The Joseph A. Fiore Art Center will host its first ever gallery exhibit, opening on July 8th, with a public reception from 4-6pm. Conversations: Studio and Table is curated by David Dewey, co-director of the Fiore Art Center, curator of the estate of Joseph A. Fiore with the Falcon Foundation, and an esteemed watercolorist represented in Maine and New York. The exhibit features the work of sixteen prominent artists, most of whom live or spend summers in Maine: Richard Abbott, Sam Cady, Kimberly Callas, Lois Dodd, Nancy Glassman, Cynthia Hyde, Frances Hynes, Jim Kinnealey, Dennis Pinette, Carol Rowan, Susan Stephenson, Susan Van Campen, Tim Van Campen, Mary Jean Viano Crowe and Patricia Wheeler. All of these artists were invited to be a guest at the Fiore Art Center’s 2016 residency farm-to-table dinners and studio visits.
“2016 was a very exciting first step for our artist residency program at Rolling Ares Farm,” says Dewey. “Having distinguished artists join us for weekly studio visits and delightful farm-to-table dinners was a valuable experience for our artists-in-residence, as well as an important contribution to the Fiore Art Center’s residency program,” he explains. The exhibit, Conversations: Studio and Table was a natural outcome, as conversations begun in the studios turned into lively discussions around the table, touching on art, agriculture, the relationship between humans and environment, observation, intention, how art can be a voice for awareness, and so on.
As a program of Maine Farmland Trust, the Fiore Art Center aims to attract artists for whom the relationship between human and environment is an important element in their work. Naturally, many of the artists invited to the table resonate with that theme, and often, this resonance is apparent in the art they create. Take Kimberly Callas’ sculpture Honey-eyed, for instance: a digitally constructed, 3D-printed mask made from PLA filament (a corn-based plastic), coated with yellow and black iron oxide pigments in a solution of acrylic and beeswax
Callas, who teaches sculpture at Monmouth University in New Jersey, explained that she wanted to explore working with 3D printing and train herself in that medium, as it is gaining ground in the arts, sciences and construction. “Creating masks gives me a way to integrate patterns of nature with the human form,” says Callas. “I ask myself: ‘Where is our ecological self, and how can we express that part of ourselves more?’ Sometimes when you speak from behind a mask, you can speak more truthfully and open up that ecological voice.
Lois Dodd’s work, in contrast, is a small landscape titled Will’s Cabin. “It’s a modest piece,” observes Dewey. “It shows the little white building artist Will Barnet would stay in when he would come up to be with his daughter, Ona Barnet, at the Rock Gardens Inn near Bath – a place of great natural beauty.” Barnet spent his summers “on retreat” there, while Dodd would be teaching painting workshops. Dewey chose this particular piece “because it marks the long relationship between Lois and Will: they became good friends, ever since she was a student of his at Cooper Union (NYC).”
The work by the sixteen veteran artists in Conversations: Studio and Table represents a high water mark of the mission of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm: excellence in ideas, creative vision and environmental awareness. Conversations: Studio and Table will be on exhibit from July 8 through September 4, 2017. The Gallery at Rolling Acres is located at 152 Punk Point Road in Jefferson and is open on Saturdays throughout the summer, from 12-4, or by appointment. In addition to the exhibit, there will be Open Studio Days at the Center on the last Saturday of each month, showcasing the work of each month’s artists-in-residence. July’s Open Studio Day will take place on the 29th, from 11-3. For more information please visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/.