HALLOWELL – The latest art exhibition at the Harlow Gallery began with Facebook.

Monmouth artist Amy Ray noticed that artist friends were posting recent drawings, and many of them captured her imagination. Some were intensely intricate; others refreshingly loose. Some were abstract and free-form; others were precise.

“It was inspiring to see what people were doing on a daily basis in their studios,” she said.

Ray approached Harlow directors about setting up the current show, “The Drawing Story,” and agreed to take on the role of curator. It’s on view at this riverside gallery in historic Hallowell through June 25.

The lineup of participating artists includes many of the best-known contemporary artists working in Maine today, including Abby Shahn of Solon, who delivers a gallery talk at 7 p.m. June 15.

She will discuss her life in rural Maine, and talk about creating art in this place and in these times. She is among 14 artists who agreed to participate in the show.

The others are Patrick Plourde of New Gloucester; John Curtis Jennison of Bath and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Camille Cole of Freeport; Ray of Monmouth; James Frederic Rose of New York City; Jen Bradford of Portland and Beacon, N.Y.; Joe Klofas of Hallowell; and Chris Dingwell, Larry Hayden, Kimberly Convery, Stephen Burt, Deborah Randall and George Lloyd, all of Portland.

Ray monitored the work that folks posted on Facebook, then approached them to arrange studio visits.

“I live fairly isolated out in Monmouth, and Facebook is a great loop for my art world,” she said. “It’s fun to watch people post drawings and other work, and then have a conversation with them about it. That’s really how this show came about, at least initially.”

Ray was particularly pleased to get commitments from artists such as Shahn and Lloyd, whose careers eclipse the limited reach of the Harlow. “They are still excited to be drawing and sharing their work and willing to show in a small gallery, outside the scene of Portland or New York,” Ray said. “They all said yes. It’s nice that they are still excited about their work enough to share it.”

The central question of “The Drawing Story” is simply: What is a drawing?

This show suggests a drawing can be many things, from quick marks on paper to obsessive lines in black and white, or color.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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