BANGOR – The University of Maine Museum of Art has announced a new exhibit featuring the work of three New England artists that will be on display April 2-June 19 at Norumbega Hall in downtown Bangor. The three artists are Jessica Gandolf, Jim Dow and Marguerite Robichaux.
Jessica Gandolf’s oil paintings of old-time baseball players fill small panels with meticulous detail and rich color. The luminous paintings belie their scale with the weight of their emotional content, isolating the figures against backdrops that include ethereal skies, landscapes and light-filled emptiness.
Gandolf begins each image with a photograph found in an old newspaper, magazine or the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. By reworking these public images, she creates paintings that have the intensity of icon paintings but describe something beyond heroic exploits and record-setting statistics, illuminating the ordinary men behind their extraordinary accomplishments.
Jessica Gandolf is a graduate from Oberlin College with a master of fine arts from Brooklyn College. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Visual Arts Fellowship recipient. She has shown her work in galleries throughout New England and was included in the Center for Maine Contemporary Art 2002 Juried Biennial and the Portland Museum of Art Biennial.
Jim Dow’s panoramic photographs are of the minuscule, but precise, details of the architectural personalities of U.S. baseball stadiums. Dow describes his interest in photography as “centering on its capacity for exact description. I use photography to try to record the manifestations of human ingenuity and spirit still remaining in our country’s everyday landscape.”
He began this project in 1980 with Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia and has since documented more than 200 major and minor league parks in the United States and Canada.
Dow uses an 8-by-10-inch Deardorff, a vintage wooden camera that has a black hood covering the accordion-like bellows attached to the lens. The camera takes large format film. Positioning the camera at the optimal vantage point for seeing the stadium, he pivots with every 30- to 40-minute exposure to record the next frame in the panoramic sequence.
The time lapse between beginning and end allows for a variety of shifts in light, weather and people placement, yet produces a continuous image. Because of this, Dow meticulously prints the roughly 10-by-30-inch images, carefully adjusting the color relationships while trying to get the most out of both highlights and shadows.
Jim Dow is a full-time teacher at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and has been a member of the visual and critical studies faculty at Tufts University since 1973. His work is displayed in major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Marguerite Robichaux’s recent paintings and drawings are poetically evocative works that capture the rural and woodland landscapes of Western Maine.
Robichaux displays a sensitivity to complex patterns of light and texture while applying thin translucent layers of oil paints that move into representations of trees, mountains, sky and space. Her images set a scene of tranquil repose and soft moments of quietude interrupted only by the contrasting lines of the trees and their branches.
Robichaux travels in the mountains and woods, often sitting at the edge of a roadway to sketch or paint tiny watercolor studies. In these she captures the values and textures of light that play on the surfaces of the land. Back in the studio, the sketches unfold and expand as they are combined to form complete graphite studies on linen that then lead into large-scale oil paintings.
She transposes the landscapes onto canvas panels using thinned oil paint as fluid as watercolor, often so thin it drips and runs down the surface. Utilizing quick, confident brushstrokes, her final paintings echo the looseness of her original sketches. However, her technique is meaningful and deliberate.
“Some people look at these marks and ask if I intend to fix the flaw, but what I am trying to show is that what they are looking at is not a tree, but a painting of a tree.”
Originally from Louisiana, Marguerite Robichaux first came to Maine in the early 1970s and now lives near the Bigelow Mountain Range. She received a master of fine arts degree from Louisiana State University. Her paintings are included in the collections of the State House in Augusta, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Museum, Colby and Bates colleges, and in private and corporate collections.
Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $3 per person, no charge for museum members and UM students with a MaineCard.
For information, call 561-3350.