This exhibition is about the allure of life on the water. From quick sketches to capture the movement of the sea, to meditations on the idea of being on the water.
Being on the water in Maine expands our experience of the state to include the many islands, and distant inland lakes, and rivers. It refills our cup to the point of overflowing. Spend a day on the edge of the sea or a lake and you will see every shift in the day reflected in the water’s surface. A breath of wind ripples the surface, a cloud grays down the blue lake, the filling tide darkens as the water gets deeper. The color of the sea can quickly shift from sparkling glare, to deep blue, to wine dark. These bodies of water are an expressive face, wearing every whim and emotion on its surface.
Stories of the Sea
"“I don’t know if it’s apocryphal or real, but there is the story of J.M.W. Turner having himself lashed to the mast so he could experience the storm up close. And you can see that in his paintings. He wanted to be more than a witness. A part of it, kind of.” - Raymond Pettibon, in Homo Americanus
A. Emmanuelle Marpeau's shadowboxes tell stories of the sea in swirling complex images. Each box depicts Maine's maritime history, an intricate portrait life on the coast through generations, or a harrowing tale, a story of great accomplishment. Her dioramas show the power and strength of the sea and the winds above.
A game of dress up, pirates aboard a sailboat in the bay, Colin Page captures the shared experience of boating and exploring islands with his children. This painting is a visual hierarchy of symbols, all reminding us of the stories spun by a child on an adventure. One child wears a symbol of her pirate character on her bandana, the flag hints at the story the girls spin, and the painting itself reads as a flag; a composition of bands of red, white, and blue.
Significance of Scale
"Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra." - John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
Mariners Dream, the series of waves in cast glass and bronze by J.T. Gibson, plays with scale. Each block has the same undulating surface in an ambiguous scale, understood as small ripples or massive ocean swells.
Marc Schepens paints the idea of water through time and mark making. Small deviations lead to pattern shifts like ripples from a stone dropped in the water. Tight pattern creates visual vibration, showing the lively movement of the surface.
Serenity and Strength
"My soul is full of longing / for the secret of the sea, / and the heart of the great ocean / sends a thrilling pulse through me." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Marc Hanson's love of paint and process shows in every inch of his seaside studies. Immediacy and gesture lend abstract beauty to these realist paintings. Thickness of air and fluidity of water are shown in his active mark making.
Carl Austin Hyatt's strength of composition, sharp detail and rich tonal values describe the awe inspiring power and beauty of our rocky coastline.