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August 19, 2013

Five places to find really cool sculptures

Artfully rendered rock, metal and wood are big in Maine, and out there in public for all to enjoy.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Jesse Salisbury’s “Tidal Moon” at the Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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“Garden Interlude” by Carole Whelan at the Art Gallery at the University of New England in Portland.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

ART GALLERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND, PORTLAND: UNE has hosted outdoor sculpture shows since 2001. The first ones were curated by Grant Jacks, a key proponent of Portland arts in the 1980s. He died in 2002, and the shows have continued in his honor since.

The annual "Sculpture Garden Invitational" is a highlight of the summer and fall in the city, and stands as the best opportunity for people to see a variety of sculpture by many different artists. This year, 10 artists have dozens of pieces across the landscaped back and side gardens at the UNE campus off Stevens Avenue. A labyrinth allows visitors to walk a rounded rock path in the woods around the gallery's exterior.

Jacks was ahead of his time. Sculpture gardens were not common in Maine a dozen years ago. Today they are, and Jacks is a big reason why. His vision helped educate people about the sculpture possibilities.

The pieces range from very large to very small, and are simple, complicated, static and kinetic. One of our favorite is a sprawling, colorfully painted and polished aluminum piece by Melita Westerlund, "Spring (from the Cloud Series)," which stretches across the garden like a ribbon. More quiet is Carole Whelan's "Garden Interlude," which consists of two small figures seated on a garden bench, surrounded by lilies and basked by intermittent sunlight.

Other artists with pieces in the show are Nancy Nevergole, Jean Noon, Judy O'Donnell, Elizabeth Ostrander, Andy Rosen, Constance Rush, Patric Santerre, Antoinette Schultze and Cat Schwenk. The invitational is on view through Oct. 31. 

The Art Gallery at UNE, 716 Stevens Ave., Portland. Gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, and 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. 221-4499; une.edu/artgallery

COASTAL MAINE BOTANICAL GARDENS, BOOTHBAY: As the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens have grown up, the sculpture opportunities have developed exponentially. The gardens will always be known first and foremost for their spectacular 8-foot-tall lilies and 10-foot-tall delphiniums. But they are also known, and widely loved, as a setting for outdoor sculpture.

June LaCombe, Maine's best-known curator of indoor and outdoor sculpture, arranges shows at the Boothbay paradise annually. This year, she has lined up dozens of sculptors from across the region, many of whom created pieces specifically for the gardens and its seasonal theme of forest and timber.

The show is called "Living Wood," and it places sculpture along the trail that circles the great lawn, as well as along the pond edges and through the butterfly gardens.

The artists have created pieces in wood with stains and materials designed to withstand the weather. John Bowdren's hand-carved leaves and alewives are covered with gold and palladium leaf. Ray Carbone designed rustic benches made from Maine black locust. Ben Thompson's "Green Man" hangs in the alcove, and features a finely carved leaf, while Dan West reimages driftwood as carved loons. 

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, 132 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay. $14; $12 for ages 65 and older, $6 for ages 3 to 17; free for ages 2 and younger. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 633-4333; mainegardens.org  

STEMWINDER SCULPTURE WORKS & GARDENS, WARREN: Jay Sawyer is a welder by trade and an artist by desire. He salvages industrial material and creates sculpture from it. Over the years, he has fashioned a three-acre sculpture park on his property just off Route 90 in Warren.

Sawyer draws about 1,000 visitors annually to his little park, which offers a leisurely stroll among several dozen pieces that he has spread out across the gardens, pond and grove.

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Additional Photos

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At the Art Gallery at the University of New England in Portland, “Spring (from the Cloud Series)” by Melita Westerlund.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Wendy Klemperer’s porcupine at the Portland International Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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One of Wendy Klemperer’s deer at the Portland International Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Jay Sawyer has dotted his property in Warren with the sculptures that he creates from salvaged materials, including “Samosphere IV: A Space for The Spirit."

Photos courtesy of the artist

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“Driftwood Loon” by Dan West at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.

Courtesy photo

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Oak Leaf” by John Bowdren.

Courtesy photo

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Royalty” by Melita Westerlund.

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Black Locust Bench with Robin” by Ray Carbone.

Courtesy photo

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Jay Sawyer has dotted his property in Warren with the sculptures that he creates from salvaged materials, including “Keebler Tree.”

Photos courtesy of the artist

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From the Sculpture Trail of Maine, works by Don Meserve in Winter Harbor.

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From the Sculpture Trail of Maine, works by Don Meserve, Lise Becu in Addison.

Courtesy photo

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