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MAINE ARTS JOURNAL UMVA QUARTERLY

MUSES

SUMMER 2016


Maine Arts Journal

MARTHA MILLER

Martha Miller, Bouquet of Five, mixed media on paper, 22” x 30”, 2016 


Maine Arts Journal

Martha Miller, Eve of May, mixed media on paper, 22” x 30”, 2016

MARTHA MILLER




MAINE ARTS JOURNAL Union of Maine Visual Artists QUARTERLY SUMMER 2016

MUSES

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Front Cover Paul Plante, Golden Winged Warbler 1, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

FEATURES AND ESSAYS 8

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Jonothan Borofsky: An Expansive Journey by Daniel Kany

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Ethan Hayes-Chute Home and Away by Edgar Allen Beem

VISUAL ESSAYS 12 20

Barbara Sullivan Elizabeth Fox

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Curtis LaFollette

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Robert Sullivan

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Paul Plante

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Richard Brown Lethem

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Ingrid Ellison

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Ben Potter

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Abbie Read

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Insight/Incite Narratives by Art Educators Book Arts at UMM by Bernie Vinzani

Palace of Muses by Jeffrey Ackerman

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Paul Plante The Soul of Art in Maine by Edgar Allen Beem

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Checking In: An Interview with Meg Bailey Fournier by Kenny Cole

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Age of Heroes: Robert Hamilton by Kathy Weinberg

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Poetry: Poems by Lee Sharkey and Bruce Spang Introduction by Betsy Sholl

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MEMBER SUBMISSIONS 69

Robin Brooks

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Jan ter Weele

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Amy Peters Wood

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Suzanna Lasker

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Martha Miller

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Kimberly Callas

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Dorette Amell

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Brian Mark

80

David Estey

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Christopher Morse

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Don Mallow

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Lesia Sochor

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Linda Murray

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Petrea Noyes

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Marnie Sinclair

UMVA IN THIS ISSUE 6

The Disquieting Muses From the Editors

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UMVA Mission Word from the President

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Maine Masters Report M.C. Richards, John Imber and Ashley Bryan on the Muse by Richard Kane

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Carlo Pittore On the Muse

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Artists Rapid Response Team Quarterly Report

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UMVA Chapter Report L/A Chapter

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Call for Submissions for Fall MAJ Issue Monsters

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Back Cover The Blanchard Weather Report by Todd Watts

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Maine Arts Journal

Editorial: The Disquieting Muses “Mother, you sent me to piano lessons And praised my arabesques and trills Although each teacher found my touch Oddly wooden in spite of scales And the hours of practicing, my ear Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable. I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere, From muses unhired by you, dear mother…” From Sylvia Plath, The Disquieting Muses (1957) The title of Plath’s 1957 poem The Disquieting Muses refers to Giorgio de Chirico’s ca. 1917 painting of the same name in Italian: Le Muse Inquietanti.

Giorgio de Chirico, Le Muse Inquietanti, 38” x 26”, 1917

The poem begins with the poet’s interrogating her mother’s intentions and actions. It describes the education, or rather schooling, of an artist, but the poet remains a tone-deaf musician and heavy-footed dancer. From teachers she learns technique but it is from the muses that she learns art. Plath’s muses are the muses of others—de Chirico’s, but also the classical muses referenced, indirectly, within his painting by the forms of a staff and a red mask: Melomene and Thalia, the Greek Muses of tragedy and comedy. But is the drama cultural or personal? Does it take place on the world stage or in the artist’s psyche? The de Chirico title hints that the muse does not gently whisper ideas into our receptive ears, but actually disturbs us into a restless search, resulting in the creative act. This bit of discomfort rolls us over in bed—a bad dream—and wakes us up. But what awoke us? Was it the idea or our own repositioning? The question here is of agency. Do we do it or is it done to us, through us? The classical image of the muse suggests that it comes to us with an idea that we execute. The modernist, however, is a hunter—like Thalia—in pursuit of an elusive quarry, the creative act. On the trail, language and images leave breadcrumb traces for us to track. De Chirico’s dream stage is littered with them and as art enthusiasts, we are trained like hunters in pursuit: “the classical statue of Apollo (the muses’ boss), the theatrical wooden stage, the dreamlike irrationality.” But what drives the artist to do something does not necessarily translate into the content perceptible to others. This makes artists’ statements about their own work particularly untrustworthy. Should an artist talk about their intentions, or their understanding of what others will see in their work? Should they try to explain their muses and, if so, how does that relate to what others will see in the work? We are driven by our unconscious selves: language, history, culture, our own personalities, compulsions and obsessions. Yet we also have the ability to drive. We can choose our words, our images, our works of art. But where are our muses located? Do they stand before us, or lurk behind us? Do they inhabit our dreams, our desires, our fears? Do they push us to achieve more, like Pygmalion, or do they lead us into labyrinths in search of solutions. Are they questions? Do we answer them? Or ask more questions? The contributors to this issue of the Maine Arts Journal share their thoughts and images on the varied sources of their inspiration. There is much that is held in common, but more that is very specific to each artist. These muses, found in culture and in nature, are channeled into artworks that fascinate and amuse us. —Dan Kany, Jeffrey Ackerman, Natasha Mayers, Nora Tryon, Alan Crichton

FROM THE EDITORS

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Maine Arts Journal

UNION OF MAINE VISUAL ARTISTS (UMVA) The mission of the UMVA is to uphold the

dignity of artists and to support a vital contemporary Maine art community. UMVA artists value what can be achieved through collective efforts. The UMVA encourages the ideal of art as a spiritual and aesthetic communication beyond commerce. To that end, the UMVA: *creates better communication and support among artists * advocates for artsis’ interests and rights The most important programs of the UMVA include a website which features the online Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly (art magazine), the UMVA Newsletter (with pertinent announcements), and members’ artwork. The UMVA sponsors ARRT! (Artists' Rapid Response Team), its new video crew, LumenARRT!, and Maine Masters, an ongoing film series featuring some of Maine’s most distinguished artists. Currently there are two active UMVA chapters, one in Portland and one in Lewiston-Auburn. The Portland chapter maintains The UMVA Gallery at CTN, 516 Congress St., with rotating member shows.

The mission of the Maine Arts Journal (MAJ) is to further the mission of the UMVA through rigorous and ethical journalism and editorials.

Richard Brown Lethem, Projection, oil on canvas, 50” x 30”. 1964

WORD FROM THE UMVA PRESIDENT, Robert Shetterly, on the Maine Arts Journal: "I do think that because the Journal is a project of the UMVA it is a mouthpiece of the UMVA, but that does not mean to me that it always has to reflect its policy. (Whatever that is.) I think it should try to focus on art in Maine and art made by Mainers, but it seems equally valid to me to showcase art that affects and influences Maine artists wherever it comes from. But it should be in that context. It is not Art in America and should not try to be. I think our greatest strength will come from our place and our singularity and our issues. We want the journal to be imaginative, fun, edgy, socially-engaged and relevant."

UMVA

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Maine Arts Journal

Palace of Muses by Jeffrey Ackerman At the center of the creative act, the eye of the storm, the vortex, lies a mystery. Before that explosive moment there is nothing—void or chaos—yet after the instant of creation something new enters the world. From the formless emerges form; visual form, a melody, a poetic metaphor, a mathematical problem or solution to a problem, a scientific formulation, or an unsolvable paradox that will lead to deeper mysteries. That catalyst, force or agency, sparking the creative combustion chamber was personified by the ancient Greeks as the nine Muses. Our word museum is the Latinized version of Mouseion, the Greek word literally translated as the temple or palace of the Muses. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, memory. The modern museum is the physical manifestation of cultural memory. Museums have an undeserved reputation in (elite) art circles for being elitist, but the opposite is true. The Metropolitan Museum is the most visited tourist attraction in New York; the people, the masses, seem to be unaware that they are not welcome in this highbrow club. Museums are a truly democratic innovation of the recent past, allowing the public access to art and artifacts that were generally housed in private collections (or tombs). The truly elitist trend of our times is the increasing tendency for collectors and speculators to house their art collections in vaults, occupying what is known as free-ports, in tax-friendly countries, and completely hidden from public view. Yet even within the crowded museums, directors and curators, who well know how popular and appreciated their shows are, fret about better reaching the public. I wonder if the public they wish to better reach are the young, wealthy potential collectors—those oligarchs in tee shirts and jeans, who were taught in their elite ivy-league schools that museums are elitist. The other common critique of museums, sometimes more on target, is that they present art history as a rigid canon, a master narrative, reflecting current biases and trends. The self-conscious presentation of alternative narratives can be just as rigid and often more self-righteous. Many museum visitors have no problem ignoring the curatorial guidance and going off road, finding their own paths through collections. The most creative artists have always found unusual paths and unexpected connections in the treasures on offer. They essentially create their own canons; the more unique and personal, the stronger the art it inspires. Curators are also getting increasingly creative and unpredictable about how they present new and borrowed works as well as pieces from their permanent collections. This welcome trend is part of a feedback loop, affecting contemporary art making, and being effected by what artists are producing. The art critic Peter Schjeldahl recently stated; “My rule is to define as contemporary any artwork that is existent today, whether it’s five hours old or 5,000 years.� The Metropolitan Museum is certainly building on this idea with their recent expansion into the former Whitney building designed by Marcel Breuer. The landmark opening show, Unfinished, mixes historic work with modern and contemporary work, all relating to the theme of art that is, or looks, unfinished. But the Met has been doing this sort of thing for years, on a smaller scale to less fanfare. One notable example, in the never-crowded gallery housing Khmer sculpture from the 10th and 11th century, is a rattan Buddha by contemporary artist Sopheap Pich. The ends of this unfinished, unraveling image are dipped in india ink to resemble bloodstains, and a sly reference to the Khmer Rouge, connecting the golden age of Khmer history to its recent dark age, an age of horror.

JEFFREY ACKERMAN




Maine Arts Journal For Maine museums—with smaller collections and less leverage to borrow works from other collections—this evolving curating style is a way to play to strengths rather than highlight weaknesses. This trend is particularly evident at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, whose excellent permanent collection stretches from ancient Assyria to the modern era. It is not encyclopedic; a chronological presentation would highlight the notable gaps. The art is arranged with thematic, aesthetic or philosophical considerations, crossing boundaries of time and place. Recently on view, a contemporary sculpture by Alyson Shotz, was displayed in a gallery with paintings by Jamie and Andrew Wyeth, Rene Magritte, Martin Johnson Heade, and other historic painters. The Shotz piece is a highly polished stainless steel cube encrusted with lichen-like clusters of variably sized, spherical magnets, also of polished steel. The work created a visual dialogue with the surrounding paintings, and reflected them in its polished surface; they became part of the surface decoration. Another positive feature of the Bowdoin Museum is that it is a college museum. One recent show, Beautiful Monstrosities, Elegant Distortions: Sopheap Pich, Buddha 2, Rattan, wire, dye, The Artifice of Sixteenth-Century Mannerism, tapped art history professor Susan Wegner and her students to curate a show of Mannerist artworks 2009, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY culled from the Museum’s permanent collection. The breadth and depth of the Bowdoin collection offers seemingly infinite possibilities for such thematic groupings. It is possible to frequently visit the museum, encountering previously unseen works and novel interpretations. Not all of the works displayed in museums reflect curatorial decisions—economics and art world politics are major factors influencing what gets seen. Permanent collections have always been shaped by what benefactors donate to museums. This is evident at the Colby College Museum of Art. The dominance of Alex Katz is notable, but not surprising. Donated by a major benefactor from Waterville, Colby’s large collection of Southwestern art—an expected focus on regionalism but surprisingly the wrong region—would be more at home in a Santa Fe museum. Partial compensation for Katz using Colby to warehouse his paintings in public view (better than a vault) is the activities of his foundation. While Colby is rather forced to take whatever Katz pushes on them, his foundation has gifted some great works by not-so-obvious artists. One such artist is Bob Thompson, a talented, though not well known painter, who died of a heroin overdose in 1966, at the age of 29. He was prolific and managed to produce more than 1000 paintings in his roughly eight-year career, and though many are in public collections they Bob Thompson, Untitled, Oil on panel, 7 1/2 x 12 3/4 in., 1961. Colby are often not on view. Colby owns four of them, College Museum of ArtGift of the Alex Katz Foundation, 2009.043 all gifts of Katz. Thompson’s painterly figuration and intimate scale was out of place in the era of Pop and abstraction. That handicap and his short career has kept him out of the mainstream, but the beauty of a small museum is that the very nature of their collection motivates alternative groupings, and Thompson’s work gets the attention it deserves. These scenic byways through art history surprise, delight and can even change one’s outlook on the trajectory of culture.

JEFFREY ACKERMAN

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Maine Arts Journal It is commonplace in our era to critique the museum for removing art from daily life by placing objects on pedestals and in glass cases, but in doing so they remind us that art is very much out in the world and part of our lives. The Museum of Modern Art established an architecture and design department in 1932 and has always displayed industrial design alongside handmade craft works, a precedent followed by other institutions. The Met is now displaying industrial design (a Sears outboard motor from the 1930’s) alongside modern paintings and sculpture. The increasing popularity of contemporary fashion shows has influenced museums to expand their costume departments. This apparent pandering to popular taste may seem suspect to some, but the recent Manus x Machina show at the Met—highlighting the overlaps between handwork and machine fabrication in high-end couture—makes a convincing argument in favor of such shows. The works on display are some of the best 3 dimensional works of art being produced today; works of sculpture, regardless of their functional or semi-functional purpose.

Niobid Painter, Greek, Attic Red-Figure Hydria with the Abduction of Oreithyia by Boreas, ca. 460-450 BCE, terracotta. Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

threeASFOUR design group, Bahai Dress, 3D printed dress, Manus x Machina, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Engine Art Center in Biddeford also, recently mounted a juried show, Manus + Machina, that focused on digital fabrication in art and design. The center offers classes in digital technology and owns several 3D printers, a sign that the already blurred lines between art, craft and design are getting fainter all the time. In the temple-like Bowdoin museum, one expects to see works like the ancient Greek pots, or the recently acquired Egyptian mummy portrait, and like the Beaux Arts-style building itself, these works reinforce the unhip reputation of the old school museum. But is that fair in this age of artisanal cheese makers, home-brewers and pickle makers? Or is it time to renovate that dusty, old prejudice and take another look at the Greek’s innovative, handmade pottery with very naughty, edgy illustrations? Like the highly imaginative dresses at the Met or 3D printed chairs at Engine, those ancient objects were not made for pedestals; they served a function—though their functions were more ritualistic than practical.

JEFFREY ACKERMAN

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Maine Arts Journal

Kohei Nawa, PixCell-Deer#24, 4Mixed media; taxidermied deer with artificial crystal glass, 2011, Heisei period (1989–present), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY Egyptian, Fayum Mummy Portrait Mask, ca. 2nd century CE, wood (limewood, tilia), wax-based paint (encaustic), gold leaf. Museum Purchase, Adela Wood Smith Trust . Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

In all of these cases, a healthy competition motivated artists and craftsmen to outdo each other, creating objects that posterity deemed worthy of preserving and displaying. Tastes change, biases come and go, yet the most creative museum curators will adapt to, but also resist, the trends of the moment. They will place familiar objects in new contexts and present the unfashionable for re-evaluation. This is as important to the evolving art culture as creating new art, and like artists, curators will discover a multitude of muses within their own collections, sparking contemporary creations from the raw materials spanning all ages of art making.

JEFFREY ACKERMAN 11


Maine Arts Journal

My earliest muses were Milton Avery and Alice Neel. I loved their paintings and couldn’t look at enough of them. Then I was drawn to Matisse because of the way he broke up the horizon lines in his paintings. Then it was David Smith’s large sculptures, but his Medals of Dishonor really got to me.

Barbara Sullivan, Girl On a Line, shaped Fresco, 52” x 30” x5”, 1999

That work of Smith’s was the first work that made me understand the importance of message and content, beyond composition and color.

Barbara Sullivan, April in Paris, shaped fresco, 72" x 98" x 5", 2015, Jay York photo

BARBARA SULLIVAN

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Maine Arts Journal

Barbara Sullivan, Globe, shaped Fresco, 19" x 14" x6", Jay York photo Barbara Sullivan, Barbara Sullivan, Bedroom Chair, shaped fresco, 46" x 21" x 5", 2015, Jay York photo

Barbara Sullivan, After Monsanto, Shaped Fresco, 29" x 33" x 5", 2015, Jay York photo

BARBARA SULLIVAN

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Maine Arts Journal

Early on these muses (artists) gave me permission, somehow, to be expressionistic rather than realistic. Honestly though, my muses were always the way everyday things looked and made me feel.

The subtle little things that I noticed, food on a plate, tree leaves out an open window, smells, the breezes moving leaves in the light, how buttered toast was shiny, dry toast was matte.

Barbara Sullivan, Apple, oil on canvas, 17�x 24�, 1992

Watching weather was another influence, paying attention to dramatic colors in the sky, and wind. Nature was always an important muse as well.

Barbara Sullivan, Oldenburg, Jay York photo

BARBARA SULLIVAN




Maine Arts Journal

Barbara Sullivan, Pantry, shaped Fresco, 54" x 32"x 2", 1999, Jay York photo

It is not surprising that my work also dovetails in an uncanny way with Red Grooms and especially Claes Oldenburg. Red Grooms’ work showed me self-deprecating humor. When I saw Oldenburg’s show at MOMA a few years ago, it scared me a bit. I saw work of his I had never seen before, and I ended up saying to myself “I made that and one of those too!” That said, I do think our work is different, mine is much more literal, made for different reasons and constructed with a different sensibility. His work is true “Pop-Art”. It is, though, a good example of artists being on the same channel at different times. I have always maintained that original thought and original art, for that matter, don’t really exist, that the originality is in the source alone, and that the source is the seed and comes from anywhere and everywhere, whether a muse is present or not.

Barbara Sullivan, Traffic Wrap, shaped fresco, 48" x 30" x6", 1999, Jay York photo

BARBARA SULLIVAN

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Maine Arts Journal

Jonathan Borofsky: An Expansive Journey By Daniel Kany Over the course of decades, Jonathan Borofsky has continued his serial project, Counting, a single work of conceptual art that began by writing out sequential numbers by hand, and was then absorbed into everything he produced; works, from the smallest doodle to the largest sculpture were each associated with the number the artist had reached at the time he completed the work. I had long been intrigued by the idea of sustaining a project like that over so many years what would inspire an artist to do such a thing? - but I hardly had that in mind when I first saw Borofsky’s Running People at 2,616,216, in the new Renzo Piano-designed, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. As is my habit, I took a few pictures of the Borofsky-graced space along with the label. (I have 16,138 photos on my phone; not a Borofskyesque number, but also not insignificant.) It was only when I was later looking at the images that I noticed the number 2,616,216. Here in this text, the number stands out. I assumed it was a new work of art. In 1999, Borofsky passed 10,000,000 and I wondered if it had been his goal to reach that before the new millennium. Counting was a project he started in the late 1960s and he often spent hours a day working on it. What struck me as particularly interesting was that Borofsky, at some point, began using his numbers as a kind of self-contextualizing signature for his artworks that related his work to this sequencing project. By tethering his art to the numbers, he in turn tethered Counting to a very real aspect of his life—his art. (I want to be clear that these numbers do not represent a count of Borofsky’s works, they comprise an unrelated practice.) I had read that Borofsky included Counting, then a three-foot stack of paper on which he had written the numbers from 1 to 2,346,502, in his first solo show at Paula Cooper Gallery In 1975. I remembered this

JONATHAN BOROFSKY

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Maine Arts Journal

Jonathan Borofsky in his Ogunquit studio. Photo by Dan Kany vaguely because of the picture of the stack of papers; I was surprised that anyone would continue past one million. Borofsky, who has lived full-time in Ogunquit since 1992, had a solo show with Cooper this past January.

JONATHAN BOROFSKY

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Maine Arts Journal I didn’t have the exact 1975 number in front of me, but it seemed very close to the Running People number, so I had the perception that Running People was made right around 1975. Then it struck me that Borofsky was archiving his own life, work by work, gesture by gesture, moment by moment. Moreover, an artworld mapped out by the self conscious efforts of Duchamp, Pollock and Warhol is a culture of museum logic: history, image, biography, action and self-expression as means of self-discovery as well as

Jonathan Borofsky in his Ogunquit studio. Photo by Dan Kany self-creation. The iconic Picasso signature includes the date of each piece. Borofsky at “2,346,502” is more consistent with the conceptual underpinnings of his work than an old-school signature like “Borofsky 1975” - it’s digital from when that word still referred to our fingers - our digits - instead of, ironically enough, binary systems. Borofsky emphasized this take on his work, which is an inversion of the more common understanding of numbers within digital culture: “‘Figure’ is a term for a number or a person. The pixels you see in my figures, like the outdoor sculpture going up at CMCA, or the idea of digital code - the digits are our fingers after all - these are all particles. They are metaphors for how we are the bits that make up society. My goal is to represent the person in society....I liked the system and structure stuff of Minimalism, but what’s missing is the truly personal. I always seek that personal connection in my work.” With his personal code process that connects his works to his life narrative, Borofsky is much closer to Beuys than Warhol. And it’s a reminder that what launched Borofsky to the top tier of the artworld was this aspect of the installations such as he created for his 1983 solo exhibition at the Whitney. Like Pop artists, Borofsky is concerned with society, but instead of diagnosing culture as a slick, dehumanizing veneer, Borofsky finds it a place where many “bits or particles” come together to make something much greater.

JONATHAN BOROFSKY

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Maine Arts Journal When I met with Borofsky, who has spent the last few decades putting up gigantic sculptures around the world, he showed me a vast table in his studio with about a thousand small drawings on it. “While my wife reads in bed every night,” he explained, “I make these drawings.” He indicated within them visual residues of his daily life: a horse’s head, a face, a goose, a dog and so on. “The outward shape,” he explains, “is the outline of a particle. I start with a particle that has been formalized and then broken into parts. One becomes many. Many becomes one.” Borofsky then pointed to the large paintings on the wall: Each was based on one of his evening drawings. Looking around the studio quite literally filled to the rafters with art, he smiled as he said, “These are all self-portraits of some sort: Many parts of me....The numbers in the paintings emphasize each painting is part of something greater. A number is part of a series; it becomes a conceptual reference.” I sometimes meet artists who have set out to match their intentions to the viewers’ experience and I meet artists who try to match their processes of expression with self-discovery.Putting this all together so that the artist’s intent and processes line up in terms of expression, self-discovery, diary practice and self-creation is a rare thing. What motivates Borofsky is his own life; his wife, his work and the world around him. He visits his next-door horse and goose friends daily; and we see their forms reappear often in his evening “particle” drawings (“Imagery should be personal,” he maintains). He works because he is inspired and he is inspired by

Architect Toshiko Mori and Jonathan Borofsky at CMCA in Rockland. Photo by Dan Kany his work. Borofsky’s ideas about “digital” logic began to ring truer and truer the longer I looked at his work: It’s not the left-right-left of binary logic’s 010101. It is not a simple linear narrative that plods on. Instead, like the human mind ever-enriched by its sensibilities, it’s an expansive logic about being connected to the world. And Borofsky’s world is a living entity like a person, a mind or a society: To expand, it grows.

JONATHAN BOROFSKY

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Maine Arts Journal In my earlier years of making art I would see shadowy ghost-like shapes on the painting surface and they would show me what to draw. This still happens sometimes if I feel like freestyling. The muse is another word for a holy spirit speaking through an artist’s body, bringing form to the formless, making the hand move by a higher power. I’ve been asked, ”Why are your figures sometimes staring off into space? Why do they look like they’ve been clocked over the head?” And then someone much wiser than I told me the answer. She said, “Don’t you know honey? You’re making saints. They’re looking up because they’re full of the spirit, and you’re the one bringing them that spirit.” Now, after many years of making art, it may be more matter- of- fact, I’m always thinking of subject matter and there may be just plain and simple work to be done. But when I really stop to think about it, I feel certain that there’s an otherworldly force at hand.

Muse List for Drag Queens in the Rain: 1. The Bourbon Pub - New Orleans most popular gay bar 2. Neck Tattoo - Inspired by Southern rapper Yelawolf Elizabeth Fox, Drag Queens in the Rain, oil on panel, 11” x 16”, 2014

Muse List for 4:30 Friday: 1. Elevator Men - television series “Mad Men” dolls 2. Lowered Ceiling - Sets from television series Mad Men 3. Power and vulnerabilities of office politics Elizabeth Fox, 4:30 Friday, oil on panel, 13” x 18”, 2011

ELIZABETH FOX

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Maine Arts Journal

Muse List for The Drop: 1. Scene inspired by ice fishing on Sebago Lake 2. Men on left - Jesse and Michael from the television series Breaking Bad Elizabeth Fox, The Drop, oil on panel, 11” x 16”, 2014

Sometimes it feels as if it’s all nuts and bolts, simply form, and other times the whole thing comes to you like a gift. Sometimes you just see great scenes and you have to attempt to recreate the story. I’ll see someone running and remember it, place it with something else, another activity that I may see later on and then find a setting that brings it all together. There are favorite places that I can harken to, like New Orleans, Maine, and even Orlando. Sometimes I’ll delve into art history, adding favorite celebrities and outfits, or draw from street fashion. Sometimes it’s about finding a sense of personal belonging, and then other times you discover the meaning of your own work after the fact. Then further down the road, the meaning of the work may change again, molding itself into something much bigger, greater, more timeless than any of us.

Muse List for Underground: 1. Scene based on Boston subway and hand sculpture, Benedictions 2. Men on platform Angels Elizabeth Fox, Underground, oil on panel, 16” x 24”, 2015

ELIZABETH FOX

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Maine Arts Journal

Elizabeth Fox, Sandro, Sandro, oil on panel, 18” x 26”, 2009

Muse List for Sandro, Sandro: 1. Sandro de America - A 1970’s Argentinian sex symbol singer 2. Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus 3. Tulips - Spring 4. Seabiscuit Race Horse 5. Wooden Dog by New Orleans artist Jeffrey Cook in the collection of artist Setchie Sino 6. Empty Seat inspired by New Orleans artist Chuck Crosby who painted self portraits personified as chairs 7. Tiny Brush on Chair - A nod to Louisiana artist Douglas Bourgeois known for his extremely detailed work 8. Cookie Jars in Andy Warhol’s Collection

Elizabeth Fox, Last Room, First Room, oil on panel, 14” x 24”, 2015

Muse List for Last Room, First Room: 1. Figure based on a young Jackie Gleason 2. M&Ms inspired by concert riders as a ‘job complete’

ELIZABETH FOX

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Maine Arts Journal

Elizabeth Fox, The Neighborhood, oil on panel, 14” x 24”, 2014

Muse List for The Neighborhood: 1. Scene inspired by the television series Breaking Bad 2. Girl at Bus Stop - Inspired by Australian rapper Iggy Azalea

Muse List for The Power to Stand: 1. Face - Young Bette Davis 2. Butt - television series The Hills ‘ Whitney Cummings 3. Setting inspired by David Hockney’s pool paintings 4. Coloring from a backdrop of Kirsten Dunst at Cannes Film Festival Elizabeth Fox, The Power to Stand, oil on panel, 24” x 32”, 2011

ELIZABETH FOX

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Maine Arts Journal

Secular Reliquaries: Detroit as Muse by Curtis LaFollette

In the small east Kansas railroad-town where I was raised there were thirteen farm equipment dealers, some retail stores, a few repair shops, and a blacksmithing shop, but there was only one factory. My stepfather worked there as a skilled machinist. I grew up in the shadow of awesome enormous machines—at least they appeared to be so when I was four. That impression has endured.

Carl Minden operating the “big lathe”, Fleur Corp. Paola KS, 1958, file photo

After college, I fled Kansas as a refugee, an internally displaced person, supporting myself as a Detroit factory worker while pursuing an MFA at Cranbrook. My job required visiting subcontractors and job-shops, where I observed an array of obsolete and incredibly dangerous production machines and appalling working conditions. Weekends were spent at the Detroit Art Institute contemplating Diego Rivera’s industrial murals.

Diego Rivera, Poison Gas Plant, (detail), Detroit Art Institute

CURTIS LAFOLLETTE

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Maine Arts Journal

Curtis LaFollette, Deconstructed Tea Pot, 1997, 8" X 9 1/2" X 14", Robert Nash Photo

CURTIS LAFOLLETTE

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Maine Arts Journal

Twenty-five years later, I began to incorporate “rust-belt” elements in my holloware, beginning with a 1989 tea kettle. For the first time in my career I injected subject matter and dialectic analysis into my oeuvre. The Maginot Line cream jug and the deconstructed teapot are typical objects from this period. Five years ago, chafing against the aesthetic limitations of the utilitarian object, I began to fabricate a series of architectonic sculptures executed in wood, closely followed by quasi-utilitarian industrial objects executed in metal. The objects, a fusion of materials and contradictory ideas, seemed to me incoherent and lacking in clarity. This dissatisfaction prompted a critical writing project analyzing this work through the contrivance of detached, objective third party criticism. The resultant document facilitated the genesis of my Industrial Wasteland series.

Curtis LaFollette, Maginot Line Cream Jug, 2008, 6” X 4” X 91/4”, Lynn Karlin Photo

These wastelands inhabit the space between the death of the industrial age and its plausible, but improbable, resurrection. Curtis LaFollette, Tensegrity #11, 2003, 36” X 42” X 47” H, Cara Sawyer Photo

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The elements and structures in these pieces (deconstructed environments) reference the decaying refuse of a defunct industry as well as traces of the regenerative building blocks of its reconstruction. As a result, they exist outside permanent categories: Death and birth coexist within the same object. American industry may be dead, hibernating, or simply absent. It remains indifferent to the aesthetic outcomes which it dictates and enables. This body of work offers no definitive solution to the conundrum, nor does it comment on the moral/immoral context spawned by the demise of heavy industry. Curtis LaFollette, Industrial Wasteland #2, 13” X 12” X 16 3/8” H, 2014, Lynn Karlin Photo

It exists as an extraction from physical reality. These collective secular reliquaries are intended to celebrate the innate beauty of decay, degeneracy, and utter devastation. While alternative opportunities for aesthetic outcomes lurk within the transient boundaries of their archeological iconography, in this wholly perverse, hostile, and toxic atmosphere, I have generated a necropolis for the defunct industrial empire.

Curtis LaFollette, Industrial Wasteland #5, 2014, 11 5/8” X 14” X 13”, Lynn Karlin Photo

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Ethan Hayes-Chute: Home & Away By Edgar Allen Beem Ethan Hayes-Chute presents his art in what he calls “a quasi-pseudo real-life way.” He creates real objects and installations that evoke a fictional life. That was the genius of Hermitage, the faux-cabin that was the centerpiece of the 2009 Portland Museum of Art biennial, filling the museum’s Great Hall with a shack so carefully and artfully designed and furnished that one would have sworn a hermit was living there.

Ethan Hayes-Chute, Stopgap and Steadfast, Wood, Found Objects, 2011,

I think Ethan Hayes-Chute, 34, is one of the most interesting artists Maine has produced so far in the 21st century. He has expanded not only the possibility of what art in Maine can be but also its geographic reach. Hayes-Chute grew up in Freeport and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2004.

For the past 10 years, he has been living and working in Berlin, Germany, while returning regularly to Maine to see his family and friends. His local roots and global perspective define some of the best new art in Maine. For Hayes-Chute, art is an imaginative enterprise, along the line of another Maine-connected artist Randy Regier. Regier’s NuPenny Toy Store is an elaborately executed faux-toy store that has been set up in Maine, Florida, Illinois, Arkansas and Kansas, where Regier now lives. Hayes-Chute extended the life of Hermitage in 2011 with Stopgap and Steadfast, a fully-articulated hermit’s kitchen installation and a series of model cabins at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. He has since shown iterations of his strange domestic art in Berlin, London, Cordoba, Spain, Malakoff, France, Setydisfjordur, Iceland, Vevring, Norway and Marrakech, Morocco. “I’ve always been interested in the idea of creating your own space, the way you want to – from ‘forts’ in South Freeport in elementary school, treehouses that I never built but sketched out with friends, to cabins in the back yard to cabins in art galleries and museums, or outside of them,” Hayes-Chute told me, “and everyone needs shelter…and it’s not just shelter, but it’s in a way a container for a life or lives, where objects accumulate and tell a

ETHAN HAYES-CHUTE

Ethan Hayes-Chute, Make/Shifted Cabin, interior detail, 2011

Ethan Hayes-Chute, Make/Shifted Cabin, Wood, Found Objects, Dimensions Variable As installed at Entreé, Bergen, Norway, 2011 28


Maine Arts Journal story, not just with what they are, but how they are arranged and settle, what’s been used or not. So, though I’m quite interested in the house, I’m very interested in home.” Maine is home and it conditions the way he thinks about his art, but Hayes-Chute does not think of himself as living in exile. He moved to Berlin a decade ago at the suggestion of a fellow RISD grad and is now part of an international art community there. “It’s still got a great energy, a comfort and a relaxed air that allows one to live relatively inexpensively, that leaves time within the months to spend in the studio even if one still needs to work on jobs and so forth,” he writes of Berlin. “It’s a melting pot of people from all over, and really can be exciting if you want it to be, and one can also put their heads down and get work done.” Hayes-Chute’s latest art enterprise - a series of videos presented as a television network - is a collaboration with four other artists entitled CONGLOMERATE. The “shows” on the CONGLOMERATE network comprise a virtual melting pot of internationalism: One, for example, is a Latino telenovela entitled Desde el Jardin written and directed by Venezuelan artist Sol Calero and Finnish-Israeli artist Dafna Maimon and filmed in Glasgow, Scotland.

Ethan Hayes-Chute, from the series Beacons, Ethan Hayes-Chute photography, 2015

Hayes-Chute’s CONGLOMERATE production is a mock do-it-yourself TV show called The New Domestic Workshop. In the first offbeat and humorous episode, Hayes-Chute solves the problem of the price of pizza in Berlin by building his own pizza oven out of a pair of hotplates and sheet metal.

Ethan Hayes-Chute, scenes from Episode One of ‘The New Domestic Woodshop’ from Block One of CONGLOMERATE

Hayes-Chute had PBS shows such as This Old House and The Woodwright’s Shop in mind as well as the more recent phenomenon of DIY videos on YouTube.

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Maine Arts Journal The New Domestic Workshop “is about making your domestic fantasies come to life, and using what you’ve got. A large portion will be about using home-made tools and jigs.” Hayes-Chute often speaks of the overlooked and the seemingly inconsequential material clutter of modern life as the inspiration for his art.“I definitely don’t have a singular (personal) muse, but indeed, so many things inspire me, it’s hard to know where to start… If anything, it’s things that I see repeatedly… moving flyers, locksmith stickers on doors, little cards people stick in car windows in the off chance that the owner wants to sell it, spice packets on the ground, very small bottles, well-aged thumbtacks and pushpins.” From July 19 through October 16, the List Visual Arts Center at MIT will feature an exhibition of Hayes-Chute’s installations, sculptures, drawings, computer art and performance pieces in its List Project series. List curator Henriette Huldisch met Hayes-Chute at an artists’ residency in Norway and then followed his work back in Berlin where she was previously curator at the Hamburger Banhof art museum. Ethan Hayes-Chute, Structural Section, Wood, Found Objects, Electricity, 82 x 210 x 50 cm, 2015

“Ethan moved to Europe right out of school, so he is better known there,” says Huldisch. “He has an interesting balance between American vernacular structures like hunting cabins and lake cabins and the American cultural myths such as living off the grid and self-sustainability. At the same time, he is very conceptually engaged and is well-versed in contemporary art. I’m interested in the originality of what he’s doing. He has a very unique voice.” In a 2011 interview, Hayes-Chute talked about the balance or tension between the life his art imagines and the life he actually leads. “In many ways I wish I could be simply living the life these buildings are created for,” he said, “but that might also waylay my investigations into other structures and architectural interpretations. That is, unless I can get a big tract of land and build my own town on it.”

ETHAN HAYES-CHUTE

Ethan Hayes-Chute, Structural Slab, Wood, Found Objects, Electricity, 82 x 100 x 15 cm, 2015 30


Maine Arts Journal When I asked him what he meant by this, Hayes-Chute wrote, “I suppose I meant that I would, somehow, be living a parallel life – one where I’m in a small cabin, tinkering away and self-satisfying things where I don’t have to worry about worldly concerns such as money, food, the art world, etc, and just be able to hum along in the woodshop… while meanwhile the other me is more interested in presenting new ideas and thoughts to a greater audience, and inspire people, make them happy and think. I guess the reality is I’m somewhere in the middle.” Hayes-Chute will continue to explore the middle ground between the imagined and real this summer in a collaborative project with Dafna Maimon at Kunstverein Braunschweig called A Moment of Camp.

Ethan Hayes-Chute, Structure for A Soft Tragedy , wood, mirrors, fabric, 350 x 310 x 250 cm As seen in the Project Space Festival, Landwehrkanal, Berlin, 2015 http://kinderhook-caracas.com/asofttragedy

“We’re creating ‘CAMP SOLONG’ which is a three-day summer camp that will take place in the garden at the Kunstverein,” explained Hayes-Chute, “and we, as counselors, will guide our six campers through three days of exercises and interactions that will ready them for the inevitable end of camp— something we all have to prepare ourselves for.” It is this serious playfulness that has come to characterize the art of Ethan Hayes-Chute. His combination of the low-tech with the hi-tech, the hand-made with the computerized, the actual with the virtual pushes the boundaries of the art enterprise.

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Recontextualizing the Muse By Rob Sullivan The classical tradition involving the personification of the muse through the female figure secured its place in visual history as both a presentation of Western beauty and a problematic aspect of patriarchal control, in this case, of the picture plane. Innumerable critics and scholars have thoroughly deconstructed this issue, so I will not address it directly here. Rather, I have sought to recontextualize it in a more contemporary framework in order to unfetter the muse from the chains of these discourses. I strive in my paintings to straddle the line between the aesthetically ‘pretty’ and conceptually fertile. Robert Sullivan, Tenebrae, oil on canvas, 40” x 30”, 2013

Robert Sullivan, Intuearis, oil on canvas mounted to panel, 48” x 48”, 2013

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In my painting Tenebrae, an unconventional formal take on Utrecht Caravaggism, to the focused, oversized, yet suppressed gaze of Intuearis (or the averted gaze in Prima Facie), I present the model-as-muse in a circumstance dictated by how the value structures (light and dark, rather than ethics) and limited palettes are employed. Operosus, with its vectors of meaning angling towards the difficult discourse of a prone female nude, shifts mid-stream as the reference towards Holbein’s dead Christ presents “oppression” as an historical trope—the palette also suggests oppressive heat.

Robert Sullivan, Prima Facie, oil on canvas, 40” x 30”, 2013

Robert Sullivan, Operosus, oil on canvas, 24” x 48”, 2013

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Robert Sullivan, Nulla Gloria, charcoal, oil on frosted Mylar, 24” x 36”, 2014

Robert Sullivan, Altus, oil on panel, 24” x 36”, 2016

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Within the Romanticist and sublime construction of Nulla Gloria, the muse becomes a distant observer. The falling missile breaks the plane of the landscape, its presence underscored by the slick facture of oil paint surrounded by the delicate monochrome of charcoal on Mylar. It was my goal to make the suggestive narrative of failure permeate both conceptual and formal notions. Robert Sullivan, Livens, oil on canvas, 20” x 30”, 2015

The underwater suffusion of the above-water seascape of Livens doesn’t fully displace its attractiveness, but this work served as the lead-in to paintings like Gurges and Altus. These duotone, explosive moments strike me as at once alluring and disjunctive. Complimentary colors vibrate and explode against one another, while the figures observe, unaffected and unchanged by the violence within their pictorial domain.

Robert Sullivan, Gurges, oil on panel, 40” x 30”, 2015

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PAUL PLANTE AND THE SOUL OF ART IN MAINE by EDGAR ALLEN BEEM Father Paul Plante, a Sanford native, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1971. In 1987, he earned his BFA in painting at Portland School of Art and he has been a fixture on the Maine art scene ever since. Father Paul is now terminally ill, so the time to reflect upon his contribution to Maine art is at hand. Fifteen and twenty years ago, I saw Father Paul’s elegant little pastel close-ups of birds’ eyes, fish eyes, plums and apples in exhibitions at the Farnsworth Art Museum and Colby College Museum of Art. I visited him when he was the pastor of Saint John the Baptist Church in Winslow in 2001, at which time he was methodically and meditatively producing close to 1,000 small oil pastel paintings a year.

Paul Plante, Common Eider, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2011

That very day, I purchased a little painting of a red winged blackbird eye, the depths of which still amaze me. The tiny white spot that is the focal point provides an entrance into the mysterious soul of this otherwise most common of avian beings. A great many people on the Maine art scene own one of Father Paul’s pastels. They are beautiful, plentiful and affordable. Cynthia Hyde and Jim Kinnealey, who show Plante at their Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland, own a Plante painting of a Florida anhinga eye. “A dedicated artist and an avid collector,” the couple writes, “our dear friend, Father Paul Plante, has a keen and loving eye that finds the holiness of spirit in nature.” Former Farnsworth director Chris Crosman has a Plante bluebird hanging in the entry of his Thomaston home. Chris writes that his Plante bluebird “eyes us daily in our comings and goings and makes me smile. I believe that was the core message of his art – to make people smile – and as many of us as possible by selling these at the ridiculously low price of $100 each. He was the spiritual heir to medieval manuscript illuminators, albeit telling a simple story about seeing and looking more closely at life – and all lives more alike than different.” In his essay, Father Paul states that “my work has very rarely been an expression of my religion,” but I would argue it has always been an expression of his spirituality. Religion is an organized body of beliefs, but spirituality is that primal sense that we are all connected to something much larger than our selves. There is a mindfulness about the way Paul Plante has paid such careful and sustained attention to color, form and pattern, taking in nature through the eye and translating it into culture with the hand. His art is a form of transubstantiation. It is the essence of creation. It is the work of the soul.

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MUSE by PAUL PLANTE I like to think that when we are touched, affected by a work of art, it is because the mystery, the spirit of the artist, has come through in his or her art.

Paul Plante, Blue Jay, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

Don’t we always wonder what it is in a work of art that is so wonderful, so moving? My response is that the art has put us in touch with an aspect of the mystery of a specific human being. And since we are all unique, and in my spirituality, all created in the image of God, since God is infinite, there are infinite aspects of the mystery of God in each one of us. The artist is able to allow this mystery to be shared in a work of art. It’s no wonder that we can’t really tell what it is that makes the difference between true art and some kind of matter of fact expression of skill.

Paul Plante, Horned Grebe, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2008

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This brings me to reflect on the fact that many people have referred to my art as spiritual. People know that I am a priest and attempt to be the best possible person and Catholic. But my work has very rarely been an expression of my religion, such as Icons might be. People sense the spirituality in plums and birds and tropical fish.

Paul Plante, Red Breasted Nuthatch, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2014

I imagine many artists have depicted such subjects without the spiritual dimension. I have to humbly admit that I have never purposely tried to “spiritualize” my work. It is what it is. However, if someone sees a spiritual dimension to my work, I rejoice, because I believe firmly that one's encounter with a work of art is also an encounter with the soul of the artist. Since integrity is the goal of my spiritual life, I rejoice that the “spirit” that enlightens me has a place in my art work. Just as I want my personal and private life to match my public behavior, I also want to be the same spiritual person as a priest as well as an artist. Paul Plante, Painted Bunting, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

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A time of prayer precedes most of my activities. When I write a homily, I have previously read the Scripture, prayed and reflected and then, hopefully guided by the Holy Spirit, written a homily that reflects who I am as well as the influence I want to have on those who will hear it.

Paul Plante, Lemon Goby, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

I am careful, however, not to claim that all that I do is the doing of the Spirit. The Spirit is way beyond my art production. My human limitations actually keep the Spirit from being totally transparent. I realize, as my life comes to an end, that I could have been more open to the Spirit and thus have been a better person, a better priest, and a better artist. May the Spirit forgive me and accept my humble apology. In a very real and honest sense, all I can do is thank those who have seen my work and affirmed me by detecting my spiritual side. I hope this is who I've been for many people. Paul Plante, Powder Blue Surgeon Fish, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

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Paul Plante, Snowy Owl, oil pastel on paper, 5”x5”, 2015

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Checking In by Kenny Cole An interview with Meg Bailey Fournier on Muse

Meg Fournier, Morgan, charcoal and pastel on paper, 2006

KC How would you define the concept of “Muse� as it relates to your own personal experience? MF My interest in a life as an artist began early. In high school, I decided I wanted a career as a studio artist and was offered early acceptance to Pratt Institute with a partial scholarship. I was highly motivated with a very conventional and committed picture in my mind of what it meant to be a practicing artist. In my second year of school my set goals and purpose stopped making sense. I felt a loss of direction, so I left Pratt to collect life experiences. I did finish my BFA, but those life experiences led me more toward arts programming and arts administration, and further away from my own studio practice. I worked in film distribution and for film festivals. I opened a multidisciplinary art space with my husband called Roots and Tendrils in Belfast, Maine. I co-founded the Free Range Music Festival and managed the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts. I served in various arts administration roles for amazing organizations like Waterfall Arts and nonprofits in Louisiana. During this time I still retained a traditional view of what it meant to be a practicing artist. I felt that I could not be both an administrator and a studio artist, so I stopped creating art. A few years ago, after my son was born, I was really yearning to create again. One small piece at a time, I've been reconnecting with my materials and reconnecting with that part of myself. I've had to recalibrate my goals and priorities to accept myself as an artist. Will I ever be a full time studio artist in some fancy studio in New York? No. Do I want to be? Not at all. I draw so much inspiration from the people around me in my life and community, which helped me to realize that a studio practice needs input and support from all aspects of life, and it can co-exist with parallel careers. I still work as an arts administrator. I still program live music events. I'm a mom. I'm a wife. The life experiences that I thought were getting in the way of me creating work as an artist ultimately ended up being my inspiration and push me to be a better, more motivated artist.

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MEG FOURNIER




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Meg Fournier, Birth, charcoal pastel and acrylic on wood, 2007

Meg Fournier, Halloween: A Matching Game, charcoal pencil and acrylic on wood, 2011

KC What aspects of your working period gave you the most encouragement for returning to a studio practice? MF I had to re-think how to approach engaging with a studio practice. I realized that having long periods of time to work uninterrupted and having the space to work on multiple projects at a time would no longer be feasible. I simply had less time and would have to change my ideas of how to create and become more fluid, rather than linear. This has allowed me to be truer to my own voice and approach things with less pressure and stress and focus on what is just fun and interesting to create. Studio time has become more strategic with all of my other activities vying for time, so I've committed myself to being freer and less critical when I'm there. KC What advice would you give to an artist who is having difficulty making time for a studio practice? MF Find a supportive community among your friends, family, and fellow artists. Talk with people experiencing the same struggles. Have a beer. Vent. Commiserate. You will hear varied and unique ways that others have figured out how to carve out time and space. You will also hear that sometimes it's just really hard to find a balance. Have another beer. My sister-in-law has been a big inspiration for me. She is a brilliant published writer, a department head for a writing MFA program, and a mom. She has successfully committed herself to carving out time for writing. But she is very open about how hard it can be at times. Her encouragement and honesty have been a valuable resource for me. KC What kind of future aspirations do you have? MF I want to experiment more and familiarize myself with new materials. My work mixes elements of painting, drawing, and printmaking. I am looking forward to discovering new ways to overlap these processes. In the past I've created themed bodies of work. For example, corvids (such as ravens, vultures and crows) dominated my work for a while. I would like to absorb myself in new themes and create large cohesive bodies of work again. I am getting back to figure painting and drawing. I am hoping that figurative studies and elements of portraiture make their way into my next body of work. No pun intended. Previous page: Meg Fournier, Vultures, charcoal pastel and ink on paper, 2015

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RICHARD BROWN LETHEM




Maine Arts Journal

Richard Brown Lethem, Cross Cut, oil on canvas, 60” x 80”, 1966

RICHARD BROWN LETHEM




Maine Arts Journal When the MAJ proposed “MUSE” as a topic I decided to take up the pen. The request came at a moment when I am jotting down notes for a dialogue with my novelist son Jonathan about the correspondences between our two disciplines. This talk will take place in July at the Patten Free Library in Bath, Maine. While thinking about what to say on that occasion to shed light on 54 years of father and son interaction, I quickly realized the most significant link in our art forms might be boiled down to the missing voice of Judith Frank, to bringing to life the spirit of my muse and Jonathan’s mother, Judith Theresa Frank Lethem. A blend of aristocratic, Ashkenazi German Jews on her father’s side and Eastern European Litvak on her mother’s, Judith combined the best of both traditions; worldly, elite, high culture and the earthy soul and humor of the Eastern shtetl. Both were worlds I had only read about in my limited Midwestern upbringing. The amalgam of these two extreme European cultures coupled with her sharp native intelligence and New York street smarts equipped Judith with an exuberant self-confidence that reinforced the marriage and gave our kids a rich environment until illness cut it short.

Richard Brown Lethem, Trunk Heroica, Farewell, 96” x 77”, 1954

Too bright to put up with the freshmen cattle car lecture classes at Queens College, she ran away to become a part of the hip Village scene where she knew all the 60’s folk music artists on MacDougal Street. That is where we met. Before our kids arrived she studied anthropology and social work at The New School for Social Research.

Richard Brown Lethem, Yellow Trunk, acrylic, 58” x 70”, 1964

RICHARD BROWN LETHEM

Richard Brown Lethem, Problem #1, Source, oil on canvas, 75” x 56”, 1954

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Jude had an incredible presence of mind and social charisma; she was never at a loss for words. Her phenomenal memory got her nicknamed “Total Recall” and her antenna for bullshit exposed any phoniness she encountered. She knew exactly who she was and never backed down in social situations that totally baffled me with my shy Midwestern ways. She was beautiful, with strong Semitic features, and long sable black hair, dark eyes and a theatrical presence. Her face recalled the finest Fayum portraits. She took your breath away. Obviously I was in love. That love and her face inspired the surreal fertility images of the 60’s.

Richard Brown Lethem, PXTY, oil on canvas, 72” x 50”, 1965

My work from that period used elements like the anvil-vise, trunks, stereopticon, birds, books, tools as a compendium of our lives at the time. Looking back, it was a magical time where the intensity of love made everything possible. I was deep into Wm. Blake, Di Chirico, enigma and the mega symbol with many connotations.

Richard Brown Lethem, Trunk Erotica, oil on canvas, 1965

PTYX was from a Mallarme poem, the sound a seashell makes when held to the ear. Trunks were important in my childhood. Father was a traveling salesman who let us play in enormous trunks full of colorful samples. Tools and specifically at that time, that vise took on all kinds of human aspirations for me. As images they pointed to the richness of life, rather than having literal one on one associa- Richard Brown Lethem, Kansas City Star, oil on canvas, 50” x 50”, 1965 tions.

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Ingrid Ellison, Open the Floodgates, oil on panel, 12”x12”, 2016

I am surrounded by shipyards and harbors housing old hulls, shells and vestiges of past journeys. On Maine’s midcoast I am privileged to witness the history of hard won life amidst nature’s harsh elements. Here lie vessels that have held generations, fishing nets, tackle and charts, rudders and tillers, sails and engines that have navigated both the rocky coves and the open seas. My paintings reflect the mood, colors and imagery of the Maine coast. My seascapes do not describe a particular lighthouse on the rocky shore, but my paint marks the flow of the waves as the shifting tide turns pebbles on the shore. The colors of the changing hues of the water and skies most decidedly inform my palette. The patterns discovered in the erosion of the tide or the planking of a wooden hull inform my drawing. My art is in the details of noticing, of observing, and then of reflecting back in my studio. I honor the time it takes to get a job done to make a painting. I look to the world around me for a muse in the coast and humbly attempt to describe its beauty and meaning in my work.

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Ingrid Ellison, Julia’s Water, oil on panel, 18”x18”, 2016

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Ingrid Ellison, Tackle

Ingrid Ellison, Weathered Floats

Ingrid Ellison, Abandoned Sloop

Ingrid Ellison, Bailing Wire, oil on panel, 12”x12”, 2016

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Ingrid Ellison, Underwater, oil on panel, 18”x18”, 2016

Ingrid Ellison, S.O.S., oil on panel, 18”x18”, 2016

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Benjamin Potter, Scratched Oxbow, soot on paper, 17�x16�, 2015.

My muse is sometimes out in the empty stark of the winter night, out with the corn stubble in the snow blanket fields, and other times on the couch eating chips and cracking jokes. I think about those things largely unseen and private out there in the woods-- animals eating crayfish or stealing eggs, or a certain wild growth of branches caused by a virus or some such mysterious thing. I like the spectrum from the holy to the ridiculous, and how it all jostles for space in the mind.

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It is good to know that there are things larger and stranger than myself.

Benjamin Potter, Pollen Oxbow, pollen and acrylic on panel. 13”x14”, 2016

I think about the role of chance and use odd materials sometimes in order to intersect a bit with the big world. I use substances like pollen milk and soot in some of my work, and these materials are not easily controlled. They bring some chance occurrences to the work: connotations of nourishment, destruction and growth.

Benjamin Potter, Spruce, oil on panel. 36”x36”, 2015

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Benjamin Potter, Loop, bleach and acrylic on fabric. 26”x19”, 2016

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I always return to the landscape and the patterns left by agriculture or geology or chance. The landscape can be huge and deep, like the oxbow patterns left over as a river occupies an area over the centuries. The landscapes I love are also a place where friends burn their Christmas trees and hope that the neighbors don’t complain, or kids cut their feet on glass in the bay. There are the steel-colored waves in February rolling in, but also the hose in my yard that I forgot to pack away and now lies tangled and frozen.

Benjamin Potter, Tangled, milk on paper, 17”x16”, 2015

Benjamin Potter, Freddy and Mark, milk on paper, 17”x16”, 2014

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Amusements My studio houses a lot of stuff, arranged and on display for muse and amusement, for me as well as for others. I belong to that camp of artists whose artistic practice includes the collecting of cultural detritus. This practice fuels my creative motivations. I have, over a lifetime, collected a lot of useless, odd, cast off, abandoned, old, rusty or stained artifacts of our collective cultural experience. Old books, a subset of that listed above, are particularly juicy. Paper from old books, maps and charts, paper as a fresh surface, paper from the side of the road all attract me, and so do paper’s complement: old, quirky objects, with their riveting mystery, former life and associations. These raw materials invite alteration and incorporation into tableaux that converse and communicate. I began as a printmaker, making marks in metal to be transferred to paper. Then odds bits of paper made their way into the prints. Soon I was folding paper to make embossings in the printmaking paper. It was a few more years before I realized it was the paper, not the image, that inspired me. I continued to move from two dimensions to three, layering and constructing, responding to form, color, design, and linear elements, in creating abstract compositions. In my studio practice today I move between two and three dimensions, making paper collages and assemblages, between the delicacy of paper and its opposite, the hardness of objects. It is, among other aspects of beauty, the exquisite “patina of significance” of these things that inspires their incorporation into artistic constructions.

Abbie Read, The Devil’s Doings, old book covers, linen thread, 65” x 42”, 2014

Abbie Read, Obelisk, old book covers, linen thread, 96” x 11” x 11”, 2014

ABBIE READ

Abbie Read, In The Land of Heart’s Desire, old books, elk bone, linen thread, 18” X 24”, 2014 56


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ABOVE: Abbie Read, Library, mixed media: old books, altered books, found objects, decorative papers, 38’ long installed at Waterfall Arts, 2104, Lynn Karlin photo RIGHT: detail of Library

Of course there are also my artist muses, Joseph Cornell and Jasper Johns, Ann Ryan and Louise Nevelson, Donald Lipski and anyone who has ever picked up a piece of trash and made something out of it.

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Abbie Read, Studio shot

ABBIE READ




Maine Arts Journal

ABBIE READ 


Maine Arts Journal

AGE OF HEROES, a visit in search of a teacher, his students, and their muses by KATHY WEINBERG

The road to Robert Hamilton’s home and studio goes past Dragon Cement, through the town of St. George, past the iconic Knox Mansion, and later, a rusty sculpture of St. George battling a dragon in a front yard, all indications that one is heading into a land of legends.

Robert Hamilton, Not ‘til the Fat Lady Sings - II, 0il on canvas, 60” X 67,” 1998, photo by Peggy McKenna

ROBERT HAMILTON




Maine Arts Journal The Maine coast with its miles of crenellated shoreline has attracted artists over the decades. Robert Hamilton was one of them. He made his summer home into a year-round residence when he retired from 34 years of teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. Every summer Hamilton opened his outbuildings, the “Museum” and “Octagon,” to display his paintings for the public. Every July, he held a party with friends and neighbors, among them, artist Andrew Wyeth. The Maine coast is a muse to many artists, but the setting does not figure into Hamilton’s paintings. His work reveals respectful debts to other artists: His drawings recall the graphic hand and satire of George Grosz, and his series of Homage Paintings tip their hats to his most valued sources. The Hamiltons spent two years living in Rome, where the history of art is a living force that becomes part of any artist who makes the pilgrimage. Hamilton’s predominantly black railway paintings, hanging in The Octagon at the time of my visit, recall Roman frescoes, especially The Black Room at the Villa Agrippa—a similarly seaside summer home created in 11 B.C. (Several sections of its walls are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY collection.) This Octagon, built by Hamilton, was most likely influenced by the famous Florentine Baptistery.

Robert Hamilton, Max Beckmann, oil on panel, 24” X 24”, 1994

Robert Hamilton aspired to become the “Greatest Unknown Painter,” an unofficial title for which there is stiff competition, even in sparsely populated Maine—a title that cloaks a great ambition behind the American, post-war desire to be left alone. Hamilton’s resume reads like a Hemingway character. He survived 100 missions as a WWII fighter plane pilot. His friend, fellow artist Philip Guston, was in the same division, but did not qualify for pilot training. Instead, he made artwork for the military, illustrations of training excercises. Maine is filled with Hamilton’s former students, including, David Estey, a painter who has produced a book and a website about Hamilton and his work. Hamilton is Estey’s muse, especially Hamilton’s jazz-inspired improvisational works. “What keeps you painting? I’ll tell you, Estey,” Hamilton once told him, “Surprise. If you don’t have a surprise every day, it’s a bad day.”

Robert Hamilton, Philip Guston, oil on panel, 24” X 24”, 1994

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Maine Arts Journal

Robert Hamilton, Plane Restrained, 24" x 32", with Nancy Hamilton. Big Eyes and Red Fez at far right.

Nancy Hamilton in the Octagon with Robert Hamilton’s train series.

Former student, painter and educator George Lloyd, also rekindled his relationship with Hamilton in Maine. “He was a realist and romantic at the same time,” Lloyd told me. “He was an American in Rome, and travel is dreaming.” And it is my experience that artists can draw upon such lucid dreams for years, decades, often for a lifetime. I asked Lloyd about Hamilton’s recurring images of airplanes—memory or muse?

“Hamilton never stopped flying,” Lloyd said, leaning forward for emphasis, eyes wide, “You know what I mean?” Max Beckman is included in Hamilton’s pantheon of Artists I Admire, a series of paintings depicting Hamilton’s muses and their muses as well. “Beckman was his god,” Lloyd said. Some of Hamilton’s paintings contain dream fragments, mythic riffs, jazz-inspired improvisation, glimpses of history and other artist’s work—often through the eyes of the children he paints. Hamilton followed the doings of Krazy Kat, but was probably not aware of the cast of South Park, a small gang of morally imbalanced children made from bright paper scraps who bear a resemblance to Hamilton’s children. In one large series of dark paintings, installed in the Octagon on the day I visited, children are looking at and through the windows of passing trains, a memory from the artist’s own childhood. Another poignant image from 2004, Same Old Dream, depicts a young boy holding an airplane. It is a portrait of the artist as a child holding the plane he flew as an adult.

ROBERT HAMILTON

Robert Hamilton, Train, 3 Passengers,Face and Moon Above, oil, 72" x 91", 1991 62


Maine Arts Journal Hamilton bought gallons of house paint for his paintings and often large scale canvas in bold colors— “Whatever was on sale,” explained Nancy Hamilton, Robert’s wife, an artist who was also his student and model. “You could tell the year by the colors he used.” The walls and floors of his house and “Museum” are painted in the same bright Mediterranean colors as many of the paintings displayed within them. Nancy has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is preparing for inevitable changes the illness will bring. I did not ask her about her own art, which is kept on the second floor, according to Lloyd, out of view. Our talk was all about Robert and his art—a legacy Nancy is proud to maintain, along with continuing the summer shows in his museum and octagon. Another former Hamilton student has been partially influenced to make the airplane central to her work. Yvonne Jacquette, a painter and longtime seasonal resident of Maine, charters planes and makes direct pastel studies—in plein air—and takes backup photographs for drawing, not for color, for her paintings. A retrospective of her work was mounted at the Museum of the City of New York in 2009. Jacquette represents a different generation of artists from Hamilton’s. Stylistically, she was not bound to the generation of abstract expressionist painters who preceded her. Her career also represents a new freedom of choice for women artists. Whereas Nancy, a painter, was both staff and anchor for Robert’s life and work, but for Jacquette, the sky was the limit. On a peacetime mission, she got into a plane, and flew off in her own direction.

Robert Hamilton, Cheese It, The Cop, oil on panel, 16” X 16”, 1995

Link to Hamilton site: http://www.roberthamiltonpainter.com/art/index.php

ROBERT HAMILTON 


Maine Arts Journal

POETRY FEATURE I am sending one poem by Lee Sharkey and one poem by Bruce Spang. These poems don't address the classical image of the muse as a gendered figure who whispers in the poet’s ear. But they suggest other ways poets experience influence and inspiration. For Lee Sharkey there is the sense of fellow travelers, other writers with whom she has been in deep conversation, whose presence calls forth a response from her. I thought her poem for Henry Braun was particularly suited for the issue. For Bruce Spang inspiration seems to come when someone or thing outside the self calls forth an inner alertness, so inspiration is a function of open channels, when inner receptivity meets something outside that arrests attention. Maybe that always was the role of the muse, to create the situation in which the artist can be open and alert. Betsy Sholl

Man on a sofa —for Henry Braun A man is lying on a sofa. The man has been reading. He has laid down the book beside him. The man’s form is waiting to be occupied. Give him a name, Henry, say; look how the form fills in, as if you could read, in Henry’s limbs, in Henry’s countenance, Henry’s dreams dancing in his head. The book by his side is Henry’s companion. The book beside Henry is writing itself as we speak. Meanwhile, a night-dark form in the shape of a man has occupied the sofa. Somehow it has taken the place of the man, the man we call Henry. Pick up the book the absence of Henry was reading. The book is night-dark and brilliant. The book is writing itself as we read. Maybe, the book says, Henry has gone for a walk in the woods and found a small patch of small green lilies. Maybe, the book says, Henry has set off for the New World with his backpack. The absence of Henry stirs in its sleep. Man on a sofa was first published as a Split This Rock poem of the week.

LEE SHARKEY




Maine Arts Journal

Dancing in the Driveway For residents in this gated community the Sandhill cranes are like decorative statues, gangly gray birds with red triangles painted on their foreheads— fanciful creatures more nuisance than attraction. Several cars skirt by a pair on the side of Fairway West. We almost pass them, too. But someone cries,” Stop.” Not four feet from us, they bob up and down and strut their long necks curling them like sparklers in the hands of children on the Fourth of July. One crane stands by as the other bows and weaves his body around in a circle, flutters up for a moment as if he’s become transported, right up to her and she, her head cocked to the side, seems amused as if to say, “Not bad bud, but watch this.” Then she straddles the air, flips back and twists to one side, making a lazy figure eight, and swooping up again, turns as a Sufi in circles lightly on her toes, once and again, and once more, while he watches, amazed. Soon as she finishes, he ducks and swivels, flapping his wings, picking up a leaf and tossing it in the air, his head curving down and lifting up in celebration. They’re in someone’s driveway, matching move by move, letting themselves be for one another in a manner that let all of us coming back from Christmas shopping, shoulder to shoulder, rows of goods and lines at cash registers, know from these rhythmic mystics of another realm, what we’d, in this season of getting and owning, forgotten.

BRUCE SPANG 


Maine Arts Journal

INSIGHT/INCITE Bernie Vinzani

Professor of Book Arts and Interdisciplinary Fine Arts University of Maine at Machias According to my parents I was a curious learner. They had to put up with the stuff I got myself into including several trips from the fire department to my home. But I still think back to when I was young and how I learned. What surrounded me when I chased an idea. How I felt when I got caught up in a teacher's enthusiasm and encouragement. Why I was pushed to learn a series of poetic phrases, a passage of music, or a comparison of qualities. What I felt when I connected the seemingly unrelated. I was taught by one art teacher to have no fear. An art room was a place I could feel safe to begin a painting and I could paint it. Remembering my love for how I learned then, is some of what I do in the classroom now. The book arts studio at UMM is a think tank of what we dream a book can be. Intuitively and consciously, I try to create a place where my students can begin a process of learning that can exceed their expectations. I try to build my student's confidences, especially the beginners, with exercises they can complete with a sense of accomplishment. Where, in time, a harder assignment with a greater degree of difficulty can be approached with a greater chance of success. I couple my student's freedom to express themselves with the rigors of learning fundamental needs of concept and process.

Krys Kelling, recent graduate of UMM Book Arts Concentration, assembling an original edition.

The book arts studio is where a student makes a book of their poetry, and the fog on the path becomes a new page design and a place to travel. The Book Arts Concentration at the University of Maine at Machias is part of two programs: Interdisciplinary Fine Arts and English, Creative Writing, and Book Arts. We also have a one year Certificate Program in Book Arts. B UMM book edition being assembled.

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M.C. Richards, Jon Imber and Ashley Bryan on the Muse by Richard Kane

Stories about art and artists often tell deep tales about life. To M.C. Richards, the influential artist, educator, and philosopher of creativity, it is imagination and authenticity that are doorways to creation. In our film M.C. Richards: The Fire Within, I asked M.C. what happens when someone is able to tap into their intuitiveness. She told me I was asking the wrong question! “If you change the image from ‘tap into’," M.C. said, "to listening, to receiving … to being empty, the impulse has some place to enter.

M.C. Richards, Photo by Jonathan Williams, 1979 

If we’re too busy doing it and tapping and looking and inquiring, there’s no place for the muse to find her way into the work. So I think the most important thing is receptivity, listening, the ear, let the ear be the main organ … hearing the inaudible….” Ten years later I directed Imber’s Left Hand, a film of how Jon Imber struggled and found fulfillment in his life in the face of the debilitating affects of ALS. Jon’s story made it crystal clear that life is fleeting and the personal message I take away is that I must make the most of what time I have left; not necessarily working more, but working deeper, being open to the muse as M.C. said. I recently gave a DVD of Imber’s Left Hand to Ashley Bryan, the subject of our latest documentary about to be released -- I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan. Ashley was moved to described Jon’s story as “the brightest affirmation of life”. Jon’s life was surely affirmed by love -- love for art, love for his community and family, and love for life itself. Love was Jon’s muse. Ashley's muse we learned is Nature, the Spirit and the Child Within. He skips and jumps in his mind like a child, yet he's such a deeply spiritual creative genius. It’s the awe and wonder that Ashley feels every day and his gratitude for life and all of nature, that informs and inspires his art. “When I speak of applauding the sun,” Ashley says, “the trees and birds, the ocean. Those are gifts that we have daily that we take for granted. I don’t want ever to take them for granted. … I want to be reminded that there’s a gift from some force beyond me that really opens up my life in every way .…” These are the rich lessons I have learned from these artists -- receptivity, love, and gratitude -- things that allow the muse to enter into my own life and work. My hope is that our films and the stories they tell about Maine artists, opens a space in your heart to let the muse enter into your art. I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan, a film by Richard Kane and Rob Shetterly, premieres at the Maine International Film Festival July 8 or 9, and screens at Bar Harbor’s Criterion Theater July 16th at 7pm.

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CARLO PITTORE




Maine Arts Journal

On opposite page: a note from the late UMVA founding member, Carlo Pittore on the subject of Muse. On this page: Robin Brooks, Schoodic Spruce, DETAIL, digital photograph, 2016

ROBIN BROOKS 


Maine Arts Journal

I am with my Muse when I am in the natural world. It can be a cobble beach or the deep woods or even a stroll around my garden. The sensory experience of nature moves me, both literally and figuratively, toward the work of the heart. This past April I had the honor of being an Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park. Each day of my residency I awoke with first light and set out to explore the elements and the animal, mineral, and plant life of the Schoodic peninsula. It is at times like this that I feel closest to my Muse.

Robin Brooks, Morning Sketch, digital photograph, 2016

Robin Brooks, Stone in Hand, digital photograph, 2016

ROBIN BROOKS

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Jan ter Weele, Nude Figure, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, 2005, photo by Jay York

Here she is, an eternal muse.

JAN ROBIN TERBROOKS WEELE 


Maine Arts Journal

AMY PETERS WOOD

Amy Peters Wood, What Lies Above the Pulpit, diptych, egg tempera, 6’ x 4’, 2016 72


Maine Arts Journal

Amy Peters Wood, Turnpike, egg tempera, 31” x 40”, 2016

Walking down the aisle of the supercenter to purchase late season suet for the birds, I passed a group of women browsing and reading the labels of potent insecticides and herbicides. “This one looks great!” said one, basing her evaluation not on the chemical concentration of the contents within, but the bright red font stating “Kills ticks for months!” On the drive home to my farm, I passed the jaunty VW beetle busily saturating the neighborhood in a pesticide blizzard. As I daily fight to keep my beehives alive, and the various amphibians around my ponds free from sexual aberrations caused by environmental estrogenic compounds, as I read of more and more species becoming extinct from the actions, or better, inactions of us humans, I silently fall victim to my muse.

From within, she spins her threads locking me to the point of paralysis, until I mix my colors from hen’s eggs and ground earth. Inside this chrysalis I create a twisted world where there are no foolish leaf blowers, no parkified woods, and especially no inept politicians shouting at one another.

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Maine Arts Journal

Muse Growth This artist's life is a journey toward complete authenticity. My muse grows with me, birthed from inner and outer worlds. As a girl-child, I was artist of the pretty - paper dolls and Prang watercolors. The muse was fed by traditional visible art. As the artist grows, so does the muse. A period of study into the unknown endures, searching, quirky or phantasmagoria, Hokusai to Bosch. The muse rearranges, improvises, mimics styles, still learning. When the glory of art mutates with life’s pain, the muse hauls up images of despair and rage from the hidden self. The artist may shy away or grasp all. Here may be a stopping point, art becomes static, self-involved. Muse sleeps.

Suzanna Lasker, Current Muse - The Sibyl, digital image, 8 1/2" x 11", 2016

Suzanna Lasker, Pretty Muse, digital print, 8 1/2" x 11, 2015

SUZANNA LASKER

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Suzanna Lasker, Integration, Childhood Memories/Adult Sensibilities, tempera on paper, 9" x12", 2006

Then the muse rebels, and growth begins again. Famished to know more, the learning increases joyfully until the end. Or so it seems. Suzanna Lasker, Rage and Despair Muse, Tempera On Paper , 9" x 12", 2006

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Martha Miller, In June, mixed media on paper, 30” x 22”, 2016

My dreams have long been an integral part of my art making. For decades I have kept illustrated dream journals and have come to believe that my dreams are a way that Spirit speaks to me. The double muses of Dreams and Nature guide me in my most recent work. In these mixed media drawings I strive to illuminate my spiritual connection to both the outer natural world as well as to the dark inner realm of dream and symbol, making manifest images of a personal mythology. Two more paintings by Martha Miller are on the inside front covers of this issue.

MARTHA MILLER

Martha Miller, Somewhere in the West, mixed media on paper, 22” x 30”, 2016 76


Maine Arts Journal

This sculptural relief was one of those art works that makes you wonder how much the muses are working through us.

Kimberly Callas, Giving Receiving Returning, Cast Architectural Concrete with Pigmented Wax, Barn Wood Frame and Concrete Threshold, 8’ x 4’ x .5’, 2006, William Thuss photo

I was just playing with some thumbnail sketches of three life-sized figures inspired by the three muses. At the time, I was thinking of making three separate relief panels, each 8’ x 4’., but I didn’t want to build the large frames needed to hold the clay. The next day I came to my studio and outside my studio door were three 8’ x 4’ wooden platforms, the perfect construction for the reliefs. A dance company had moved out from next door and left their dancing platforms behind in the hallway. No one had known I was working on these sketches. The work later morphed together into one panel relief, but finding the platforms as a gift for the work felt like the most intimate love message.

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Maine Arts Journal

Courting the Muse and New Views of Mount Fuji In over 150 works I’ve created serial images of Japan’s iconic mountain. Mount Fuji has been a witness to all, and its impassive presence has become a point of departure in considering the past, the future, the Renaissance, and the Westminster Dog Show ...among other things. I have draped the mountain in leopard, tiger and zebra skin. Fuji is observed in the form of a cupcake and at the bottom of an hourglass.

Dorette Amell, Needle and Thread Fuji, Colored Pencil and Graphite, 4” x 6”, 2007, Jay York photo

At times amusing, there are also sobering bits of synchronicity; a length of barbed wire juxtaposed with the mountain suggested Manzanar Fuji. Playing with scale and the desire to paint two believable mushrooms, I realized that I’d unwittingly referenced the pyroclastic clouds generated by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Dorette Amell, Keep Out (Manzanar Fuji), oil on canvas mounted on wood, 4 1/8 x 4 7/8", 2007, Jay York photo

The mountain leads me where it will.

Maine Arts Journal Dorette Amell, Two Mushroom Fuji, Acrylic on Canvas, 4 x 10”, 2009 , Jay York photo

DORRETTE AMELL

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Maine Arts Journal

Brian Mark, Universality, 24k gold and nickel with powder coat and acids on stainless steel panel, 12”x8.5”, 2015

Muses are hiding all around us. Brian Mark, Assurance, 24k gold silver and acids on stainless steel panel, 29”x25”, 2015

Ghostly-like fairies whispering ideas in our ears and unveiling epiphanies, that is, if we are listening. I am asking my viewer to practice the art of being awake. Allow for the faint ghost of an idea to evolve from the subconscious and merge into the conscious mind. By shutting out noise and really trying to be observant the Muse becomes clear to see. Brian Mark, Grace, 24k gold silver and acids on stainless steel panel, 7”x7”, 2015

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Maine Arts Journal

David Estey, Night Swim, acrylic, 37�x 48�, 2015

Night Swim is one of the best examples of the influence Robert Hamilton, my painting professor at RISD, has had on my work. It has his coloration, strange imagery and unconscious suggestion of a dreamlike drama playing out. His most important contribution to my work is the notion that “paintings had to be improvised, spontaneous, made up out of whole cloth, one thing leading to another, accidental, a series of metamorphoses, surprise arrivals.� That is exactly the way I paint improvisations like Night Swim, starting with virtually nothing in mind, allowing design and narrative elements to emerge by surprise and deliver a stimulating, evocative result.

DAVID ESTEY




Maine Arts Journal

Christopher Morse, Jobus #198, Archival Pigment on paper – digital capture, 24” x 36”, 2015 © C E Morse

Muse: Mother Nature (vs. Man) I am intrigued by the collusion of nature and man as it accidentally creates art, visual landscapes that are overlooked. Caused by erosion, collision, rust, and rot, when presented without identification these images can be beautiful, seductive, and emotionally evocative. Having evolved over many years, they seem permanent, but they are transitory. These pieces of incidental art vanish. I capture them at the moment of their existence, often just days, if not hours, before they disappear.

Christopher Morse, Finnto #73, Archival Pigment on paper – digital capture , 24” x 36”, 2013 © C E Morse

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These are my muses, my two granddaughters picking blueberries on the Sedgwick Ridge.

Don Mallow, Caroline, graphite drawing, 6�x8�

Don Mallow, Lillian, graphite drawing, 6�x8�

DONALD MALLOW




Maine Arts Journal My paintings continue to revolve around the theme of women, sewing, fashion, image, sex and politics. Lady Gaga was my muse for a painting entitled GAGA. At Superbowl ‘16 she sang the Star Spangled Banner. I was electrified by her remarkable presence and her voice. In addition to her talent, I discovered her dramatic contributions to women's issues. I've become a fan. The spectacular red glitter Gucci designer pant suit beckoned me to paint it. The look was amazing. I simply had to put her on canvas.

Lesia Sochor, Oscars, oil on sewing pattern paper, 48x24, 2016

The runway was the muse for my painting Oscars. This is fashion at its peak, from the classic to the sublime, all of it extraordinary clothing. Witnessing high couture provoked several questions. Who sews the garments? Where are they made? Are the wages fair? Are the working conditions safe? This question is posed to the viewer; it runs down the middle of the figure’s bared back,

“Who puts your zipper in?”

Lesia Sochor, Gaga, oil on collaged sewing pattern paper, 48x24, 2016

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Maine Arts Journal

In November of 2015 my mother passed away after a long illness. During her long transition my mother received many visits from my father and her twin sister who had passed before her. At first, I dismissed these claims, but as time went on I began to believe that they were coming to help her with this part of her life. As I witnessed her slowly slipping away, I became keenly aware of what it means to be human. We are spiritual beings. The beauty of life’s many phases and how they are managed is my inspiration. It fills me with hope and love.

Linda Murray, Don’t Fear The Reaper, acrylic, 10” x 10”, 2015

Linda Murray, Sisters, acrylic, 10” x 10”, 2016

LINDA MURRAY

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Maine Arts Journal

Linda Murray, Transcendence, acrylic, 24” x 24”, 2016

Linda Murray, Awakening, acrylic, 10” x 10”, 2016

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Maine Arts Journal

Petrea Noyes, A Day at the Beach, digital collage, pigment inkjet on canvas, 30”x30”

My 'muses' arrive early in the morning... they bring curious visions that I use to create abstract/figurative pieces on my laptop with an electronic stylus and tablet. One piece builds on the next and vice-versa.

Petrea Noyes, Escapee from the Toolroom, digital collage, pigment inkjet on canvas, 30”x30”

PETREA NOYES

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Petrea Noyes, Gray Ladies, digital collage, mixed media on canvas (pigment inkjet on gessoed newsprint on canvas), 30”x30”

Petrea Noyes, Things that Go Bump in the Night, digital collage. pigment inkjet on canvas, 30” X 30”

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Maine Arts Journal

Marnie Sinclair, Climate Change, Mixed Media, 21” X 26”, 2014

My muse is deeply imbedded in Nature’s many aspects of balance and imbalance. I am intrigued by how plants communicate with each other, as well as the disruption of the natural balance that we have created by our insatiable appetite for power and control. During the process of creating I research and reflect on the many attributes of my natural subject. Then the material choice is decided, followed by the execution. The muse has a hand in the materials, color, texture, and design needed to make the sculpture as aesthetically pleasing or provocative as possible, in order to lure in the viewer. An accompanying story is included with each piece which informs the viewer of the many magical aspects of perfect harmony that exist everywhere in nature. When working on Imbalance the stories are equally as important as they deal with the many aspects of climate change Marnie Sinclair, Angel’s Muse, 12” X 8”, Mixed Media, 2015

MARNIE SINCLAIR

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Maine Arts Journal

Marnie Sinclair, Acidification, Mixed Media, 72� X 24�, 2014

MARNIE SINCLAIR 


Maine Arts Journal

ARRT! Banner produced for Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership

The Artists Rapid Response Team! (ARRT!) is a project of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. ARRT!’s mission is to support progressive groups, organizations and non-profits

throughout Maine by making their messages visible. Our UMVA member artists and friends believe the old adage that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’. ARRT’s banners, props placards, digital images and large scale video projections address issues ranging in scale from local to global. The images on these pages are recent, created since the last MAJ was published. Check out our website at arrteam.org for more images, information and to find out when we next meet. Join us!

ARRT!

ARRT! Banner produced for Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership 90


Maine Arts Journal

LUMENARRT! is part of the Artists Rapid response Team! formed to create large scalesite specific projections. The above photo was taken on the First Friday ArtWalk in Portland in May. Go to arrteam.org to see more images and videos of LUMENARRT! projects

The Exxon tiger at right is helping to support 350.org’s campaign for Climate Change awareness and the fight to make Exxon accountable.

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ARRT!

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The six panels on the left are each divided into nine squares and will form the sides of a huge 3D puzzle for this summer’s Brunswick Peace Works Fair for the theme “ Help Build a World in Which All Children Can Thrive”. The Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center will use the above banner.

The above banner was requested by Friends of Bigelow, for use by the Forest Ecology Network, NRCM, and other groups along with a flag, which was planted on top of the mountain to Save Bigelow Again! Our law makers are pushing to heavily cut the state-owned forests. It is a statewide issue because the public forests are all at risk.

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The placard on right was requested by peace activists for the weekly peace vigil group in Brunswick.

The group Maine Boys to Men, a non profit that serves entire communities by helping boys reach their potential to become emotionally healthy, respectful, non-violent men. Below banner was made for the Immigrant Resource Center's Hawenka celebration (formerly United Somali Women’s Resource Center).

ARRT!

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Maine Arts Journal

Union Of Maine Visual Artists Lewiston Auburn Chapter Report UMVA-LA chapter has had an incredible spring! We have petitioned the city of Lewiston and successfully installed painted murals on the sidewalks for the first Art Walk of the season. Art Walk Lewiston Auburn happens on the Last Friday of the month. The sidewalks are soon to be ripped up for a resurfacing project. Talks are also underway for business-sponsored murals on the new sidewalks! We have also obtained permission for the pilot project of our Creative Crosswalks Project. It will replace one crosswalk on Chestnut Street in Lewiston near the famous Simone’s Hotdogs with a crosswalk made of hotdogs and hotdog buns. After one year we will be able to add more of these Creative Crosswalks throughout Lewiston. UMVA-LA members are working onfield trips to some of the other Art Walks and Art Events that happen around our communities. We began with the Gardiner Art Walk. It was a great time connecting with other artists, seeing new works and how Gardiner is prospering. Many of us are planning to attend the Brunswick-Portland Art walks andto continue to build our artist community,to encourage artists and art admirers to come to our art walks and events as well. Plans are also underway to take a trip to NYC to go to MOMA in August! L/A Makers’ Artist Development Group completed its 5 month launch of recurring meetings to share work, websites, and artists’ statements, and to talk about creative practice and living as an artist in the world. The group has decided to meet for another 5 month period and rotate organizing duties. Our LAMADG meeting will be held on Tuesday June 14th at 6:30pm at Marche’. We are also changing the format of our meetings. We will have one hour of official meeting time followed by a guest speaker or in-house artist(s) who will do an hour presentation, a sharing ofcurrent works, aspirations and inspiring stories. Our May meeting we had an amazing presentation by Kevin Callahan of Kimball Street Studios! He did an art hanging, installing do’s and don’ts, that was just incredibly valuable to everyone who attended. This month we had Amy Stacey Curtis talk about her 9th Biennial installation, Memory, that will be here in Lewiston’s Bates Mill Complex, 35 Canal Street, Lewiston, Maine. Opening: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 2-5pm, through October 28th. We are excited and honored to have Amy’s work in our community and look forward to all that it brings! UMVA-LA meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm. Our location changes monthly, If you would like to attend or be added to the email list email UMVALewistonAuburn@gmail.com “like” us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UMVALewistonAuburn/

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Maine Arts Journal

INVITATION TO SUBMIT THEME FOR FALL JOURNAL: Celebrate your Monsters! It will be just before both Halloween and in the thick of the election season, time when the Fall issue of the Maine Arts Journal: The UMVA Quarterly comes out on October 1st. So the editors thought our Fall theme could reflect and reveal the season of MONSTERS…............. Oh, there will be Monsters afoot, you can be sure! They will be standing front and center. They will be lurking at the peripheries. They are always amongst us. We welcome some, laugh at others and fear still more. They are our creators, destroyers, protectors, tormentors and toys. They can pretend to be our leaders but be beasts. They can be our true messengers. They stand at our boundaries, express our dualities, haunt our dreams, feed our anxieties, embody our insecurities, desires and deformities. Monsters are our Dragons both good and bad. Our Demons both new and old. Our presumptive deviants. Our morbid fascinations. Our mythology, politics, religion, our tortures both real and imagined. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, meltdowns, incoming comets.

For artists, monsters can be our muses. Sometimes they are part of us. Sometimes, they are us. From the well-intentioned sophistication of our exploits in genetics can come giant tomatoes, or bestiality, or extinctions. The good can go bad. Medicines become poison. Knowledge can foster confusion. Every day, light plays against darkness. But it re-emerges. Art can play an important role in helping us see, be strong enough to ask the tough questions, and move us to act. Art can help us reflect on who we are and where we are going, and what we are doing as members of society, captains of culture, curators of a planet. Imaging our monsters helps us sense the urgency of emergency and confront the madness inherent within it. Our art can open our hearts to courage and compassion, and our outrage can move us to out our moral response into action. Our art can slip into people’s souls and change them. Our monsters can be a mirror of ourselves or a telescope to a new world. Monsters can be our spirit guides, our familiars, our totems. We invite you to submit your art and writing for the Fall 2016 Maine Arts Journal on the topic of this current and ancient issue – Monsters. A “comment” on the news, a deadly serious response, a thought-provoking text, an open-for-interpretation image, something fresh with irony, humor, or eccentricity: Your monsters are up to you!

Submit your work to umvalistings@gmail.com by September 1, 2016. We

invite UMVA members to submit up to 4 images. In the interests of practicality and allowing access to our growing UMVA membership, MAJ will limit the "Members Submit" section to UMVA Members who have not been published in the past year. You may also include a written essay/ statement on this theme to accompany the work, of 150 words or less. Send submissions to umvalistings@gmail.com by September 1 deadline and include “Monster” in the subject line. (If you submit multiple images, we will choose what fits publication and may edit your text). Please submit images as high-resolution jpgs; the format should be at least 1000 pixels on the shortest side and 150-300 dpi. Please send an image file in a word document that clearly numbers and labels each image with artist, title, year, medium, dimensions and photo credit.

MAJ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES




Maine Arts Journal

THE MAJ is a project of the UNION OF MAINE VISUAL ARTISTS. Please share it with friends online, click here to subscribe to the MAJ , and click here to join the UMVA.

We rely on the support of our readers to continue publishing and advocating for Maine arts and artists. You can read past issues through our website archives at

http://umvaonline.org/index.php?page=archives If you would like to own a printed version just click on the issue cover below and you can order it from peecho.com. Thanks for your continued interest and support.

Summer 2016 Muses

Spring 2016 Neurotica

Winter 2016 Impermanence

Fall 2015 Working In Series

Summer 2015 A Sense of Place

Spring 2015 In Defense of Painting

Winter 2015 Interview/Innerview

Fall 2014 Then and Now

Summer 2014 Art You Do/Don’t Show

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Profile for Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA)

Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly Summer 2016  

Summer 2016 theme: Muses A project of the Union of Maine Visual Arts. Features Maine Artists and writers on Maine arts, includes interviews,...

Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly Summer 2016  

Summer 2016 theme: Muses A project of the Union of Maine Visual Arts. Features Maine Artists and writers on Maine arts, includes interviews,...

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