a visual poem about the keepers of our land
June 4 – July 13
Seven Maine artists from Portland to Eastport are participating in this show, as well as 13 students and their art teacher from the Mount View Elementary school in Thorndike.
The dictionary defines “guardian” as a keeper – a person who guards, protects or preserves.
“Guardians aims to create a visual statement about the real and imagined keepers of our land,” says Anna Abaldo, Gallery Coordinator for Maine Farmland Trust. “It’s been very exciting reigning in the different artists for this show, and picking the particular artworks to create a poetic suggestion about “guardians” of the land – the art in this exhibit represents both mythical, archetypal figures from folklore and our collective imagination, and every day farmers as being those incarnated “guardians” in this lifetime. Guardians is really an attempt to honor our farmers, the immensely important work they do which often goes unseen or gets taken for granted, and the intimate way they are connected to their land and the animals they care for.”
To achieve the desired effect of a visual and poetic narrative, Abaldo has placed vastly different pieces of artwork in a small space, each commenting on the central theme from a particular angle. Visitors will “meet” the late Scott Nearing up close, as photographed by Lynn Karlin, and can then turn to contemplate the richly symbolic paintings of artists Judith Olson and Christina DeHoff. Everyday moments on the farm are captured aesthetically by photographers Georges Nashan and Dina Petrillo, as they frame the daily rituals of those who tend to the crops and creatures. Elizabeth Fraser, a daily painter from the Portland area, has taken her easel and paints to farms and farmers’ markets; her small canvases filled with confident brush strokes leap off the wall with vibrant portraits of farmers at work. Elizabeth Ostrander’s sculptures, on the other hand, speak of a world of myth and dreamtime, where the connection between human and nature is palpable, if not indisputable – almost as if the people themselves were the very fruit sprung from the vines.
Learning to be guardians are the students from Mount View Elementary. Under the wing of their art teacher Kelly Desrosiers, the students researched the interplay of sun, soil, water, air, plants and animals and created multimedia Earthbooks reflecting what they learned. Thirteen of these books will be on display as part of the exhibit at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, as well as a digital video documenting this inspiring interdisciplinary project. Desrosiers firmly believes in teaching the joyful process of creation as a way of observing and understanding the magnificent natural world. She sees an analogy between the generative process of art and that of nature itself. She comments: “We are growing a new crop of stewards in our children, who will create our future, hopefully with deep appreciation for nature and their own role as co-creators.”
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery Exhibit
October 21st – November 30