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Installations at Coleman Burke

Quiet witness
"A Thickening Rhythm" is a show of five artists, one of whom, Julie Poitras Santos, also curated the show, at Coleman Burke in Brunswick.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  April 11, 2012


What should art be about? UMaine prof seeks answers in history

Benton's question
There are a few things to remember about Thomas Hart Benton, an iconic American artist who died in 1975 at the age of 85.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  March 28, 2012


Greenhut’s ''Portland Show'' welcomes spring

Local joy
Every so often Greenhut organizes a "Portland Show," gathering works mostly about the city, or by artists who are identified with it, or both.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  March 21, 2012


The PMA offers a glimpse inside Degas’s world

Private showing
The work of Edgar Degas has been getting much attention from museums in the past few years.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 29, 2012


Aucocisco shows early works from Bernard Langlais and Jean Cohen

Very fine years indeed
A long time ago in a galaxy . . . well, it was just New York and it may seem like ancient history, but it was real life and what happened is part of who we are. We do like our stories about those days, and they quickly accrete the patina, and lack of detail, of legend.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  January 18, 2012


A peek at Portland art shows in 2012

Radicals and friends
Degas and the PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART headline the news for early next year. We're so used to Degas and his point of view it's easy to overlook what a difficult and radical artist he really was.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  December 28, 2011


Chinese bronzes from thousands of years ago at Bowdoin

Alive with the past
Chinese bronzes are often felt, quite rightly, to fall within the purview of scholars and collectors who delight in detailed changes from one period or region to another.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  December 07, 2011


The Portland Museum of Art shows an exhibit of Shaker crafting skill

Honoring simplicity
There's something fundamentally American about this very enjoyable show of Shaker work at the Portland Museum of Art.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  November 02, 2011


Rose Contemporary's 'Abstraction' show is more than enough

The thing itself
Abstraction is the process of moving from the particular to the general, from the thing itself to an idea about the thing that can thus be considered or communicated. All art is, in this sense, an abstraction. The soup-can painting requires no spoon.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  October 05, 2011


Don Voisine’s careful placements at Icon

Reading shapes
In his essays on interpretation in the 1970s, Frank Kermode assigned a couple of conditions to the apprehension of a text: carnal and spiritual.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 21, 2011


Edward Hopper's early, formative works on display at Bowdoin

Building mastery
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) occupies a singular place in the history of American art in the 20th century.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  August 10, 2011


Review: PMA show highlights Marin's modernist excellence

Meeting a master
For the first half of the 20th century John Marin (1870-1953) was considered one of the foremost American modernist painters, and this fine show of some 50 of his later works at the Portland Museum of Art gives us a good idea why.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  July 13, 2011


Bill Manning's relationally intense paintings

No rules, just reasons
Bill Manning has been a central figure in contemporary art hereabouts for something close to five decades.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  June 15, 2011


A Rackstraw Downes retrospective at the PMA

Conceptual reality
The first thing you notice about the Rackstraw Downes exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art is how abstract these paintings are.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  January 19, 2011


Live art criticism: an intro to Lori Waxman

A writer and performance artist lifts a veil off creative critiquing
In the Neolithic times when I signed onto the art world, art criticism was a rather different species than now inhabits the cultural ecology.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  October 06, 2010


Traveling critic seeks art to review

In “60 wrd/min art critic,” a performance event that has the feel of a triathlon, Lori Waxman, the Chicago Tribune art reviewer, will be coming to Portland to write short reviews for artists who wish to show her their work and get a piece written about it.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 16, 2010


Review: Modern painter's style showcased at Farnsworth

Big, big Katz
Alex Katz is one of America's best-known modern artists. His work is so emblematic of art of our time that a graphic showing one of his paintings adorns the subscription card that drops out of my freshly-delivered art magazine every month.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 01, 2010


Birth of a museum

A push in Portsmouth
Nobody starts an art museum. Most of the art museums in America were founded in the later 19th century, when esthetics became part of the larger cultural language — the Portland Museum was started in 1882.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  March 03, 2010


Subject bias

Still lifes focus on the details at the PMA
"Objects of Wonder" is a mixed bag of a show, which is what it sets out to be.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 24, 2010


Little surprise

American painters cross the pond
At the tag end of a dispiriting day of gallery visiting I happened into the Bowdoin College Museum to see their collection of Warhol Polaroids matched with a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. That's a sure recipe for ongoing gloom, but it was on my way, so I stopped.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 03, 2010



Highlights of Colby's collection
The big 50th-anniversary exhibition at the Colby College Museum of Art has only about a month left of its eight-month run, so it seems like a good time to revisit this sprawling and worthwhile show.
By: KEN GREENLEAF  |  January 27, 2010

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