Archive for Wiscasset

Seven artists portray glimpses of their reality in Maine Art Gallery Show

Contemporary realism is the focus of the current online exhibit presented by Wiscasset’s Maine Art Gallery. The show, originally scheduled to be seen in the gallery at this time, has been rescheduled to 2021 due to the coronavirus. However, one can get a preview of the full show by visiting www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org. The images will be available for viewing until Oct. 5.

“I hope the viewers will get as much enjoyment from the show as I did in selecting the artists,” said Elaine Pew, curator of the exhibit. “Each of them presents their vision of reality in their own unique way.”

Carolyn Gabbe paints in the tradition of the Old Masters of the Renaissance.

Melissa Greene expresses a poetic vision of the ways that women and animals interact with the natural world on her exquisite pots.

Winslow Meyers is very precise in defining his space with a lyrical, soothing palette.

Mat O’Donnell’s work has an edge to it. He asks the viewer to complete the story on his canvas.

Daphne Pulsifer uses classical sculptural techniques to render her bronzes of figures and animals.

Douglas Smith celebrates life through paintings that convey a sense of time and place and quality of light.

Susan Tobey White presents a series of paintings that tell the story of lobster women at work.

The Maine Art Gallery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement and preservation of painting, sculpture and graphic arts through exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and educational programs for children and adults. More information is at www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org and on Facebook at Maine Art Gallery Wiscasset. The gallery is located at 15 Warren St., Wiscasset. The gallery is closed for the 2020 season.

Artists tell their stories with an eclectic mix of materials and genres in Maine Art Gallery exhibit

Buzz Masters, “Her Body Became a Door and She Walked Right Through.”

“Lost and Found,” the current online show at the Maine Art Gallery, features three Maine artists who create mixed-media narratives with all manner of materials from traditional art supplies to textiles, papers, and found objects. The show, which can be viewed at www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org through Sept. 4, is a preview of an in-person show to be held at the gallery next summer when it is hoped that COVID-19 will be under control.

Katy Helman, Buzz Masters, and Jennifer Lee Morrow tell their stories in a rather unorthodox way that reflects the human spirit through symbolism and patterns and a synthesis of styles. The work is so powerful that Elaine Pew, curator of the show, was inspired to bring it to the gallery when she first saw the work of Buzz Masters. “The way Buzz combines fresco with collage, telling stories that involved the viewer, really struck me. I knew then that I had to show her work at the Maine Art Gallery,” Pew said.

Katy Helman, “Under the Influence: H.D.”

Masters describes her own work as an investigation of malleable nature of memory — what we hold onto and what we leave out in order to make our story. She uses wooden panels covered with her recipe of materials reflecting the genius of Italian plasterers. More recently, she has been working on paper, using mixed-media collage.

Pew found Katy Helman’s work to be joyful and humorous. As Helman says of her paintings, “I mix stripes and paisleys, synthesize genres and styles. Whether obvious or not, my work is autobiographical, describing my state of mind and the current events of my life.”

Jennifer Lee Morrow, “Concealed Ambitions.”

Jennifer Lee Morrow describes herself as a magpie, collecting bits of paper and cloth and other objects that come into her life. “I collect the stories I hear and the ones I imagine. Then, through alchemy, tinkering, and stitching, I combine and alter these substances until the stories deepen and become my own.”

The Maine Art Gallery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement and preservation of painting, sculpture and graphic arts through exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and educational programs for children and adults. More information is available at www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org and on Facebook at Maine Art Gallery Wiscasset. The gallery is located at 15 Warren St., Wiscasset. The gallery is closed for the 2020 season.

Alna artist Kate Nordstrom exhibits at Carriage House Gardens

“Red Rabbit,” by Kate Nordstrom. Her work often features images inspired by dreams and nature as seen in this fanciful painting.

“Bunny is my essence,” says Alna-based artist Kate Nordstrom, and then, with a mischievous smile, she moves on to the next topic, how she paints.

“When I’m painting, I’m playing, I’m experimenting” — with colors, combinations, forms, dream images, and intuition. And while the paintings do appear playful, they are also complex and layered with visual surprises, which the artist describes as magical realism. They are fantastical but recognizable, and they tell stories. Nordstrom hesitates when asked to interpret one of her paintings, saying she’d rather not share her interpretation. “I wouldn’t want to corrupt their [the viewer’s] story. The metaphors and symbolism are right out front,” she says, so viewers can create their own narratives.

Nordstrom describes her paintings as full of joy and embraceable, rather than cerebral. They are not angsty, which is why, she believes, many people have more than one of her paintings in their collections. While joy emanates from the colorful canvases, she also makes sure there’s a touch of pathos, a shadow’s eye, in her paintings, which adds to their complexity.

When Nordstrom begins a painting, she has a starting place in mind but doesn’t visualize a finished work. She paints without structure or rules and modifies paintings until they are completed — and sometimes after — if she finds new inspiration. This fluid process is not replicable, she says, and allows her to be improvisational, with no composed script. The foreground can go to the back, and there’s no perspective. “I don’t have to follow the rules, but instead, the process has to be interesting and surprising.”

Nordstrom usually works on multiple canvases at once so she can put a painting aside and let it settle in her mind. Sometimes, she faces an unfinished painting to the wall so she isn’t tempted to look at the image until the settling is done, and she can come back with fresh eyes, she says. In the meanwhile, she’s constantly casting about for interesting shapes and patterns, what she calls new content, to add to the paintings-in-progress.

As a result of the coronavirus, Nordstrom, who usually paints in the winter, is painting much more than usual this summer. She has more time available and feels her work is changing. While the effects on her creative vision are still in progress, other changes are in place: “COVID shortens-up my perspective; I can’t plan for next month or next year; I can really only plan for today.”

Throughout her life, Nordstrom’s sources of joy have been nature, friendship, gardening, and eating. “These are the same priorities now as when I was 6,” she says. And then she adds painting.

“It’s not optional,” she says. “Painting is a necessity. I paint to make myself more comfortable in the world.”

Nordstrom’s most recent paintings can be viewed in person at her summertime exhibition place, Carriage House Gardens, 62 Pleasant St., just outside of Wiscasset Village. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through Columbus Day weekend. For more info and to see Nordstrom’s paintings, go to www.knpaintings.com and www.carriagehousegardensmaine.com.

Wear white for Women’s Suffrage at Walk Around Wiscasset

For more than 70 years, women worked ceaselessly to gain the right to vote. The 19th Amendment was finally adopted into the Constitution in August 1920. Wearing white clothing became symbolic of the suffragettes.

Wear White! is the fashion theme for the upcoming Walk Around Wiscasset, which runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27. Wiscasset joins the national initiative commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage during August, National Women’s Suffrage Month.

Wiscasset residents, neighbors, and visitors are invited to stroll the new village sidewalks, wave to friends, and enjoy a summer evening in good company. Wearing white clothing is optional but is a gesture to honor the women who struggled for more than 70 years to achieve the vote for women. The State of Maine ratified the 19th Amendment — giving full voting rights to American women — in November 1919, and it was adopted as part of the U.S. Constitution in August 1920.

white-suits-suffrage:
In this 1918 photo, suffragettes, mostly in white dresses and suits, continue to march, lobby, and advocate for the right to vote, still two years away. Photo by George Rinhart.

Other activities are planned for this outdoor event to bring attention to the new and luxurious brick sidewalks, the result of a two-year MDOT project. Look for a handmade carillon, a DJ, Sarah’s takeaway tidbits, and more. Village shops and galleries will be open during the Walk Around at the owners’ discretion.

Wiscasset’s Museum in the Streets panels are located throughout the village and are available for viewing 24/7 for self-guided walking tours (find descriptive brochures on each panel pole). They tell the story of life in the 18th and 19th centuries, as lived by Wiscasset townspeople.

Those enjoying the Walk Around are asked to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance, and not congregate in large groups.

Walk Around Wiscasset, replacing Wiscasset Art Walk during summer 2020 because of coronavirus concerns, will be held on the last Thursday of August and September, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. For more information about Walk Around Wiscasset, visit www.wiscassetartwalk.org, or contact Lucia Droby at ludroby@verizon.net.

Wiscasset Bay Gallery opens “Impressionism, Modernism and Realism”

Charles Ebert (American, 1873-1959), “View of Fish Beach, Monhegan” oil on board

“Impressionism, Modernism and Realism, ” which opens Saturday, August 15, at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery, is a diverse exhibition spanning the early 19th through mid-20th centuries with works by Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Belgian and American artists.

Of particular interest is a vibrant watercolor by neo-impressionist, Hippolyte Petitjean (French, 1854-1929).  Using his classic pointillist technique, Petitjean depicts a vase of flowers emerging out of a background of green, purple and yellow dots. A work by fellow neo-impressionist, Theo van Rysselberghe (Belgian, 1862-1926), renders a semi-draped nude in sanguine on paper. Modernist and fauvist Raoul Dufy’s (French, 1877-1953) charming ink wash on paper shows a sea with sailboats, steamers, waves and a floating figure.

Paul Vogler (French, 1853-1904), “Along the Seine,” oil on canvas

 

On the more traditional, impressionist front is a lively view of Paris and the Seine River with steamboats, fishermen, dogs and ladies with parasols by Paul Vogler (French, 1853-1904). Complementing Vogler’s cityscape is the American impressionist, Carl Hirschberg’s (American, 1854-1923) view of Concarneau Harbor in Brittany.

Jay Hall Connaway (American, 1893-1970) is represented by large, dynamic oils as well as small delicate watercolors of Lobster Cove and the headlands on Monhegan Island.  Another American impressionist Charles Ebert (American, 1873-1959) from Old Lyme, Connecticut, summered on Monhegan.  Ebert’s colorful, broken brushstrokes skillfully capture island life on a crisp summer day with billowing clouds and deep turquoise waters.

On the more urban side of life are Reginald Marsh’s (American, 1898-1954) “Railroad” and “Tug on the East River” and Kenneth Hayes Miller’s (American, 1876-1952) “Leaving the Shop, 1929” which depicts two well dressed ladies in furs chatting under an umbrella.

Other important American and European artists represented in the exhibition include Paul Cezanne (French, 1839-1906), August Rodin (French, 1840-1917), Marie Laurencin (French, 1883-1956) and Carolus-Duran (French, 1838-1917).

“Impressionism, Modernism and Realism” will continue at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery, 67 Main Street, Wiscasset, Maine through September 30. For further information, call (207) 882-7682 or visit the gallery’s website at www.wiscassetbaygallery.com.  Follow the gallery on Instagram @wbaygallery and Facebook. Wiscasset Bay Gallery is located at 67 Main Street (Route 1) in historic Wiscasset village.

 

Remembering artist Charles Kolnik at the Sylvan Gallery

“Strike, Incoming Tide.”

Sylvan Gallery in Wiscasset is featuring more than 40 oil paintings by the late New York artist Charles Kolnik from Aug. 1 through Sept. 29 in the show “Remembering Artist Charles Kolnik (1951-2020).”

The exhibition features a wide range of his favorite subjects, including landscapes, seascapes, figurative works and still lifes. The exhibition will be across the street from Sylvan Gallery, at the Sylvan Gallery Annex, located at 52 Water Street in Wiscasset.

Kolnik was a fine artist for almost 50 years. Sylvan Gallery represented him for only nine of those years.

Seeing a painting by one of the great masters of art is often what originally inspires someone to learn to paint. For Kolnik, the inspiration came from seeing a reproduction of a portrait by Rembrandt. He subsequently read everything he could on the techniques of the old masters, specifically on Titian’s, who was a major inspiration of Rembrandt’s. Kolnik had an appreciation for the Barbizon and Hudson River School painters as well and listened to his favorite classical composers while he painted, which put him in a mood or emotional state that had a direct influence on his paintings.

“Father and Child: White Vest and Straw Bonnet.”

Kolnik’s style is identifiably his own. Using a limited palette of colors, transparent glazes and thick opacities, he conveyed simple motifs: a lone fisherman, an egret in the marsh, a pair of swans, a figure in a field, a blue rooster, a stormy sea, dilapidated piers, a wrapped sail, the surf. Once he had a motif that he loved, he would often paint many different versions of it. There is a “meditative” and “timeless” quality to his work which earned him many collectors over the years.

Kolnik had the unique experience of having one of his paintings inspire a ballet. He was honored and awestruck when he was notified that a painting that he had created of angels, which had turned up at a New York City flea market, inspired “Les Jeux Des Anges” (The Angel Games), choreographed by Virginie Mecene and performed by the Martha Graham Ensemble at Theresa Lang Theatre in New York City.

It’s interesting that Charles’ signature has been the cause of so many comments by gallery-goers, most of whom love it. To Kolnik, his signature and the placement of it compositionally was an important part of the painting. He explained that it was always red as a tribute to Corot, who had perfect placement of red within a painting. Charles loved Japanese artwork, so he created his signature to look like a Japanese stamp, a simplified “K,” which often was mistaken for a cross.

His paintings won awards whenever they were competitively exhibited. They have been sold by galleries in Boston, New York, Cape Cod, and the Hamptons and were shown as part of a resident artist display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. And they continue to be exhibited at Sylvan Gallery in Wiscasset

For more information, call Ann Scanlan at 207-882-8290, or go to www.sylvangallery.com. Sylvan Gallery is open from 10:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 49 Water St., Wiscasset, on the corner of Main Street/Route 1 and Water St., next to Red’s Eats. The Charles Kolnik Exhibition at the Sylvan Gallery Annex will be viewable by first coming to Sylvan Gallery, unless an open sign is on the door.

Symbolism is the focus of Maine Art Gallery’s new online show

“Arms Around It,” by Clara Cohan.

The Maine Art Gallery’s second online show, “Acquired Symbols,” features former students and friends of the important Maine artist and teacher John Lorence. Because the gallery is closed for the season due to COVID-19, the images in the online show will provide a preview of works that will be exhibited in the 2021 season. The show can be viewed at maineartgallerywiscasset.org until Aug. 7.

Works in mixed-media collage, sculpture and painting by Camille Buch, Clara Cohan, Peter Haller, John Lorence and Jorge Pena are included in the online show. Next year’s show in the gallery will be expanded to include more of their art, plus works by Matt Blackwell, Elliott Borowitz, Felice Boucher, Ellen Gutenkunst, Patrick Plourde and Teresa Sullivan.

Art is often a symbolic expression of what is going on in the world around us. In his artist’s statement for the pieces that are included in this show, Jorge Pena writes, “The scenery, season’s colors, and life in Maine have also made an impact, and this influence is reflected in my latest paintings. I can’t avoid being motivated by the latest attack, death, and injustice suffered by my kinfolks. Some of my paintings show my response to injustice and racism.”

The Maine Art Gallery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement and preservation of painting, sculpture and graphic arts through exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations and educational programs for children and adults. More information is available at www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org and on Facebook at Maine Art Gallery Wiscasset. The gallery is at 15 Warren St., Wiscasset. The gallery is closed for the 2020 season.

The Maine Art Gallery Opens Its First Online Exhibit

“Higgins Beach – Late Afternoon,” by Cynthia Sortwell.

“Untitled 1027,” by Conrad Guertin.

“Bobolinks,” wood engraving, by Siri Beckman.

Hard times inspire creativity, and Wiscasset’s Maine Art Gallery has stepped up to the challenge.

The gallery presents an online show of paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints and collages from 23 artists that might have been held at the gallery, were it not for the limitations due to COVID-19. Instead, the images can be viewed at www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org through July 10.

The show offers a range of styles. In addition to depictions of landscapes, waterscapes, architecture and still lifes, works include nontraditional shapes and symbolic paintings.

More information is available on the Maine Art Gallery Wiscasset Facebook page. The gallery, located in the historic Wiscasset Academy building at 15 Warren St., Wiscasset, is closed to the public this summer due to COVID.

“American Artists Here and Abroad” opens at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery

Emily Muir (American, 1904-2003), “Fox Island,” oil on board, 17″ x 32”

 

“American Artists Here and Abroad” opens at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery on Wednesday, July 1st.

Many American artists came to the New England coast to capture its untamed beauty or sail its vast, meandering shoreline dotted with islands. Such was the case with Chicago-born artist, Emily Muir (1904-2003), who settled in Stonington, Maine, with her husband, the sculptor William Muir. Together the two artists utilized paint and granite to depict the essence of Maine coastal life in the mid-twentieth century. Emily Muir’s “Fox Island” appears deceptively simple with its clean, bold forms and colors but closer observation reveals her keen eye at work exposing in nuanced hues the rugged boulders and sharply articulated islands that give Maine its distinctive character.

 

Warren W. Sheppard (American, 1858-1937), “Venice” oil on canvas, 14″ x 20″

Warren Sheppard (1858-1937) was another American artist who drew his artistic inspiration from sailing trips to Maine, as well as travels across Europe from 1888 to 1893. Sheppard’s lifetime exploration of the play of light on water is no more evident than in his depiction of the Venetian Lagoon. Calm, sparkling water reflects the sunlit Italian architecture and foliage as elegantly dressed figures step into a gondola.

Focusing on the more straightforward urban scene is Reginald Marsh’s “Tug on the East River” rendered in strong blacks and warm browns and showing the New York skyline in the 1930s. Max Pollak’s “The Battery, New York” likewise utilizes the waterfront and skyline of New York Harbor in his richly varied aquatint.

Other noted American artists featured in the exhibit include Leon Kroll (1884-1974), Andrew Winter (1893-1958), Jay Hall Connaway (1893-1970), Eric Hudson (1864-1932), Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908) and Abraham Bogdanove (1886-1946).

“American Artists Here and Abroad” will continue at the Wiscasset Bay Gallery, 67 Main Street, Wiscasset, Maine through August 7. For further information, call (207) 882-7682 or visit the gallery’s website at www.wiscassetbaygallery.com. Follow the gallery on Instagram @wbaygallery and Facebook. Wiscasset Bay Gallery is located at 67 Main Street (Route 1) in historic Wiscasset village.

Images for use with press release:
Emily Muir (American, 1904-2003), “Fox Island,” oil on board, 17″ x 32”
Warren W. Sheppard (American, 1858-1937), “Venice” oil on canvas, 14″ x 20″

Community Tapestry Debuts at Wiscasset Community Center

During the Wiscasset Art Walk 2019 season, locals and visitors from away – from far away – took part in a community weaving project.  The result of that project, a wall-sized woven tapestry, is now on view at the Wiscasset Community Center, 242 Gardiner Rd. You can’t miss it. As you walk in the door, it’s hung in the entry area near tables and chairs where people eat, visit, and settle in with their laptops.

According to Community Center interim director Duane Goud, he knows a lot about the tapestry after watching the recent Selectboard meeting on You Tube at which the weaving project was recapped and displayed for Selectboard members. When asked to host it at the Recreation Center, Duane immediately found a place to display the art piece because, he said, it represents a community-wide effort. 

More than 100 ‘guest artists’ participated in braiding strands of colorful materials and then adding them to the wall piece. The Town of Wiscasset provided the orange barrier fencing for the background structure and various crafters and local businesses donated the colorful fabrics, ribbons, and assorted doo-dads for the braiding.  Guest artists came from Wiscasset and neighboring towns, the New England region, more distant states like Florida, Colorado, and California, and from even more distant places like Mexico, Canada, UK, and Germany.

The community tapestry will be making additional guest appearances throughout the community in the coming months with invitations from the Wiscasset Public Library, the Wiscasset Congregational Church, and the Wiscasset Middle High School. Notices in the local papers and elsewhere will announce the new locations for this fanciful display of a community working together to create something fascinating and meaningful.