Alison Rector's Train Journey exhibit at Greenhut Galleries

  • August 07, 2019

An exhibit of 15 new paintings by Alison Rector opens August 8, 2019.   "Train Journey" runs August 8 - 31 at Greenhut Galleries, 146 Middle Street in Portland, Maine.  For more information, phone the gallery 207-772-2693 or visit

Greenhut Gallery's August side gallery exhibition offers an additional slice of Americana, via Alison Rector's brand new body of work, Train Journey. In these paintings, the artist has created a beautiful document of the sights, and as always in Rector's work, the light observed during a trip recently taken via Amtrak. We've shared Alison's first person account of her exciting project and her journey below:

In 2018, work responsibilities required me to travel from my home in mid-coast Maine to Rochester New York.Air travel options were inconvenient and expensive. I didn't want to drive. Instead, I decided to make mytransportation choice into a visual adventure on the train. 

I knew that Amtrak granted writers access to train travel as inspiration for writing, and that residency program had long been on my radar. (This program has now been replaced by Amtrak's Social Media Residency.)What if I took the train from Maine to Rochester? Could I create my own visual arts residency on the train? 

Trains have facilitated transitions for me in the past, 
reliably pairing transportation with time for deep thought. When I moved as a young adult from the East Coast to California, I arrived in Oakland by rail after a three-day coach journey from Chicago.The rocking motion and the meditative rush outside the window mesmerized me. Since then, I've sought train travel in many parts of the world: with my husband traversing the width of China from Shanghai to Xinjiang, dissecting southern India, and between many European cities as well. Countless trips up and down Amtrak's Eastern Corridor have transported me since childhood. 

"There is absolutely no reason to take the train across the United States", writer Caity Weaver 
"but I did it anyway."  Her March 2019 story about cross-country train travel, titled "We're all in This Together" appeared as I was deep in studio work for this show. Trains provide "a chance to look behind the American scrim" writesWeaver, "to learn where the nation makes and stores the hidden parts that run it, to find new places you wish you had been born, to spy on backyards and high school football fields whose possible existence had never occurred to you." 

Train fare 
from Boston South Station to Rochester's Union Station cost $46. A bargain. I expected the Lake Shore Limited route would be visually rich. And, having just finished work on a long-term painting project inspired by 19th century industrialist Andrew Carnegie's legacy of public library building, train travel through New England's industrial past seemed like a logical next step. The journey out of Boston across the width of Massachusetts into New York winds over rivers, through forests and farmland, and pierces small city centers. We passed empty warehouses, tangled backyards, bridge underpasses, and old manufacturing sites, all interspersed with recent changes to the landscape, such as solar farms. The train journey fueled me as I'd hoped; the15 paintings in this show are inspired by that trip on the Lake Shore Limited and beyond. 

In addition and as a complement to Alison's visual work, musicians Bennett Konesni and Edith Gawler will present a program of train songs in the gallery on Wednesday evening, August 14th from 6 to 8 p.m. Alison and all of us at Greenhut hope to see you at this fun event!

Alison Rector Rector earned an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Providence RI, including courses at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work was included in the CMCA's 2018 Biennial, and, in 2017, her Carnegie Library paintings were featured in a solo exhibition at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, entitled The Value of Thought. Her work is also included private collections across the country. Train Journeys is Rector's fourth solo exhibition at Greenhut.

Greenhut Galleries hours are Monday to Friday, 10am - 5:30pm and Saturday 10am - 5pm.


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Alison Rector

Greenhut Galleries
146 Middle Street
Portland  ME  04101