When someone asks of art in Maine, the mind goes to seascapes and fishing boats; classic Maine scenes captured in oil, acrylic or watercolor hung on walls in memory of a time and place lest we forget the beauty. Yet, when walking into Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture, one quickly realizes it is more than just one-dimensional. Here, among the canvases, is sculpture.
Sculpture, by definition, is the art of making two- or three-dimensional representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood or by casting metal or plaster. Though Webster says this in the most succinct way, it lacks the passion and awe that sculpture evokes. Helen Keller held the key to the best way to experience sculpture. “I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen,” she said. Great sculpture draws the hand as well as the eye. Our fingers lift and twitch with the overwhelming desire to touch it.
When viewing James Rivington Pyne’s Diver, this need is very real. If tracing a finger from the tip of her toes to the end of her fingers, the impression of diving into the cool water of summer time is present. The smooth lines and deep colors of this piece hold the sense of water gliding over skin and blocks out everything else. There is an understanding of the sculpture. You have been there.
Elizabeth Ostrander agrees. “Both gentleness and strength inhabit my sculptures. Their quiet joy is a ‘hooray’ for life. It can be a reminder that we can all meet in that wisdom place. And sculpture also invites touch and the soothing experience of graceful shape and the nuance of texture,” says Ostrander. Her sculptures, while still using human form, find a mingling of nature and man, or more often, woman. In her piece, Trust, Elizabeth captures that connection with nature. The smoothness of her skin and softness of her closed eyes begs for a touch which connects the viewer to the art.
Though Webster’s definition indicates a casting or carving, which both Pyne and Ostrander do so well, modern art has discovered a repurposing or redesigning of materials to convert the normal and familiar into the beautiful. Patrick Plourde does this well. His work still demands the viewer to engage, to reach out, but the emotion is different. Spigot Flowers is one of these pieces. The repurposing of the water spigots in this piece immediately brings memories of summertime sprinklers. You know the metal is cool to the touch as it pulls a knowing smile full of old friends and family gatherings. Plourde collects such items and blends them flawlessly into his work.
These are the sculptures of Maine. Maine art and Maine memories. We welcome you to come in, visit, and see for yourself the beauty of Maine in three-dimension. You will find us at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. Check for our website for winter hours. www.maine-art.com.
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