‘Finding Common Ground’ at Maine Farmland Trust

Sep 18, 2018
“Lemonade Stand” is one of Kerstin Engman’s Common Ground Country Fair-inspired paintings at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast.

Belfast — Maine Farmland Trust Gallery’s current show, “I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground,” features Belfast artist Kerstin Engman’s oil paintings on the first floor; and works by Andre Benoit, Frances Hynes, Leslie Moore and Julie Cyr on the second floor.

There will be artist talks Friday, Sept. 28, at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and the town-wide Belfast Fourth Friday Art Walk from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Engman’s works for this show are inspired by the animals, goods and people at the annual 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. 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.

These 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, skeins of dyed yarn, bundles of lavender and the fair-goers under tents and at the vendor stands all contribute to the light-filled atmosphere of this classic fair.

Benoit is an abstract assemblist sculptor from Boothbay Harbor who creates fanciful animal forms and iconic motifs with repurposed, painted and assembled wooden remnants. Hynes, a New York artist with many ties to Maine, displays lyrical watercolors, depicting farm landscapes with gamboling cows and paddling ducks. Rounding out the artists in the show, both from Belfast, are Moore, with work including a stippled pen and ink drawing of pigs playing in a puddle; and Cyr, whose oil paintings of animals reflect her inspiration in the wonder of daily life.

“I Went To the Animal Fair: Finding Common Ground” runs through Nov. 2. Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, 97 Main St., is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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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