One of the best things about Maine is our vibrant art scene. From the masters of American art to young artists with a fresh eye, Maine attracts and nurtures an extraordinary pool of talent. And many artists are drawn to NRCM’s mission because they feel so strongly about the beauty and health of this state. Those of us who live in or visit Maine don’t have to look far for a top-notch museum, a well-curated gallery, or a fun art walk. I’ve highlighted some of the great shows and galleries that feature artists who are members of NRCM, but I ran out of space long before I ran out of wonderful artists to present.
Fortunately, Maine Art Scene is a great online resource for art and cultural events. Another terrific resource is the Maine Gallery and Studio Guide, which links you to galleries and museums by region. The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA) represents Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot basketmakers; check out MIBA’s website for a list of galleries that sell baskets by contemporary Native American artists. And here is a resource that is owned by all of us: the Maine Arts Commission. Go to the Maine Arts Commission website to find information about free art walks in communities throughout Maine. Monthly art walks are a great way to connect with and support Maine artists. —Gretta Wark, NRCM Senior Director of Development
Alex Katz: Assembly II features an American master with long ties to Maine and NRCM. This exhibition looks outside his iconic portraits to assembled works that show his “preoccupation with the sociability of forms.” Mr. Katz’s work is on display through June 29 at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville. For more information, visit www.colby.edu/museum.
The 260 artists featured in this next show are too young to be NRCM members, but I can’t stop thinking about Stories of the Land and Its People at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. The exhibition runs through August 31st. It is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the museum and public schools in Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Lincolnville, and Rockland. Elementary and middle school students toured the museum and studied art with the Farnsworth staff. The pieces on display—many of which focus on the natural world—resulted from this collaboration. A video filmed by local high school students and shown as part of the exhibition documents the project. For more information, visit www.farnsworthmuseum.org.
Richard Estes’ Realism is on display through September 7 at the Portland Museum of Art. A joint project of PMA and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this exhibition encompasses five decades of Mr. Estes’ work. He summers in Maine and has been a member of NRCM for many years. Visit PMA at www.portlandmuseum.org to learn more about the Estes show, upcoming exhibitions, and its permanent collection.
“I had the privilege of seeing the Richard Estes show on its opening night at the Portland Museum of Art, and I recommend it to everyone who lives nearby or visits this summer. Richard is the foremost practitioner of American photorealism. His street images are amazing as are his beautiful paintings around Mount Desert Island and, more recently, Antarctica. One of the fun things I learned from the lecture is that he ‘signs’ his work by tucking his name into unusual places, like on a license plate or a restaurant sign. So then you find yourself hunting for his name in all his paintings and feeling quite delighted when you find it.” —NRCM Executive Director Lisa Pohlmann
Joseph Fiore’s The Rock Series: Geological Works from 1978 to 2001 will be on display at the Firehouse Center for the Falcon Foundation, 5 Bristol Road, Damariscotta, from June 28 through September 27. Mr. Fiore was a well-known avant-garde artist who drew much of his inspiration from nature. He and his wife, Mary, divided their time between New York City and Jefferson, Maine, until shortly before Mr. Fiore’s death in 2008. Mrs. Fiore returns to their farmhouse in Maine whenever possible. The Rock Series was donated to Maine Farmland Trust by the Fiore family’s Falcon Foundation. Following the show, the paintings will be redistributed to NRCM and other organizations that appreciate the geology and natural environment of Maine. NRCM will receive two paintings, “After the Equinox” and “Wall.” The Fiores were members of NRCM—as well as supporters of Maine Farmland Trust—for many years. Maine Farmland Trust works statewide to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future of farming.
This spring, nature photographer Gerard Monteux opened the Monteux Gallery in Ellsworth. He is the latest in a long list of NRCM members who have combined a love of nature with a passion for the arts.
Cynthia Hyde and Jim Kinnealey paved the way with their Rockland gallery, the Caldbeck Gallery, established in 1982. They represent numerous painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose works, I think, both capture and challenge our sense of Maine’s beauty.
Far from Route One, but well worth the visit, there are North Light Gallery and Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket. North Light was founded 10 years ago by Marsha Donahue, herself a talented painter. North Light represents artists who work in the interior and the Katahdin region, in particular. Wildlife photographer Mark Picard and his partner Anita Mueller display his work at Moose Prints Gallery.
Finally, come visit us in Augusta to see a small exhibition by wildlife photographer and NRCM member Linwood Riggs.