October 27, 2013

Art exhibition explores progression of Alzheimer’s

Pamala Crabb chronicles her father’s descent with a series of multimedia works.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Artist Pamala Crabb of Springvale will show her multimedia abstracts in an exhibition called “Alzheimer Forgets,” inspired by her personal feelings about her father’s illness. Crabb is shown in the studio she created in her home.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Pamala Crabb will show her acrylic and encaustic works next month at Whitney Galleries in Wells.

Additional Photos Below



WHERE: Whitney Galleries, 1810 Post Road, Wells

WHEN: Nov. 7-24, with opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8. Regular 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday

INFORMATION: pamalacrabb .com

ALSO: Panel discussion about Alzheimer’s 1 p.m. Nov. 16

She has shown across Maine, and is part of a group show, “Material Matters,” on view Nov. 1-30 at the Lewis Gallery at the Portland Public Library. In 2009, she was included in the group exhibition “Heat Stroke” at the Saco Museum, featuring artists working in wax.

Her work is not widely known, but this series should help establish her name, said Richard Whitney, who owns the gallery in Wells where Crabb will show this work in November. He calls her “one of Maine’s unknown jewels.

“I think she’s a really courageous artist,” he said. “It’s not easy to do this kind of work, but she’s done it remarkably well. She has replicated the journey that she is experiencing with her dad in her art. She presents the perceptions of an Alzheimer’s patient as they progress through the disease. She gives us an idea of how they perceive the world, using the forest as a metaphor.”

Encaustic is an agreeable media for this work, because of the build-up of layers of wax. As each layer is revealed, we get different textures, different colors, different shapes and forms.

The layers suggest distortion, blurred perceptions and a thick haze, Whitney said.

“By the end of the show, you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at. You’re not sure it’s a forest anymore, or exactly what it is. I think it’s a very poignant statement.” he said.

Crabb had be convinced to show this work a year ago in Rochester, N.H. Ross Bachelder, who manages the Ben Franklin Crafts store in Rochester, urged her to put up some of her work in the store’s gallery space, if for no other reason than to gauge reaction.

Crabb did so, quietly. She did not call attention to the work, did not schedule a reception and did not seek publicity. But she set out a notebook for people to leave their impressions, People wrote moving and emotional comments, leading Crabb to tears and to the realization that her art was helping others coping with similar circumstances.

“There were a lot of people in tears looking at this show,” Bachelder said.

Crabb is more comfortable exhibiting this body of work now. She is eager for the panel discussion, and happy to participate in a community discourse.

But that does not mean it will be easy.

“Oh, no,” she said, her eyes welling. “It’s going to be hard. People are going to want to talk, and I’m going to just try to not get too emotional. But it’s hard.”

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

bkeyes@pressherald.comTwitter: pphbkeyes

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Additional Photos

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A 2013 acrylic on canvas by Pamala Crabb from "Alzheimer Forgets"


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