Well, it's hard not to be struck by these two exorbitantly colorful oil paintings of Strawbery Banke sunrises by Carol Aronson-Shore. They're plenty luminous, but I have to say their inclusion is a little uncomfortable here. Well-crafted post-impressionist landscapes perhaps, but hardly dissimilar from industry standard New England paintings. If the goal is to show innovative contemporary work, this is a lateral step at best.
At best. Kim Bernard's kinetic sculpture "Synergy 17" is a welcome representation of performative work. 17 loud orange encaustic teardrops, or boxing bags, are suspended and effortlessly bouncing, activated by a docent every 20 minutes, a simultaneously light-hearted and tense action. There is a nice dialogue happening with her piece and August Ventimiglia's snap-line wall drawing, in scale, repetition, and color saturation. Curatorially, I'm noticing a book-ending theme. Not sure if this is the best approach, as it is sometimes juxtaposing works that don't feel related. This is happening for me here with the photographs of Michael Penney and Robert Monroe.
Liv Kristin Robinson (United States, born 1949), “En-Route series: New York City #2,” 2010, color photograph, digitally enhanced, dye-infused metal print, 15 x 24 inches. Lent by the artist, courtesy of Vox Photographs, Portland, Maine.
You think they're awkwardly linked? Perhaps, but the exhibition is beginning to feel a little photography heavy. Maybe they just ran out of room to put it all. If Shaughnessy does so materially, Michael Penney's digital portraits culturally reinterpret aspects of Maine landscape through a marginal lens. I don't presume to know anything about his subjects' sexuality (particularly the dog's), but these big, bearded, heavily tattooed men captured in intimate repose bring to mind the bears and bikers of Maine's queer community, a demographic of people whose images haven't traditionally been slapped onto Maine postcards. I'm uncompelled some of the other photography here, particularly Liv Kristen Robinson's "En Route" series of color prints of New York, which lead the way down this side corridor —
Heath Paley (United States, born 1948), “Window Seats,” 2010, pigment inkjet print, 13 5/16 x 42 inches. Lent by the artist.
— more photography, more landscapes. There is a noticeable lack of new media here. Heath Paley's "Window Seats" is standout. A large-format photograph sculpturally rich with detail and a seductive evening light, the work captures the sterility of passing through landscapes without breathing their air. The image concurrently romanticizes the warm outdoors and our cold designed world, reveling in the wrinkles on headrests and the scratchy texture of the familiarly ubiquitous textiles of mass transit. Suzannah Sinclair's watercolor and pencil on birch panel, "Easy Living," similarly renders a dreamy perspective of nature. A voluptuous blonde sits nude in a lake, intrigued by her own reflection, alone, but clearly posing for the gaze. Reading like a pulpy '70s pin-up, even this girl's rugged environs glow with fleshy sexiness. Moving on?