BATH — What is maritime art, exactly?

Maine Maritime Museum’s latest exhibit shows that it’s a tough concept to define.

“Cross Currents: Visual Arts Distilled from the Maritime World,” opened Nov. 20 and will run through Feb. 6, 2011. The exhibit features the works by four artists: print-maker Carroll Thayer Berry, painter Loretta Krupinski, photographer Claudio Cambon and sculptor Christy Georg.

“It was sort of time for an art exhibit, given our run of subject matter and themes before this,” Curator of Exhibits Chris Hall said Tuesday.

The museum has many works of Berry (1886-1978), whose prints document naval ships at Bath Iron Works and the pouring of the lead keel for America’s Cup defender Ranger in 1936.

“He did a lot of prints that many people are familiar with and are now well-loved,” Hall said, adding that other pieces of his are studies and preliminary drawings, such as on-site drawings at BIW.

The works of the other three artists on display add variety to the exhibit.

Krupinski, who lives in South Thomaston, bases her oil paintings on historic photos, adding lush color to the black and white images of working waterfronts along the Maine coast.

Cambon, a documentary photographer for more than 20 years, snapped shots of the final slipways launch at BIW, when the U.S.S. Mason took to the water in June 2001.

Georg adds movement to maritime pieces such as scrimshaw, tattoos, knot work, lanterns, signals and horns. Her “Giant Monkey’s Fist” looms over the exhibition area. A monkey’s fist is a light heaving line, which is weighted at one end and simple to throw to a vessel or pier. Georg uses a 3-inch-diameter line in her piece to bring the piece to imposing proportions.

“I think people are generally surprised that we as a historical museum also have art in our collection,” Hall said. “… Our holdings are diverse enough that not only do we have pictures of ships, but there are a lot of other nice pieces that are related more indirectly to maritime culture and subject matter, so I think it’s helpful to point that out every now and then.”

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Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

Sidebar Elements

“Giant Monkey’s Fist” by Christy Georg looms over Maine Maritime Museum’s newest exhibit, “Cross Currents: Visual Arts Distilled from the Maritime World.”