MFT’s Gallery’s annual Summer Stable Show is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. This is the gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show that showcases twenty-two Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment. This year includes first time exhibitors Sara Gagan and Susan Sidwell.
The first floor features a large, dynamic, abstract mixed-media piece from a series on rhythms in nature, by Belfast’s Kathryn Shagas; beautiful bright photographs of local landscapes printed on aluminum by Sarah Szwajkos; and a colorful collection of small paintings entitled “Artifacts” by Portland’s Christopher O’Connor. Contemplative figurative works by sculptor Elizabeth Ostrander create a synergy with the beautiful large goddess image, “Oracle,” an intricate scherenschnitt paper cut created by MJ Viano Crowe. The evocative paintings of Sheep Jones, another Belfast artist, contribute strong color, content, and design in her series of “Bulb Narrative” and “Fish Walker.” Sara Gagan’s images of animals are a delightful and inventive use of oils and collage elements. John Arden Knight’s large acrylic paintings of water lilies and milkweed are bold and vibrant, while Leslie Harris and Leslie Anderson present wonderful atmospheric paintings of landscapes and figures. Jude Valentine’s series of small brilliant pastels depict the many views and moods from Great Cranberry Island to Acadia. Paintings by Leslie Bowman, Julie Cyr, and Sharon Yates round out this collection with varied natural subject matter, such as a charming chick, engaging peas in a pod, and rich tulip still lifes.
The second floor displays the photographs of Terry Hire, Lynn Karlin, and Jim Nyce, all with very different subject matter, mood, and use of color. Lou Schellenberg impresses with oil paintings of strong, imposing landscapes and sky with vigorous compositions. DiTa Ondek’s paintings of laundry fluttering on a clothesline in the wind create a colorful sense of energetic movement, while Kathleen Perelka’s lovely use of light and color accentuate a cultivated farm landscape. Robin Rier’s oil paintings incorporate vivid colors in tranquil scenes of flowers, peeling paint and old fence posts. The bug and rosehip mandala paper cut prints of Susan Sidwell draw you in for a closer look with their intricate design work.
The Summer Stable Show 2018 runs from June 4th through August 31st, with artist talks Friday July 27th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.
A Perfect Day, Leslie Harris, oil on linen panel, 20 x 16 in.