November 18, 2012

In The Arts: Three shows: One fascinating, one eloquent, one ambitious

By PHILIP ISAACSON

(Continued from page 1)

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“Amanda,” gelatin silver print by Olive Pierce at Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Frost Gallery

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“Boogie Boards,” photograph c-print by Kathie Florsheim, at Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Frost Gallery

Additional Photos Below

ON VIEW

"RELEVANT HISTORIES" -- PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENTON HAMILTON

WHERE: Addison Woolley Gallery, 132 Washington Ave., Portland; 415-4279

HOURS: Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday

CLOSES: Dec. 1

 

"WE NEVER SEE ANYTHING CLEARLY" --

JOHN RUSKIN AND LANDSCAPE PAINTING, 1840s-1870s

WHERE: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 9400 College Station, Brunswick; 725-3124

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday (until 8:30 p.m. Thursday); 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

CLOSES: Dec. 1

 

"PHOTOGRAPHY: HERE & THERE -- THE POWER OF THE PARTICULAR"

WHERE: Jonathan Frost Gallery, 21 Winter St., Rockland; 594-0800

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

CLOSES: Dec. 1

The issue -- the virtuosity of the photograph versus the effects usual to the fine artist -- was raised by the English critic-painter John Ruskin. He found virtue in the romantic atmospheric effects in the paintings of J.M.W. Turner and his circle, but also in the detail-infused work of the English Pre-Raphaelites.

The reconciling of these views was a major effort of Ruskin's and of certain American landscape painters who subscribed to him.

The matter was never resolved.

It is all rather quaint and academic to us, but the works selected to illustrate the historic divergence speak eloquently of the times.

In addition to the Talbot photograph, other images include an exquisite watercolor of a rock by Ruskin and an elegant drawing of a sugar maple by the American painter Jervis McEntee (1828-81) that struggles with the reconciliation of detail with effect.

Three small gouaches from the 1870s by another American, William Trost Richards (1833-1905) grace the event:  Two are gentle coastal ambulations; the third is somewhat more forceful.

This list is not complete. It is intended to introduce an engaging occasion both visually and into the many uncertainties of art. 

I CONCLUDE with "Photography: Here & There -- The Power of the Particular" at Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland. It is a broadly ranging event studded with long-established names.

To suggest its dimensions, I'll list the participants: Richard Barnett, Tillman Crane, Kathie Florsheim, Catherine Leuthold, Jim Nickelson, Rania Matar, Jeanette Phillipps, Olive Pierce and Craig Stevens.

I applaud its ambitions. In addition to the large number of accomplished artists, the range of work covers much of contemporary photography as we find it in our precincts.

One photographer, Pierce, narrates the sociology of a small community. Two, Leuthod and Matar, are world journalists and documentarians. Another two, Crane and Stevens, are classic landscape photographers.

Nickelson sees the landscape in its nocturnal guise; Florsheim covers the contradictions and banalities of American leisure; Phillips' eye is tuned to the geometry of design; and Barnett is touched by vacancies in the landscape that people once filled and in places where they once lived.

As to the show's ambitions, I see them as an effort to provide the public with a broad index into highly evolved photography available in Maine.

In that effort, it has succeeded admirably. "Here & There" is the best generalized photography show I've seen this season.

Philip Isaacson of Lewiston has been writing about the arts for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 47 years. He can be contacted at:

pmisaacson@isaacsonraymond.com

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

“Evening Landscape, Late Autumn,” 1861 oil on canvas by Jervis McEntee, at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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“Cloud Spinner” by Brenton Hamilton, at Addison Woolley Gallery in Portland.

Courtesy of Addison Woolley Gallery

click image to enlarge

“Milk Moon (Acadia)” by Jim Nickelson, archival digital print, at Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland.

Courtesy of Jonathan Frost Gallery



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