Vegetables on pedestals at MFT

Sep 26, 2012
Photo by: Lynn Karlin Lynn Karlin’s "White Cauliflower" is part of her ongoing series of vegetable portraits.

Belfast — Lynn Karlin, local fine art photographer formerly known for her elegant images of country gardens, is on a quest to honor the vegetable. Her latest work on this quest will be featured in "Taking a Stand: The Pedestal Series," opening Friday, Sept. 28 at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St.

The public is invited to a First Friday reception Oct. 5 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. featuring vegetable-inspired appetizers by Trillium Catering. Visitors will have a chance to win two signed copies of Karlin's book “Maine Farm,” which she will raffle off at the reception. On Sunday, Oct. 7, Karlin will be at the gallery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a Columbus Day weekend opportunity to meet the artist.

Karlin's devotion was sparked three years ago when she met her first muse. After bringing a particularly stunning cauliflower back to her studio from the Belfast Farmers' Market, she placed it on a pedestal in an east-facing window. Pondering the obvious yet often overlooked beauty of her subject, Karlin began the mission of capturing the unique character of The Vegetable.

While the genre of still life goes as far back as the art of ancient Greek and Rome, Karlin gives this style a new twist. By isolating her subjects against neutral or black backgrounds, adding nothing but a pedestal to underline their inherent importance, she succeeds in creating personality-filled portraits. The Belfast photographer's success has not gone unnoticed; Karlin's spring show "Raw Art" at Gallery on the Green in Pawling, N.Y., scored a positive review in The New York Times.

Karlin’s love affair with fruits and vegetables began after college when she worked on a kibbutz in Israel for a month, picking apples, pears and plums. In 1983, 13 years later, she left a successful photography career in New York City to move to Maine. She lived on a farm that her husband, the late Stanley Joseph, had just purchased from back-to-the-landers/authors Helen and Scott Nearing. There, for eight years, they grew flowers and vegetables for inns and local restaurants and discovered the pleasure of eating with the seasons. In 1991, Karlin and Joseph co-produced a book on their life together (“Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life”). Two “Gardens Maine Style” books followed in collaboration with writer Rebecca Sawyer-Fay.

Karlin credits the following farms for their beautiful produce that inspired her through the years: Chase's Daily; Peacemeal Farm; Half Moon Farm; Hubbard Brook Farm; New Beat Farm; Freedom Farm; Fisher Farm; and Swan's Way. Many of the farmers will be present at the opening of the exhibit. "Taking a Stand: The Pedestal Series" will run through Nov. 14. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrustgallery.org.

Karlin graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1970. An award-winning photographer, her clients, past to present, include New York Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, House Beautiful, Country Living, Gardens Illustrated, Coastal Living, Mother Earth News, Country Living Gardener, Horticulture, Organic Gardening, Country Home, La Vie Claire, Country Gardens, Cottage Living, Garden Design, National Geographic Traveler, This Old House and Design New England.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide non-profit organization working to keep Maine's farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture, and to inspire and inform the public about farming in Maine.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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