A PRINT BY CHRISTINE HIGGINS is seen in the top left photo. At top right is an intervention print by Giti Neuman and Karen Adrienne. The bottom right photo is “Solidity Detached” by Sarah Vosmus, and the bottom left photo is “Webmaster” by Susan Dean Smith. The center photo is of artists from fine art print presses Circling the Square and Fundacion Estamperia Quitena meet in Quito, Ecudaor.

A PRINT BY CHRISTINE HIGGINS is seen in the top left photo. At top right is an intervention print by Giti Neuman and Karen Adrienne. The bottom right photo is “Solidity Detached” by Sarah Vosmus, and the bottom left photo is “Webmaster” by Susan Dean Smith. The center photo is of artists from fine art print presses Circling the Square and Fundacion Estamperia Quitena meet in Quito, Ecudaor.

DAMARISCOTTA

 

 

Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in downtown Damariscotta hosts the “A Sense of Place/El Sentido del Lugar,” a cross-cultural printmaking exhibit, through Nov. 23. There will be an opening reception Sept. 16 from 4-7 p.m that coincides with Damariscotta’s Friday Artwalk.

The cross-cultural printmaking exhibit brings a blend of local and Ecuadorian art celebrating sustainability, biodiversity and the way local changes can make global impacts.

 

 

Kathy Leeman, realtor at Sotheby’s, hopes that the having the exhibit open to the public during the 9-5 grind of the workday might foster appreciation for art as a stress-reliever as well as a comfort for clients and strangers alike.

“Our office was once an art gallery, and I’ve always thought that the public should have an opportunity to see great art in private offices, not just public places like museums and galleries,” Leeman said. “This has been something that has been close to my heart for awhile.”

 

 

When she worked at Newcastle Square Realty in Damariscotta, Leeman began hanging art on the walls and shaking hands with the public, asking them what they thought of the idea of art being displayed in offices.

“I didn’t want them to feel on the spot or to have a meeting,” said Leeman. “I wanted them to be able to come in and walk around, and just look at art. I wanted to continue hosting artists working in the state.”

Now that “A Sense of Place” has come to Sotheby’s, Leeman’s dream is being realized on a large scale.

“It’s a great opportunity for a real estate office to host great art in the state of Maine and make it available to the public,” Leeman said.

People have already taken to the art on the office walls.

“Today I was a couple minutes late to meet a client — who is a wonderful artist herself — and she was able to spend her time thoroughly enjoying the prints,” said Leeman. “Typically you go to a museum or gallery and it takes a special effort, so it’s nice to bump into art in our daily lives, in this type of situation. We don’t want to formalize it so that someone has to have a meeting, either. We want anyone to feel comfortable walking through our doors.”

This concept echoes the link between Maine and Ecuador, how the Ecuadorians welcome Mainers into their country.

“A couple of us went to Ecuador to meet the other artists,” said Olsen. “They were so grateful we came. They pulled out all the stops to show us a good time. Going there and learning a little bit about what they’re going through was eye-opening. Their jungles are getting ripped up, and the sad thing is, it’s just for some cheap oil. The oil isn’t even making them rich.”

Before Olsen and the other artists arrived in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian artists went out on a field trip into the jungle, to reinforce why nature is so valuable, and to make sure they told the right story through their art.

“It was really inspiring for them out there,” said Olsen.

Now many others can be inspired, too.

“I can’t emphasize enough as to what a beautiful, well-hung and well-presented show this is,” said Leeman. “We are all happy to give these artists a chance.”

“There’s something peaceful and comfortable about (these prints),” said Leeman, who is an artist herself and has been working to get more art into local businesses in the Midcoast. “The art creates a whole mood when you walk into the office. You just sort of say ‘ahh,’ and enjoy it.”

The exhibit consists of 90 original prints by two fine art presses separated by 3,800 miles — Circling the Square Press of Gardiner and Fundacion Estamperia Quitena of Quito, Ecuador. Christine Olsen of Circling the Square stressed that the similarities and differences of environmental concerns in areas a world apart inspired the exhibit.

“The concerns in Ecuador are focused on the jungles and the exploiting of oil that is going on there,” said Olsen. “(In Maine) we have coastal issues and endangered species. It’s kind of neat from that perspective.”

One highlight of the show are the “intervention prints,” where an artist from Maine started a print and then sent it to Ecuador to be finished, and vise versa. There was no verbal conversation between the artists, only a “visual conversation,” and the results were often astonishing, Olsen said.

“(Maine artist) Judith Long did a little print having to do with Maine shrimp, and the problems in the industry lately,” said Olsen. “When she got it back from Ecuador there was a leaf on the print, which turned out to be a mangrove leaf. In Ecuador the mangrove crops have been devastated because of the commercial shrimp farming industry. It was a fascinating parallel to our problem in Maine.”

In her own prints, Olsen focuses on endangered Maine species such as birds, habitat loss and deforestation. Other artists focused on such topics as seed and plant species, bird migrations, and threatened bee populations.

Olsen lauded the open concept of the Sotheby’s show, saying she had been to a few shows there in the past.

“Everyone is working away and you can just kind of walk through the office,” Olsen said.

“We have been hosting art shows for a couple of years now,” said Leeman. She said the shows began mostly as oil painting exhibits, but one of the artists mentioned including prints and Leeman thought that would be “a wonderful idea.”

Sotheby’s is located on 170 Main Street in Damariscotta, and is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the exhibit, visit circlingthesquarepress.com.

[email protected]timesrecord.com


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: