Focusing on a landscape that is undoubtedly one of America’s treasures, the work of four artists gathered in one exhibition showcases Maine’s spectacular coast. The show offers something interesting: a “Rashomon”-like presentation of the Pine Tree State’s scenes.
Bayview Gallery, of Brunswick, Maine, is the host for “Local Color 2015,” a show featuring Mary Byrom, Sally Loughridge, Lennie Mullaney, and Felicity Sidwell. The common denominator among these four artists, who are spread out over about 50 miles in Maine, is the coast. “All four of us are very interested in the variety of the landscape — the particular colors of the Maine landscape — and we all paint coastal scenes mostly,” says Sidwell. “The unifying thing is the Maine landscape — there’s something very special about it.”
“Landward,” by Sally Loughridge, oil on board, 16 x 20 in.
Each artist has something different to say about Maine. “It’s the beauty and the bones of the landscape and the character of the people,” says Loughridge. Byrom adds, “You never have the complaint here that summer is too green, because the marsh is golden and the water is so blue. The colors are vivid, and there are so many.”
“Convergence,” by Mary Byrom, oil on panel, 9 x 12 in.
“There is something a little primordial about it,” says Mullaney. “It’s a severe ruggedness, whether it’s the coastal area or Mount Katahdin. The tide goes out 15 or 20 feet to expose enormous rocks. There’s a particular light, a clear, northern light. And the people are rugged, too, cobbling things together, whether it’s fishing, blueberry picking, arts and crafts — these are people who live by their own hands. There are enormous territories with no towns, just wilderness, and wild rivers with rapids that empty into beautiful, pristine lakes. I’m awestruck by the immense, rugged beauty of it all.”
“Dawn, Deer Isle, Maine,” by Lennie Mullaney, oil, 20 x 24 in.
“Rock Outcropping, Morse Mountain,” by Felicity Sidwell, 2015, oil, 9 x 12 in.
The title of the show indicates the appeal of Maine scenes. The winters in Maine can be brutal, so many think of Maine as a place for summer vacations. There is some truth to this, but Maine visitors are not your typical tourists. “I don’t think of them as tourists,” says Loughridge. “I think of my collectors as people who truly love Maine. There are many people in Maine who have my work, but also other people throughout the country.”
“Strawberry Creek,” by Lennie Mullaney, oil, 12 x 12 in.
Byrom says some of the collectors of these Maine scenes have second or third homes in the state. “They have a home in West Palm Beach. They have a home in Santa Fe. They have a house here, and they want things of Maine,” she says. “And there’s a whole crowd of people from Canada — this is the closest access to the ocean for Montrealers. They are tuned in to Canadian art and see notes of the Canadian Group of Seven in my work. Even the visitors who don’t have homes here come to Maine often. It becomes a tradition, and they will want the same hotel room every year. In some cases it’s three generations of families coming every single year for the same two weeks. There is something about the place.”
“River Gold,” by Sally Loughridge, gold metal leaf and oil on linen, 14 x 18 in.
“And the people who stay here year round love it,” adds Byrom. “Autumns are long and golden.”
“Local Color 2015” will be on view April 1 through May 2.