Tag Archives: Maine Farmland Trust Gallery

HOMELAND: A multimedia exhibit exploring our collective and diverse relationship to home/land

MFT Gallery’s new exhibit HOMELAND speaks to a deep relationship that comes from cultivating the land, and a longing for connection with the land. This open call exhibit was promoted and curated in collaboration with GEDAKINA, Inc., a multigenerational endeavor to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth and families from across New England, and to conserve traditional homelands and places of historical, ecological and spiritual significance.

The first floor of the gallery features sixteen artists from varied backgrounds that seek to explore their relationship to home and land in a wide variety of mediums and styles.

Arlene Claudill Hulva’s colored pencil figurative landscape integrates New England and Latin American panoramas.

A vibrant Medicine Wheel painting by Mihku Paul-Anderson incorporates elements from the Waponaki culture and symbols from the natural world, while Maureen Block uses a 20th century ironing board as her painting surface for her work “Uprooted, Unrooted, Rerooted,” that depicts writhing roots in bold reds and yellows.

In two very different interpretations of Grant Woods’s iconic painting “American Gothic”, Colette Shumate Smith’s mixed media self-portrait reminds us to be vigilant of changing attitudes toward the land; and Bill Robitzek’s acrylic painting “Bowdoinham Gothic: Sarah and Laura” depicts a modern farm couple that is self-sufficient, and socially-conscious.

Liz McGhee’s gelatin plate monotypes use a palette of blues, grays, purples, and browns with shapes and line that depict her intuitive wanderings through minimalistic landscapes.

Patricia Ranzoni, Bucksport’s 2014 Poet Laureate, contributes three lyrical, flowing poems on the greater longing for ancient home ground and the yearning of displaced peoples for their place on Earth.

Gabrielle Brown’s five copper, graphite and canvas woven baskets are based on Shaker designs. Elizabeth Hunter has created a grouping of rya pillows, an ancient Nordic woven pile technique, which speak to human’s connection with the seasons.

Kathy Pollard will be displaying a large piece of birch bark with inscribed and painted Maine Indian petroglyph reproductions, and a beautiful sculpture “Corn Mother,” made with glass beads and moose antler.

A mixed media installation by Thér̀ese Provenzano incorporates objects to invoke memories of childhood and change, while Constant Albertson will have two ceramic sculpture pieces on display with themes of water awareness.

Color photographs by Christina Gessler, Emily Davis, and Karyn Marden depict varied subjects, such as quintessential views of life on a farm, organically found picture rocks, and images of the Casco Bay area.

Karen Merritt’s gelatin silver prints portray the beauty in urban gardens of Portland in black and white.

MFT will host the exhibit at its Gallery in Belfast from November 12, 2018 through March 1, 2019. Artist talks will coincide with the Belfast Holiday Art Walk on Friday, December 7th at 5pm, with a reception following from 5:30-8pm. 

Popular “Summer Stable Show” at MFT Gallery

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.

Image above:

A Perfect Day, Leslie Harris, oil on linen panel, 20 x 16 in.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

Call for Farmers/Artists/Artisans/Writers To Participate

HOMELAND

A multimedia exhibit exploring our collective and diverse relationship to home/land.

MFT Gallery invites farmers, artists, artisans and writers living in Maine, from diverse social-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to create art, craft or poetry which reflects on their unique relationship to home/land.

We are particularly interested in works that speak to a deep relationship which comes from cultivating the land, or a longing for connection with the land. For example, we invite work by farmers/artists which expresses the relationship with the land they cultivate; we invite work by farmers/artists who have been separated from home/land in some way and are cultivating a new relationship to the land they are on; we invite work by those who are longing for a renewed relationship to home/land.

Maine Farmland Trust will host the exhibit at its Gallery in Belfast from November 12, 2018 through March 1, 2019. This exhibit is promoted and curated in collaboration with GEDAKINA and several other organizations.

Depending on the number of participants, up to three pieces per artist/writer will be exhibited. If there are more submissions than gallery space, final selections will be made by a panel. The objective is to have all who submitted work included.

 

THE SCHEDULE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS AS FOLLOWS:

By July 15, 2018: Contact Anna Witholt Abaldo, MFT Gallery Curator (anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org), phone 338-6575 X 112) to let us know your intent to participate, stating medium/type of work.

By August 15, 2018: Submit up to 5 digital images of proposed work to Anna Witholt Abaldo (anna@mainefarmlandtrust.org).  For each image, please include title, media, and dimensions. Photos can be of work in progress. Please add a brief artist statement/bio to accompany exhibited works.

September 15, 2018: Notification to participants confirming how many pieces will be included.

November 5-6, 2018: Works must be delivered to Maine Farmland Trust Gallery.

November 5-9, 2018: Exhibit will be hung.

November 12, 2018: Exhibit opens.

November 16, 2018, from 5-7pm: Artist reception with artist talks by those who wish to speak about their work, at 5pm. There can be room for song and poetry reading as well.

March 1, 2019: Exhibit comes down and works are available for pick-up.

Any questions about exhibition and submission details can be directed to Anna Witholt Abaldo, phone 338-6575 X 112)

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

A Summer on the Land: MFT Gallery Exhibits Work by Last Year’s Fiore Art Center Residents + Art Talk/Walk

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery opens 2018 with a multi-media show that recalls the summer season. Six visual artists with strong ties to Maine, a historical writing resident, and the resident gardener, share the work they created during their 2017 residency at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at MFT’s Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson.

 

A professional jury consisting of Bevin Engman, Professor of Art at Colby College and Sam Cady, distinguished artist and teacher, selected the six visual artists for the residency program. The group spanned a large range of experience, from emerging to established artists. The 2017 visual art residents at the Fiore Art Center included: Anne Alexander, ceramic sculpture; Elizabeth Hoy, oil painting; Jessica Klier, drawing & installation; Tanja Kunz, oil painting; Joss Reny (aka Josselyn Richards Daniels), biological illustration; and Jude Valentine, monotype. The exhibit also includes an eye-catching installation of old farm tools by the historical writing resident (and archaeologist) Sarah Loftus, as well as some archival inkjet prints and poetic writing by resident gardener Nellie Sweet.

Fiore Art Center Residents 2017 at MFT Gallery Belfast

Art Talk 5pm, Art Walk 5:30-8pm

To learn more about the artists and their work, please visit MFT’s Gallery page.

MFT Announces 2018 Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Residency Awards

Early this April, a jury panel consisting of Stuart Kestenbaum, Susan Larsen and Ariel Hall awarded eight recipients with a 4-6 week residency at MFT’s Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson.

In its third year, the Center received 66 applications for its summer arts residency program. The categories included visual arts, literary arts and performing arts. This year one residency placement was reserved for an indigenous artist and one for an international or out-of-state artist.

About the Artists in Residency

Thu Vu, from Vietnam, was awarded the international visual arts residency. Vu first came to Maine from Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1998 as an exchange student; she attended Maine College of Art in Portland. Vu creates light sculptures made out of paper and natural materials. Her work has been exhibited throughout Asia, Europe and the USA.

Light Sculpture by Thu Kim Vu

The remaining five visual arts residencies were awarded to:

Carol Douglas: Douglas grew up on a farm and describes herself as a plein-air landscape painter whose primary interest lies in the relationship between humans and their environment.

“Finger Lakes Vineyard” by Carol Douglas

Clif Travers grew up in the mountains near Sugarloaf. One of his current bodies of work, The Medicine Cabinets, grew from three years of interviews with people around the country. Travers asked each person: “What would you consider to be a social malady that could be easily cured by regular folk?” The resulting “cabinets” are all connected to nature and show the malady, as well as the imagined cure.

Medicine Cabinet by Clif Travers

Michel Droge: Droge is an abstract painter—her work reflects a poetic connection to the land, climate change research and the philosophy of the sublime.

“Breathing Lessons” by Michel Droge

Estefani Mercedes: Mercedes is an activist artist with deep connections to Maine. She is interested in local Brooksville archives that connect to the Argentine dictatorship. Through radical justice, film photography and copyright law, she hopes to restore missing violent histories and silenced voices by building publicly accessible archives.

Untitled by Estefani Mercedes

Maxwell Nolin: Nolin is a young emerging portrait painter who most recently made a living as an organic vegetable farmer. His portraits often feature fellow farmers; however, he writes, “I have yet to fully immerse my subjects in the natural landscape. This seems to be where my interest lies and where my work is heading.”

“Toot and Roger Raw” by Maxwell Nolin

Literary Arts and Performing Arts Residents

The Fiore Art Center’s literary arts residency was awarded to Maine writer, Jodi Paloni. Paloni is currently working on her second book, a novel-in-stories, which takes place in the sixties and seventies on a farm similar to the Center’s Rolling Acres Farm, and tracks three Maine women from their girlhood to contemporary midlife.

Jodi Paloni

The performing arts residency was allocated to Heather Lyon. Lyon was born on a farm in Maine. Her art practice is site responsive and she plans to create new performance work at the Fiore Art Center, “responding to this unique place where the connections between art and farming can be explored and lived.”

View “MILK” by Heather Lyon here.

Heather Lyon

Resident Gardiner: Rachel Alexandrou

Each year, the Center hires a seasonal resident gardener, who lives on the farm for five months and grows food for the residents. “We’ve been lucky to find gardeners who also have their own creative practice, and enjoy being immersed in our residency program setting,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-director of the Fiore Art Center. This year’s gardener will be Rachel Alexandrou, from Alna. Her organic gardening experience spans a decade, and she is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in sustainable horticulture at UMaine, Orono, with a minor in studio art.

“Kale in Decay” by Rachel Alexandrou

Those interested can find more information on application details, summer visitor hours and open studio dates here.

About the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm

The mission of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is to actively connect the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center’s purpose is to continue and evolve the dialogue between human and environment within the context of our current culture and time. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, engages in research and development of new farming practices and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm in Jefferson, Maine. The Fiore Art Center is a program of MFT. The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported MFT for many years.

Let's grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.

8 holiday gift ideas for the Maine farm lover

What do you get for the people on your list who love Maine farms and food? We’ve added to our list from last year to give you a few ideas to fill your holiday season with local goodness.

  • A CSA share: the gift that keeps on giving all season long. Click here for a list of CSAs near you.
  • A canner, or other kitchen gadget that will help preserve food—so your loved one can enjoy Maine’s bounty year round. Here’s an overview of the products out there.
  • Something to snuggle away the cold winter nights: A Real Maine blanket or maybe a cozy sheepskin or wool from your local fiber farmer.
  • Find farm-centric art, hats, t-shirts, children’s books, and holiday cards made by local artists in our gallery (97 Main Street in Belfast), or in our online store.
  • Banked time: Because sometimes gardening, food prep, or putting up a greenhouse requires more than two hands. Write out a gift certificate to wrap up, and throw in a sprig of thyme for fun.
  • Give good food! A jar of really good farm-made eggnog, a gift certificate to spend at the local butcher shop, a tin of Maine-grown herbal tea… in our experience, food gifts are always appreciated.
  • Looking for something to ship? Many of Maine’s food and farm products last a long time, including jam, maple syrup, beeswax candles, and even seaweed (the last two are even carry-on friendly!).
  • Finally, MFT (and other farm-focused organizations) offer gift memberships.  Give someone the knowledge that they have a hand in growing the future of farming. We’ll send them a copy of our beautiful Maine Farms journal, too!

Most importantly, take time to enjoy this time with family and friends, and make lots of delicious (and local) food during the holidays. Be sure to stock up on all manner of veggies, dairy, meats, etc at your local winter farmers market or local grocer, and give thanks for local bounty, even in the midst of Maine winter!

MFT’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center Announces 2018 Residencies & Jury Panel

Jefferson.

Applications for the 2018 artist residencies at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson will open in early December. Over the course of the summer the Center will host six visual art residencies (five for Maine artists, one of which is reserved for an indigenous Maine artist; and one for an out-of-state or international artist), one performing arts residency, and one writing residency. There will also be a seasonal position for a resident gardener with an affinity for the arts. Those interested can find more information and application details online at https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org//jaf-art-center/.

This will be the third summer that the Fiore Art Center has offered a residency program. David Dewey and Anna Witholt Abaldo, co-directors at the Center, are excited to be working with yet another excellent jury panel. “Because we are introducing a different writing residency this year, and a completely new performing arts residency, we searched for professionals with experience in these fields who also possess a strong visual arts background,” explains Witholt Abaldo.

Ariel Hall was invited to the panel with an eye on the performing arts residency. Ariel Hall is a multi-disciplinary artist working mainly in performance and installation. She has shown her work at La MaMa, Panoply Performance Lab, the Culture Project, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and in the streets of New York City and Sao Paulo, among other locales and venues. Ariel assisted curators at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for two years, helping them better execute performative and interactive artworks in the museum’s galleries; she also performed and facilitated the production of these artworks. Ariel holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. She served as Events Director at the Steel House in Rockland and in recent years as Curator for TEDx, Portland, ME.

 

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four collections of poems, Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press), House of Thanksgiving (Deerbrook Editions), Prayers and Run-on Sentences (Deerbrook Editions), and Only Now (Deerbrook Editions) and a collection of essays The View From Here (Brynmorgen Press).  He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines. He was appointed poet laureate of Maine in 2016.  Kestenbaum was the director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine for 27 years, where he established innovative programs combining craft and writing and craft and new technologies. He is an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.

 

Susan C. Larsen, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation in Portland, Maine.  She is an art historian and critic who was formerly Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California, Curator of the Permanent Collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Chief Curator of The Farnsworth Art Museum, and Collector of Documents for the Smithsonian Institution. She has written on a wide range of American art and artists including the work of:  Charles Biederman; Vija Celmins; David Dewey; Richard Diebenkorn; Charles Duback; Joseph Fiore; Viola Frey; Edward Hopper; Hoon Kwak; John McLaughlin; Leo Rabkin; Italo Scanga; Jon Serl; William Thon; Cy Twombly and many others. She lives with her husband, Lauri Robert Martin, in South Portland, Maine.

During the summer of 2017, six visual artists, one writer/archeologist and one gardener/artist lived and worked together at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center. The results of their creative residencies were enjoyed by visitors to the Center’s monthly Open Studio Days. Eliza Graumlich (a young writer hailing from Bowdoin College) and Susan Metzger (photographer) interviewed each resident to capture their process and experience at the Fiore Art Center. Interviews and photos can be found online at: https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/latest-news/

 

The mission of the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm is to actively connect the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center’s purpose is to continue and evolve the dialogue between human and environment within the context of our current culture and time. It offers exhibitions and public educational events, it engages in research and development of new farming practices and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm in Jefferson, Maine. The Fiore Art Center is a program of Maine Farmland Trust. The late Joseph Fiore was an artist and active environmentalist who, with his wife Mary, generously supported Maine Farmland Trust for many years.

In the Interval Between Snowflakes on view at MFT Gallery

Belfast. In a state like Maine, sometimes the greatest fruits of our labor grow through friendship.

The multi-media exhibit “In the INTERVAL between snowflakes,” on view at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery from November 20 through January 5, is a case in point.

The exhibition (part photography, part sculpture, part poetry) is a result of over 25 years of friendship between artist Bruce McAffee Towl and farmers Barbara and Jason Kafka, of Checkerberry Farm in Parkman, Maine.

“It all started twenty-five years ago,” McAffee Towl recounts, “because Jason held out his hand and in his palm were the seeds for an entire crop of onions, and we said ‘Let’s make a book for the Common Ground Fair!’ That’s what got us started.”

“It was all drawings at first,” McAffee Towl continues. “It was the friendship that allowed the farmers and their crew to feel comfortable, to have someone right there with pencil and paper to record their triumphs and less-than-triumphs.” His nickname soon became The Spector.

Fast forward two and a half decades: McAffee Towl presented the harvest of 25 years of drawings, photography, sculpture and poetry to his community, in the barn adjacent to his home in Dover-Foxcroft, in October of 2016.

“It was an emotionally moving experience,” writes John Harker, now retired but previously Director of Market and Production Development for the Maine Department of Agriculture for 26 years. He and many others felt that this exhibit must be shared around the State, as a way to raise awareness of the work that goes into growing food and simultaneously, as a way to celebrate Maine’s family farms.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery was a logical first choice. “It was Barbara Kafka from Checkerberry Farm who approached us about Bruce’s exhibit,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, gallery curator at Maine Farmland Trust. “When I went to see Bruce’s exhibit in early 2017, she was there, and it became immediately apparent that this production was truly a team effort, and important to many.”

The Maine Arts Commission awarded INTERVAL partial funding to be adapted for display at other venues. Betsy Miller Minott, a former farm crew member at Checkerberry, has since been instrumental in converting the exhibit for display at MFT Gallery.

As curator of MFT Gallery, Witholt Abaldo has seen a plethora of artworks and exhibits that speak to farm life. “INTERVAL is unique,” she notes, “because of the decades of heartfelt observation that pour out through the poetry, the photographs, even the hand-hewn bench made from a fallen tree which serves as a seat to view the digital slide show. It is truly a labor of love.”

In McAffee Towl’s own words, the exhibit “celebrates the I N T E R V A L between snowflakes: raising organic fruits and vegetables on a rural Maine farm in the state’s short growing season, and aims to honor all those who ‘bend’ to raise food for many of us.”

The exhibit will be on display from November 20, 2017 through January 5, 2018, and opens with a festive, public reception on Saturday December 2, during the Belfast Holiday Art Walk. The reception will be preceded by Artist/Farmer Talks at 5pm; the reception runs from 5:30-8pm.

Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered nonprofit working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate agriculture through art, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine. For more information on the Trust visit www.mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Back field and Fiore House

Sarah Loftus presents the history of Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson

Sarah Loftus spent six weeks this summer as the Historical Writing Resident at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center researching the history of Rolling Acres Farm and writing the “farm’s story.” She will present her research and the history of the farm Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30 pm at the Fiore Art Center in Jefferson. The historical writing residency was funded in part by a Maine Arts Commission Arts and Humanities Grant.

Loftus holds an M.A. in Archaeology from the University College London, London, UK, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. “I journeyed to Maine two years ago to apprentice on a vegetable farm near the New Hampshire border,” she wrote in the application which won her the residency, “and I am still here, all sore muscles and stained hands soaked in New England soil.”

During her six weeks living at Rolling Acres Farm, Loftus frequented the Jefferson Historical Society and the Wiscasset Court House; she interviewed past owners of the farm on Punk Point Road and met with neighbors; she dug through countless books on the region’s history and rummaged through the rusty tools under the barn looking for clues to the farming activities of former inhabitants.

Loftus remarked at the close of her residency that it was interesting how one can see the story of America reflected back in the fields of Rolling Acres. What she found most striking, however, was how the local community treasures and embraces their history. “Everyone was so willing to share their stories with me, even though I’m someone coming in from the outside.”

“I think Sarah’s research is not only of benefit to us and our program – we hope it’s also a gift to the community,” says Anna Witholt Abaldo, Director of the Fiore Art Center. “Knowing the details of a place, past and present, enriches one’s sense of place and in turn, one’s connection to that place.”

Rolling Acres Farm is home to the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, a program of Maine Farmland Trust that actively connects the creative worlds of farming and art making. The Center offers exhibitions and public educational events, supports research and development of ecologically sustainable farming practices, and hosts residencies for artists on a working farm. MFT is also working to establish a food forest at Rolling Acres Farm, which will provide nutritious food to area food pantries through MFT’s Veggies For All program.

The facility is handicap accessible. FMI visit https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/jaf-art-center/. To RSVP to this event, please email denise@mainefarmlandtrust.org.

Front of Fiore Center house

July Open Studio Day at Rolling Acres Farm

Join Maine Farmland Trust on Saturday, July 29  from 11am-3pm, at our Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm for a family-friendly Open Studio Day. Come meet and view the work of July’s artists Tanja Kunz, an oil painter living in Bath (MFA, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC) and Josselyn Richards Daniels, a young illustrator and native Mainer from Yarmouth, currently a student at Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA. There will be live music on the lawn, and free coffee, tea and ice cream. Located right on Damariscotta Lake the public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the Center’s grounds for the day.