UMVA Quarterly Journal, Summer 2015

Page 1

Sense of Place

UMVA Quarterly Journal Summer, 2015

Union of Maine Visual Artists Quarterly Journal -- Summer, 2015 “A Sense of Place” contributors: Cicely Aikman (1923 - 2013)

Front Cover

“Sea Rock,”1969, 34” x 36”

Ed Nadeau

Inner Cover, Page 2

Ed Nadeau

Inner Cover, Page 3

“Chain and Hook,” oil on canvas, 34”x 31”

“Compost-Green Hills,” oil on canvas, 42” x 32” additional Ed Nadeau paintings: 34 - 35

Christine Higgins

Nora Tryon


“Place This/This Place” by Daniel Kany

40 - 43

Update The PMA Biennial 7

Sarah Baldwin


“Here and There: Place in Poetry” by Betsy Sholl Visuals by Natasha Mayers

Visual Essays

Including the work of:

“Place: A Visual Essay” continued by Nora Tryon

Todd Watts Back Cover Blanchard Weather Report May 27, 2015

“Cents of Place” By Anita Clearfield


“A Sense of Place” by Natasha Mayers

(8 - 15)

including the work of:

35 - 38

44 - 47

48 - 62

Joel Babb 10 Daniel Minter 11


49 - 51


52 - 54

Cindy Dow

55 - 62

“Place: A Visual Essay” by Nora Tryon including the work of:

Lisa Dombek Kate Chappell

(16 - 39) 16 - 21 22 - 25

Rebecca Goodale

26 - 29

Mary Becker Weiss

30 - 31

G. Bud Swenson

32 - 33

“A Sense of Place: Cicely Aikman 1923 - 2013” by Natasha Mayers with assistance from Deidre Scherer, Ann McQuade,and Cynthia Hyde 63 - 70

-- The UMVA Quarterly Journal -is funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission


Member Submissions:

O’Chang Studios (Hanji and Atom O’Chang)


Susan Drucker

72 - 73

Andrew Abbott

74 - 75

Leslie Anderson

76 - 77

Janice Anthony

78 - 79

Petrea Noyes


Chris Beneman


Rachel Eastman

82 - 83

Lin Lisberger

84 - 85

Linda Murray

86 - 87

Ed Nadeau 88 - 89 (2 - 3) Bob Richardson 90 Anne Lively 91 Mei Selvage 92 Mary Becker Weiss 93

Ruth Sylmor

94 - 95

Amy Wood 96 - 97

Regular Features and Writing: Insight/Incite Narratives by Educators about Creative Expression by Iris SanGiovanni 98 - 99 ARRT! Report by Artists’ Rapid Response Team 100 - 106 Call for Submissions for Next Issue:


From the Editors:


or this journal, the editors inaugurate a new format we’re calling the “visual essay.” Our goal is to inspire a regular feature that will allow artist “curators” to think and act creatively to produce a context for their work, instead of simply sending in single artworks. Though we will continue to encourage individual member submissions, we hope readers will be inspired to come to us with their own ideas for visual essays on future journal themes. (See Submission Guidelines for the next theme, “Working in Series.”) Our theme for this summer issue is “Sense of Place” and each of the four editors put together a visual essay to explore and model possible formats: Nora Tryon uses the lens of environmental connections to highlight several Maine artists’ work and their concerns about place; Anita Clearfield delves into the “placement” of the artwork itself and the power relationships that implies; Natasha Mayers features three “outsider” artists in her essay, as each seeks a safe place through their art; and Daniel Kany explores the truth of images as “anchors to the world.” In the interest of establishing a visual format, Natasha Mayers even added visuals to our poetry editor Betsy Sholl’s written essay on “Place in Poetry.” We also feature a visual essay on the landscape-based work of an accomplished Maine artist, Cicely Aikman (1923 – 2013). We’re pleased to have received a record number of member submissions that expand the diversity of responses to the theme for this journal. Please share the Summer Journal with other artists, friends and family, as we’re proud that our “Sense of Place” has come together here to reflect a multitude of meanings that make Maine artists both universal and unique. With our grant funding coming to an end, we want to remind our readers that in order to keep publishing this journal freely to the arts community, we’re dependent on union membership dues (based on a very affordable sliding scale). If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll join the UMVA and encourage fellow artists and art lovers to join. You can check out the other benefits of membership at And if you have ideas about grants, patrons, fundraisers or have a $10 check you can put towards this worthy cause, please send it our way! ---- Nora Tryon, Natasha Mayers, Daniel Kany and Anita Clearfield, Editors


he UMVA is scheduled to meet with Jessica May, Curator, at the Portland Museum of Art on July 8th to discuss union concerns about the museum’s decision to put on a biennial without an “open-call.” We will be reporting on that and any subsequent meetings in the next issue. Below is a letter the union recently received. Attached is a 1 page personal story relating to a biennial’s open-call--my hope is that it will afford a different perspective on the importance of returning to an ‘open-call’ for the PMA Biennial. Sincerely, Michael Winkler A personal biennial's open-call W i n k l e r history W o r d relating A r t P rto o aj eMaine c t s/

- Michael Winkler

In 1992, after 8 years in New York led up to a very disappointing lack of response to my installation, "Origin of Geometry" at the Aldrich Museum's Soho Center Gallery; I moved from New York to Maine where I built a house/studio in Bridgton. In 1993, I wanted to find out if there was anyone in Maine interested in my visual/conceptual project. I approached the Lewis Gallery at the Portland Library about doing an exhibition and talk. Three people attended the exhibition's opening and one person stayed for the talk. From 1993 to 2003, I lived and worked full-time in Maine and produced art which was exhibited elsewhere--I had no contact with the Maine art community. That changed in 2003. My daughter had been taking classes at Portland Ballet. I'd become acquainted with PBC's Artistic Director (Genie O'Brien) and Resident Choreographer (Nell Shipman). They learned I was preparing an installation for the Kassel Art Museum in Germany. They suggested we collaborate on a project (secretly, I was concerned public response would be similar to the exhibition in 93). However, their interest made me realize I hadn't made any attempt to be involved in the Maine art community in a decade. My time was very limited because I was preparing for a 20 year survey at the University of Pennsylvania, but I learned that both CMCA and PMA had juried Biennials with open calls--it didn't take much time or effort to submit slides to the CMCA open call which had just been announced. I was surprised when my work was selected. I was also invited by Bruce Brown to exhibit in another exhibition at CMCA in October of 2004. Since it was now obvious there was some interest in my work, I decided in 2005 that I would collaborate with Portland Ballet. The collaboration, "Spoke of the Wheel" premiered in 2006--an accompanying exhibition was sponsored by Citi Bank at One Monument Square, and a related performance and installation ("D.R.A.W.") was presented at PMA. In 2005 it became clear that continuing as a Maine resident was impractical. I'm a New York resident again, but I spend every Summer at my studio in Bridgton. My daughter was born in Maine, and she lived here until she was 12. I feel deeply connected to Maine. And I feel for the artists here who are trying to develop a serious body of work in an environment of such limited support and opportunity. I question whether Maine art institutions fully understand how difficult it is to be a serious artist in Maine (especially one who is not on a college faculty). Recently, I thought I'd found a new avenue of possible support for Maine artists when I received a unique commission which involved working as an artist in residence at Daimler in Germany--I envisioned Maine artists being in residence at corporations like Idexx and Texas Instruments. However, even if it had been feasible to try a similar project here, the level of apathy in the arts professionals we contacted in Maine institutions would have killed the idea-the institutions in Germany were deeply involved in the project. In Maine, artists are pretty much on their own--almost all available public and private funding is being used to support the institutions, and there seem to be fewer and fewer galleries. If an artist chooses to tough it out in Maine, I think they've earned the right to at least have a few images of their work reviewed every couple of years by the curatorial staff of the art institutions. And since, in my case, a response to an open call ultimately led to work being presented in programed events at CMCA, PBC and PMA; it's also in the best interest of the institutions. If it had not been for the CMCA open-call for the 2004 Biennial, I'm fairly sure I would never have contributed to the cultural activity in Maine. My absence would not be a tragic loss for the community, but in the future there could be other artists who are off the Maine curatorial radar who might be destined for an important place in art history. If PMA does away with the open call, I'm concerned that it won't be long before CMCA follows suit-as it relocates and re-invents itself in its new home.

Where are we? on-line zine virtual reality nothing space

Place is “the geographical component of the psychological need

to belong

somewhere, one antidote to a prevailing alienation.”

-- Lucy Lippard

The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multi-centered Society,” (New York: New Press, 1997)

Place may seem like belonging, not having a restricted territory frees one from the limitations and prejudices of “place.”

We’re released from the worst traditions of place that make outsiders suspect and often supress diversity and change.

Joel Babb, “Bernd’s Brook, Early Spring,” (2013) oil on linen, 45” x 52”

Then again, perhaps this move to globalization and “liberation” from place is just a mobilized market economy -- still following the dictates of capitalism.

You may be able to go on-line, but who is privileged to choose to belong anywhere?


How strong she is. Even standing in water, she still holds onto a sense of place — no matter how fragile (see the idea of home in her hands?). She belongs in Minter’s painting — even if she wasn’t allowed to belong on Malaga Island, Maine.

Daniel Minter, Malaga Girl-Blue, (2006) acrylic-wood, 18” x 50”

Like animation – add on a bit more each time – then the eye sees movement...growth...

like a field of buckwheat coming into bloom -you’ve grown, but never left the same place. Whether artist or

To be so totally in the frame, the place is in you. viewer, isn’t that the art?


artists belong... between ellipses


PLACE THIS, THIS PLACE We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. T. S. Eliot Images ground our words by ofof fering traces of the physical world. Images are, if not truth, then at least evidence. They don’t merely illustrate our words, but anchor them in the worldincluding fictitious worlds of our choosing, whether the idyllic worlds of pastoral painting or the playfully energized cosmos of comics. A photograph with a news story is, for example, reified credibility. As arbitrarily and fully manipulatable symbols, words can lie just as easily as not. That is not what we expect, however, from photographs. Our pictorial world of paintings, photographs and drawings speaks a different language than our words. Images can be icons, sym bols or indexes. And since they don’t rely on language, images can speak directly to our senses, our instincts, our appetites and our fears. Images establish perspective between at least two things—including the viewer’s (or photographer’s) gaze. Because of this perspectival complexity, images are less clear than prosaic language at conveying agency or intention. For me, this is the great power of imagesthey don’t tell us what to think. Rather, they show us something to think about; so how you read them is ultimately up to you. I want to thank everyone who supplied me with images for this essay. Daniel Kany

ellipsis n. 1560s, "an ellipse," from Latin ellipsis, from Greek elel leipsis "a falling short, defect, ellipse," from elleipein "to fall short, leave out," from en- "in" + leipein "to leave" (see relinquish ). Grammatical sense ďŹ rst recorded 1610s.

Here and There: Place in Poetry Betsy Sholl

Certainly poets write about place. But where is the place of a poem? Is it on the page, boxed in lines or scattered? Is it in the air as waves and voice? Is it inside the visual mind of the reader where words like flint ignite pictures? While visual art clearly exists in space, I’ve always thought of poems as existing more in time—first one line, then the next. But in its roots and above all else, poetry is aural, oral, is song first or cadenced speech, carried on air by the throat's vibrating strings, it can go almost anywhere, like wind. Once it goes from page to ear, we can carry it like a sound track inside our heads.

As my friend, the poet Linda Aldrich, has suggested, place is first our bodies, then worlds our bodies move through, and from there the worlds we imagine moving through. real and longed for, invented and impossible.Poetry has the fluidity to move through all those spaces. Lines of poetry are like walking sticks, or oars: "Whose woods these are I think I know…" "Never, never, never, never, never. Pray you, undo this button…" "Tonight I have watched the moon and then the Pleiades go down ...." Where do the lines come from and where do they go? Why these lines in my head at this moment? Those woods of Frost’s we both know and only think we do, because what is possession? "He will not see me stopping here sno to watch his woods fill up with snow." It’s as if the speaker both does and does not want to be known. There is often something hidden in a poem—not hidden by the poet, but from the poet, because the words take on a life of their own. The woods are dark and lonely—and beautiful. In a good poem things often carry many and sometimes contradictory qualities. An object can’t be in two places at once in the physical world—in the non-quantum world, that is. But it can possess multiple, sometimes opposite qualities in the world of the poem. nobod who are you?” Miss Dickinson asks. “I’m nobody, And of the early spring vegetation along the road, Dr. Williams speaks of

“the reddish purplish, forked, upstanding twiggy stuff of bushes and small trees….” Those words sprout in my mind every March walking along Stevens Avenue. A sound track accompanies us into the world; it comforts, it voices what is hard to say, it makes familiar and then unfamiliar. In Elizabeth Bishop’s “At the Fishhouses” she begins in a vivid place, Nova Scotia, where “five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up to storerooms in the gables.” But soon that place becomes other, enlarged— “Cold dark deep and absolutely clear…” and by the end our “knowledge” has become “historical, flowing and flown.”

Poems often begin in one place, but then move like rings around a tossed pebble,expanding in larger and larger circles. Or I think of those hard packed little squares that when put in water fluff up into sponge. Because poetry moves through time it can change, perhaps has to. Place can be as close up as Plath's “Cut”: “a sort of hinge Of skin O A flap like a hat Dead white…” It can be exact as in Seamus Heaney’s poem “Seeing Things”: “Inishbofin on a Sunday morning, Sunlight, turfsmoke, seagulls, boatslip, diesel….” What music he makes: panicked at the shiftiness and heft/ of the craft itself.” “I pani

And isn’t that what poems give us?—a place that is both shifty and full of heft. And talk about being two things at once—that craft is both a boat and the skill of the artist-maker. Those of us who grew up in one landscape—city or prairie, mountain or shore— often carry it inside as a template, an inner geography, psychic landscape. We don’t always write it specifically, but it is part of the shape of the world we imagine. I grew up on the New Jersey shore and so resonate with Walt Whitman when he says in his journal Specimen Days: …about the sea-shore—that suggesting, dividing line, contact, junction, the solid marrying the liquid—that curious, lurking something, (as doubtless every objective form finally becomes to the subjective spirit,) which means far more than its mere first sight, grand as that is-blending the real and ideal, and each made portion of the other. On the East coast, we can watch the moon rise big and orange out of the water. wate In the mountains, it’s always white and distant before it breaks the horizon. In so many ways, place effects the way we see. What should fog smell like? I say if it isn’t thick with salt something’s wrong. But there are other places too—physical and real in a different way. When we enter a geographical place we position ourselves in terms of how much we do or don’t belong, how close to center or edge we want to be. But we also enter places of class and race, history and culture, and embrace or rage or try to puzzle it all out. We’re insiders or outsiders—or more likely a mix of both that is always changing, morphing as each element flickers and blends, sometimes foreground, sometimes background. Anna Akhmatova, in a poem called “On the Road,” speaks of a land not her own, but still unforgettable—a shore line with “sand on the bottom whiter than chalk,” and late sun on “the rosy limbs of pine trees.” But soon, too, this is also another place, interior, where “the secret of secrets is within me again.”

And I am with Akhamatova whenever I see late sun on the pines beside my neighborhood playing fields, and with Bishop and Heaney whenever I smell diesel, or that mix of gasoline and creosote from my seashore childhood. I am in Mantaloking, New Jersey, and the west coast of Ireland, and Great Village, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine, all at once. Or all those places are layered and swirling in me, as the poets sit on my shoulder and sing their songs, or parts of the songs, and urge me back to the book’s book page to learn the rest. How strange that paper can hold a voice, some times delicate, some times fierce. Here is the great Osip Mandelstam writing from exile in Voronezh, USSR, in 1935: You took away all the oceans and all the room. You gave me my shoe-size in earth with bars around it. Where did it get you? Nowhere. You left me my lips and they shape words, even silence.


The Artists:


Cindy Dow

Cindy Dow

A Sense of Place I have assembled a visual essay about three adult artists I work with at the Waterville Social Club and LINC Wellness Center who each make art about their lived experiences -- and place is their central theme. Cheryl was homeless in Boston for a year-and-a-half several decades ago. Those physical places she experienced have become an inner geography she repeatedly depicts. Daniel’s is an imagined, interior closet, a safe space for a cross-dresser, full of the fanciful dresses he would like to wear.. “Sense of Place” is key to understanding Cindy Dow’s artwork. She needs to create safe places in her life because of her traumatic history of sexual abuse. Natasha Mayers Daniel

UMVA Members Respond to Our Quarterly Theme

Member Submissions: A Sense of Place

As you move cursor over picture, blue “link” symbol appears. Click on symbol to play video.

Thank you to members for their submissions. For information on the next journal’s theme and how to submit, please see page

O’Chang Studios Directed and Animated by Hanji O’Chang Written and Narrated by Atom O’Chang, “Attack of the Green Crabs” Video, 2014

Susan Drucker, “Charlotte’s Party,” 2015, watercolor and pencil, 13” x 17”

Susan Drucker

Susan Drucker, “Frank and the Whale,” 2015, watercolor and pencil, 10” x 14”

Andrew Abbott, “Rage Against the Island,” 2015, acylic on panel, 14” x 14”

Andrew Abbott, “Pink Eye Orange Baby,” 2015, acrylic on stretched shopping bag, 10 x 12”

Andrew Abbott

Opposite Page: Leslie Anderson, “Bouquet on an Oilcloth Tablecloth,” 2015, oil on linen, 20” x 16”

Leslie Anderson

Leslie Anderson, “Flower Farmer,” 2015, oil on canvas, 20” x 18”

Janice Anthony, “River Ice, Passagassawakeag,” 2015, acrylic on linen, 28” x 33”

Janice Anthony

Petrea Noyes, “I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More,” digital collage/painting, pigment inkjet on canvas, 38” x 38”

Petrea Noyes

Chris Beneman Opposite Page: Chris Beneman, “High Line Genesis,” 2014, monotype, 30” x 22” (Jay York photo)

Rachel Eastman

Opposite Page: Rachael Eastman, “Night Sky Katahdin Hillside,” 2014, ink on paper, 1.75” x 1.25” (Jay York Photo)

Rachael Eastman, “Night Sky Katahdin,” 2014, ink on paper, 2” x 2” (Jay York Photo)

Lin Lisberger

Opposite Page: Lin Lisberger, “Grand Canyon,” 2014, cedar, paint, 13”H x 59” x 12”

Lin Lisberger, “Sounding Board: Woods Walk,” 2004, poplar, guitar strings, 31”H x 20” x4”

Linda Murray

Linda Murray, “Goodbye Amy Pond,” 2013, acrylic, 22” x 30”

Linda Murray, “The Harvest,” 2015, acrylic, 24” x 36”

Ed Nadeau

Opposite Page: Ed Nadeau, “Saw,” oil on canvas, 36” x 31”

Ed Nadeau, “Snowshoes,” oil on canvas, 48” x 48”

Bob Richardson

Bob Richardson, “Untitled #7,” 2015, acrylic medium and watercolor, 11” x 17” Bob Richardson, “Untitled #9,” 2015, acrylic medium and watercolor, 11” x 17”

Anne Lively, “Spring Throws a Party,” 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16”

Anne Lively

Mei Selvage

Mei Selvage, “Black Taoist Mountain,” 2015, acrylic and gel medium, 36” x 24”

Mary Becker Weiss

Mary Becker Weiss, “Mississippi by Myself,� 2014, mixed media with vintage ephemera, 1500px z 2105px

Ruth Sylmor

Ruth Sylmor, “Paris. Cimetiere Montmartre,” 2004, Silver Print, 11”x14” Opposite Page: Ruth Sylmor, “Paris. Removal of ‘love-locks’ from le Pont des Arts,” 2014, Silver Print, 14” x 11”

Amy Wood

Amy Wood, “Kennebec 1-6, 7-12,” 2015, diptych, tempera on panel, (recently installed in the Augusta Court House), 3’ x 8’

Narratives from Educators about Creative Expression


By Iris SanGiovanni

Student, University of Southern Maine

Generation Climate Rising: Photo taken by Brian Gordon from The Free Press (University of Southern Maine)

In 2013, I witnessed Exxon Mobil outspend South Portland citizens 10 to 1 campaigning proposed tar sands exportation. An ordinance prevents this project – which would make air in our community carcinogenic. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta, Canada have suffered terrible health problems and deaths –when their lands were unlawfully taken for extraction. Everyone has a right to clean water and a healthy environment. We cannot be complicit in the human rights abuses of the fossil fuel industry in order to meet our own energy needs.

Since 2009, a temperature rise of 0.8°C, has already caused far more damage than most scientists expected– as oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and as droughts intensify around the world. I’ve seen this all happen in my lifetime– and I know this demands concern and action. On Saturday, April 11th: hundreds of Maine students from dozens of schools around the state rallied for climate justice at Generation Climate Rising. This action is considered the largest youth-led climate action in Maine history, and achieved support from U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Representative Joan Welsh, and Senator Justin Alfond. Generation Climate Rising was organized by Maine Students for Climate Justice (MSCJ), a coalition of student groups from around the state which aim to acknowledge that sustainability and social justice are intimately linked. We wish to create localized, democratized clean energy, affordable transportation, and increase education about climate change. Art helps us visualize the world we wish to create, and generates accessibility for our movement for change. The collaborative nature of art fosters connection, which extended beyond our student base to the Artists Rapid Response Team (ARRT). Together we are a community, and a generation, rising to protect people's’ livelihoods and the health of our planet.

Students of MSCJ collaborate at a one-day retreat with ARRT community. Photo taken by Sass Linneken.

Iris SanGiovanni is a South Portland resident, and political science major at the University of Southern Maine. She is a student organizer with fossil-free Divest UMaine campaign, and Maine Students for Climate Justice.

Artists’ Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) Report ---- April thru June, 2015

ARRT! banner made for Peaceworks to be used at the Brunswick Peace Fair August 1st Theme is “We Want a World Where Children Thrive”

New 10% Discount for UMVA Members at Artists and Craftsman Supply My name is Corey Cleary and I manage the Artist and Craftsman Supply in Portland. Many of your UMVA members come in to do business with us. Reesa, one of my employees recently became a member. As a thank you for your business, any UMVA member that shops with us will now get a 10% discount. We would also like to be involved with the work your organization does in and around our community. Thank you again for your members' patronage. Best regards, ​Corey Cleary Store Manager Artists and Craftsman Supply 540 Deering Avenue Portland, ME 04103 207-772-7272

Guidelines for Submissions

to the Fall UMVA Quarterly Journal, 2015

“Working in Series”

We invite UMVA members to submit 2-4 works from a series for the Fall, 2015 Issue -- especially showing the beginning and end of the series. If you want to write about your experience, the word limit is 150 words. Please submit images as jpgs: high-resolution images, 150-300 dpi; the format should be at least 1000 pixels on the shortest side. Please label work with artist, title, year, medium, dimensions and, if required, the photo credit. Please put “Series” in the subject line and submit to by Sept. 1 deadline. HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS/THOUGHTS TO GET YOU GOING: -- Why work in series or in multiples? -- Does it help you focus/concentrate/be taken more seriously? -- Does it make you more interested in the subject? -- Or do series bore you, not hold your interest, feel repetitive or unimaginative, make you feel like you are in a rut? -- Do you choose the series or does the series choose you? What have you learned about yourself? -- How well-defined are your parameters? How loose? How important are they? -- Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts? Is it a journey for both you and the audience, becoming enlightened or informed along the way? -- Do series help you develop the nuance and rigor of your work? Do you use them more as a bridge to develop subtlety or major ideas? Questions? Please contact Natasha Mayers, We have presented some visual essays on “Sense of Place” in this Journal. We hope this models a visual essay format to kickstart others to contribute their own ideas for visual essays. If you are interested in creating a visual essay on the SERIES theme, you must let us know ahead of time (by August 1st) what you plan on submitting: what artists you will include, what aspect of the theme you will address. One goal is to connect with other artists,.though under some circumstances, you can use your own art...this is not meant as a showcase for your own work. For a visual essay, there is a 6-page limit (including 300 word limit). Deadline to notify us of intention to submit an essay is August 1st and the submission deadline is Sept.1st.

Please check out back issues of the UMVA Quarterly Journal Fall, 2014 (Then and Now)

Winter, 2015 (Interview/Innerview)

Summer, 2014 (Art You Don’t Show) Spring, 2015 (In Defense of Painting)