"The Value of Thought", an exhibit of paintings by Alison Rector at Ogunquit Museum of American Art

  • August 04, 2017

"The Value of Thought",  an exhibit of paintings by Alison Rector

At the Ogunquit Museum of American Art,  September 1 to October 31, 2017

Alison Rector has created a series of oil paintings celebrating the architecture of historic public library buildings in Maine.  In 2014,  Rector became interested in the history of Maine's public libraries, particularly those funded in the early 20th century by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. "The Value of Thought" presents 18 of those paintings in the Long Gallery at the Ogunquit Museum.

Alison Rector and Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth will be presenting a talk titled "Maine's Carnegie Libraries" at the museum on the evening of Tuesday August 22 at 6pm.

Alison Rector writes about "The Value of Thought" in her artist statement:

"At the Blue Hill Public Library in Blue Hill Maine, there’s a small painting of the library’s interior hanging next to the circulation desk. I painted this picture in 2010 around the time many Maine public libraries celebrated their centenary. The quiet sweep of light falling across the floor into the illuminated room beyond drew me in. I imagined the decades past, the generations of readers in these rooms, relishing the calm of the shared quiet space.

Then I heard a news story by NPR’s Susan Stamberg describing How Andrew Carnegie Turned his Fortune into a Library Legacy. That history piqued my interest in the libraries around me. Maine is home to 20 Carnegie libraries. I set out with my painter’s eye to visit them all. Along the way, library enthusiasts spoke with me about other favorite public library buildings, so I visited them too. I was charmed by the rooms designed for thought and quiet reflection, the stacks of books, the historic art collections. Now if I pass a public library, I usually stop and go inside.

Since 2010 I’ve created over 40 paintings of Maine’s public libraries. All of my paintings start with a pencil drawing. After I compose the image, I begin with a grisaille underpainting (a black & white value study, the term grisaille coming from the French word gris meaning grey). The underpainting is the first layer of paint, a monotone foundation. On top of the grisaille ground I paint many layers of color. The luminosity of the oil paint builds layer upon layer. A painter uses an opaque material (like oil paint) to create the illusion of light within a painting. Color and composition reinforced by paint texture give a painting life. An atmosphere emerges. The painting has space, light and air.

Public libraries were built by citizens who believed in the importance of education and thought. Across the nation Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of over 1600 public library buildings in the 19 and 20 centuries, working in partnership with community leaders. Other patrons did the same in Maine and beyond."

For more information about the exhibit,  contact the Ogunquit Museum of American Art,  207- 646- 4090 or www.ogunquitmuseum.org.  The museum exhibit is sponsored by Greenhut Galleries in Portland which represents Rector's work.

To preview Rector's art work, visit www.alisonrector.com


Press Release

Filter Press Releases

Name or Keyword


Date Range

Contact Information

Alison Gibbs

Marketing and External Relations Director, OMAA
Ogunquit Museum of American Art, 543 Shore Road
Ogunquit  ME  03907