What subject matter could be more cliché than crashing waves on rugged rocks? In Maine, artists repeatedly try to capture on canvas the power and intensity of the sea. While many consider surf scenes to be a tired genre, the paintings in Camden Falls Gallery’s late summer show, “Surf’s Up” serve to dispel these preconceived notions. Through September 17, the exhibition features work by new gallery artists Stan Moeller and Scott Moore, along with paintings by Alison Hill, Guy Corriero, and other gallery artists.
Stan Moeller, who recently joined the gallery, has an extensive background in plein air painting. He has conducted workshops abroad in Tuscany and the south of France, and was awarded a painting residency in Brittany. He recently taught a master class at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH, entitled “En Plein Air Figure in the Landscape.” About his work, Stan writes, “I love the way light works… and folds around the human form.”
Moeller’s featured painting in “Surf’s Up” is a 36” x 48” oil on linen, entitled “Maine’s Rocky Coast.” In this work, craggy cliffs demarcated by strong, warm browns and grays contrast with the roiling surf. A cooler application of aqueous blues and greens stretching to a distant, hazy horizon evokes the freedom of open water along a wild coastline. In two of Moeller’s smaller works, the focus is on singular waves crashing against rugged rocks. The explosive spray at the center of these images conveys the powerful force of the sea as it strikes the land.
Our second featured artist, Scott Moore, comes with an artistic pedigree; both his parents engaged in design careers in Washington, DC. Scott’s mother was a fashion illustrator and his father was an Art Director for the Institute of Heraldry. Moore received his BFA from the Maine College of Art and has made coastal Maine his home for over forty years. His facility with painting landscape and figurative subjects has been recognized and honored with many recent exhibitions from Bar Harbor, ME to Charleston, SC. Moore was asked to be a consulting artist for Maine’s Percent for Art program, and he recently curated the show “Four Maine Painters” for the Maine Audubon Gallery.
Moore’s evident affection for the rugged Down East shoreline is apparent in the fresh eye he brings to interpreting details. In his vibrant new work, “Surge” (which was painted in Acadia National Park just off the Loop Road, looking back towards Sand Beach), the sea itself becomes the primary compositional element. Locked in structurally by hard edges of rock on both sides, we sense the tension and power of the waves being forced through a narrow gap to surge upon the boulder-strewn shore. With sure, unfussy brushstrokes, Moore records the chaos of the inflow of one wave interacting with the eddying remnant of the previous wave, surrounded by sunlit spruce and ledge.
Alison Hill, a year-round resident of Monhegan Island, painted her sizable 30” x 40” entry in this show, “Gull Rock Surf,” en plein air, after traipsing all the way to Burnt Head (on the far
side of the island) carrying her supplies and canvas along rutted island paths. Painting outside with constant changes in light and atmosphere is daunting enough, but to work on a canvas this size out-of-doors is a Hurculean task.
The gallery is located at 5 Public Landing, Camden. For more information, visit www.camdenfallsgallery.com