Wegman’s well-known Weimaraners, “William Wegman: Hello Nature” also features compilations of collages, drawings, excerpts from the artist’s illustrated nature books, and prose that evokes both nineteenth-century transcendentalist literature and the whimsical outdoor recreation guides that Wegman first encountered as a child. For more information visit bowdoin.edu/art-museum.
UMaine Museum of Art
UMaine Museum of Art in Bangor’s Summer Exhibitions runs through September 15, leaving two final days to see three exciting shows. In “Richard Haden: Carved Signs,” one must suspend disbelief while viewing hyper-realist sculptures depicting urban discards carved out of laminated blocks of mahogany and poplar. Haden’s wooden sculptures are meticulously painted with oils, enamel and lacquer in order to achieve the heightened sense of illusion. “Arnold Mesches: A Minispective,” and “Chris Natrop: Lily Ponder” are the other two shows. Mesches has created an abundance of large-scale paintings throughout his extensive career, and LA installation artist Chris Natrop transforms the Zillman Gallery into a mesmerizing environment of gleaming free-form cutouts created from mirrored Plexiglas and acid-cut brass.
Next Saturday, Sept. 22, UMaine Museum of Art is hosting a special gala evening, “Mosaic.” The galleries will once again be transformed into a creative stage for music, art and mingling with fellow art enthusiasts. Tickets are $30 for individuals and $50 couple. For more information, call 581-3350 or visit umma.umaine.edu.
Farnsworth Museum of Art
There are three shows at the Farnsworth Museum of Art in Rockland. “Andrew Wyeth: Summers in Port Clyde” shows watercolors from the 1930s and early 1940s and runs through Nov. 4. The show “Jamie Wyeth, Rockwell Kent and Monhegan” runs through Dec. 20. Jamie Wyeth’s connection to Monhegan dates to the late 1950s, when he first went there with his father, and he has continued to paint there ever since. His connection to fellow artist Rockwell Kent goes back nearly as far. Early in his career Wyeth bought several pen and ink drawings by Kent used as the sources for his illustrations to Moby Dick, one of Kent’s most renowned book illustration projects. This exhibition will focus on works by the two artists done on Monhegan, and how the scenic island has inspired their work.
“Impressionist Summers: Frank W. Benson’s North Haven” is the major show for the Farnsworth’s summer. This exhibition examines Frank W. Benson’s long and productive career in the context of his life and work at his summer home, Wooster Farm, on the island of North Haven, thirteen miles off the coast of Rockland. It was there that Benson (1862 – 1951) painted almost all of his brilliant, sun-drenched Impressionist paintings. Through his paintings, both oil and watercolor, drypoints, etchings and lithographs, the exhibition will illustrate the important ways in which life on North Haven affected Benson’s art. For more information visit farnsworthmuseum.org.
Pace Gallery at Fryeburg Academy
The Pace Gallery at Fryeburg Academy has announced a new show “Apple of My Eye” with an Opening Reception 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15. The public is invited to hear guest curator Sam Robbins share his insights and knowledge about this superb exhibit at the free opening reception beginning at 2 pm. The “a peeling” new exhibit is hsowing at Fryeburg Academy’s Pace Galleries of Art located at 18 Bradley Street on the Campus in Fryeburg. The Pace Galleries are free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9:00-1 p.m. The exhibit will be on display from Saturday, Sept. 15 through Friday, Dec. 21. For more information visit fryburgacademy.org.
Portland Museum of Art
Last but never least, Portland Museum of Art continues to show “Maine Sublime: Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscapes of Mount Desert and Mount Katahdin,” through Sept. 30. Nineteenth-century landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church first traveled to Maine in 1850, inspired by a portfolio of drawings by his teacher Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. Maine provided sensational sunsets, robust waves crashing on rocky shores, and an abundance of wilderness arousing the dramatic vitality of nature that Church’s paintings embody.
In a second exhibition, “The Portland Society of Art and Winslow Homer in Maine,” 50 watercolors and drawings examines, for the first time, the artistic relationship between the painter Winslow Homer, his close friend the architect John Calvin Stevens, and the early years of the Portland Society of Art. The show runs through Feb. 3.
The Museum’s major show “Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine” opens next weekend, Saturday, Sept. 22 and runs through Dec. 30. To celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Winslow Homer Studio at Prouts Neck, the Portland Museum of Art presents an extraordinary exhibition showcasing more than 35 masterpieces Winslow Homer (1836-1910) created during the final decades of his life, when he lived and worked in Maine. Inspired by the rugged beauty and changeable weather along the coast at Prouts Neck, Homer painted powerful marine narratives and seascapes that capture the specificity of place with vivid intensity, while also investigating existential themes of life and death, of humankind’s relationship with the natural world. Highly admired for their originality and sense of authenticity, these paintings helped to establish an iconic image of the New England coast in the national imagination, one that endures to the present day.
“Weatherbeaten” provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the range and complexity of Homer’s most critically acclaimed works. The Portland Museum of Art is the only venue for this important exhibition. For more information visit portlandmuseum.org