UMVA JOURNAL Summer/July 2014

Page 1


Union of Maine Visual Artists

Summer, 2014

art you show and art you don’t -- how come?


Alan Crichton, Lunar Social, 2000, Colored pencil on paper, 9.5” x 5.75”

Alan Crichton, Secrets, 2000, colored pencil on paper, .5�x5.75� Alan Crichton statement: I acquired several sketchbooks years ago in New York. The pages were a bluish-grey with a tight network of tiny blue lines interwoven into each page. Once I really noticed these blue lines, I realized that they defied me to approach the page as a simple ano ymous surface for a normal drawing. As I stared at the pages, the lines formed and cross-formed into almost endless figures and combinations. Capturing these tangled lines with a few of the images that suggested themselves became the game.

And these themes of Eros awakening were what gradually appeared.



From the Editors:

It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does. -- Allen Ginsberg



Member Submissions

Art you show and art y

To inaugurate our new Journal’s format, we chose the theme, ART YOU SHOW & ART YOU DON’T — HOW COME? (the private versus public in your art). We are pleased to present a variety of images by Maine artists.

Alan Crichton:

We invited artists to submit work they wouldn’t show and tell us why. Is it private because of self-judgment, others’ criticism or some objective knowledge the work is “bad,” “immoral,” “anti-social,” “un-aesthetic,” etc.? Is the work part of their interior dialogue, made for their own personal therapy? Is it a limb they went out on and now they’re not sure? What are they hiding? We asked them to share it in this Journal for our mutual benefit.

Freddy LaFage:

R.J. is a Bad-Ass

Petrea Noyes:




John Knight:

Joe Matt Ted Ralls David Rees Phillip Guston

In addition, we feature relevant essays by Lucy Lippard, Stephen Petroff, Dr. Nancy Coyne, and ano ymous. These essays were written to accompany the 1987 exhibit INSIDE/OUTSIDE: Private Art, at USM’s Area Gallery, which included drawings and paintings by both “professional” artists and “outsiders”(clients of the mental health system, prisons, and sheltered workshops). The curator of that show, Natasha Mayers, chose work from established Maine artists that was the most raw or personal and revealing about the maker, work that didn’t fit the artist’s self-image or style; too feminist, political, or angry; unsalable and therefore galleries hadn’t shown it; or work that the artist didn’t know “where the hell it came from.” It was work that was chosen to make all of us ask: what are we afraid of revealing? Thank you to all who sent in work and please note our next theme and submission guidelines are on the last page. And please submit feedback on the artwork and new format...we want to hear from you! -- Natasha Mayers, Anita Clearfield, Nora Tryon, & Daniel Kany Front Cover Art: The Roanoke Book of Colors, A Rear Cover Art: The Roanoke Book of Colors, L Alan Crichton, 2012, 5”x7 3/4” watercolor on paper “In May, 2011, passing through Roanoke, I picked up a small leathercovered watercolor book, probably made in India. Since then, I have been filling the book with color washes, layers over layers because the pages are completely unsized. The color just bleeds everywhere on one page and then soaks through about four other pages, leading me both forward and backward with tracks and trails for new colors and washes. The imagery is very loose, hardly any references to recognizable things. It’s completely unlike what I usually show, just a place to experiment and play with color, brushes and chance.”

Volume 33, Number 16


Siena Mayers:

Lunar Social Secrets The Roanoke Book of Colors, A The Roanoke Book of Colors, L Compost Art




Nick Paliughi

Comet Kids

Joel Babb


Daniel Kany:

Nudes and Prudes

Thomas Flanagan:


Curtis K. LaFollette:

Famous Conceptual Artist Schools

Nora Tryon:


Ben Lambert:


Rick Green:

Agate in Green Crystal Surf

Joshua Ferry:

Bill Cohen

Veronica Cross:

Heart of Stone

Anita Clearfield:









Models Project -- Susan


Art you show and art y

Inside/Outside: Private Art, 1987, Essays & Artwork Curated by N pg.

Lucy Lippard: The Wings of Privacy Anonymous Stephen Petroff: Secret Children Margot Clark: The Modern Artist as Outsider Dr. Nancy Coyne: Inside/Outside: Private Art

Summer/July 2014


inside cover

pg. 2

you don’t -- how come?

pg. 3 .....

front cover back cover



pg. pg.

11 pg.





THREE: Regular Features and Columns

Kenny Cole: Checking-In William Hessian: Webcomix





Insight/Incite: Jan Piribeck


Famous Conceptual Artists Schools



You too might have the talents to produce CONCEPTUAL ART! If you weren’t challenged when you started you will be when you graduate!

Response (submissions on last issue’s theme): Gary Lawless & Wendy Newbold Patterson



“I tried painting, then drawing, even sculpture but it was all just too tiresome and messy. Then I discovered the “Famous Conceptual Artists Schools,” now I’m an artist in my own mind.”

Our Recent Graduates (Many are already practicing Art Think!) Upon Graduation you will be able to: Pastiche! Pastiche! Pastiche! Liberate Billboards Insight Chaos Impose Installations Impersonate Iconic Figures

FAMOUS CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS SCHOOLS APPLICATION No, I like my job at the car wash Yes, I think I’ve got a head on my shoulders Your name:_____________________________ Your Address:___________________________ ___________________________ I would like to join because:________________ _______________________________________

My Photo

My Thumbprint

If illiterate, have someone fill this in for you. (It may be ghost written.)




Maine Masters Report



UMVA Chapter Reports pg.


ARRT! Report


19 pg.






you don’t -- how come?

submit to next issue

Natasha Mayers

22, 24, 25 pg. 23


pg. pg.


26-27 pg.

28 pg.





Siena Mayers artist statement: For a month or two, between jobs, I was making meals for a woman dying of cancer. She spent most of the day in her bed and barely made it to the backyard. She had very particular eating habits and I had to make several trips to her bedroom from the kitchen to get her approval for the peeling style of a cucumber or the slicing angle of a carrot. She also wanted her food scraps to be composted, but did not have a way to do it where she was staying. Therefore, we created a complex system in which I froze food remains in yogurt containers and then brought them with me to compost in my yard. This is when I discovered that the two of us had been inadvertently collaborating in the creation of beautiful, ephemeral sculptures. I decided to submit these, because they were never intended to be shared with a wider audience. These delightful, teetering colorful towers were photographed--pre-Facebook-simply as a private discovery for my own aesthetic enjoyment. However, looking at them now, I feel that these pictures also represent the topic of privacy in the way

we keep experiences of cancer and death to ourselves;

unspoken, private. She passed away not long after I took these pictures and

they are my only photographs to remember her by.

Siena Mayers, Compost Art, mixed-medi sculpture

These are totems to my unshared memories as well as to the quiet unshared meals of a woman who had little contact with the world outside her bedroom.


Siena Mayers, Compost Art, mixed-media sculpture


Freddy LaFage R.J. Is a Bad Ass photo collage Freddy LaFage artist statement: The first, “RJ is a Bad Ass” goes back a ways -- I used to do a bunch of photo collaging as reference material for paintings. I did this one as a joke because my friend thought he was such a football bad ass --

He made me swear I’d never let it see the light of day

, but since he recently admitted that he stole my favorite striped shirt and since the statute of limitations has expired,

I say print it.

Petrea Noyes artist statement: Currently in Boston...never showed it --

most people dislike it.

Petrea Noyes Loretta 2008, inkjet on canvas, digitally modified/o erpaint of a found/ appropriated image 30”x 30”x 2”.


Anonymous, drawing Anonymous artist statement: This image is ACTUALLY REALLY private. I drew it of myself when I was in the first pains of labor -- never before having known what the feeling was -- totally ignorant of the thing in my belly being nearly departed. I drew this through a new, never-felt-before feeling in my body at the beginning of a departure, about 15 hours before my daughter was born. There is a lot of shame being pregnant without a partner. I am very proud of my daughter. In saying there’s a lot of shame in having a child without a partner, I am empathizing, as my nature does, in the simultaneous and larger shame the absent partner feels without being able to avoid their own disabilities. I can’t hide when I am bearing a child. It is a public display wherever I may venture using discretion. The seed planting other half can hide longer, and with greater agility than the laborer. That being said, I can say,

hiding breeds shame. This is catharsis.


John Knight, David Rees, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 30”

John Knight, Joe Matt, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 30” John Knight, Ted Ralls, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 30”

John Knight artist statement: I did these portraits of cartoonists/graphic artists in 2011 as a tribute to their work. I was trying to faithfully render their artwork on canvases using projections. This was interesting to do, as it felt like I was learning how graphic artists drew their lines (or used clip art in the case of David Rees). My not showing the work was mostly because of not knowing a venue in Maine that would be interested in exhibiting my renderings of other artists’ work. In addition, topics they touch on aren’t easy. Ted Ralls and David Rees shred U.S. Foreign Policy with their satire.

I admit I’m afraid to take strong stances like these in artwork I exhibit. John Knight, Phillip Guston, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 40”


Nick Paliughi artist statement:

it falls outside of the aesthetic rules I work within I’ve never shown this collage because

when making collages (only color photographs, no illustrations or black & white photos). It was a gift for my friend’s daughter’s birthday, so the piece was never meant to be seen in a cohesive body of work and I didn’t feel bound to work in my usual style. Nick Palughi, Comet Kids, 2011, Collage on paper, 6” x 8”


Joel Babb artist statement: I’m a committed landscape painter--have been ever since I emerged from abstract expressionism. But painting the figure has been extremely important to my training as a painter and to my understanding of traditional painting and color.

I never show my figure paintings. But I think you can tell a-hellof-a-lot about an artist, how much he or she understands, by looking at figure work. I sat through dissections at the anatomy lab at BU medical school, bought a human skeleton,


Joel Babb, Jerry, oil on linen, 50� x 32�

and I used to teach anatomy for artists at the Boston Museum Education Department. All through my teaching at the Museum School, I used the figure as a basis for training realist painters. And I’m crazy about Lucien Freud’s paintings.

This painting was done in 7 sessions from the live model. Thinking of Cezanne’s bathers and various other paintings by Renoir and Bazille and others going back to the Baroque, I have this fantasy of painting a large outdoor picture from live models posed in a stream and along the bank in the flickering light of my forest landscapes.

Nudes and Prudes By Daniel Kany Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” is one of the most popular masterpieces owned by the Uffiz and it’s one of the best known nudes in the world. Yet we’re lucky the painting still exists; Botticelli, an avid follower of Savonarola, tossed the pagan subject paintings in his possession on the infamous “Bonfire of the Vanities.” But was it because the subjects were pagan or because pagan subjects had come to be associated with nudity? An artist named Doménikos Theotokópoulos volunteered to paint over the abomination on the back wall of the Sistine Chapel because of the nudity. But when artists threatened to kill anyone who painted over Michelangelo’s Last Judgment (including Caravaggio who actually was a killer), Theotokópoulos fled for his life to Spain where he became known as “El Greco.” Ficino and the Neo-Platonists championed Greek ideas that were appealing to many artists – including Michelangelo. And Greek sculpture certainly didn’t have a problem with nudity – nor did the culture. Gymnasiums – where the youths studied – comes from the Greek “gymnos” which means naked. But the nude was always a problem for the Catholic Church whose stranglehold on culture was severe. We might gasp at Botticelli’s tossing his paintings on a fire, but the Inquisitions made it very clear the Church was serious that certain subjects were verboten.

Paintings weren’t the only things that could be tossed on fires, after all. Life drawing – working from a nude model – was fundamental for centuries for the education of artists since virtually all important paintings were figurative. This was literally codified with the founding of the academies in the 17th century. The French Academy of Beaux Arts which ran the Salon in Paris through the 19th century had a list that was a literal hierarchy of genres with history paintings at the top and then an ordered checklist of the usual suspects: religious paintings, portraits, landscapes, genre scenes, still lifes and amongst others, nudes.

But the nude played a strange role. Women, for example, weren’t allowed to study at the French Academy’s art school – L’Ecole des Beaux Arts – because the curriculum included working from the nude model. And whatever you want to think about Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, or Academy-favorite Cabanel’s take on the Birth of Venus, drawings from the nude model were not made for public consumption or exhibition. Courbet’s Origin of the World – a close-up of a woman’s splayed crotch – is famous for being so radically contrary to societal norms. Amazingly, it now hangs in a museum (as you can see in this video of a Courbet-inspired performance artist: http:/ but it was commissioned by a foreign prince as a private object rather than as art for public display. Modernism’s grasp of the nude was a very recognizable slap in the face of the Academy and its pretenses about decorum. Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, for example, is a compendium of genres: a still life picnic, a landscape, two recognizable men (portraits), a woman bathing in the background (a pastoral – rooted in a Dionysian counter to Apollonian classicism), and, most famously, a nude. But to the refined Parisian viewers, she was naked: recognizable, not idealized, within reach of men and so on. It might just look weird to us now, but when the rules were clear, it was much easier to see Manet’s radical program for what it was.

Modernism, it could be said, was born of the practice of saying what was not supposed to be spoken – and showing pictures that weren’t supposed to be seen. It was about questioning decorum. Ironically, the iconoclastic revolution of the modernist nude came under fire for seeming to support the assumption of the straight, white male penetrating gaze; but, at the very least, the issue sits atop a healthy set of worthy conversations – both public and private. Or maybe… it was simply that working from the nude was ideal studio practice because we always knew we were never going to exhibit any of those drawings in public. But let’s get real: The problem isn’t the nudes – it’s the prudes.


Opposite page: Curtis K. LaFollette Famous Conceptual Artists Schools, digital document. Curtis K. LaFollette artist statement: This was not intended for exhibition.

It’s a personal reflection on Dada.

Tom Flanagan Landslide, 2014 Acrylic on Canvas on Board Tom Flanagan artist statement: The studio isn’t the gallery. The studio is meant to be a place where we can throw away and develop ideas. I’m never sure where my next series will come from. That’s the beauty of it.

Everything I do in the studio isn’t always meant to be shown.

Some of what I do is meant to help me understand or expand what I’m doing in the larger context. I push myself and part of that may mean trying new approaches or different materials. Some people have asked me if this is my new direction. The true answer is maybe, maybe not.


Famous Conceptual Artists Schools You too might have the talents to produce CONCEPTUAL ART! If you weren’t challenged when you started you will be when you graduate!


“I tried painting, then drawing, even sculpture but it was all just too tiresome and messy. Then I discovered the “Famous Conceptual Artists Schools,” now I’m an artist in my own mind.”

Our First Graduating Class

Our Recent Graduates (Many are already practicing Art Think!) Upon Graduation you will be able to: Pastiche! Pastiche! Pastiche! Liberate Billboards Insight Chaos Impose Installations Impersonate Iconic Figures

FAMOUS CONCEPTUAL ARTISTS SCHOOLS APPLICATION No, I like my job at the car wash Yes, I think I’ve got a head on my shoulders Your name:_____________________________ Your Address:___________________________ ___________________________ I would like to join because:________________ _______________________________________ If illiterate, have someone fill this in for you. (It may be ghost written.)

My Photo

My Thumbprint 15

Nora Tryon, Future?, mixed media on paper

Nora Tryon artist statement: “Future?” is a piece that has seen the light of day, but briefly; it springs from pain loss and self-doubt. The question posed for this journal submission pushed me to consider more deeply the reasons that I choose to keep some work private and this piece demanded an explanation. The truth is that this world contains so much darkness and pain that I have made a conscious choice to seek joy and light. That doesn’t mean I ignore the sorrow, cruelty and injustice that I perceive. I still do work

images are so powerful and I don’t want to surround myself with dark reveries. I want to make and that expresses my fear and rage, but


show images of hope, possibility, awareness, inquiry and sometimes joy.

Ben Lambert, Smog, 2014 Earthenware, Glaze, Slip, Terra Sig, 20”x 7”x 9” Ben Lambert artist statement: Here are two images of sculptures that I made. I choose not to show them because they were made as exercises and they didn’t “become” art for me after they came out of the kiln.

They are missing a certain specificity of content, and they simply aren’t wacky enough. 17

Rich Green, Agate in Green, 2008, Encaustic and Minersl, 6” x 6” Rich Green, Crystal Surf, 2008, Encaustic and Mineral, 8” x 8”


Rick Green artist statement: One of my early driving artistic desires was to embed minerals into a painting’s surface. It was with that goal in mind that I first tried encaustic painting. And it worked very well! But not long after, I discovered a greater passion to paint aerial views of the earth. The aerial paintings have the additional benefit of taking my career in the direction of fine art, whereas

the mineral pieces have more of the feeling of a craft. I still

combine minerals into my work as a way to relax and enjoy the more craft-oriented aspects of art.

for some reason I don’t want to get rid of it. It has

remained a singular thought and hasn’t found an adequate context to be shown or expanded upon.

Joshua Ferry, Bill Cohen, 2006, Acrylic, oil, Alkyd resin and wax on panel, 12” x 9”

Joshua Ferry artist statement: Sometimes when I’m developing a body of work an unexpected painting or drawing will appear that doesn’t relate to the group. A piece like this will sometimes spawn a future series or most likely won’t become anything at all. One day in 2006, I was commuting from NYC to NJ and I saw Bill Cohen in Penn Station. This image is rather ridiculous to me, but

Veronica Cross, This Heart of Stone, 2014, Foam core, cardboard, tape, paper mache’, plaster, gesso and acrylic medium, 7” x 101/2” x 9 1/2”

Veronica Cross artist statement: This is not a completed work in itself,

serves as an experimental study for my current


series Veil Variations.


Models Project -Susan a video, featuring Susan McComb by Anita Clearfield

with additional animation by Geoffrey Leighton

Anita Clearfield artist statement: This is part of a series of videos I made exploring the reality of being an art model. Even though I made the videos to give voice to the people who are “objectified” in the practice of art, simply by posting their videos on the web,

they become open to the exploitation that I meant to work against.

This irony is at the heart of why I haven’t shown the videos before. Susan was gracious enough to agree to my posting this video -- and it’s at least given a sympathetic and thought-provoking context as part of the UMVA Journal theme “Art You Show and Art You Don’t -- How Come?”


anywhere on the pictures at left to see the 2 minute video.



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) from y l s u nymo , curated n o a n a w d y sho mitte ea Galler oth u b o u s y ( r ork ’s A ings by b , w t M : Art r S a t U of the te Art, at and pain lth system e m o a s a on and s IDE: Priv drawing tal he s n Secti y e a s m d S are es IDE/OUT it include nts of the s w o l fol , INS he exhib ers”(clie t t a i h b i W T id xh 987 e Mayers. and “outs s). 1 e h t a shop rtists atash by N ssional” a ered work e lt “prof s, and she n priso


y d art

Faces of God




he Inside Story is what all art is supposed to be. The fact that a show like this can be (or has to be) organized suggests that all is not quite as it should be. It also calls for some soulsearching about the nature and function of art itself.

There shouldn’t be anything an artist can’t do. Long deprived of any explicit communal function, modern art has been charged with “individual expression.” The myth of the avant-garde is characterized by the fearless artist tapping those veins society can’t bear to see opened, and, in the process, shocking the shades off the bourqeoisie. Yet there remain many areas where professional artists fear to tread, areas left up to the “fools”-a term once used for those who voluntarily sacrificed themselves in rituals for the communal good. When I went to Natasha Mayers’ studio last summer to see the reservoir of works from which she was culling this exhibition, I was struck by the raw power of the “amateur” or “outsider” art, as opposed to greater but often more cautiously employed skills of the “professional” art. At the same time I realized that my enthusiasm was somewhat unfair to the “professionals.” Universal symbols surface in both “high” and “primitive” art. The extent to which they are disguised depends in both cases on the artist, but the professional artist has more to lose and is likely to be more afraid of exposure, or true revelation. The better s/he is known in her own community the warier s/he must be. To be judged as private, perhaps the art must indeed be private. Professional art is by definition public on some level, no matter how private the subject matter or content may be. “That’s my public work, but private emotion,” said Mayers herself, pondering her own contribution. But that can be said of all art, so what exactly is the role of the professional in this context? Some working artists


came in with relatively harmless and/or inexplicit pieces which they felt were terrifyingly honest, while amateurs quite unself consciously produced work about areas of experience most of us haven’t even considered, much less brought to esthetic light. Why is it so difficult for trained artist to bare their souls? It often seems that art education is a fundamentally obfuscatory process, veiling the profoundly personal in favor of the publicly personal. Artists are expected to be “out” of the ordinary to be insiders; many have taken this role so seriously that they have entirely moved out of most people’s sight. What’s wrong with the ordinary? Modernism and postmodernism seem to have banned most meaningful content from daily lived experience such as work, parenthood, and local politics to the global terrors of racism, famine, war, injustice, and all their psychological reverberations. Feminists tell horror stories of being reprimanded in art school for daring to make art out of “unsuitable” female experience and materials; “minority” artists often work in ways unfamiliar to the mainstream in order to reinforce their own cultures; so-called political artists rebel against arcane specialization in order to communicate more directly with broader audiences.

Sentiment and sincerity are denigrated and hermeticism becomes a defense mechanism. Such taboos are bred among the unfortunate circumstances in which art is made in this society: a commercial market supported by the great American values of planned obsolescence, a greed for constant novelty, and a notion of “quality” defined and imposed from above by a single class. The result is all too often an artist alienated and isolated from her or his audiences, “expressing” an experience unfamiliar or irrelevant to most people. Thus, despite a rejection of art’s therapeutic powers in favor of rigorous

professionalism, much “high art” is probably more therapeutic than much “folk, naive, primitive or outsider” art, expressing a need for creative response that is withheld within the current distribution system. In native and ancient societies, and in psychic literature, the arts are cited as healing powers and perceived as valuable connective tissue among social and spiritual forces. Yet within the system described above, art as therapy is seen as a denigration of the incredible amount of hard work it takes to be an artist in this society-hard work not just on the artmaking level, but on the social level of acceptance and bedrock

the best artists, like traditional shamans, take risks for the common good outside of the circumscribed boundaries of professionalism set for a polite and survival. Nevertheless,

properly “outrageous” art that sits safely in galleries and museums, revealing little . but the surfaces of the modern malaise. As I sit at my desk writing, I notice how many “outsider” works are part of the pictorial chaos surrounding me. Among them is a colored drawing by Rita Langlois, from the Spindleworks Program in Brunswick, which has over the years never failed ‘to wrench my heart with its image of a young girl standing in a pool of tears as the sun hides behind crying clouds. There is also an extraordinary image of an old woman launching a paper sailboat called “Hope”-a self portrait by Elizabeth Layton of Wellsville, Kansas. She came to art in her seventies as an antidote to suicide and is now a much exhibited “insider” and outspoken evangelist for, art as therapy. There are political patchwork paintings from Chile and a brightly colored “abstraction” which, on closer scrutiny, reveals a helicopter and jagged clouds of fear. Drawn by a Salvadoran refugee child, it portrays the bombing of her village by ....continued page 24



used to be considered quite “artistic” in my earlier years, before I crossed that fuzzy borderline into illness. Now those very same emotions which fueled my creations stymy me, choke me - so that I push them into a crevasse from which they creep only sporadically, and often as malignancies. The thing which differentiates the artist from me, a mental patient, is that the artist can bear his emotions, they don’t overwhelm him, while I find myself stewing in an ugly emotional potage in which I suspect evil too readily, fear that others will hurt me if they should happen to frown, wish to kill (but don’t kill) the driver who cuts me off, and be terrifie of the prospect (though I am in my mid-thirties) of leaving my halfway house and going out into the world to live. Because my feelings of acrimony, self-hatred and grief are so powerful, I straight-jacket all my feelings in order to function, and so out of pain or through cowardice, I’ve given up the instruments of my artistry and experience myself becoming a withered fruit - dry, bitter, never plucked, never enjoyed.

Before I became mentally ill, I wasn’t afraid of what was inside, and so I used my emotions as tools in my art. Now whatever talents I had lie dormant. For a little while, artistic expression became my “finger in the dike” before my feelings became overwhelming to me. Now, creativity is simply a mirror in which I see how much I hate myself and my life. I rarely pick up a brush anymore.


ostscript, 27 years later: A voice inside my head led me to meditation practice, which led me to quieting my thoughts and releasing some of the body of pain I carried. Like a bird still cradled in a cracking shell, I do not know yet what and who I will be when fully I extend my wings and fly skyward. Those feathers are forming.


Lippard continued from page 22

the U.S.-backed army of her country. Is this a private or a public image? Does it picture a child’s individual trauma or an internationally significant political event? Does Layton’s self portrait reflect narcissism or a visionary wisdom? How many “professional” women artists would be able to depict their physical changes so unflinchingly, - or to transform their sorrows as beautifully as Rita Langlois, as the Chilean arpillera makers mourning their disappeared? Guy Brett, in his important book Through Our Own Eyes: Popular Art and Modern History, observes that in certain political situations, especially in the Third World, art becomes a means of therapy in order to survive the trauma of events; art performs the function of shamanism in some tribal societies ”to give structure and coherence to the unfathomable and intangible.” In the process, “by making society concrete and the individual the abstraction, [popular artists) reverse the pattern in the West we have taken for granted for centuries. Their newness is paradoxically mixed with the oldfashioned, even the ancient, in ways which underline the complexities of cultural interactions in the world today.”1 In view of the power (and empowerment) embodied in so much “outsider” art, the whole concept of “primitive” and “naive” must be revised. A good deal of the most interesting art found today in galleries and museums has been influenced by the strength of objects made for religious, political, or “therapeutic” reasons. We increasingly recognize the link between the professional artist and the “outsider” and the ways both are confined unnaturally to a narrow notion of art which makes even white male artists understand alienation. Truly new art of all kinds brings new information about the “outside” world into the incestuous isolation native to high art. Once “inside” however, it tends to be redesigned. As Michel Thoroz wrote about art brut,


“Like Orpheus, who by looking at her, killed the woman he loved, western culture seems doomed to destroy any other form of expression by the mere fact of taking esthetic advantage of 2 it.”

The absence of meaning in many of the most beautifully made or cleverly stylized objects within the art “world” has sent me back to the sources. Susan Hankla has movingly described folk art as “a lesson in what the have-nots have ... Indigenous and strange, [its] concerns are with the human condition.”3 Much work made by mental patients, prisoners, children, and the untrained has a passion and a truth that is not found in the more skillfully executed products of professionals. Ideally, it would be the other way around. The sparks of vision should gain from training and experience instead of being defused by irrelevant criteria. Orientation should be as potent as disorientation; explorers who lose track of their roots lose the vehicle for understanding what they have discovered. The intricate landscapes, the visionary colors, the entangled bodies and labyrinthine interiors, the magical objects, the distorted figures, the terrifying and comforting closeness, the terrifying and liberating distances .. for some reason these are often weakened when translated into the “professional” vocabulary of isolated modernism.

Yet self transformation - a prerequisite for social transformation - happens within both modes. A professional artist discovers that a winged figure in her art has autobiographical sources in buried childhood memories when she finds an old photograph; an incest victim paints herself huge butterfly wings for protection and escape. An untrained artist finds ways to reveal his homosexuality through elegant Picassoesque drawings. The intensity and emotional commitment to communication found in all the works in this show was explained by one AMHI resident in 1980: “Why do I draw? It’s like a dog wetting up a tree so that other dogs will know he was there.”4

Most of these “amateur” artists will probably remain nameless, but the other dogs do know they are there. They make an important contribution to the arts that they may never see. With “nothing to lose,” they have access to a visual honesty and to littleknown psychic domains that inspire and encourage professional artists to delve deeper, to unwrap some of the tender seeds of their own art. Along with other “outsiders”- feminist, “political” and many “ethnic” artists those in this show remain positively outside of the dominant culture’s value systems, the empty centers of money and power from which most of us are excluded anyway. Facing outwards, into the world, the view is oddly like that facing inwards to the self. It’s often mythic. And at the heart of the “inside story” is cultural authenticity. It can’t be faked. Cultural authenticity endows a less skilled art with more force than a highly skilled but culturally inauthentic art. An alliance between the two modes, an exchange in which the dignity offered the objects is not denied the people who made them, is good for both art and Art.

1 “Guy Brett, Through Our Own E es: Popular Art and. Modern History, New Society, Philadelphia, 1986. 2 Michel Theroz, in Art Brut, Skira/ Rizzoli, New York, 1975. 3 Susan Hankla, in Retrieval-Art in the South, 1708 East Main Gallery, Richmond, Va., 1983. 4 Quoted in newspaper accounts of Natasha Mayers’ 1980 exhibition at Forum-A, Augusta.’


SECRET CHILDREN by Stephen Petro


hatever your public ambition as an artist may be, in private, your main responsibility is to have no fear. This is especially burdensome when you operate with the belief that there will be, very nearly, no reward....... The only reward, or the greatest, is the one your own heart unexpectedly confers upon you, when it recognizes itself in your work. There’s a very small creature that lives in the mind, and swims there, not a fish, but a summation of all possible animals. It eats the secrets that never come to light, it never grows larger, but its heart becomes infinite. Sometimes one’s mind finds this infinity of pri vacies unendurable, and some child of the creature goes to live on a page, on canvas, in wax or in stone. Some artists treat the creature hospitably and feed it plentifully; others distrust it and feel they must liberate themselves, and they starve it or ignore it. There is no proper way to deal with this animal; it lives with or without you. But I love the children of the creature. This is natural, because I have mothered many of them. These are the children who never leave home, but they work in the world, and their effect is undeniable and demonstrable. They are the smallest nods and mutterances, under the breath, under lowered eyelids, things I said so that only I could hear them. It’s unknown, or unclear, whether these affirmations ar joyful or sorrowful, as ferns in the woods may seem at once joyful and sorrowful. Some of these children are so frail that a breath of air from an open window might bring them a fever, so I nurse them in the quietest room. They never will speak, but their breathing is my breathing and I carry the scent of their skin on my hands when I go into the world. Though some are nearly silent, some children are deafening. Again, he thought he was alone in the woods,


and he shouted angrily, louder than thunder, hopelessly, at a person who was 900 miles away. As soon as her name left his throat, a deer exploded from the bushes in front of him and crashed away through the trees. It was a buck, not a doe, and because of this, he was afraid he had created it. And he was afraid she would know. Some children are armed with a dangerous laughter, a weapon against’ meanness and dread and corruption. I have a joy that bristles with fierceness-if I teach it, and let it grow slowly (says my faith), it will someday save lives. If I let it go now, forests may burn before it is killed. I am obsessed with shifting Earth’s axis, but my labor in this joy is absolutely private, and flushed as I am, dread somehow creeps in. Should I have painted a.carrion bird standing on the altar of flo ers? Will my child heal the culture, or introduce an unheard-of explosive? When my Grandmother died, it was as if the sun had burnt out, and all that was left was the light of the moon. (Th at was the day I discovered that moonlight is independent of sunlight.) After four months of mourning, I painted a picture of my Grandmother. I collected photographs and used Memory, and for fi e days I painted as exact an image as I possibly could. She is sittinq in her kitchen, and looks into your eyes as you step through the door. Thouqh the details of her kitchen are clearly painted, the painting is more ritualistic than realistic. I wanted to make her soul come live in the paint. When the painting was completed, a “failure,” I knew I could not exhibit it. Clearly, her soul did not live in the painting. All that was clear was that I loved her. I was afraid of sentimentality (false emotion), afraid of prettiness, and I was ashamed that people could see how much I loved her. So I kept the te. I showed her portrait only once in public, in a one-day group exhibition on the 4th of July in our hometown. When I came late in the day to rescue it, I was told that an old woman had stood in front of the paint-

ing crying. Someone who’d known her, no doubt, and though I never found out who she was, I knew she was in on my “secret.” The ritual-children are the ones I love best. Even when born in publicity, they are remote, warm with confidence as they work at their magic, oblivious of their wounds, ignoring hostilities. Communication is not the impulse, entertainment is no motivation, beauty is secondary; the only imperative is that the ritual be performed, the charms and ingredients be mixed, that the conditions for revolution be displayed. Of course, some of these children are insane (and how unfortunate this is!) These are not children of “therapy,” of sick artists. attempting to cure themselves with confessions and fantasiesof health. They’re committed to “great works” of magic and, at their worst, they end up gibbering comically like cartoon sorcerers. At best, even the most private of these creatures has the broadest utility, correcting some imbalance in the world, the original form of healing that art has performed. This is of course very hopeful and sad. I had a terrible dream when I was a boy in New York, living away from home for the first time, on the Lower East Side. I was fresh from Bowdoinham, Maine (and in shock), and one night I dreamed that my mother had been thrown back in time and imprisoned by ancient Roman soldiers. Sitting in a dark, stone prison cell, she, as always, let the good outweigh the bad and took a cheerful outlook. It was awfully touching to watch, from my dreamvantage point. She couldn’t understand the Latin tongue; and when she heard .her captors speak of throwing her to the lions, she said to herself in a pleased and optimistic voice, “Oh, Leo, like Leo the Lion,” as if, given the time, she’d soon piece together the Roman’s language and all would someday be well. I woke up with a broken heart. “My Mother in a Roman Prison” became one of my private paintings. It

was stern and dark, the painting itself not at all sentimental, but the story behind it possibly was. “As long as the fear of false moves doesn’t keep you from painting,” I said to myself, “it’s alright if you don’t exhibit them.” I would pep-talk myself when I was young. The children of the creature are often conceived in dreams and many are conceived in crisis. There is sometimes the need for self-healing, but a residue from prehistory still clings to art, and we feel that when we make art, the family or the “tribe” is healthier. The children belong to the community, no one is unaffected by this laughter or these cries-so goes the belief. One winter my son and my daughter were gone, and I painted some portraits of God. He looked different each time I saw him in the middle of the night. He was a little horrifying but it gave me great pleasure to paint him. I had always painted what my eyes could see, and since I now saw nightly a grief-stricken God, I was painting him every day. I painted with the knowledge that the pictures would never be shown, and they were the first paintings I ever did entirely for myself. My hesitance came from a fear that, by painting “portraits of God,” I’d embarrass myself in front of my friends, most of whom appear to be agnostics or inactive atheists. But, strangely, as I painted them, the fact that no one would ever see them caused me to lose all fear of showing them. And I had studied myself well enough to know that, the way my ego is constructed, my confessions are always meant to be instructive. I said to myself, “You never cease to amaze me,” and rolled my eyes Heavenward. Whatever your public ambition as an artist may be, in private, your main responsibility is to have no fear. This is especially burdensome when you operate with the belief that there will be, very nearly, no reward. But there are many secondary pleasures that make life fun, and fun can help to dispel fear. The only reward, or the greatest, is the one your own heart unexpectedly confers upon you, when it recognizes itself in your work.




he need to base their art on an incorruptible core not easily adapted to cultural exchange led artists to admire the creative expressions of those who were not readily assimilated or assigned other than a counter-role in urban, industrial society. Archaic arts, folk arts and crafts, art by those without academic training, tribal arts both ceremonial and mundane, and the spontaneous productions of untutored children, prisoners, or mental patients, were all at one time without a niche in the marketplace, though most of these categories have now been gulped down by the consumer scene, with the possible exception of the last two, which from a commercial view are unreliable as to availability and stylistic stability or development. Their unreli-

it points to the existence of a well-sprinq of creativity that is beyond the reach of the discursive mind, that cannot be turned on mechanically, like a faucet. ability is essential;


Being able to tap into a universal ground gave artists a sense of their own value even while savage attacks on rational dissent during the era of the cold war tended to pressure intellectuals into apolitical positions. When the argument got down to cases, actual events of the twentieth century-two World Wars, the Nazi death camps, the Stalinist purges, the atomic bomb (the list could go on)-made the behavior of mental patients seem relatively sane compared to the activities of those who made decisions and defined norms. Jean Dubuffet’s I’Art brut is a forthright statement of a negative common bond between artists alienated by militaryindustrial-consumer culture and persons officially segregated in institution or voluntarily secluded on the fringes of society.

Dubuffet’s objections to “cultural art” include: 1) its easy mobilization in defense of the status quo and 2) its automatic sterilization of new and vital inventions.

This exhibition emphasizes the construction of richly elaborated, private worlds as a positive bond between those who are institutionalized and those who are not, rather than to their common disenchantment. Serious philosophical issues are raised by the antitheses on which the works were selected: “public”/”private” and “outside”/”inside.” The professional artists whose “private” work is shown here anonymously usually receive “public” recognition. Yet they all do work that they would not show in a normal gallery context. Though they are “inside” the art scene, their influence on social policy is marginal, so they have the role of “outsiders” in the decision-making arena. They are also, happily, “outside” of the institutions from which come the works of those true “outsiders” to our culture, the people who have ended up “inside” the walls of asylums and prisons. Yet in making this work “public” by placing it next to the very personal expressions of professionals, this exhibition shows that there is a surprising amount of common ground. In the works of both the artists and the immured, an extraordinary power and freshness come from the apparent absence of consciousness of art-ascommodity at the moment of making. By sequestering a portion of their art from the pressures of the gallery system, the professionals in this exhibition are acting as constructive and critical “outsiders” in their own culture.

INSIDE/OUTSIDE: Private Art By Nancy Coyne


y own conviction is that as artists we should be facilitators and catalysts for the telling of human truths--we need to help people know their own truths by revealing ours as best as we can, simply and candidly unravelling the layers of defense. And in a world which distracts us constantly with the noise of hurry-sickness and the numbing effect of constant violence and exploitation, knowing one’s own truth, much less expressing it clearly, is very very hard to do. Secrets are corrosive. Painful. Keeping secrets saps our energy, keeps us isolated from one another, makes us feel fraudulent. We are tortured by the efforts e must expend to keep ourselves and others from knowing things which cause us to feel shame, anguish and fear. Also we can’t change our lives without clear knowledge of the problems buried in our defenses. Secrecy starts when we are hurt in childhood and cannot bear the pain in conscious ways and continue to survive. We bury the pain and bury the content in order to go on, get up in the morning, go to school, face friends, grow up. We keep secret our sadness and grief because we must be cheerful to be accepted. Or because no one validates and comforts us. We keep secret our fears because we expect even worse retaliation or ridicule. We keep secret our private joys which are unacceptable or received with silence or with ridicule. How many of us dare to acknowledge our joy in making beautiful things, poems, pictures, quilts, meals? Or in loving sexually or in giving to others (demeaned as ‘altruism’). The burden of injustice in this callous world is carried by its victims. We internalize the bad things done to us and hate our own natural functions, appetites and reactions. As a psychiatrist I am daily confronted with the terrible burden each one of us carries attempting to keep secret the ‘truth’ of our own shame. What a conspiracy of silence!

When people reveal their secrets they feel immensely relieved. Sometimes not right away. First there may be embarrassment. What will others think? Will I be rejected or despised? Sometimes a fearful secret needs to be told many times. Finally there is a great surge of energy released and available for action, now no longer tied up in holding back and hiding. When one person tells a secret she or he empowers her hearers--they too are freed of the conspiracy of silence. Artists are people who are driven to reveal the truth of their experience. Artists are people who have the courage to tell, to risk shame and the rejection of others.

All healthy children have a drive to share their experience authentically. In every culture kids make pictures that reflect the facts and feelings of their lives. There are those among us who are not trained as artists but who have retained this universal drive to share their personal truths. Artlessness doesn’t detract from the power of the expression. (I found I was unable to distinguish some work by professional artists from that of untrained people.) We can learn from people in crisis. Because we people are all in similar boats, artists express some . things which are universal. We are all empowered by seeing the true, powerfully expressed experience of others. We learn to understand and accept

ourselves and to also dare to be a bit more authentic. Revealing one’s own truths is very very difficult. Natasha Mayers asked artists to show her work that expressed their most personal and private feelings and ideas. What we see here is art that is not very shocking, not sensational or confessional. We see good expressionistic art-strong, moving, interesting in the tradition of Munch and Kollwitz. But not as naked, not as overtly candid as I expected. We see the awful isolation of prison, the mourning of a nude woman isolated in her household, the hostility of domestic conflict, the pain of sexual violation. Subjects not often dealt with in Madison Ave. galleries. Not popularly sensational. Not pretty. Just human. Just the hard issues of everyday life. We see loneliness, pain, anxiety, rage, joy. We see the quotidian container of human meaning--a mother’s view of a child on the toilet. I was tantalized by the work. I wanted to know more about each artist’s core. I wanted to uncover the complicated onionskin layers of dream symbols and defenses. One work revealed only the obsessional defense (a painting consisting of neat dots). Freud thought that art making was itself a defensive maneuver to protect us from overwhelming anxiety. Of course Freud himself was ambivalent about secret-keeping and believed that society could not exist without strong defenses against unconscious aggressive impulses. My own conviction is that as artists we should be facilitators and catalysts for the telling of human truths-we need to help people know their own truths by revealing ours as best as we can, simply and candidly unravelling the layers of defense. And in a world which distracts us constantly with the noise of hurry-sickness and the numbing effect of constant violence and exploitation, knowing one’s own truth, much less expressing it clearly, is very very hard to do.


Visiting artists in their studios to check-in on their well-being

CHECKING-IN by Kenny Cole I interviewed Lesia Sochor in her Brooks, Maine studio: KC: How are things going with you? LS: Things are going really good! I’m working on my newest series, ‘Mannequins’ which were inspired by naked mannequins in storefront windows that I saw on a recent trip to NYC. It was a natural evolution from a series of paintings depicting women’s bodices, which emerged from the ‘Threads’ series. All the work is rooted in personal memories of my mother sewing beautiful garments for me and my sister, and the connections I felt to my female ancestors. It speaks of tradition, craft, labor, and tactile process. The paintings began as oils on canvas, which is the way I’ve always painted, but I started to think about the act of sewing and ‘fixed’ the pattern paper onto the canvas. Thin layers of transparent oils were painted on top. I also began collaging some of the patterns to reference more specific ideas in the paintings. KC: What would you like viewers to get out of this new work? LS: The paintings have so many layers. They are about couture, beauty, image and sexuality. Some are pollitically charged by asking the question ‘where are our cloths made’? The mannequin is such a real yet unreal, cool and creepy fiberglass embodiment of the female form. I’ve cropped the image to frame what I feel is the core of feminine energy. From this point I begin to work with the schematic lines, markings and language to guide the viewer and suggest multiple interpretations. My hope is that these pieces create conversations about the feminine experience, both personal and global. KC: Do you think that women have achieved equality? LS: I believe women have achieved a great deal. There is a global awareness about so many issues now, which were hidden just a relatively short time ago. I do think that we need to be on alert of the progress we’ve made so as to not loose ground and to forge forward. In the thick of working on this series, the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh occurred. So awful, so sad. It made the work that much more poignant. One of the paintings was created as a direct response to this. There you have it - decent working conditions, fair wages and labor practices. KC: What’s next? LS: I’m definitely not finished with the mannequin, the complexity of it. I have all kinds of ideas I want to put to canvas. At the same time I realize how vital it is to be open to possibilities that evolve when you are right at it. This past winter I also painted a full body image from the back, clothed and zipped from the neck to the calf. I’m intrigued with the zipper. Not only the actual mechanics of it, but as metaphor they are filled with innuendos: hide/reveal, restricted/ free. I want to develop this idea, don’t know where it’s going to take’s always a journey.

For more images visit Lesia’s website: Here are some dates of Lesia’s upcoming shows: ‘Living in these Bodies’ at Waterfall Arts August 1st - 29th A pop up Art Show at Heather Hearst’s, Camden, Maine Aug 9-12 At Elizabeth Moss Gallery, Falmouth, Maine a 2 person show, Aug 14 - Sept 20. 30

Lesia Sochor, Made in Bangladesh, 2014, oil on sewing pattern paper, 19” x 2 ”

Lesia Sochor, Zipped, 2014, oil on sewing pattern paper, ”24” x 48”


N a rra tive s fro m educat ors about creat ive expression

Insight/Incite by Jan Piribeck

What is the artist’s voice in the teacher’s experience? How do artists and teachers develop throughout their lives?

Angelica Pendleton USM Theater Major King Tide Art Digital Montage 2013


recently read an article on creativity and education that referenced former Director-General of UNESCO, Rene Maheu’s belief that that the aim of education “should be both the improvement and realization of society and the individuals’ potentialities.”1 Maheu died in 1975; the work he did for UNESCO was done over a half century ago, yet his ideas remain current. The relationship of creativity and education impacts the vitality of cultural, economic and environmental systems throughout the world, and art education plays a major role in integrating the creative process with learning from Kindergarten through College. The question for art educators today is how do we provide learning environments where the creative process fully addresses Maheau’s principles of self-actualization and social responsibility. One of my responses to this question has been to develop a special topics course taught through the University of Southern Maine Art Department. The course is titled Shaping the Ter rain and is dedicated to exploring the ways in which human


beings shape their environment and in turn how they are shaped by it. Next fall the topic will be Visualizing Sea Level Change in Portland and Casco Bay. Students will engage in data collection and digital mapping. They will facilitate King Tide events where community members come together to observe and interact with tidal flooding on the Portland peninsula, and they will create artwork to elevate public awareness of sea level rise and its impact on Maine communities.

How does the work of teaching affect the work of creating and vice versa? What are the struggles/successes of teaching and making one’s own work? How does the teacher inspire and teach about issues with which artists deal?

My intention as an artist/teacher is to provide opportunities for students to consider the role of artists as cultural agents and to pique their understanding of how self-reflection and creati e expression can influence change. -- Submitted by Jan Piribeck Professor of Art University of Southern Maine

Burleson, W. “Developing Creativity, Motivation, And Self-actualization With Learning Systems.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies: 436-451. Science Direct. Web. 31 May 2014.

Caitlin Puchalski USM Art Major King Tide Art Digital Montage 2013

Web Comix -- responds to our theme: “ART YOU DON’T SHOW”

by William Hessian


Our May Issue featured the theme “Ekphrasis: art about art.” The following submission was received in response to this theme.

There is no joy in exile. I am wrapped in wind. I am wrapped in dust. I am wrapped in moonlight. There is no joy in exile. My children are wind. My children are dust. My children are moonlight. There is no joy in exile. I stand in the wind, the dust. I stand in the moonlight. I am wrapped in my children and I am home. -- Gary Lawless

This painting, Survivors, from a series of paintings called Survivors’ Suite, by Wendy Newbold Patterson, was recently shown at the Auburn (Maine) Public Library, with a poem written in response by Gary Lawless. To see the complete series of paintings go here.


arrt! re M

ay 11th Session: We made a banner for Western Mainers Against Deforestation or We MAD, a group protesting clearcutting in the western mountains, the Albany South project in the White Mt. National Forest and calling attention to the link between deforestation and climate change, and how the forest ecosystem is the lungs of the earth.

Special thanks to Marji Greenhut for the generous use of her fabulous studio, and to Broad Reach Fund for helping to sustain our efforts.


e made a banner for use by Cultivating Communities in Portland. for a shed at their Boyd Street Urban Farm. They work with the Somali, Sudanese, and Latino communities. http://www.cultivatingcommunity. org/


eport CLICK

Artists Rapid Response Team!

creates banners and props to promote the work of progressive non-profits across Maine. All members of UMVA are invited to join. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

to view the documentary,


by Geoffrey Leighton


une 8th Session, held in Whitefield, as devoted to prop-making for 4th of July parades in Whitefield and Bath and for future use. Anita worked on a high speed train, for a float about economic con ersion of BIW. The rest of us worked on painted cardboard boats for the float about “Maine, the Way Life Should Be”. The lighthouse represents the state and people of Maine. It is a beacon/guiding light, summoning and protecting the positive things we want and believe in which are rep-resented by the boats. Each boat is painted to represent a different thing -- green energy, a ferry boat for welcoming diversity, a lobster boat for CSA’s and buying local , and one for protection of the environment, a GMO-free boat, a bipartisan ship, a giant BIW hospital ship (NOT a war ship), an affordable house boat, and more.

If you would like to march in either the Bath or Whitefield parades, get in touch 549.7516.


maine maste Ashley Bryan Featured in latest Maine Masters Films Ashley Bryan, renowned artist, children’s book author and humanitarian will be featured in several new films being sponsored by the UMVA Maine Masters Project and produced by Richard Kane and Robert Shetterly. The first “works-in-progress” to be released will be three films shown as part of a summer 2014 exhibition title A Visit With Ashley Bryan, celebrating the artist’s life and art in the inaugural event of the Ashley Bryan Center, which was established in 2013. The exhibition will take place in Acadia National Park’s Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island. The three short films are: Ashley Bryan’s Sea Glass Windows; Ashley Bryan’s Puppets; and Ashley Bryan’s Beautiful Blackbirds. They are part of a larger film profile of Bryan that will be released later this year. This free exhibition runs daily from June 25 to September 18, 2014, 11 am – 4 pm and 6 to 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays through August. September hours will be posted on the website.

The opening celebration will be held on July 5th from 3-5 pm.



ers update

is an award-winning video series sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists to produce profiles of some of Maine’s most distinguished and often less recognized visual artists.

“A Great Triumph” Jon Imber’s Left Hand at the Stonington Opera House Jon Imber’s Left Hand, the latest film in the Maine Masters series produced by Richard Kane and sponsored by the

will be screened at the Stonington Opera House on July 22. There will

UMVA, be showings at 6 and 8 pm.

Just prior to the screening of the film at the Independent Film Festival Boston in April 2014, art critic Sebastian Smee reviewed it on the front page of the Boston Globe. In the review he noted: “This beautiful film … takes the wind out of you.” Maine Sunday Telegram art critic Daniel Kany called it: “A masterpiece of intimacy in the face of tragedy … an extraordinary accomplishment.” Art critic Edgar Allen Beem called it “a great triumph” after viewing the premiere screening at the Maine Jewish Film Festival. An 80-minute feature-length version of Jon Imber’s Left Hand has now been completed and is being entered into top-tier film festivals. This feature will be released in the Fall of 2014 along with the DVD. The film is a tribute to one of Maine and Boston’s finest artists Jon Imber, who died of ALS on April 17, 2014. An exhibition of his work is currently on exhibit at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, ME, through July 6, 2014. A show of Imber’s pastels will be on view at Greenhut Galleries in Portland, ME, August 7-30, 2014. A show of painters who Jon Imber mentored will be held at gWatson Gallery in Stonington, ME, July 7-19, and will include Hannah Bureau, Jay Wu, and Robin Reynolds.


UMVA Chapter Updates

Jesse Salisbury, Executive Director of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium and sculptor from Steuben

As a new Mainer who chose this area for its intrinsic beauty, I was overjoyed to be so welcomed into this circle of incredibly knowledgeable local artists. I appreciate the creative, critical artistic community that UMVA offers. The art was stunning and the conversation stimulating. -- response to first meeting of UMVA Downeast Chapter


he Union of Maine Visual Artists Downeast Chapter will meet at Schoodic Arts for All on Wednesday, July 2 at 7pm. This gathering will be at Hammond Hall, 427 Main Street, Winter Harbor. Jesse Salisbury, Executive Director of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium and sculptor from Steuben, will be the program for the evening. This year, the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium welcomes seven artists from around the world to carve out large scale granite sculptures for the communities of Harrington, Jonesport, Lubec, Calais, Surry, Bucksport, and Castine. Discover more about the symposium on the website Please note that there will be no meeting in August because we will be in the midst of the Schoodic Arts Festival. Join us on September 3 with Sarah Doremus, kinetic metalsmith from Stonnington.


tart a chapter of the UMVA!

UMVA sponsors regular monthly meetings with art presentations and dialogue among artists to support their work, as well as conversations between artists and the general public on pertinent and topical concerns which help to clarify the language of art. There has been interest in Portland and Brunswick to start-up chapters of the UMVA again. If you’re interested in this effort anywhere in the state, contact us at with New Chapter in the subject line.


ditor/graphic designer wanted

Be a part of the launch of this Journal! It’s a work-of-art in progress -- we need an energetic graphic designer who can work in Adobe Indesign to continue to shape this quarterly on-line magazine. Contact 38


“Then and Now” Where did your art start? Provide an example of what it looked like way back then. Where is it now? Provide an example of current work. How does the present connect to your earlier self or to others? Who or what were your influences at different times in your art-making? Did you burn early work, store it, treasure it? How do you feel about early works you sold or gave away? We invite UMVA members to submit work for the October “Then and Now” issue with “Then and Now” in the subject line to: by September 1 deadline. We’re mainly interested in images, but perhaps a brief statement would be pertinent to explain your evolution — LESS THAN 100 WORDS PLEASE.

Please submit images as jpgs. (We prefer high resolution images; the format should be at least 300 dpi and 1000 pixels on the longest side). Please label work with artist, title, year, medium and dimensions. Questions? Other ideas of art or content you’d like to see in the online magazine? Please contact Anita Clearfield, (207) 751-4848, Please use “Then and Now” in your subject line.

It is not the policy of the UMVA Journal to edit image files, but we reserve the right to crop or correct when there is need for correction of submitted images.

Image from “Party Line” Video by Alan Magee

UMVA subscribes to the Creative Commons under an Attribution -Non-commercial License. Submitted images can be used by UMVA for press purposes and by the press for purposes relating to the listing or the UMVA online magazine and for academic purposes; any commercial use must be granted in writing; by submitting to the UMVA Journal, you are acknowledging our policies.



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