Monthly Archives: June 2012

Meet the New Curator–Jessica May, Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art

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Click here for more information about the 2013 Biennial.

Meet the Artist: An Interview with Might & Main

The Museum is in full Winslow Homer mode—finishing touches are being added at the Studio, preparations for the fall exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine are underway, and themed products are arriving daily at the Museum Store.

The Museum is excited to work with Might & Main to bring a variety of Winslow Homer inspired products to the Museum Store’s shelves. Might & Main is a small design and branding agency located in Portland whose designers share a passion and respect for process, craftsmanship, technology, and cohesive, client-based work.

Shown here, from left to right: Morgan DiPietro, graphic designer; Graeme Kennedy, Production Manager; Kevin Brooks, Principal, Online Strategist and Lead Web Developer; Sean Wilkinson, Principal, Creative Director, and Marketing Strategist; and Arielle Walrath, Principal, Creative Director, and Brand Strategist.

Why were you excited to work with the Portland Museum of Art?
GK: Not only are we fans of the Museum and Winslow Homer, but we are proud Mainers as well. Being involved in an exhibition and opening that will showcase Maine and its history is something we couldn’t pass up.
AW: This was a chance for us to be part of something culturally important; the Museum provides a valuable window to the wider art world for Mainers, and for visitors, it enables a view of the perhaps unexpected influence that artists living or working in Maine have had on American art.
MD: Plus, the opportunity to curate, art direct, and brand a whole line of cool products is a designer’s dream! The product possibilities were endless and our initial brainstorming sessions were very exciting. To focus ourselves we dove into research on Homer, and from there, we had a blast designing products that not only museum-goers would appreciate and enjoy, but we would too.

How were you inspired by Winslow Homer and his work to create product?
AW: When we were working on the custom Weatherbeaten logotype, I spent hours looking at his handwriting samples and came to really love Homer’s language. He had a way of writing that was opinionated, authoritative, even a bit curmudgeonly, but he seemed to know it and take humor in it. We tried to capture that in some of the quotes we chose to use.

Who did you work with on this project?
AW: When we started Might & Main, one of our goals was to facilitate creative collaborations. We’ve always been inspired by the work that other designers, craftspeople, and artists are doing locally.
GK: We couldn’t just showcase Maine’s most famous painter and not include some of our favorite local artisans. Working with Black Point Mercantile satisfied our desire to produce unique and limited edition items, and also continued Homer’s narrative. Black Point Mercantile’s Map Cases and Pillows are made with classic textiles that could be from the turn of the century, and are crafted not one mile from Homer’s studio on Prout’s Neck. Other artisans include Molly Angie, who fashioned the Signature rolls & Handkerchiefs, and the folks at Casco Bay Soaps. We’ve been a fan of both for a long time, and this project gave us the excuse, and wonderful experience, of bringing them into the fold to produce some incredible and unique stuff.

What are you buying to take home?
GK: I think we’re all really excited to see the Bobblehead in action. The process alone was so detailed, everything from shape of the face to Homer’s posture to moustache shape and size, that it is truly a collaborative piece.
MD: I’m really excited for the broadsides we created in collaboration with local printer, Strong Arm Bindery. Because we created these posters using a letterpress, our process was somewhat free-form, which presented a really fun opportunity to visually interpret Winslow’s words. I look forward to hanging a little piece of Homer wisdom on a wall in my apartment.

Artist Intervention: John Knight

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

On Friday, June 15, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., artist John Knight will host the fifth installment of Artist Interventions, special events planned by PMA’s new team of Maine artists. Knight works in large scale and during the intervention, plans to invite visitors into his artwork by setting up three large drawing boards outside the Museum’s entrance. The boards will come together to form a 15-foot “museumscape.”

In a casual interview, we talked as he primed and prepared the boards.

Let’s talk about you and your art.
I started out as a landscape painter—painting wildflowers for the past couple of years. I’ve been figuring out how I can collaborate with other artists and with the community. In my studio, I’ve been doing portraits of cartoonists, appropriating the work of other people, and I started a project where I take other people’s doodles and make paintings from them. Last year was one of experimentation. I also began making stencils out of the wildflowers from my paintings.

What you are planning for your Artist Intervention?
My Artist Intervention will be a little more casual. I’ll be drawing people before they go into the Museum. I do want to capture some of the space on Congress Square—to capture something about how the Museum is part of that busy intersection. It relates to my landscape painting as it will be a quick response to people and what is in front of me. The big drawing panels won’t be a photographic representation, although, in preparation I’ve taken photographs of the scene to work it out in my studio.

What is the inspiration—the goal—behind the design of your Artist Intervention?
Well, I like Daniels Minter’s idea of the unexpected quality of capturing people as they moved within the Museum as well as Gideon Bok’s work with ghost images of people moving over a span of time. And, the Greg Parker painting (on the Museum’s 3rd floor Contemporary Gallery space)—the surfaces he gets. That’s the inspiration for my plan to limit the drawing materials I use and to make changes along the way, maybe erasing or painting over…

What is your favorite work at the PMA?
Hmm. I really like those John Walker paintings. The materials, the love of oil painting and pushing it around; how he’s right in between abstraction and working directly from the landscape.

John Knight has a studio in the Artist Studio Building in the Arts District of Portland. His paintings are currently on exhibit at the Elizabeth Moss galleries in Falmouth. http://johnardenknight.blogspot.com/