The Labor Day weekend is often considered the end of summer and a signal that the fun is over and it is time to get back to work. That concept couldn’t be further from the truth at York’s George Marshall Store Gallery. A large and festive crowd gathered there for the opening of new exhibitions featuring the work of painters Amy Brnger and Richard Brown Lethem, photographer Nancy Grace Horton and sculptor Cabot Lyford. The over all theme of the work on display is that the fun continues and that there is no place better than home.
Paintings by Richard Brown Lethem are interspersed with photographs by Portsmouth artist Nancy Grace Horton. Lethem is showing four large-scale canvases with the theme of “games” the artist remembers playing during his Mid-Western childhood. A jumble of figures are intertwined with a barking dog, all trying to be “King of the Hill, “ in a 48 inch by 50 inch canvas. His other action packed paintings have figures shooting marbles, racing box-cars, and dancing into the evening.
Throughout the gallery are thirty-three small panel paintings from Lethem’s series called “Home Bodies.” The artist portrays people doing ordinary daily activities such as hanging cloths out to dry, playing cards, holding pets, and dreaming in the bathtub. There is charm and poignancy to these paintings. Some solicit a chuckle, others a memory. The Ogunquit Museum of Art recently concluded an exhibition of Lethem’s work. He has exhibited throughout the United States and currently paints in a converted stable in Berwick Maine.
Nancy Grace Horton’s photographs pair well with the themes in Lethem’s paintings. Her photographs are a 21st portrayal of women. Using narrative fragments that confound the conventions of popular culture, she explores the norms of female behavior – and misbehavior. This particular body of work, titled “Ms. Behavior,” uses props, models and various locations, which are the catalysts for her strong, graphic narrative compositions.
Like Lethem’s figures, Horton’s women are engaged in ordinary daily activities: doing dishes, washing, ironing, and getting dressed. The titles of the photographs are often witty and sarcastic; suggesting that there is much more inferred by the pictures than what one might think.
The gallery is very pleased to exhibit work by Cabot Lyford, one of the regions most recognized sculptors. His work is in museums and public spaces across the country. He is equally skilled at carving stone and wood with much of his inspirations coming from nature and the female form. For this exhibition, curator Mary Harding selected six pieces carved from black walnut: an owl in flight, a raven, a fat cat, a horse, a beaver and an century extension of feminist concerns regarding the media’s elegant figure called “African Boy.”
The lower level gallery space is being used for a solo show for Portsmouth painter Amy Brnger. The artist combines rich color, full brush strokes and keen observation to create her domestically inspired small paintings of interiors, landscapes and flower arrangements. Still life and landscape are often paired together, as both influence one another equally in her mind. She sets up her still life arrangements in her Portsmouth home studio and often paints the same settings in both the morning and evening light.
The exhibitions continue through October 5. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 1-5. 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine. georgemarshallstoregallery.com.