The Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset should definitely be on your list of galleries to visit – until July 17th. Yes, there is a deadline. The current show “Aquired Symbols” is an experience. The exhibition shows paintings by John Lorence and some of the artist’s friends and former students.
The former students of the exhibition are Patrick Plourde, Jorge Pena, Peter Haller and Ellen Gutenkunst; the friends are Clara Cohan, Elliott Barowitz, Fellice Boucher, Camille Cole, Sara Cox and Teresa Sullivan.
The 50 works in this exhibition, be it painting, fiber art, sculpture, collage, ceramics or mixed media, show spiritual or cultural ideas and beliefs in symbolic form. From ancient civilizations to modern times, symbolism is an evolving language in itself.
The symbolism of the colors arouses the psyche in a subliminal way that affects us physically and emotionally; red is blood, heat, anger, energy; Green is nature, money, life; White is purity, moon, stars, innocence; black can be everything and nothing, the unknown, the evening sky, mourning.
Symbolism in art adds depth and meaning. In this show, symbols, both ancient and modern, take us on a journey through human experience.
As I stood in front of Lorence’s “Sycamores Near the Chateau # 826”, I was led under the surface of the trees – roots that anchor them deep in the earth. The colored shapes between the roots reminded me of winter quarters for forest dwellers; by other shapes below, I imagined pools of water – and sycamore maples, like willow (and others), grow best in damp areas.
It was a pleasure to be part of this painting. It encourages every viewer to look above, and in this case below, the surface.
Haller’s “Date Night” is a short, black dress made of three or four different black materials. The short black dress is iconic and hails from the Roaring Twenties. Most women have at least one in their closet. Why? Because a little black color gives a woman a cool, self-confident, sexy feeling. This black dress has a crocheted lace neckline, the bodice begins with black lace that merges into a jersey-like fabric. A faux fur wrap is used around the hip area (an interesting choice) with a pleated black and brown checkered bottom. No, it’s not what you envision for a date as a whole, but each fabric is representative of what women are most likely to have worn in different time periods.
“Arms Around It” is a sculpture by Cohan who happened to drop by the gallery during my stay – and that was a happy coincidence. I have to say it’s my favorite piece on this show. The energy that emanates from it makes you shiver. An ancestral being’s arms are outstretched as it embraces orbiting planets, movement is created through the use of Yeso. Speaking of movement … the back of the sculpture is clearly the universe, meteors, ghosts – or are they souls? – move through space. From this point of view, the ancestral being seems to be in flight with these objects … they are one.
This wooden sculpture is made entirely of wood, oil-stained, structured with Jesso. Cohan also had some cast in bronze; a woman who bought it tanned thought of using it on her tombstone!
Pena and Haller were the driving forces behind this uncurated show in which, as Cohan said, “all the pieces talk to each other”.
And I say that each piece will speak to you – as it has and continues to do.
“This exhibit draws visitors from all over the state – the highest number we have ever had,” said Kerry Hadley, manager of the Maine Art Gallery. “The excitement and excitement around them is palpable / Wiscasset Newspaper and the Portland Press Herald. We love reading the enthusiastic comments from patrons in our guest book. Kudos to the curators Jorge Pena and Peter Haller! “
The gallery at 15 Warren St. is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit https://www.maineartgallerywiscasset.org or call 687-8143.