The George Marshall Store Gallery in York presents a trio of exhibitions for the month of September. Thirteen artists pay homage to the local highest peak, Mount Agamenticus, with paintings and drawings; Portland based furniture craftsman Jamie Johnston presents recent wall sculptures and painter William Irvine returns to the gallery with his second one man show.
Mount Agamenticus, at 692 feet high may not seem like a formidable peak, but it is one of the first points of land visible from far out at sea and has served as a beacon to sailors for centuries. Besides being an inspiration for artists the Mount Agamenticus region has a long history of land conservation. Today over 10,000 acres have been conserved by state agencies, non-profit conservation groups, towns and water districts. These efforts provide wildlife habitat protection, water quality and recreation for the public. Local land trust organizations have made this area a focus for protection and this exhibition celebrates the value of the mountain, surrounding forests, ponds and outlet to the sea through the eyes of area artists.
Grant Drumheller has several canvases showing people enjoying the summit of the mountain walking their dogs and flying kites. One can almost hear the sounds and feel the breezes in these paintings. George Burk’s small landscapes are views towards the mountain from more distant vantage points, however the gentle profile of the mountain is clearly recognizable. The smallest of the small paintings are domino size wood panels by K. Min upon which she paints a variety of insects that one might find in the area.
Several artists including Sam Cady, Bill Paarlberg and Arthur DiMambro have included in their painting some of the remnants of the former ski operation. The original ski lodge remains on the summit and various sections of lifts and equipment can also be found. Many visitors to the exhibition share their memories of learning to ski on “The Big ‘A’” which ceased operations in the late1960’s. Other artists who have responded to the exhibition theme are Arthur Balderacchi, Todd Bezold, Christopher Cook, Tom Glover, Brown Lethem, Mark Soderling and Michael Walek.
Also on view are 13 wall sculptures and 1 free standing sculpture by Jamie Johnston. The artist is well known for his beautifully designed custom furniture that is represented in residential, corporate and public spaces throughout the country. Since retiring from the Maine College of Art, where he was the head of the Woodworking and Furniture Department, he has enjoyed exploring non-functional sculpture.
His many years of furniture design and construction inform these pieces. They share the same respect for simplicity, materials and technique. He is particularly fascinated with the visual relationship of surface to edge and the contrast of strong color to the natural grain of specialty woods. He maintains an active studio in Portland, Maine making site-specific furniture and sculpture.
To complete the trio of exhibitions is a one man show of paintings by William Irvine. A native of Scotland, the artist is a long-time resident of Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula. Like many artists, his surroundings are his inspiration and he has aptly titled his show The Reach of the Sea. Small boats surf down rollicking waves that have sculptural troughs and peaks. He arranges fishermen’s tools and catches on tilted tabletops. His figures stand sentry in the doorways of cape houses and his signature clouds hover over islands in the bay.
Although his work has been described as having “charmed innocence” these are in fact very sophisticated paintings. The thickly applied paint gives added solidity and his strong color combinations and geometric compositions are reminiscent of such artists as Milton Avery and Marsden Hartley.
The exhibitions continue through October 4th. Hours are 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday 1-5. 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine. 207-351-1083. www.georgemarshallstoregallery.com.