The wildlife is having its way with some of the sculpture at the just-opened “On the Wing” exhibition at Maine Audubon.

Last week just before the opening, Audubon workers arrived in the morning to find that Anne Alexander’s glazed ceramic eggs had been covered by mulch, most likely by an aggressive wild turkey that makes its home among the wooded grounds. The gobbler might have thought Alexander’s five nested eggs were hers, although they are much too large for turkey eggs and shaded the color of a robin’s egg.

Later that day, they relocated a stainless steel piece from the grounds to an interior location because the same turkey, presumably, was using it for vanity’s sake and pecking away at it.

You never know what critters you might encounter when you take in “On the Wing.” On a recent visit, this reporter encountered a turkey, a groundhog, too many birds and butterflies to count — and lots of small children.

This is a two-part show, with 75 pieces at Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm and another 50 at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. More than 50 New England artists are represented in the show, said curator June LaCombe of Pownal.

The work in the two locations features birds, feathers, nests and other winged creatures, both representational and abstract. They are depicted in stone, steel, wood and bronze. The sculptures at Boothbay have a floral theme, while the work at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth has an ornithological theme.

In addition to this two-part show, LaCombe is exhibiting another 110 pieces in “Steel and Stone,” featuring works by Stephen Porter and Roy Patterson and dozens of other artists, at her Hawk Ridge Farm in Pownal. Collectively, the three installations afford a tremendous viewing opportunity for interior and exterior sculpture.

It should be noted that the Audubon show has a different feel this year than in the past. Previously, most of the pieces were sited along Maine Audubon trails in Falmouth. This year, some of the pieces are situated in the butterfly and perennial gardens near the main building, but most of the work is inside.

At Boothbay, all the work is outside, offering viewers an easy and mostly accessible 1-mile hike. Boothbay visitors who are unable or disinterested in the hike can see almost the entire show with the help of a ride.

The dual exhibition represents a new level of cooperation among the organizations, LaCombe said, noting that employees of both organizations have worked together in all aspects of the show, including cross-promotion of each installation.

Artists include many names familiar to those who appreciate sculptural art in Maine: Lise Becu, Ray Carbonne, Jim Sardonis, Andreas von Huene, Cabot Lyford, Hank Tyler, Jean Noon and George Sherwood.

Wendy Klemperer, whose steel sculptures of wildlife have proven popular with viewers over the years, has one piece in the Falmouth show: An osprey with its wings open wide, sited out back on an open lawn.

The self-described myth-making team of Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson created a giant raven called “Sentinel.” Made from twigs, it greets visitors on the road into the farm, standing tall high above the grass.

LaCombe enjoys curating these shows because she is able to expose the work of her stable of sculptors to a much wider audience than she is accustomed. A lot of collectors come, but so do a lot of other folks who just enjoy a stroll through the gardens. She enjoys introducing as many folks as possible to sculpture.

“Many people have told me they’ve been able to appreciate the art when they see it in a natural setting,” she said. “They feel more at home, more comfortable and more appreciative of taking it in.”

All pieces at both shows are for sale.

 

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

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Twitter: pphbkeyes