By: Alyson Peabody, Staff Writer
Over twenty local artists have been selected for Creative Portland’s third juried art exhibition, “On the Verge,” on display from Oct. 25 to mid-April, 2019.
The group art show represents established and emerging artists in their 20s from Greater Portland, featuring paintings, photography, prints, drawings and mixed-media work. All artwork will be for sale and the exhibit will be open to the public for a six-month period.
Executive Director Dinah Minot assembled a volunteer curatorial team of professionals, recruiting curators from arts organizations including: Kate Anker from Running With Scissors, Jamie DeSimone from the Portland Museum of Art, artist Cooper Dragonette, artist Michel Droge, Danielle Frye from the Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation, Jen McDermott from the USM Photography Department and John Ripton from Union of Maine Visual Arts Gallery.
Going along with the theme of “On the Verge” as the subject for the open call, Minot and the curatorial team asked artists throughout Greater Portland to interpret and address the theme in their own way. They got responses from over 100 artists with at least 225 submissions with images ranging from abstract paintings, representational scenes and explicit photographs.
The artists whose work is currently on display at Creative Portland’s newest exhibit include Salazar (Biddeford), Alicia Ethridge (Cape Elizabeth), Laurie Fisher (Cape Elizabeth), Jenny La Macchia Campbell (Cape Elizabeth), Diane Dahlke (Cumberland Center), Tabitha Barnard (Portland), Andy Bustin (Portland), Will Byers (Portland), Karolyn Greenstreet (Portland), Larry Hayden (Portland), Megan Jones (Portland), Lin Lisberger (Portland), Larinda Meade (Portland), Steven Walsh (Portland), Elijah River (Portland), Erin McGee Ferrell (Falmouth), Jamie Wing (Westbrook) and Catherine Callahan (South Portland).
The theme of “On the Verge” can be interpreted in a multitude of unique ways. At the opening of the exhibit on Oct. 23, the gallery was teeming with energy and discussion between the public and the exhibiting artists.
Portland artist and USM Art Department studio technician, Stephen Walsh, created a mixed media piece on illustration board titled, Soundscape. When asked about the inspiration for the artwork, Walsh replied, “I would never call myself a musician, but I love music. I listen to a lot of experimental stuff that has a slow build-up. This piece is much the same. It’s a map of forms floating through space. If you stay in that space, it unfolds for you.”
Another take of what it means to be “On the Verge” was approached by Erin McGee Ferrell from Falmouth.
“I have been a traditional oil painter for 30 years,” Ferrell said about her three paintings, Petri Dish. Ferrell has been exploring new materials and how biology, art, light and sound can interact with each other. “It’s almost like being on the verge of a whole new area of exploration of science, materials and technology,” Ferrell said. “Through this medium you can influence how people understand biology.”
Biddeford artist who goes by the name, Salazar, created a painting titled Along the Mighty Saco River.
“Resurgam is Latin for ‘I shall rise again,’” Salazar said. “I did this painting in 2017. There were about four or five of them based on the mills in Biddeford and Saco. Mills are trying to come back.” When asked if Salazar had hope in the return of the industry, he responded: “I have hope in the people that might make it happen.”
Westbrook artist, Jaime Wing, approached the theme with a plate lithograph print of a stark white body suspended in darkness titled Floating. When asked about their inspiration, Wing responded, “I was thinking about how we are all on the verge at this moment, politically and emotionally. That is something people are uncomfortable with.”
“On the Verge” replaces the Creative Portland’s second juried exhibition, “(Almost) Black & White” that was displayed from April 2018 to Oct. 2018. As Portland’s official nonprofit arts agency founded in 2010, Creative Portland’s mission is to support the creative economy through the arts by providing resources, fostering partnerships and by marketing the city’s artistic talents and cultural assets. They also established the First Friday Art Walk in 2000 that has become a cultural and artistic hub for people to visit galleries, museums, and buy artwork from local venders in Portland’s Art District on the first Friday of every month.
The next First Friday Art Walk will be on Friday Nov. 2 where the public can access the Creative Portland Art Gallery from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Creative Portland is located at 84 Free Street, directly across from the back entrance of Maine College of Art and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.