Jon Imber, “Rhapsody in Green.”

Ellsworth Courthouse Gallery Fine Art presents “Jon Imber: The Freedom of Abstraction,” a solo show of Imber’s large-scale abstract paintings done in the last decade of his life.

Imber is well known for his abstracted landscapes of the Maine coast, and going completely abstract was just next step. For Imber, this natural progression came from a lifetime of knowledge about painting, rhythm and light. He was able to open up to that freedom.

An exhibition catalog with an essay by Chris Crossman is available. Crossman was the director of the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, from 1988 to 2005 and the founding chief curator of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

A gallery talk about Imber’s work will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the gallery and via Zoom. Chris Crossman will join Jill Hoy, Imber’s wife, to talk about the paintings in the show and Imber’s extraordinary life.

Imber, who died in 2014 from ALS, continued to create vibrant work right up until his untimely death by training his left hand to paint and devising ways to overcome his physical limitations.

The show and the talk are free and open to the public.

To preview the show or register for the Zoom gallery talk, call 667-6611, or visit Courthouse Gallery is at 6 Court St., Ellsworth.

Excerpt by Chris Crossman from the exhibition catalog:

“In Brink from 2008, for example, you can almost smell the salt air and touch the flickering light suffusing the graceful arc of a meandering ribbon of sand-pink color, the product of a wide, paint-laden brushstroke. Tiger Lily II is possibly less about the wildflowers that are so abundantly, flamboyantly, encountered along Maine back roads and fallow fields than it is homage to his first mentor, Philip Gusto, who, many years earlier, had willed Imber a supply of his own precious stock of cadmium red — along with what it means to become an artist. Cadmium red is rare, expensive, and the only manufactured paint color that comes within squinting distance of a real tiger lily in the wild. And, Rhapsody in Green may be less about the sonorous color chords or the rhythmic pulsing and lyrical tenderness of tangled understory tendrils, than it is about the suddenness of the Maine spring and the evanescence, even futility, of recording and keeping the look and feel of too-short summers. There is a gentleness in these paintings that is something like a premonition, even a latent sense of regret for seasons past and passing.”

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