Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art
|Howie Montenko Swan Island Quarry|
The Maine Arts Commission announced the opening of a special exhibit in its Art in the Capitol program. “Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art” by Maine photographer Howie Motenko explores collaborative art using the photographic technique of light painting on all 15 of Maine’s un-bridged, year-round islands.
“We selected these photographs to showcase Maine’s rich island heritage, and the ways in which the arts can bring communities together,” said Julie Horn, the Visual Arts Program Director for the Maine Arts Commission and the curator for Art in the Capitol. “These photos are lush with color and light and bring attention to one of Maine’s provincial regions, which make them a perfect fit for the Governor’s Reception area.”
Motenko’s mission in the “Painting Islands” project, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, was to create participatory art with each island community through the medium of light painting photography. The result is 15 highly color saturated, archival pigment prints that represent Maine’s island community’s choices of images that best represent them. For a full year beginning in June of 2015, Motenko, working in partnership with the Maine Seacoast Mission and the Island Institute, visited, discussed and documented each island. The artistic collaboration began with island residents selecting a subject that resonated most strongly with their community. Next, at dusk, island volunteers “light painted” their self-selected scene with flashlights to complete the artistic collaboration: they illuminated the most significant image of their community while Motenko created a long-exposure photograph of it during the blue hour. The relationship of the artist’s vision and the islanders’ combined illumination created a glowing image reflecting each island’s unique identity and collective values. The project is designed to create a stronger sense of community for each island. To learn more about this project please visit www.paintingislands.com.
Maine: A Continuum of Place
|Jude Valentine West Quoddy Head Light|
Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis declared April 19, 1916, to be “Maine Postcard Day,” imploring all Mainers to mail a postcard of their home state to friends and family from away. It is said the cards were primarily used as a tool to communicate our exclusive qualities to the outside world.
2016 marks this centennial which has been especially highlighted by the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. The PMM houses a vast glass-plate collection of many of these original postcard images which visually boast of Maine’s towns and unique environment. Inspired by the card’s anniversary, art writer Carl Little was asked to pair vintage photographs from the PMM’s remarkable collection with paintings of similar subjects by contemporary Maine artists. The results of which are this show consisting of twenty-five paintings created by seventeen artists from across our state. The exhibit explores changes overtime to those locations and images formerly used to describe Maine. Carl Little states this show highlights “…what I call the “continuum of place.” Kids will always leap from docks, though their outfits may change. Ships will find harbor, but they may depend on computers to find their way. And certain iconic vistas—the harbors of Monhegan and Stonington, for example—seem almost eternal even as a new building might go up or lobster traps change from wood to metal.”
Works in this exhibition can be found on both the ground floor and second floor of the State House. We invite you to spend time with each work and postcard image to find your own visual connections and memories of place.
Ed Buonvecchio, local Manchester Artist
|Ed Buonvecchio Docked at Union Wharf, 9.125" x 8" Oil on Panel|
Local Manchester artist Ed Buonvecchio spent most of his life growing up in New York where he later earned his BFA at SUNY Buffalo. After moving to Arizona in 2004 he was so inspired by the “raw beauty” of the desert he anxiously began his career as a fine artist focusing on the historic en plein air painting technique. This style of capturing the landscape, concentrated on working outdoors to quickly record what the eye actually sees as mixture of natural light and air. It was highly popular in the nineteenth century giving birth to such renowned artists as John Constable and Claude Monet. Buonvecchio states, “My love of art, nature and the outdoors unite through painting en plein air.” His passion and talent were quickly recognized by winning the first Plein Air competition he entered in 2010.
Since relocating to Maine four years ago he has entrenched himself in the fine art community, participating in some of the State’s top painting festivals such as the Ocean Park Plein Air Festival and the Stroke of Art festival in Boothbay Harbor. Ed was recently featured in a solo show at the Winter Harbor Public Library and then curated a related group show for the Reed Gallery in Presque Isle. He is an involved member of well-known groups such as the Plein Air Painters of Maine, Kennebec Valley Arts Association and the New England Foundation for the Arts.
You can learn more about Ed and his work at edbuonvecchio.com.
Heath Paley, Picturing Downtown Maine
The Maine Arts Commission was honored to show the work of photographer and master digital printer Heath Paley. The selection of nineteen images from his series “Downtown: Patterns of Life in Maine's Villages, Towns and Cities” shows a cross section of our State’s communities from Caribou to Kennebunk, Rumford to Machias. Each town’s portrait is made up of a combination of dozens of photographs Paley has taken from the same view point over a period of hours, days or weeks. He describes his process stating, “I ‘stitch’ these shots together into a single, large scale composite image, much more finely detailed and carefully composed that traditional photographic techniques allow.” Not meant as straightforward “documentation” the photographs act more as a curated amalgam of time. The result is a dense environment, whether filled with buildings and people or showcasing the enormity of Maine’s natural world. Paley’s vision of Maine through its fundamental public spaces is both awesome and alarming. Each community has a history and Paley’s captured moments provide visually attentive clues to those unique and perhaps untold stories.
Heath Paley currently lives in Portland and has earned both his MA and MFA. His work is part of prominent collections in Maine including the Portland Museum of Art and has shown extensively throughout the south and midcoast.
Photographs from this show along with others from the series will be on display in Orono and the University of Maine Art School's, Lord Hall Gallery in July for “Heath Paley / Picturing Downtown Maine”.
This wonderful exhibit was on display from April 20- July 15, 2016. You can learn more about Heath and his work at heathpaleyphoto.com.
|Heath Paley Northeastland (Presqe Isle), 57.6" x 29" Digital Sublimation onto Aluminum|
Celebrating Acadia National Park's Centennial
|The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce a new exhibit of paintings and photographs celebrating the centennial of Acadia National Park. The park was conserved 100 years ago to preserve its beauty and natural wonders for the enjoyment of all. That wonder and beauty served as both subject matter and inspiration for this show, which will be on display through the end of March 2016.More about Acadia's Centennial Celebration is at www.acadiacentennial2016.org.|
We are pleased to feature the works of the following artists in the show:
Brad Betts—An artist for over 20 years, Brad connects daily with classical maritime scenes that most inspire him. See more of Brad's work at DowneastGallery.com.
Tom Blagden—A professional photographer since 1980, his work is devoted to creating a unique sense of place as both a celebration of, and a catalyst for land protection and conservation. Visit courthousegallery.com for more of Tom's work.
Mary Byrom—Working mostly from life, Mary is outdoors year round, painting on location and using these field sketches to develop her large studio paintings. To find out more about Mary and her work, visit marybyrom.com.
Gail Cleveland—A third-generation artist, Gail has studied art and nature for over 40 years. She uses these firsthand experiences to create award-winning work in watercolors, oils, acrylics and limited edition prints. For more about Gail and her work, visit smart-studio.com.
Howie Motenko—A resident of Mount Desert Island, Howie lives surrounded by ANP, which provides endless opportunities to explore the art of landscape photography. Find out more about his work at acadiaphotosafari.com.
Wini Smart—An award-winning artist, her paintings have been shown in major museums and galleries along the East Coast and are in international collections. For more about Wini and her work, visit smart-studio.com.
|Howie Motenko Cobblestone Bridge Color Photograph, 20.75" x 20.25"||Mary Byrom Blue Hill Overlook, Cadillac Mountain Oil, 6" x 6"|
A lifelong Maine resident, Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Her work explores the urban, industrial, and pastoral images of Maine and documents the ever-changing landscape in paint. Michel often portrays a location through series, capturing different seasons or times of day with changing light and color.
Michel states “My main interest is color in the landscape. Living in Maine, one cannot help but be amazed with nature and the effects of light, time, season, place and color. I also am interested in the manmade landscape and have set out to document how our urban landscapes continually change. I see the world as a painting, whether it is the old mill downtown, the fire station, golf course, mountain or beach.”
|Caren-Marie Michel Booth Quarry Vinalhaven, 12" x 16" Acrylic on canvas|
One of Maine’s most talented contemporary artists, Jeffery Becton’s work utilizes familiar visuals from the ocean, the sky, and other natural scapes found in and around Becton’s Deer Isle home and homes of others on the Atlantic coast. Poetic and illusory his work combines “…primarily elements of photography as well as painting, drawing, and scanned materials, the techniques I use foster and give form to visual ambiguities, reexamining the boundaries of mixed media and creating altered realities that merge into images rich in symbolism both personal and archetypal.”
|Jeffery Becton Winter is Coming, 23.5" x 28.5" Digital montage realized as archival pigment|
Applegate permanently relocated from Philadelphia to Penobscot Bay in 1996 and now maintains her studio/gallery in the beautiful village of Bristol Mills on the Pemaquid Peninsula. Describing her work, Applegate says, "I paint air. The color and texture of the air and how to recreate it with daubs of oil paint on canvas is the driving influence in my artwork." Her award-winning canvases are represented in galleries throughout the country and have been featured in numerous publications, including American Art Collector, American Art Review, and American Artists.
|Barbara Applegate Morning Mist, Monhegan (study), 8x10, oil|
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship
The Maine Arts Commission began the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in 1990 with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program.
Since its inception, the Apprenticeship Program has supported over 100 apprenticeships in Maine, ranging from Somali Bantu basket weaving to Downeast wooden boat building. Based on experience and commitment to their art, master artists select an apprentice to teach for an extended period of time, usually a year. More than just one-on-one instruction, apprenticeships help communities maintain and celebrate their cultural traditions.
Apprentice, Shannon Secord
Photo: Peter Dembski
North Light Gallery
represents the artists who paint the interior of Maine, with an emphasis on Katahdin. Many of the artists in this exhibition are also included in the publication TheArt of Katahdin. Mount Katahdin has been a source of inspiration for well over a century, as is well-documented in the book, written by David Little and published las year by DownEast. Included in the contemporary section of the book is North Light Gallery in Millinocket, Maine.
Spirit of Katahdin Lake
employs various layers of geometric abstraction to achieve a sense of realism that has developed over the years into a colorful and striking vision of the Maine landscape. His work can be seen online at www.bkrebspaintings.com and at Landing Gallery, located at 8 Elm Street in Rockland. Krebs, who lives in Warren, earned a bachelor's degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he studied philosophy and mathematics. His work has been exhibited throughout the midcoast and is included in many collections locally and abroad.
John Orcutt and Cynthia Orcutt
are fine art nature photographers and avid outdoor enthusiasts. Following a distinguished career as an architect - landscape architect team they have pursued their interest in creating an awareness of the necessity for active preservation of fragile places. Through their photographic images, they express the inherent beauty of areas endangered by easy public access and frequent visitation.
Deer Park Lodge
was born and raised on the rocky coast of Maine. He worked for many years as a tugboat captain, commercial fisherman and small business owner. This association with the sea has inspired his artistic work and he now owns and operates a gallery and studio on the shore of Flagstaff Lake in Eustis. Here he exhibits his unique watercolor sculptures that are formed from very heavy French paper into lovely birds and fish; these sculptures are then brought alive with watercolor.
Birds in Flight
is an 83 year old Maine guide, logging camp clerk and artist, painstakingly captures the history of the men who work in the northern woods. From the timber cruiser who surveyed the territory for viability, accessibility and sustainability to the men on the capstan raft who towed the boom down the lake, each individual work is a study of life in the 1915 to 1928 logging camps of the Rangeley Lakes Region of western Maine.
Supper in the Cookshack
began drawing and painting the Maine landscape as a teenager while staying at a nineteenth century rustic camp on one of Mount Desert Island’s lakes, and at her brother’s lighthouse home in Penobscot Bay. In the 1990s she began chartering planes so she could take reference photos of the glacially carved land formations of coastal Maine, which she uses as references to create large-scale paintings. She also paints panoramas from mountaintops, and closer, more intimate views of places. Every summer she spends several weeks painting outside on Mount Desert, Monhegan, Deer Isle and various other locations.
Back to the Lakes
was born in the small fishing town of Brightlingsea, which is nestled on the east coast of England. He trained as a shipwright in the nearby town of Maldon before moving to London to study painting at both the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. Dodds, who is a frequent visitor to Maine, has exhibited his stunning paintings and prints of boats throughout England and here in Maine at the Dowling Walsh Gallery.
North Norfolk Beach
was raised in Baltimore, MD, and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He transferred to Cooper Union with a concentration on painting. Upon graduation he lived in New York City for three years where he was an active member in the art world. In search of a more diverse landscape, Page moved to Maine where he found more time to devote to his art. Page creates all his work on site and focuses on capturing the atmosphere and light of a scene.
“Through painting, I share unexpected moments of beauty that I find in the space around me. Painting is how I share the poetry of experience.”
Rocks To Climb On
was born in the Netherlands in 1945. He spent his early years in Rotterdam, surrounded by rich landscapes and cloud-laden skies made famous by the Dutch Masters throughout history. Baas arrived in the United States in his early teens with an interest in art already indelibly imprinted.
Baas has found the satisfaction he has been seeking…as a plein air artist. “Painting has become my full-time passion; there is no time to make jewelry. The act of applying paint to a canvas has always been intriguing to me. To transform a two-dimensional surface and give it a feeling of space with carefully arranged brushstrokes using the right colors and values is pure magic. Every time I paint on location, with each brushstroke I experience that magic again, and hopefully the viewer will experience it as well in the finished painting.”
Originally from Long Island, New York, Loretta Krupinski moved to southeast coastal Connecticut, and currently lives in midcoast Maine. After graduating with a BA in fine arts from Syracuse University, Ms. Krupinski worked for many years as an illustrator and graphic designer, but has chosen to pursue a dual career as a maritime artist and an author and illustrator of 27 books for children. She has won numerous awards for both and is a Fellow in the American Society of Marine Artists.
“Throughout my life, I have lived around the water. My love of boating and beaches has been imprinted on me since I was a child. My talent is with marine subjects, that is, water, boats, rocks and harbors. An artist does their best work when they really know their subject and my marine art deals with realism and detail in oils on canvas.
“My pleasure at exhibiting at the Statehouse came from the widely varied viewers enjoying my paintings and gaining more knowledge from the stories that told of Maine maritime history than they knew before. Another reason I was so pleased to exhibit at the Statehouse was that my art traveled outside of gallery walls. A gallery is the most popular venue for an artist to exhibit; it is also the most insulated. By participating in the Art in the Capitol program, my art was seen by a much broader audience, many of which would not enter a gallery to view art.”
A Long Way from Gloucester