July 7, 2013

Art review: Bruno, Belasco and Page work well together


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"Howard's Garden," by Colin Page

Images courtesy of Courthouse Gallery

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"Blue Composition," by Ragna Bruno

Additional Photos Below



WHERE: Courthouse Gallery, 6 Court St., Ellsworth

WHEN: Through July 21

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

INFO: 667-661; courthousegallery.com

For Page, the answer changes from painting to painting. Not so with Bruno. The paintings and their self-aware systems and structures refuse to fold into the illusion of representational space. When imagery takes form (like in her small case in "Winter Trees"), it does so in a receding whisper.

There is mystery, but Bruno keeps it for herself, like cherished old love letters. We see this in the barely perceptible backwards writing on the surface of the painting in Spanish, and often starting with "solo" -- alone.

While you might think of Da Vinci or a libretto to be read from the other side, I saw reverse archeology, and quickly let them go as someone else's otherworldly and plaintively personal letters.

While most of my favorite abstract painting in Maine bristles with a vital edge (Mark Wethli, Ken Greenleaf, Thomas Flanagan, Garry Mitchell and Cassie Jones among them), Bruno's work dovetails elegantly with traditional Maine painting. It is quiet, atmospheric and contemplative. It's a broken romanticism wrapped in bittersweet knowledge rather than lusty sublime.

When I saw William Irvine's most recent paintings at Courthouse, I felt a place for Bruno as a Maine painter.

Irvine's newest paintings work harder than ever to clearly present the structural geometry underlying works like Bruno's. His "Lighthouse," for example, features a blue rectangle shooting straight across the image, playing the part of sea horizon before it shoots straight up towards the sky -- echoing the edge and form of the painting. It's beautiful as well as brilliant.

There is a great deal of excellent art now on view at Courthouse Gallery. And taken together, the shows by Belasco, Bruno and Page comprise a particularly interesting trio.


Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:



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Additional Photos

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"Counterpoint with Black," by Ragna Bruno

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"Fogbound Bay," by Judy Belasco

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"Schoodic Autumn," by Judy Belasco

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