By Nancy Nesvet
Deer Isle, ME – During the beautiful summer weekend of August 27 and 28, Art Adventure in Deer Isle, sponsored by Artscope and The Art, Labor Education Institute (Maine), led viewers on a tour of 55 Deer Isle galleries and art studios. Following a map available at all venues in Deer Isle, Little Deer Isle and Stonington, Maine, visitors viewed work including crafts, jewelry, furniture, pottery, paintings, sculpture, drawings, screenprints and photographs by artists from the island and away.
This was hardly a tourist’s vision of Maine art; seascapes and fishermen, but instead varied from the historic and visionary, life-size dioramas of Peter Berets at Nervous Nellie’s, to David Kofton’s gorgeous black and white drawings of winged women soaring to heights of beauty. Jill Hoy’s realistic paintings, at Jill Hoy Gallery in Stonington, with riotously bright colors, recalled island architecture in the Caribbean.
Two forges, Kidder Forge, of sculptor, Herman Kidder, and Aaron Beck’s Blacksmith Forge at Pearson-Legacy’s Design Studio, showed such amazing metalwork that this reviewer stood transfixed before the fire in the midst of a hot Maine summer. The metalwork and Geoffrey Warner’s ergonomic wooden furniture show an attention to comfort and aesthetics significant to Mainers and those from beyond.
Kingman Gallery, showing photography, including significant work in black and white, rivals photographic centers in Maine for the quality and beautiful stillness of the portraiture and seascapes. These distinctly unusual seascapes are complemented by Vaino Kola’s large photorealistic beach scenes, shown at Turtle Gallery in Deer Isle. Earthenware and forged metal centerpieces at Greene-Ziner Gallery showed Melissa Greene and Eric Zeiner’s ability to create whimsical and practical pieces that would complement any home. The work at Pearson-Legacy Gallery in downtown Deer-Isle and the Deer Isle Artists’ Association Gallery on the main street, provided a preview of two and three-dimensional work shown whose work can be seen in other venues on the island.
As we followed the Sunshine Road on the way to Haystack Center for Crafts, looking for the orange and green balloons denoting open studios and galleries, Nervous Nellie’s enthralled us with their village of sculpture in life-size installations illustrating figures and surroundings from the King Arthur legend to an old western town to a law library from 1800s USA. Meticulously crafted and researched, nothing is like it anywhere.
This proved to be true across the island, from Vain Kola’s super realistic close-up large canvases of beach stones and water in the Turtle gallery by to the multi-award winning Chinese inspired sumi-e landscapes of Frederica Marshall at the Marshall/Kidder Galleries to John Wilkinson’s Kinetic Sculptures to Bruce Bulger’s meticulously crafted original wood furniture and more, too numerous to mention.
The enthusiasm for the work inspired the community to begin planning Arts Festival Deer Isle 2017. Join us, it’s a beautiful three-hour drive from Portland, and well worth it. You won’t see a like concentration of beautiful and significant and thought-provoking work on any other island including the metropolis that calls itself New York.