By: Max Lorber, Arts and Culture Editor
Flanked by rows of books on the fifth floor of the Glickman Library, the eclectic Barbara Morris Goodbody collection of photography is on display. This wide-ranging assembly was created by several photographers from around the world. The artwork is being presented by the Maine Museum of Photographic Arts and is available for viewing until October 30.
This is the first time the MMPA is displaying a private collection of photographs. The exhibition is not focused on a topic or theme, nor is it a retrospective. Together, the works are an expression of the collector’s interests and philosophy pertaining to the photographic medium.
“These images were acquired over the last 30 plus years and give insight to the compassionate world view of the collector,” said Denise Froehlich, the curator, director and co-founder of the MMPA.
A majority of the prints are black and white, with color photographs tactfully dispersed throughout the arrangement. There are many different forms of the photographic medium being shown, including architectural, landscape, portrait and composite imagery.
The prints include a scene from the streets of Havana, Cuba and an abstract form conceived of cyanotype and silver leaf. Two tigers captured in color sit in one corner of the exhibition, while a double exposure of Times Square and a rippling pool of water occupies a space in the main section. A puppy napping on the backside of a lounging cow is juxtaposed with a portrait of Albert Einstein.
The collection as a whole exposes Barbara Goodbody’s penchant for curiosity and her sophisticated taste.
“Maine is really lucky to have access to such an important collection,” Froehlich said.
Goodbody is a photographer, collector and philanthropist. In Portland, she has exhibited her work at the Addison Woolley Gallery, VoxPhotographs and the gallery at the University of New England. She founded the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion, an organization that promotes compassion and engagement through experimental and research-based educational programs at USM. Goodbody is also a trustee emeritus of the Portland Museum of Arts and a former board member of the Maine Media Workshops.
Since the 1970’s she has contributed to most of the art institutions in Maine. When the MMPA was founded in 2010, Goodbody was an original member of the advisory board and was instrumental in helping the organization take form.
Froehlich originally intended the MMPA to be a pop-up organization that worked with other museums and art institutions to exhibit work created in Maine. A year after the organization was founded, Froehlich was given a permanent space by Judy Glickman. Since then, with the help of Glickman and Goodbody, the MMPA has grown into an independent entity and continued to thrive, running exhibitions on the fifth floor of the library on USM’s Portland campus.
According to the Froehlich, at that time she felt the opportunities to exhibit photographs in Maine were scarce. Since 2010, the MMPA has presented over 200 photographers and has remained focused on fostering the community of photographers and collectors in the state of Maine. By the end of this year, Froehlich is hoping to double the size of the advisory board and triple the budget.