“Path to the Bowerbird’s Estate,” by Marilynn Gelfman Karp.

During the month of July, Dowling Walsh Gallery will host four exhibitions: 

“Tessa Greene O’Brien: Floating in the Water Looking up at the Sky,” “Marilynn Gelfman Karp: Sampling the Riff,” “Alan Magee: Grand Illusions” and “Kenneth Noland (1924-2010): Paper as Paint.”

“Floating in the Water Looking up at the Sky”
July 2 to 31

Tessa Greene O’Brien’s Eastport series evolved over the course of the past 18 months, with several visits back to the community. The paintings all depict places in or around Eastport, but the subject matter is more about the artist trying to paint the romance of falling in love with a new place, trying to remember what it looks like when away, and trying to record and savor every detail while there.

“Red Roof,” by Tessa Greene O’Brien.

“Something clicked within me when I first spent time in Eastport, Maine, a tiny in town filled with contrasts,” she says artist Tessa Greene O’Brien. “It is a borderland, with little red buoys marking the thin line between the United States and Canada, and a dramatic tide that highlights the push and pull between ocean and land. The line between nature and humans there is thin, and the border between the past and present feels this was as well.

The landscape was new to me, but it felt familiar, reminding me of the small coastal community that I grew up. I was attracted to the familiarity of a place that was unburdened by actual memories.

The Eastport paintings are about how it feels to lie on your back floating in the water, looking up at the sky, what sunny fields smell like, and the crisp satisfaction of high noon shadows on shingled houses. They are about grief, joy and the failures of memory to satisfy desire. I am using paint and textiles to try to describe the way that places layer over one another in memory, with edges blurred. The paintings are overgrown, spilling over, faded, swirling and scattered, with dappled light & color turning a place into a daydream.” — Tessa Greene O’Brien

“Sampling the Riff”
July 2 to 31

“Things made by human hands (manu-factured) meet naturally occurring components in my studio. I unify them in unexpected ways, often surprising myself at the resulting sculptures. The whole is not the sum of its parts. Ordinary bits become exotic, a new context changes the mundane into the arcane.

To confound things, sometimes a thing that appears to have been plucked from nature can be person-made (I have made bird nests that would fool a bird) and there are naturally occurring phenomena that appear to have been manufactured (consider the sand dollar or a pearl).

As differences between the natural and the manmade become less clear in my works … new frames of reference are invoked. Carefully examined unions and dimensions within may be glimpsed, rife with twinkling potential and unfamiliar gardens bloom.” — Marilynn Gelfman Karp                                                                                                              

“Grand Illusions”
July 2 to 31

“Helmet X,” by Alan Magee.

Alan Magee’s Helmet X, a large painting completed in early 2021, is symbolic of this historic chapter. A hauntingly beautiful elegy to our failed attempts across time to armor our selves against our baser instincts, it sears the mind’s eye. The soft polish of the exquisitely rendered crusader helmet pulls the thread of the ages to the present, its row of rivets suggestive of bullet holes or coffin nails; its beauty seductive. We are all soldiers in life.



Paper as Paint
July 2 to Aug. 28

“Diagonal Stripes,” by Kenneth Noland.

Dowling Walsh Gallery will present an exhibition of handmade paper by Kenneth Noland (1924 to 2010). Noland, known primarily for his large-scale Color Field paintings, began making art with paper pulp in the late1970s and continued to explore its possibilities well into the 1990s. While he worked with a variety of materials and explored various media throughout his career, Noland found the use of paper pulp as a primary ingredient to be extremely satisfying in the directness of its application and physicality. In contrast to painting on canvas, the precision of papermaking lay in the process — the physical building of colored paper pulp to create a final image, a vehicle to generate depth of surface and ultimately a means explore color relationships in new and unexpected ways.

Dowling Walsh Gallery is at 365 Main St. in Rockland. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment on Sundays and Mondays. Visit www.dowlingwalsh.com, or call 207-596-0084 for more information.

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