Monthly Archives: September 2012

Artists’ Studios: Mark Wethli

In our Artists’ Studios series, four artists talk about how studio and place affect their work, and what Maine means to them.

Mark Wethli is a painter and public artist who lives and works in Brunswick, Maine, where he is also the A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art at Bowdoin College.

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Produced by Allen Baldwin at Strongpaw Productions.

Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine

By Karen Sherry, Curator of American Art

To commemorate the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio, the PMA is proud to present Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine during the fall season. This special exhibition showcases Homer’s artistic output at Prouts Neck with a selection of more than thirty major oils, watercolors, drawings, and engravings. Four featured works come from the PMA’s collection, while the remaining pictures are being lent by other institutions and private collectors from across the country, offering visitors a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see many of Homer’s most critically acclaimed masterpieces together. The accompanying catalogue, with essays by experts in the field, presents new perspectives on the Winslow Homer Studio, his work at Prouts Neck, and the formative role of place in his artistic vision.

Homer’s move to Maine in 1883 marked a dramatic shift in his oeuvre. Earlier in his career, he was primarily known for realistic images of the Civil War, rural children, and modern American leisure pursuits. At Prouts Neck, he turned his focus to marine subjects, including narrative pictures of the trials of fishermen and sailors and seascapes of waves crashing on the rocky shore. Such works achieved a new level of artistic sophistication in their ability to capture a particular place with vivid specificity, while simultaneously exploring more profound themes of mortality. Inspired by the rugged beauty and dramatic weather of Prouts Neck, Homer envisioned the natural world as a metaphorical arena for the contest of life and death, of humankind against nature.

Created in 1894 at the height of Homer’s creative powers, the PMA’s painting Weatherbeaten serves as both the namesake of this exhibition and as a quintessential example of his late work. In this seascape, Homer recreated the physical characteristics of storm churned waters and craggy rocks with thick, vigorously applied paint. The title also evokes the timeless, unrelenting force of nature. Highly regarded during the artist’s lifetime for their originality, Weatherbeaten and the other pictures in this exhibition helped to establish an iconic image of the Maine coast for American audiences. Homer’s works inspired subsequent generations of artists and continue to awe viewers to this day.

We hope that you will take the opportunity to experience the power of Homer’s most celebrated works with a visit to Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. The PMA is the only venue for this special exhibition, so be sure to see it before it closes on December 30.

The Next Level of Contemporary Design: The New PMA Brand

By Elizabeth Jones
Director of Visitor Experience and Brand Management

PMA Launches New Brand
The PMA rebranding initiative anticipates an exciting new chapter in the museum’s history with the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio. The new brand speaks to the PMA’s vision of the future, while honoring Maine’s rich cultural history. The crisp, clean, red arch and circle are contemporary and evocative of the iconic architectural presence of the Charles Shipman Payson Building, while at the same time acknowledging the historic red brick facades prevalent in 19th-century Portland. The brand’s use of color also echoes Winslow Homer’s bold use of red in many of his paintings. The letters “PMA” within the circle add new energy to “Portland Museum of Art,” but they also recall traditional block-lettered signs painted on buildings and echo iconic symbols that have become part of the nation’s visual lexicon during the past century. “The new brand takes into consideration the postmodern Henry N. Cobb designed building, the iconic public face of the Portland Museum of Art, and brings it to the next level of contemporary design,” said PMA Director Mark H. C. Bessire. “It has been inspiring to work with Maine designers who really understand the Museum and our community.”

The Local Businesses and People That Helped Us Get Here
Garrand is a full-service Maine-based communications agency. Brenda Garrand, president, brought her 25 years of creative marketing and communications experience and trademarked Golden Threads™ process to the table to develop the brand. Ken Murphy of Murphy Empire Design, a graduate of Maine College of Art, has more than a decade of design experience working with Portland businesses and developed the design for the brand. Mark Jamra of TypeCulture, an independent digital type foundry in Portland, designed the award-winning Expo family of fonts used in the new brand.

Brenda Garrand:
“The Portland Museum of Art is an exceptional institution, not only representing Maine and American art history, but acting as a key participant in contemporary issues of national and international concern. The museum serves as an inspiration and a rich resource for both our local community and the northeast.”

Ken Murphy:
“As a local designer, I consider this a perfect opportunity to show my admiration for such an important institution. I appreciate the involvement of local designers on this project, and have enjoyed greatly the collaborative efforts put forth during the process.”

Mark Jamra:
“Expo Serif contains warmth, character, and versatility in a classic typeface design. Expo Sans is distinctive and legible with multiple weights and styles. They combine easily to provide options for developing a typographic system that communicates the blend of classic, time-honored tradition and unique, contemporary qualities the museum will evoke with a new brand.”