Conceptual show at Maine Farmland Trust
Belfast — During the month October, Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., is joining the Center for Maine Contemporary Art), Waterfall Arts, and Unity College in their latest initiative — MEAD, which stands for Maine Environmental Art & Design. This season-long collaboration of Maine artists, curators and supporters is focused on applying art and design to the creation of elegant environmental solutions. Various exhibitions, classes and events are being held this fall; for more information, visit meadmaine.org.
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery is staging a conceptual art show featuring six Maine artists who are exploring issues regarding farming and environment. “Farming | Environment | Art” will open with a public reception Friday Oct. 4th, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. during the First Friday Art Walk and remain on display through Nov. 12.
Jeff Badger, a multimedia artist based in South Portland, will be contributing a window installation including sculpture, sound and repurposed materials. His process focuses on finding the visual ties between communications and farming/growing.
Avy Claire, an artist from the Blue Hill area, is contributing a wall installation comprised of seven photographic panels of oats ready for harvest at Horsepower Farm. She has expanded the pixels of the image so that when viewing up close, the image breaks down into an abstracted grid pattern and inserted text is revealed. In this project, she used transcriptions of interviews she had with farmer Paul Birdsall and his family, along with articles Birdsall wrote in the 1970s about his experiences as a "greenhorn" starting out with horses.
When invited to join this project last year, Lucinda Bliss literally ran with it: she decided she wanted to begin by visiting six Maine farms and run along the boundaries of each property. Running is a way she feels connected to nature, she said. She created drawings based on her experience of each farm run. The results speak to the power of direct relationship with the land and with food, underlining the importance of farming in creating a healthy, vibrant human future.
Robert Shetterly, known for his Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series, is adding in several voices of courageous Americans from Maine and beyond. Among those the voice of Will Allen, former pro basketball player and more recently founder and CEO of Growing Power, a farm and community food center located a half mile from Milwaukee’s largest housing project and four miles from the nearest grocery store.
Susan Camp grows gourds in molds, a powerful sculptural medium that easily evokes a narrative regarding human impact on natural processes. The piece in this show is titled “The Long Shadow” and is meant to address unintended consequences of genetic engineering.
Those familiar with the work of Kenny Cole can look forward to finding a large original wall drawing on one of the walls of Maine Farmland Trust Gallery. Cole said part of his narrative is that it is really the industrial world that does the greatest damage to the environment, while the agricultural realm is more conducive to environmental preservation: “Therein lies a conflict, one that is historic and still plays out in our culture and society.”
“The best farmers are our best environmentalists,” said John Piotti, MFT’s executive director. “But this linkage is not always fully understood or obvious — so it’s useful for artists to help us think more deeply on this.”
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or email@example.com.