Cove St. Arts in Portland is showcasing works by Roy Germon, Timothy Wilson and Kathi Smith in the exhibit “Real and Remembered.” As described by featured artist Kathi Smith, “Maine is rough, unforgiving, curious, familiar, and beautiful.” These almost contradictory characteristics endow the Maine landscape with an unmistakable sense of place. As the term suggests, a sense of place requires a viewer; to be rooted, to be fixed, place requires a perceiver.
But how do we perceive place? Is it simply the biochemical input from our sensory organs at a given moment? Or is place defined by the alchemy of the brain deciphering such runes – sight, sound, taste, touch, feel – based on memory and experience? To what extent does place define perception versus perception defining place?
To paraphrase Ansel Adams, there are always two people in a landscape painting: the artist and the viewer. For our Real & Remembered exhibition, we invited three artists whose expressive landscapes capture and convey place not simply as a visual experience but as an emotional one as well. Often started on site and finished in the studio, these artists’ finished work is an amalgamation of immediate perception and sense memories. Their canvases establish a bond between artist, subject, and viewer, inviting the viewer to draw upon his or her own memories of the indelible Maine landscape.