I entered the large, airy chamber that is the lobby of the Portland Museum of Art. I turned to the right, entering the “Director’s Cut” exhibit. So many things caught my eye as I looked around the room. Two large paintings hung on one wall – one colorful, “Romance in Autumn,” and the other colorless. On the wall opposite, a black sculpture with the name of “Grotto” hangs alone among many small black and white photographs.

In this exhibit, the sculptures, photographs and paintings all work together to make the other more noticeable. This is done by contrasting colorful and black and white, and by comparing small and large.

The aforementioned “Grotto” is made of plastic, glue, paint, paper and seashells. The seashells were left over from a Chinese restaurant. The top of the sculpture is mostly flat, while the bottom of the piece consisted of many spikes, giving the impression of stalactites. The whole sculpture is painted black. The “stalactites” are made of shells while the top of the sculpture has paper or plastic flowers. I really appreciate how the artist creates something similar to a natural formation, stalactites, out of a different and completely unrelated natural formation, seashells. I found the piece to be impressive because of its mass, color and location.

“Grotto” hangs alone among many small black and white photographs, done by Bernice Abbot. This sculpture fits in with its companions in color, but not in size or style. The piece is large and imposing and juts out of the wall, while the photography around it is small and rather unimposing.

The first painting I saw was called “Romance in Autumn,” painted by George Bellows. The painting was not done in his usual style, however, it is masterful with its almost 3D depth and colorful quality, immediately drawing my eye. I first noted the boat, which looked ethereal with its light blue, delicate sails. I saw the tall imposing trees with their leaves just turning into a vibrant orange. I saw the rock on which the girl stands, her enchanting orange hair reflecting sunlight as she helps the boy on to the rock beside her. I am impressed by the sparkling stream that flows around the rock she stands on. “Romance in Autumn” is placed between colorless photos and colorless paintings. This placement of colorful among black and white is intriguing; it makes all of the pieces on this wall more noticeable than they might otherwise be. “Romance in Autumn” benefits the most from its placement, the painting is already colorful but it becomes far more noticeable near its less colorful companions. I find it hard to turn away from this painting, but when I do I am met with another and then another.

One painting was called “Feet Up.” “Feet Up” is literally a painting of two feet sticking straight up in the air with a sky blue background speckled with clouds. I had a hard time appreciating this painting because of its oddity and simplicity. This painting, similar to others in the gallery, was placed in a location that distinguished it from others. In this situation, I found that made everything around it less impressive rather than more, because it is so extremely bizarre. As I walked through the rest of the exhibit I noted other paintings, some with exquisite detail or amazing depth, other paintings were extremely colorful, and almost all located in places that accentuated their qualities. The “Director’s Cut” exhibit is terrific, and I highly recommend it.

Edith Tierney, 12, is from Palmyra.

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