Lincoln Perry has what he calls “a high tolerance for museums and churches.”

Each time he visits Europe, which happens often, he spends enormous chunks of time looking at paintings. His recent trips overseas also have found him taking pictures of sculptures.

“There are a lot of angels in Europe,” says Perry, who is a seasonal resident of York. “After a while, they start to seem to be fighting a pretty tragic fight against gravity.”

That observation jogged his mind to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and TV images of people jumping to their deaths from the burning World Trade Center buildings in New York. “I thought that was heartbreaking; that people would hold hands and jump for support,” he said.

Those images led indirectly to his latest grouping of sculptures, cast in bronze, which he calls “Falling in Place.” They are part of a new solo exhibition at the George Marshall Store Gallery in York, where Perry is showing recent sculptures along with a large selection of mostly new oil paintings.

Many of the paintings are familiar landscape scenes around southern Maine. Viewed together, the paintings and sculptures constitute a remarkably diverse exhibition, full of color, joy, movement and emotion.

Even the sculptures, despite their sad back-story, have a sense of life to them. The figures appear happy, and Perry is quick to add that he does not limit his reading of them to anything associated with tragedy. They just as easily could be dancers, who also defy gravity with their athletic performances on stage.

Perry’s landscapes are highly narrative. He paints familiar places from unlikely points of view. One of his paintings is an image of the local Wiggly Bridge, which is under construction. Rather than depict a majestic image of the local landmark, Perry opts for the bridge during the detour season.

Similarly, he paired an older perspective of the Scotland Bridge up the York River with a new image from the same perspective. Only now, the bridge is no longer in place. Instead, Perry shows us one of the old stanchions that supported the bridge, and places a human figure on top.

“I try to find odd angles and unconventional perspectives,” he said.

Perry and his wife, author Ann Beattie, live part of the year in Key West, Fla. They also teach in Virginia, so their lives are bundled in bursts of concentrated activities that span the length of the Eastern Seaboard.

Part of Perry’s perspective comes from his travels.

“In Key West, they were digging up the street in front of our house for months. I did 10 or 15 paintings of these guys doing their work at all times of the day,” he said. “What I liked about that is that Key West is very self-promoting and very proud of being paradise. But it’s always under construction and noisy and dirty. It establishes the idea that in order to have a place worth living, there is an underlying effort of workers to make it possible.

“The beautiful places are not plopped down in whole form. There is worked involved, maintenance,” he said.

And of course, that is as true in Maine in summer as it is in Florida in the winter.

Perry also is an accomplished figurative painter. Many images in this exhibition feature the human body in various forms and situations. He offers a glimpse of his humor with a series of paintings that tell a story of unruly house guests.

In Maine, we know all too well guests who never leave. Perry tells that story in paint — with images of kids screaming down the stairs and turning an orderly house into a cauldron of over-activity.

 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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