As is the case with many contemporary artists' books, some of Goodale's works can dwell in rather precious terrain. The majority of her pieces are successful for being structurally adventurous, studiously taxonomic, or able to revive the playfulness of youth; others sometimes appear content to embellish an aesthetic by now synonymous with a buoyant coastal lifestyle. "Iris Prismatica (Slender Blue Flag)," is an example, and it might not feel so Hallmark-y if it weren't the exhibit's first image. Others too suffer from garish folding, cutting, and framing patterns, with seemingly no referent (in a show that's full of them) than a nod toward popular notions of beauty. Pretty things, of course, have a refrain in Maine's cultural lullaby, too; it's just more difficult to believe that it's the artist who wrote the words.

Nicholas Schroeder can be reached at

"LULLABY FOR MAINE: AN EXHIBITION OF ARTIST'S BOOKS" | works by Rebecca Goodale | through June 16 | University of New England Art Gallery, 716 Stevens Ave, Portland | 207.221.4499

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