Ann Tracy’s “Coastal Disturbances” will be exhibited at the “Alight on the Rocky Shores” show next month at the Union of Maine Visual Artists gallery in Portland. Contributed / Ann Tracy

A three-woman art show opening next month in Portland is an homage to the Maine coast and a call to protect the oceans.

Judy Greene-Janse, Joanne Tarlin and Ann Tracy are collaborating on “Alight on the Rocky Shores: This is not an exhibition on lighthouses” at the Union of Maine Visual Artists gallery in Portland. 

Joanne Tarlin’s “Underwater Fantasy – Cooling Oceans.” Contributed / Joanne Tarlin

The artists said they were drawn to one another’s styles and found they shared a reverence for and connection to the ocean. Their show reflects three perspectives on how “all the elements and beauty of Maine and its richness along the coast” affect each of them individually, said Tarlin, who lives in Harpswell. 

For her, the show represents “the sublime power of the earth and the record of it, reminding us that we are stewards of this planet and we’re only here for a short period of time,” Tarlin said, as well as “the power and the beauty that art gives us simultaneously.”

Tracy’s connection to the show lies in what it says about how precious and vulnerable the environment is, she said.

I’m concerned about the climate emergency we’re in, especially for young people,” the Rockport artist said, and at least half of her pieces reflect that concern. “I’ve driven hybrid cars since 2004, but we need to push (the) government and companies to do something. They can’t just sit back and look at it as an opportunity to make money, or else there won’t be a planet or people to make money from,” she said.


Tracy said the title of the show is a play on Rene Magritte’s famous “This is Not a Pipe” painting. It calls on people to recognize that art is about more than just the physical thing it is depicting.

Portland artist Judy Greene-Janse’s “Closeup with Barnacles at Bottom.” Contributed / Judy Greene-Janse

“Artists are kind of mirrors – we reflect life back at an audience. In a way we’re seers. We are seeing things happening and it’s upsetting us, so it gets mixed into our art,” she said.  

I hope people will take away a realization that we need to take action to save our oceans and to save our planet. I hope people come away with the fact that if we are active, we can turn this around … We have to think ahead seven generations.”

Portland artist Greene-Janse said that as a swimmer who’s spent years plunging into the ocean in Maine and elsewhere in the Northeast, she knows firsthand how the waters have warmed, the sea levels have risen and trash along the coast has increased.

“I want to be here and try to make a difference as much as possible,” she said.

She finds inspiration in the rocky shores of Maine.

“When I look at the surfaces of rocks, they are like abstract paintings to me,” she said, and she hopes people who see her work will “feel the sense of awe that I feel when I look at the rocks and cliffs.”

The show opens Oct. 6 at the UMVA gallery at the Portland Media Center with an artists’ reception from 5 to 8 p.m., and will continue on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. An artists’ talk is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 21. In addition to their individual work, the three artists will also display a collaborative piece representing a lighthouse, which will be sold in a silent auction with part of the proceeds going to UMVA, a nonprofit that promotes and advocates for the visual arts.

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