November 4, 2012

Art Review: Jon Marshall blazing a glazing trail


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“The Kennebec River” by Jon Allan Marshall.

Courtesy Images

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“Interior Brook" by Jon Allan Marshall.

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WHERE: Bayview Gallery, 58 Maine St., Brunswick

WHEN: Through Nov. 24 HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

INFO: 729-5500;

Marshall's best paintings show a range of space. "The Kennebec River" for example, succeeds up close, through middle spaces and along the distance -- all by balancing the sense of detail and light.

His "Crawford Notch," on the other hand, shows only a deep space behind a near-ground repoussoir. While the seemingly simplified equation of near/far could disappoint, Marshall plays a very satisfying trick by using the texture of the linen's bumpy surface (think burlap) to set the scale for the tiny trees. It reminds us that Marshall isn't some Munsell-system painting machine but a smartly creative artist very capable of wit.

Marshall's most intriguing two works feature creatively painted frames. Whether Mondrian or Marin, this isn't usually my thing, but Marshall's "Birch" is just as brilliantly witty as it is gorgeously painted. A trompe l'oeil birch sprig lies across the bottom of the frame while the painting features a drawing of birch blossoms nailed to the tree. It's a smart bit of postmodern wit in which the old school tips its hat to the new.

Marshall is one of those artists who lives and works in Maine yet has mostly shown elsewhere. But when David Findlay Galleries closed, NYC's loss became our gain. Marshall is an exceptional painter and it's good to see him here.

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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“Self Portrait” by Jon Allan Marshall.


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