John Alsop has painted, drawn and doodled since he was young. In high school, he hid out in the art studio “to maintain sanity” and went on to major in art at Colby College. He is largely self taught, he said, because painting skills were not emphasized in school. “To do your own thing was the spirit of the day,” he says.
“I paint what is around me; landscapes, objects, food, road scenes, recollected drive bys, dogs and whatever else strikes my fancy. Mostly I paint in oils and water colors from time to time. I don’t care much for acrylics. I like the feel, the smell and the tradition of oil paint.
“Generally I work fast and small and when I can I paint outside. Painting for me an intense and exhausting experience and I am never sure when I start how things will end up. The results are mixed,” John says. “Some are good, some maybe and some I toss in the wood furnace.”
Jocelyn Lee has been making psychological portraits for over 35 years. Since her move to Maine 5 years ago, the landscape has taken on a greater role in her work. Her recent work has been made largely out doors with a medium format film camera.
“All the images, be they of animals, plants or humans beings, describe the tactile and sensual nature of the world and our place, as embodied beings, within this material continuum.” jocelynleestudio.com
“Welcome to Hell” – When I asked her, Maryjane Johnston told me she shot this image on Chebeague Island, Maine. “I was photographing the young women and they showed me this cabin where they sometimes hang out. There was a lot of graffiti on the walls, some of the typical hearts with teen lovers’ names in them and then I saw this statement and asked them to stand in front of it.
“We didn’t talk politics but I had lots of props with me including these flags. I handed them the flags but the expressions and postures came from them. I think the image reflects the current attitude of many of our youth today.”
Maryjane Johnston is an artist and art educator from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She believes that it’s the job of the artist to imagine the possibilities and offer a different perspective through our images in an effort to acknowledge what life is and what it could be.
“As artists and human beings,” says Johnston, “it’s our responsibility to advocate for social change. In the words of Nina Simone ‘It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.'”
Natasha Mayers has been called Maine’s most committed activist-artist. She has supervised more than 500 murals as a touring artist with the Maine Arts Commission since 1975. The painted utility poles in her town which depict local history were featured in Lucy Lippard’s book, The Lure of the Local. She is artist-in-residence for Peace Action Maine, and was a National Endowment for the Arts Millennium Artist, creating community art in Portsmouth, Ohio, exploring local views of identity, values, and sense of place, to demonstrate how involvement in the arts can improve the quality of community life. In 2005 she received the Arthur Hall Award “for an artist whose work, community service and commitment to their craft inspires others around them to reach to their highest potential.”
She has taught students from nursery school to college and in diverse populations: immigrants, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and the “psychiatrically labeled.” She organized “Warflowers: From Swords to Plowshares,” a 2005-06 traveling exhibit by 44 Maine artists, launching discussion about economic conversion of defense-oriented launching discussion about how to convert from a defense-based economy.
This painting follows Men in Suits (2016) and Men in Trouble (2018) which followed World Banksters (2013). Men in suits materialized in my work soon after the financial crisis.They are often headless, intoxicated with their own power, dangerous, blind, in a world full of violence toward one another and the planet, with men, historically, at the center of the problem. The work often reflects anger, frustration, a sense of the absurd, and analysis of what masculine power, white privilege and tradition have wrought. I talk about what is scary and threatening to me/us with a touch of irony, humor, pattern, exuberant color, and eccentricity.
Kenny Cole grew up in a suburban “development” in Poughkeepsie, New York and attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn after winning the Charles Burchfield Scholarship for Art in 1976. There, he studied under Howard Buchwald, whose post-minimalist/process teachings emphasized a reductionist’s approach to painting, with a consciousness toward the painting object’s physical relationship to the maker/viewer and the physicality of mark making.
Upon graduation I found myself confronted with a burgeoning neo-expressionist art scene in New York City’s East Village and much of the artistic activity was played out as artist organized shows in various nightclubs and alternative spaces. My work thus adopted an edgy, graphic, second-wave graffiti sensibility, while still attempting to resolve issues of boundary, structure and device in relation to easel painting, and I created my first two-sided interactive painting structures at this time. In 1994 Cole moved to Maine with his wife and two children and joined the Union of Maine Visual Artists and designed and maintained their first website, created a public flat file, organized an exhibit titled “Culture” and helped organize several political art actions. He has served on the Board or Directors and built website and gallery exhibition space for Waterfall Arts. In 2002, Cole met the political artist Luis Camnitzer and decided to commit himself more fully to creating politically engaging art. He has since then begun to re-visit making more elaborate two-sided interactive painting structures and has become even more determined to explore the allure of the military economy.
“A Barbara Sullivan fresco is both strange and familiar, tidy and off kilter, tragic and ebullient. The individual shaped fresco objects work well on their own, but Sullivan often arranges them in narrative, thematic scenarios using the wall as her ground… Sullivan’s work both satirizes and celebrates the monotony of everyday life.”
Sullivan has earned visual art and creative writing degrees at art educational institutions in Maine and other parts of New England. She has given many fresco workshops at colleges and art centers throughout New England and New York. She currently teaches drawing and painting at The University of Maine at Farmington. Sullivan has had group and solo exhibitions throughout New England and has had recent exhibitions in Maine at Caldbeck Gallery and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, and the Maine Biennial of the Portland Museum of Art in Portland.
A 20-year resident of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Gail Pfeifle is inspired by the spectacular natural landscape of the Maine seacoast as well as the mountains and lakes by her summer cottage on Clearwater Lake in Industry, ME. Her current work is a collection of contemporary still life paintings that joyfully explores shapes and colors.
Richard Brown Lethem
The Missouri-born, award-winning artist Richard Brown Lethem began his studies at the Kansas City Art Institute and he earned a BFA and MFA at Columbia University. Brown began teaching at Columbia in 1957 and the following year received a Fulbright Fellowship in painting for study in Paris. He has had one-person solo exhibitions throughout New England. Brown currently lives and works in Brunswick, Maine.
Tamar’s works as a painter, printmaker, theater set designer and set painter consistently investigate the use of layering to create and enhance the illusion of three-dimensional space. Her sculptures and installations map the layering of ecosystems and the interface between industrial society and biodiversity.
Tamar’s enduring interest in botany stems from her childhood years in California and ensuing studies toward her degree in landscape architecture. Her current involvement in Gelatin Plate Printmaking is fueled by the medium’s unique sensitivity to plant material and its ability to produce detailed, multi-layered, luminous imagery.
Tamar has been a part of collaborations, group, and solo shows and exhibitions in New England, New Mexico, Los Angeles, and Italy. She is a Master of Fine Arts (Vermont College of Fine Arts) and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (University of California Berkeley).
Although not formally trained as a painter, Susan Hellewell has enjoyed painting for relaxation and visual pleasure since childhood. Her paintings are made with dilute acrylic paint on canvas and reflect a transparency and dance-like quality usually achieved with watercolor.
In the early 1980s Hellewell became fascinated with Chinese calligraphy and carefully practiced brushstroke techniques. Earlier abstract pattern paintings were more in the color field tradition, building up layers of individual brush strokes resulting in optical illusions.
Hellewell’s recent paintings represent a continued effort to develop more literal images, incorporating dancers, flowers, and landscapes.
Abby Shahn has lived in rural Maine for many years. This fact seems crucial to her in trying to describe who she is and what her art is all about. Shahn feels that the isolation from the “art world” and from current trends in art has had both good and bad effects. On one hand, she says, she’s more than glad to be free of the dictates of style and of the marketplace because it allows her ideas to develop at their own pace.
At the same time, Shahn feels fortunate to be part of a loose group of artists “scattered around in the boondocks who have evolved in many different ways, sometimes overlapping with current ideas floating around the “big city”, sometimes veering off in crazy and unexpected directions.” Shahn says the artists she’s come to know here in Maine have been a constant source of inspiration.
“Much of my art is inspired by political events, but it’s not political art in the sense of trying to move people into action,” says Shahn. She thinks of herself as more of a witness.
Shahn says mythology has always been a subject for painters and that she’s come to think of the news as our contemporary mythology, though she points out that doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. It comprises a set of stories that are culturally shared by most of us, she says.
The titles of her pieces often offer a reference point, or a point of entry. Her hope is that then, her abstract expressions and impressions will then have greater meaning for people. She hopes to leave behind some record of how it felt to have lived through these times.
Titi de Baccarat
Titi de Baccarat is an artist who possesses many facets, at once painter, sculptor, jeweler, clothing designer, and writer. Dedicated to justice in a hostile political context, he was forced to flee his country, Gabon, with only the wealth of his artistic ability. He has lived in Portland since February 2015. He works through his African identity and artistic expertise to contribute to the culture of the city. He believes that “Art rehabilitates love, bringing together people of all countries, of all backgrounds, of all cultures, and all ethnicities.”
In Gabon, Titi de Baccarat’s paintings described the history of the Black Continent. He channeled his experiences of democracy, promoting a culture of peace and solidarity, and denouncing armed conflict and war which have claimed millions of lives in Africa.
In the USA, his collection of ethnic jewelry, made with various materials—leather, wood, and assorted metals—celebrates the beauty and struggle of peoples around the world standing to face their oppressors.
His collection of clothing for men and women, inspired by the concept of conjoined twins, consists of 27 designs focused on solidarity and humanity. And his book, “Ancestral Sexuality in the Forest of Bees,” is a collection of erotic proverbs inspired by his six months stay with the Pygmys in the forests of northern Gabon; Titi de Baccarat is currently looking for a publisher. His upcoming works will describe his experiences as an immigrant in the United States: his pain, fear, uncertainty, and his hope for his future here. He says, “Immigration is not a color, it is pain and hope.”
William Hessian is known to many as The Canvas Killer and as Mr. Art Hunt, and his students know him as Mr. Billy.
One of William’s creations is Canvas Kill Live. This is an art form in which the artist creates and “kills” an art piece during a performance. Some of the implements he has been known to use are blenders, swords, and knives.
William also does Miniature Art Hunts on a national level, inviting communities to find his hidden artwork and win prizes.
“art must create the future”
William often tells his students, “there are no wrong answers in art,” and therefore the results are limitless.
Hessian earned his arts’ degree in Minnesota and and has been recognized though several awards. He is a prolific artist who has curated and created numerous projects and events, including art hunts, political cartoons, games, podcasts, and more. He has participated in solo exhibitions in Minnesota, California, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, and Maine. In his “spare time,” Hessian volunteers for peace organizations.
Offering: #2 sets of #10 prints from the Americans Who Tell the Truth series.
Robert Shetterly was born in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated in 1969 from Harvard College with a degree in English Literature. At Harvard he took some courses in drawing which changed the direction of his creative life — from the written word to the image. Also, during this time, he was active in Civil Rights and in the Anti-Vietnam War movement.
After college and moving to Maine in 1970, he taught himself drawing, printmaking, and painting. While trying to become proficient in printmaking and painting, he illustrated widely. For twelve years he did the editorial page drawings for The Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon’s children’s newspaper Audubon Adventures, and approximately 30 books.
Robert´s paintings and prints are in collections all over the U.S. and Europe. His painting has tended toward the narrative and the surreal, however, for more than ten years he has been painting the series of portraits Americans Who Tell the Truth. The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2003 and to date, the exhibits have visited 26 states.The portraits have given Shetterly an opportunity to speak with children and adults all over this country about the necessity of dissent in a democracy, the obligations of citizenship, sustainability, US history, and how democracy cannot function if politicians don’t tell the truth, if the media don’t report it, and if the people don’t demand it. Please see his work at https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portrait-galleries
A Senator for People, Planet, and Peace
I’m Lisa Savage, teacher, organizer, and grandmother from Solon, Maine, and I’m running for US Senate to give Mainers a Senator who will work for the people, not the powerful.
I believe we deserve a government that works for us, not the big banks, weapons manufacturers, fossil fuel giants and corporate lobbyists who are calling the shots in Washington.
As your voice in the Senate, I’ll do what it takes to protect our children’s future and create a better world for all of us.