Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just Seen and Dashed Off - Lucy Mink at Common Street

There is a new and courageous small art space in Waterville called Common Street Gallery, the brainchild of artist Kate Barnes. Previous shows have included work by Colleen Kinsella, Thomas Birtwistle, Sarah Sorg, and many others. Now it’s Lucy Mink’s turn.

This New Hampshire-based painter shows eighteen relatively small abstract oils on linen created since 2010. They are delicious. Immensely pleasing. Sophisticated in color and composition. Challenging yet deeply gratifying at the same time. Each painting combines bands and shapes of color with neutral or patterned backgrounds. The forms gather in piles, abut each other, and coexist more or less peacefully. Rarely is there a suggestion of illusionistic space. This may sound like a lot of abstraction out there right now, but rarely have I seen work hitting a perfect pitch every single time like Mink’s does.

The artist thinks of her paintings in diaristic terms and each work in fact carries a fine emotional resonance. If one were desperate to look for the suggestion of actual objects, one could think of unmade beds, rich pillows, fabrics, and yes, sexual organs. The paintings are definitely based on observation of surroundings and, on a very visceral level, they exude a sense of the domestic, of comfort, even comfort food. There is intimacy.

Lucy Mink is an artist to watch. So is Common Street Gallery. In the near future it will move to a larger adjacent storefront, while the teaching component, which is an important part of the gallery’s mission, will remain in the current space. I recommend putting this new art endeavor which only opened last April on your list of places to see exciting contemporary art in Maine.
above: I needed a place to put some things that we weren’t allowed to talk about, 2010; oil on linen, on wood, 19 x 20.5 in.
below: My Comfort Lines, 2010; oil on linen, on wood, 10 x 9 in.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Portland Phoenix: Female Myths at USM Gorham

A review of the exhibition The Myths, which includes photographs by seven New England women photographers who explore typically female roles.

art current: Dialogue with an Artists Family - the Van Campens

This is part one of an extended e-mail conversation i had with Susan, Tim, Molly, and Greta Van Campen about their experience of being a family of artists.