OGUNQUIT, Maine — These are the final weeks to visit the American Art Museum of Ogunquit and experience its 2022 exhibition season. The museum’s final open day will be on Monday, October 31, after which the museum will close for the winter and will reopen next May.
Don’t miss this special opportunity to see the exhibits currently on view, including John Walker: From low tide to high tide; Sue Miller: Personal travel; Jim Morin: drawing and painting; Virginia Overton: Untitled (Cardinal C-80); The view from the narrow cove; I’ll Bring Luck With Me: Hunting and Fishing with Henry Strater; Robert Laurent: Open workshop; and Full of Hope: A Charlie Hewitt Project.
The final event of the season will be a Curator Talk on Tuesday, October 18 at 5 p.m. when OMAA Associate Curator Devon Zimmerman, PhD, speaks about the museum’s permanent collection via ZOOM. The conference is free to the public and registration is required.
“We had a fantastic season and we look forward to sharing our plans for next year with our community,” said Amanda Lahikainen, PhD, executive director of the American Art Museum of Ogunquit. “Our new curator has worked hard to develop exhibits that represent Maine artists as well as contemporary artists from across the county.”
Stay tuned for an announcement of the exhibits that will be featured during the 2023 season which begins Monday, May 1, 2023.
John Walker: From low tide to high tide
When John Walker (b. 1939 in Birmingham, England) first visited Maine, he did not know how to paint landscapes. “It was too pretty, too picturesque – I felt there was nothing I could do with it.” Known for his emotionally charged abstract work, the artist draws on his personal history and his love of art. A slim fit pays a heartfelt homage to Goya The Duchess of Alba, and in the 1990s he was inspired by this painter’s meditation on the disasters of war to make paintings about his father’s traumatic experience during the First World War. Then the landscape took on its full meaning. Still determined not to paint pretty pictures, he focused on the mud and debris left by receding tides and incorporated dirt into his medium, echoing observations made by other artists that “paint is only colored mud anyway”. And, perhaps aware of the capricious nature of war as a game of chance, he recorded mercurial weather changes on bingo cards thrown into paintings that are nonetheless monumental in scope. But big or small, the works of “Low Tide” from the early 2000s uniformly reflect loss and a kind of inherited trauma that poet Rosanna Warren describes as “pressed from the trench of memory.” After years of staring at pools and streams formed by receding tides, Walker’s mood changed unexpectedly. “Before, I could only paint when the tide was out,” he says. “Now everything revolves around the water inlet.” Lighter and more open, his more recent work “High Tide” captures the zigzag reflection of the sun on fast-moving water, generously communicating a renewed optimism in paint’s ability to take us to places where we are not. not gone yet.
Sue Miller: Personal travel
The visionary painting of Sue Miller (b. 1939, New York, New York) is inspired by many things. Drawing on interests ranging from mythology and art history to a love of poetry and music, she creates works that are both abstract and figurative. Having sailed most of her life, she was nourished by the memory of coastal landscapes, light reflecting off the water and nautical shapes. But while the artist can rely on direct observation, his paintings are essentially abstract, richly saturated with color and expressive in their intent. Some incorporate personal letters or sea charts and when a student sent him a photo of a Viking ship two years ago, the square shape of the sail became a launching point. “It was the form set in motion that energized me,” she later remarked of a thickly painted work in which she incorporated fabric and wood. “In the end, the subject was not a boat or a sail. Instead, it became part of my own personal journey into the act of painting itself.
Jim Morin: drawing and painting
This season, the OMAA is pleased to present the multifaceted work of Jim Morin (b. 1953, Washington, DC). Best known as a distinguished editorial cartoonist forThe Miami Herald for more than 40 years, Morin has been a lifelong oil painter and multiple Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism for his cartoons. He stands out from his peers by connecting the artistic process of working in these two different media, noting “My paintings affect my drawings and vice versa”. This exhibition presents a selection of drawings and paintings by the artist that highlight the environment and the landscape. Morin’s enduring concern for the planet and how various human activities impact it over time comes across as particularly compelling in the wide range of issues addressed in the more than ten thousand caricatures produced during his career. His keen interest in this subject sustains and underpins many of his paintings, which celebrate the beauty of the natural world and reflect a sense of place that includes the landscape of Maine and Ogunquit where he now lives and works.
Virginia Overton: Untitled (Cardinal C-80)
OMAA is proud to present Untitled (Cardinal C-80)by Virginia Overton (b. 1971, Nashville, Tennessee) in her sculpture garden this season. Untitled (Cardinal C-80) is made from a steel frame dressed to create an L-shape and inlaid with pieces of reclaimed white marble. Previously used as a forklift cup holder, the title refers to an industrial trademark on the outer edge of the frame: “Cardinal C-80”. Through subtle and drastic interventions, Overton puts once utilitarian objects commonly associated with factories, farms and construction into context. Often sourcing materials from the places she works, Overton found the abandoned steel support in west Toronto, where the sculpture was first exhibited at Evergreen Brick Works in 2019.
The view from the narrow cove
At the turn of the 20th century, urban artists in search of new themes drew inspiration from this stretch of coastline, forming schools, then communities. The resulting contribution to the greater art world seemed beyond the scale of the once sleepy fishing village that made it possible. Artists affiliated with various chapters of American art history, such as the Federal Art Project (1935-1943) of the Works Progress Administration, the Armory Show of 1913, the Ashcan School of the late 19th century, and of the early 20th century and The Penguin (1917 –1923) group in New York, came to work in Ogunquit, making connections and developing styles that would advance their work in Boston, New York and beyond. With selections ranging from the end of the 19th century to the present day, The view from the narrow cove draws primarily from the museum’s permanent collection and provides insight into artists from the early years of the Ogunquit artist colonies, including Charles H. Woodbury (1864-1940), Hamilton Easter Field (1873-1922), Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889-1953), and Rudolph Dirks (1877-1968), among others.
I’ll Bring Luck With Me: Hunting and Fishing with Henry Strater
An important theme for artist and OMAA founder Henry Strater (1896-1987) was what he called “the disorganized abundance of Mother Nature”. Strater was an avid hunter, fisherman, “polar bear” swimmer, and adventurer. He kept pace with his friend Ernest Hemingway on hunting and fishing expeditions around the world, including the 1935 outing from Bimini which is said to have inspired Hemingway’s 1952 novel. The old Man and the Sea, from which this exhibition takes its title. In the hunting-themed still lifes of the 1930s, as well as the flowery coastal landscapes of the 1960s, Strater’s observations reflect his passion for outdoor pursuits and are rendered in a brushstroke as bold as his lifestyle. Through paintings, historical photographs and personal memories, I’ll Bring Luck With Me: Hunting and Fishing with Henry Strater examines the link between his job as a painter and his life as an athlete. This exhibition brings together various works from different periods of Strater’s work, including Golden Eyes Drake(1933), which appeared in OMAA’s inaugural season in 1953, and The bait thieves painted in Florida in 1966.
Robert Laurent: Open workshop
Displayed in a recreation of his studio in Cape Neddick, Maine, Robert Laurent: Open workshop presents drawings, paintings and sculptures by Robert Laurent (1890-1970) and artists around him. This exhibition foregrounds the personal side of his practice and provides an insight into the space of his artistic production between 1922 and 1970. By highlighting his interactions with Hamilton Easter Field (1873-1922), Wood Gaylor (1883- 1957), Bernard Karfiol (1886-1952), Elyot Henderson (1908-1975) and his son John Laurent (1921-2005), this installation examines Laurent’s role in the artist colonies of Ogunquit and the continued impact of his teaching career and his legacy.
Optimistic: A project by Charlie Hewitt
This season, the OMAA is proud to participate in Full of Hope: A Charlie Hewitt Project . In 2019, Charlie Hewitt (b. 1946, Lewiston, Maine) was commissioned by Speedwell Projects, a Portland nonprofit gallery, to create public art for its rooftop located at the crossroads of five city neighborhoods. Hewitt installed a colorful and bright sign, illuminated by marquee lights and featuring a bold and simple message, “Hopeful.” The retro design is influenced by roadside attraction signs reminiscent of an earlier era. Hewitt works with David Wolfe at Wolfe Editions in Portland on design and with Neokraft Signs in Lewiston on manufacturing. A commitment to working with local artisans and makers is central to Hewitt’s artistic practice. On January 20, 2021, Hewitt’s OptimisticLewiston appeared on the national television showCelebrate Americaevent following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. In addition to Portland and Lewiston, Hewitt showed moreOptimisticsigns in Bangor and Brunswick, as well as other cities and towns in Maine and other states across the country.