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The PMA has transformed the Emily Eaton Moore and Family Gallery in the Charles Shipman Payson Building into Modern Menagerie, a colorful ensemble of creatures of all stripes. You’ll see migrating gazelles, lions, and zebras; schools of listening fish; a herd of Staffordshire porcelain sculptures; and even a migrating flock of papier-mâché birds.
Anchoring the space is sculptor Bernard Langlais’ 1977 masterpiece of more than 20 painted wood animals, originally made for the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine. Langlais’ larger-than-life carvings originally formed a fountain on the resort grounds. The group includes gulls, fish, and Rockport’s most famous celebrity: Andre the Seal. The PMA has stored the individual components of the ensemble since 1979 and is now displaying the full group for the first time.
Modern Menagerie also features the work of Maine artist Dahlov Ipcar, who has spent a lifetime illustrating animal forms from Maine and beyond. In paintings such as her stunning Blue Savanna, Ipcar employs bright tones to create abstracted visions of animals in motion. Ipcar’s paintings join two works by her mother, painter Marguerite Zorach, who also drew inspiration from the animal world. Together, the paintings highlight the family’s prodigious imagination along with Zorach’s and Ipcar’s shared ability to envision the world far beyond their home of Georgetown, Maine.
In addition to Ipcar, Modern Menagerie also includes works by modern and contemporary artists Will Barnet, Matt Blackwell, Chris Patch, and Neil Welliver. Mark Swanson’s 2013 crystal encrusted deer head—a sculpture that upends the motif of mounted game as a symbol of masculinity—overlooks the gallery.
Image: Dahlov Ipcar (United States, born 1917), Blue Savanna (detail), oil on canvas, 36 1/16 x 50 1/4 inches, gift of the artist, 1987.58