Tag Archives: MFT Gallery

Staff Profile: Anna Witholt Abaldo

Anna has been with MFT for a full decade now, joining the small team in 2009 to start the MFT Gallery in Belfast. In 2016, her work evolved to encompass the Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm, where she now co-directs the artist residency program.

Anna grew up on a small diversified farm in the Netherlands where her family raised sheep, horses, chickens, and raspberries, instilling in her a deep love of rural life. She lived in Aruba and traveled in Asia, exploring the intersection of art, nature, and the healing arts as a writer and an artist. Now in Maine, when she’s not facilitating activities for her two active teenagers, you can find her walking, hiking, paddling, dancing, visiting local art walks, or enjoying a sunny moment in her garden.

Q: Why do you work for MFT?

A: I want to do work that matters in the greater scheme of things. I think a lot about the state of our planet, and as one very small human I feel like the best difference I can make is working at a statewide level for an organization that has both a bold vision, and a very practical approach to realizing that vision.

I firmly believe that preserving farmland and supporting farmers will move us closer towards growing our own food in Maine. I see the role of celebrating agriculture through art as a part of our outreach and engagement work, and something that builds our storytelling capacity. Artists have a wonderful way of adding their voice to the importance of farmland preservation and environmental stewardship, engaging with similar themes and helping to draw the community into this conversation and spread awareness about the need for this work.

Q: What are some upcoming projects you’re excited about?

A: I am very excited about this year’s unveiling of the new Fiore Art Wing and the summer dinner at Rolling Acres. I hope to integrate more ag-related and environmental research into programming at the Fiore Art Center, and perhaps even permaculture on a larger scale—with a greater integration between the arts and these other disciplines we might serve as a place where new creative thinking can emerge.

Summer Stable Show 2019

 “Boat in Moonlight”, Christina Thwaites, oil on canvas, 40” x 56”

Please join us for MFT Gallery’s 2019 Summer Stable Show. This exhibit is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. This is the gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show that showcases eleven Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment.

André Benoit is included with his whimsical wooden assemblages of animals, while Julie Crane is showing a unique bison monoprint produced at the Tamerind Institute in New Mexico. MJ Viano Crowe is exhibiting works created with the intricate German paper-cutting technique called scherenschnitt. Elizabeth Ostrander is showing three of her painted, contemplative sculptures. Sara Gagan and Petrea Noyes are displaying unique images created with collage and oils or pigment inks respectively. Julie Cyr, Leslie Harris, Sheep Jones, Lou Schellenberg, and Christina Thwaites, are exhibiting their vivid oil paintings in colorful hues, each with their own distinct styles.

The 2019 Summer Stable Show runs from June 3rd through August 9th, with artist talks Friday June 28th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.

MFT Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. More information can be found at www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/public-outreach-new/gallery/

Summer Arrives in Full Color at MFT Gallery

 “Boat in Moonlight”, Christina Thwaites, oil on canvas, 40” x 56”

MFT Gallery is exhibiting its annual Summer Stable Show starting June 3rd. This exhibition is a favorite with returning art-lovers and summer visitors alike. This is the gallery’s largest, most vibrant group show that showcases eleven Maine artists this year, whose work connects to agriculture, nature or environment.

André Benoit, Jr. is represented with his whimsical wooden assemblages of animals, while Julie Crane is showing a unique bison monoprint produced at the Tamerind Institute in New Mexico. MJ Viano Crowe is exhibiting works created with the intricate German paper-cutting technique called scherenschnitt. Elizabeth Ostrander is showing three of her painted, contemplative sculptures. Sara Gagan and Petrea Noyes are displaying unique images created with collage and oils or pigment inks respectively. Julie Cyr, Leslie Harris, Sheep Jones, Lou Schellenberg and Christina Thwaites – new to MFT Gallery this year – are exhibiting their vivid oil paintings in colorful hues, each with their own distinct styles.

The 2019 Summer Stable Show runs from June 3rd through August 9th, with artist talks Friday June 28th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm. There will be a second Art Walk Friday July 26, 5:30-8pm.

MFT Gallery, located at 97 Main Street, Belfast, is open Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm. 

Water and Fire, Drawings and Dirt: The 2018 Fiore Residents at MFT’s Gallery

During the summer of 2018 six visual artists, one writer, one performance artist and one gardener lived and worked together at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson, Maine. All had been selected for the MFT’s Fiore Art Center residency program, because of the common thread running through their work: a meaningful engagement with themes related to agriculture or the environment.

The solitude, natural setting and communal aspect of the residency allowed the artists to focus, explore and create in new ways. The exhibit of the work produced during their residency is a fabulous exploration of color, atmosphere, and connection to the natural environment. The 2018 Fiore Residents Exhibit opened March 18 and will be on display until May 24th. It concludes with artist talks at 5pm and a closing reception from 5:30-8pm at the MFT Gallery in Belfast.

Performance artist Heather Lyon woke many mornings at dawn to walk through dew-covered fields down to the lake. Working in and with the water, she ultimately crafted several performative videos. MFT Gallery displays her “Safety Poncho (Orange)” video. With its hushed silvery greys and bright red-oranges, the video engages in a riveting dialogue of water and fire with Michel Droge’s vibrant, atmospheric oil paintings: “Yesterday’s Fires” and “Pleiades Showers.” Through her interactions with the land and observation of constellations above the farm, Droge explored patterns in the micro and macro relationships of life in her watercolor and graphite drawing of “Queen Anne’s Last Wishes.”

Carol L. Douglas created her vivid plein air landscape paintings “Blueberry Barrens, Clary Hill” and “Blueberry Barrens, WC” in oils and watercolors respectively, investigating the confluence of paired painting to see if the fresh mark-making that occurred in her watercolors on Yupo would translate to her more familiar oil paintings.

Maxwell Nolin took advantage of the uninterrupted time in the studio to work on two large, luminous oil paintings, “Self-Portrait, 2018” and “Tea,” which enabled him to slow down and reflect on the conceptual aspects of his work, as well as explore different experimental techniques with his process.

In addition to working on her narrative manuscript, writer-in-residence Jodi Paloni produced a beautiful lyrical writing called “Rain Begins the Day,” which captures the essence of the farm landscape and the connection felt by all who were taken in and nurtured by it.

Clif Travers spent time exploring the natural environment of the field and woods and connecting with the community at the farm. In the studio, he constructed an 8 x 6 foot sculptural panel using discarded lumber and other wood products, in an attempt to honor and reconstruct the beauty of trees. Travers then painted the three-dimensional panel in a style referencing church mosaics and stained-glass windows. He contributed a print of the stunning “I Dream of Trees” for this exhibit.

During her residency, Stephanie Mercedes continued building archives of missing violent histories and created a variation of her “Relicarios” installation. Mercedes’ work honors the grandmothers who protested the disappearance of their children by wearing lockets. Her work on display includes research on those that escaped political persecution in Argentina and relocated to Maine, drawings, and a lighted locket.

Thu Kim Vu, from Vietnam, was inspired by the personal bonds formed during the residency through the communal kitchen, food, and the garden. She created a wonderful series of miniature paper drawings of pots, pans, and utensils glued on several overlapping sheets of Plexiglas that are designed to be viewed through the natural light of a window.

In addition to growing unusual vegetables and ornamental food for the residents, the resident gardener Rachel Alexandrou created a video installation called “The Nature of Stewardship”. This was inspired by her work in the garden and kitchen and explores the relationship between human, body and earth.

Belfast Holiday Art Walk and Artist Talks

Artists featured in our current exhibit, HOMELAND, will give talks that will coincide with the Belfast Holiday Art Walk on Friday, December 7th at 5pm, with a reception following from 5:30-8pm.

HOMELAND will be up in our Belfast Gallery from November 12th, 2018 through March 1st, 2019. For more information on the show, read here.

HOME/LAND: A multimedia exhibit

HOMELAND

Through an open call, MFT Gallery invited 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.

MFT Gallery asked that the works submitted “speak to a deep relationship which comes from cultivating the land, or a longing for connection with the land.” Art and poetry selected for the final exhibition includes work by farmers/artists which expresses the relationship with the land they cultivate; 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; and work by those who are longing for a renewed relationship to home/land.

MFT will host the exhibit at its Gallery in Belfast from November 12, 2018 through March 1, 2019.

Art talks and reception will coincide with Belfast’s Holiday Art Walk, Friday December 7th: art talks at 5pm, opening and art walk 5:30-8pm.

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. 

I Went to the Animal Fair – Finding Common Ground Art Show

MFT Gallery’s new show, I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground, features Belfast artist Kerstin Engman’s oil paintings on the first floor, with works by Andre Benoit, Frances Hynes, Leslie Moore, and Julie Cyr on the second floor.

Kerstin’s works for this show are inspired by the animals, goods, and people at the Common Ground Fair Country Fair. To create her signature style, she applies paint in layers of darks, lights, and color to add texture and depth to the pieces. For some of her pieces she uses stencils and modeling paste to create non-representational patterns that form the texture of backgrounds and individual parts of the painting. “Specific design elements and color are the foundation of my recent studies, incorporating repetition, swaths of color, grids, dots, angles, shapes, and overlaps,” Kerstin said of her work. The quintessential paintings depict handsome roosters in their grid-like wire cages and sheep and cows in darkened stalls with light streaming in through windows. Gourds and other vegetables with beautiful cast shadows, skeins of dyed yarn and bundles of lavender, and the fair-goers under tents and at the vendor stands all contribute to the light-filled atmosphere of the classic fair.

On the second floor of the gallery there are works from Andre Benoit, an abstract assemblist sculptor from Boothbay Harbor, who creates fanciful animal forms and iconic motifs with repurposed, painted and assembled wooden remnants. Frances Hynes, a New York artist with many ties to Maine, will display her lyrical watercolors, depicting simplistic farm landscapes with gamboling cows and paddling ducks. Rounding out the artists in the show, both from Belfast, are Leslie Moore, with work including a stippled pen and ink drawing of pigs playing in a puddle, and Julie Cyr, whose oil paintings of animals reflect her inspiration in the wonder of daily life and the light and shapes that arise from the simple scenes around her.

I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground runs from September 10th– November 2nd, with artist talks Friday September 28th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.

I Went to the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground

MF’s Gallery’s new show, I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground, features Belfast artist Kerstin Engman’s oil paintings on the first floor, with works by Andre Benoit, Frances Hynes, Leslie Moore, and Julie Cyr on the second floor.

Kerstin’s works for this show are inspired by the animals, goods, and people at the Common Ground Fair Country Fair. To create her signature style, she applies paint in layers of darks, lights, and color to add texture and depth to the pieces. For some of her pieces she uses stencils and modeling paste to create non-representational patterns that form the texture of backgrounds and individual parts of the painting. “Specific design elements and color are the foundation of my recent studies, incorporating repetition, swaths of color, grids, dots, angles, shapes, and overlaps,” Kerstin said of her work. The quintessential paintings depict handsome roosters in their grid-like wire cages and sheep and cows in darkened stalls with light streaming in through windows. Gourds and other vegetables with beautiful cast shadows, skeins of dyed yarn and bundles of lavender, and the fair-goers under tents and at the vendor stands all contribute to the light-filled atmosphere of the classic fair.

On the second floor of the gallery there are works from Andre Benoit, an abstract assemblist sculptor from Boothbay Harbor, who creates fanciful animal forms and iconic motifs with repurposed, painted and assembled wooden remnants. Frances Hynes, a New York artist with many ties to Maine, will display her lyrical watercolors, depicting simplistic farm landscapes with gamboling cows and paddling ducks. Rounding out the artists in the show, both from Belfast, are Leslie Moore, with work including a stippled pen and ink drawing of pigs playing in a puddle, and Julie Cyr, whose oil paintings of animals reflect her inspiration in the wonder of daily life and the light and shapes that arise from the simple scenes around her.

I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground runs from September 10th– November 2nd, with artist talks Friday September 28th at 5pm, followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Art Walk from 5:30-8pm.

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

August Belfast Fourth Friday Art Walk

For those who can’t make it to the gallery during 8am-4pm weekday hours, come by and see our Summer Stable show 5:30-8pm while we are open late for the Belfast Fourth Friday Art Walk.