“Be Prepared to Eat Cake” + Celebrate 20 Years of Art

BunniesMichael Stasiuk, “Five Bunnies Offering Cake and Tea” (Andrew Edgar Photography)

The Museums of Old York’s George Marshall Store Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary year with an exhibition entitled “Be Prepared to Eat Cake.” The show includes the work of 43 artists, all who have exhibited at sometime during the past or represent one of the previous 195 themed exhibitions.  The show, which fills both floors of the building, is available for viewing by appointment during the early winter months.

Choices had to be made as it would he impossible to include work by all 456 artists who have exhibited in the past. All types of work are represented: paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, jewelry and ceramics. Some pieces recall previous themed exhibitions, such as the very popular “Accord” series, where the curators pair antique furniture from the museum’s collection with contemporary art.  In this display, a seventeenth century, carved blanket chest is paired with a large still life painting by Arthur DiMambro. An abstract woodcut by Elizabeth Mayor plays nicely off of the strong graphic lines of a William and Mary bannister chair placed below.

Five “Bunny” sculptures by Portsmouth artist Michael Stasiuk are lined up along the front wall of the gallery. The artist responded to the theme of “Be Prepared to Eat Cake” with these five figures, all made from found objects, and all generously offering either a piece of cake or a cup of tea. This welcoming group is masterfully made from of an assortment of fragments, including cake molds for skirts, bowling pins for arms and legs and salad fork handles for expressive “bunny” ears.  Stasiuk’s work may appear whimsical but it is the gesture, character, and construction that elevate these pieces to fine art.

Work by local jewelers Lauren Pollaro and Julie Schmidt are nicely displayed in glass cases and black velvet platforms. Late afternoon light that streams into the gallery, bounces off the gold leaf surfaces of Gary Haven Smith’s paintings. Smith has also placed a new large granite sculpture called ‘Inside Out” on the lawn to the right of the building. The circular opening frames a view of the river beyond.

“When I told people my plans to do a show with dozens of artists to fill both floors of the gallery they said how hard that would be. It was labor intensive, but I have never had more fun doing an installation,” says gallery curator Mary Harding.  There are numerous combinations and passages, which pull the eye around the gallery and invite the viewer to move through the space.

The forms and mixed materials in Don Williams sculpture is a three dimensional interpretation of Tom Glover’s painting of Brave Boat Harbor. “It is almost uncanny the way some pieces pair with others,” says Harding. “It is finding those visual connections that is so much fun.”

The exhibition will  be available by chance and appointment through the winter months. 140 Lindsay Road,York, Maine. For more information, visit  http://www.georgemarshallstoregallery.com/