Belfast. This April, Maine Farmland Trust will feature Buckwheat, a solo exhibition of “en plein air” pastel paintings by Thérèse L. Provenzano on the second floor gallery. The pastel paintings depict the buckwheat fields in Wallagrass, Maine belonging to the Bouchard Family Farm of Joseph and Janice Bouchard, known among Maine’s local food consumers for their silky buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat documents how the fields change over time. The growing season is short and even shorter if your purpose, as an artist, is to paint that particular red. It took Provenzano three growing seasons to complete this body of work on location.
Says the artist: “A painter wrestles with an unexpected strong wind, the possibility of intermittent sun showers or a sudden downpour. It required an artist’s patience and skill.”
Provenzano shares this experience in a poem she wrote as her artist statement.
Each day is different.
There lies the challenge.
What’s given is different.
What I see is different.
Mostly, the light changed.
Then, the field changed.
Patient, with intent,
I search for one constant
and rest my gaze on a shape that is familiar.
It grounds me to trust my instincts.
I take off, willingly.
I found myself in a place of wanting to paint
Bouchard’s red that glistened.
I identify land with my grandfather.
He was a farmer of Wallagrass.
Provenzano continues, “A direct and unfiltered experience with nature was essential to my process as the distant fields pulled me close.“
The Bouchard Family Farm harvests buckwheat to make and sell their famous Ployes mix. Ployes are a version of a crepe or pancake and are part of the Acadian culture of the St. John Valley in Aroostook County.
Provenzano says: “The landscape of the St. John Valley is no doubt beautiful. However, it is even more beautiful because of how the land is worked and cultivated by the farmer. I dedicate this exhibition and moment in time to the hard work of the farmer and in particular, the Bouchard Family Farm.“
Buckwheat, and the exhibit on the ground floor, Bearing Fruit, will open together on Friday April 3rd, with an artists’ reception (open to the public) from 5-7:30pm. The show will be on display until May 8, 2015.
Provenzano is a faculty member at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. She teaches the visual arts and history of art. In 2002, Provenzano left New York to reside at her great-grandfather’s homestead in Wallagrass. The Maine landscape and artifacts of Acadian culture have been, and continue to be, a source of inspiration for her work. Provenzano earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts (formerly Philadelphia College of Art) and a Three-Year Certificate of the Fine Arts from the National Academy of Design School of the Fine Arts in New York. The Woodmere Art Museum of Philadelphia awarded her the Edith Emerson Prize Award at their Sixty-Sixth Annual Juried Exhibition. The Metropolitan Museum and Art Center of Coral Gables Florida awarded her the First Prize Award at the Fabric On, Third Annual International Design Competition. Presently, her charcoal drawings are traveling in an international group exhibition, Acadie Mythique, curated by Harlan Johnson, a Fine Arts faculty member of Dawson College in Montreal.
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery is located at 97 Main Street in Belfast and open Monday through Friday (not on holidays) from 9-4. More information on MFT Gallery can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org .
Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust, visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org