October 23, 2011

Art Review: York gallery show knocks it out of the park


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“Slide” by Duncan Johnson, constructed painting.

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“Yellow Buoy” by Robert LaBranche, acrylic and charcoal on canvas.


WHAT: Three-person show: Duncan Johnson (constructed paintings), Robert LaBranche (paintings) and David Orser (ceramic); Joe Hemes, “Luminous Projections”

WHERE: George Marshall Store Gallery, 140 Lindsay Road, York

WHEN: Through Nov. 13HOURS: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday;
1 to 4 p.m. Sunday





Orser's ceramic sculptures play a visual role almost akin to fallen leaves against LaBranche's and Johnson's foliage coloration, but their low-ground organic logic built up by a jade-leaf or punchy-briar feel is braced by a keen sculptural sensibility.

Cubist spatial gestures drive Orser's organically modular forms, whether they seek to deliver crystalline snowflakes, the carapace of a prawn or a calmly recumbent poodle. Orser has an accomplished feel both for the textured skeins and internal volumes of vessels and figures.

While Joe Hemes' light sculptures in the dock level/basement space of the gallery aren't my favorite works at the gallery, they are undeniably the most fun and unusual.

Hemes' architectural skills are in full force in his sense of detail, mystery and space, as the metal sculptures project well-orchestrated and calligraphic scribbles onto the walls of the darkened gallery. (Spoiler alert: Incandescent filaments don't create simple dots.)

This is my favorite Maine gallery show of 2011 in part because it surpasses the sum of its parts. While all the art is strong, the presentation makes it a phenomenal show that's absolutely one of the year's best. 

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



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