But of all these worldly explorations and several more, I was most fixated by the work of Judith Allen-Efstathiou. Through several stark lithographs and drawings on tracing paper, she delivers three harrowing biopsies of tree species whose habitats were decimated by blight: one in Portland, one in the Appalachians, and another in Greece, which she smartly ties to that country's economic crisis and ill-conceived austerity program. The work is simple and sleek, and its import is evenly weighted between the larger topic and the artist's investment in it. If you're going to tarry in the rarefied terrain of visual art, there seems no more ethical way to take on the world. ^

"MAINE WOMEN PIONEERS III: WORLDVIEW" | mixed media group exhibition | Through May 12 | University of New England — Portland Art Gallery, 716 Stevens Ave, Portland | 207.221.4499

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