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Latest Articles


Jazz on paper

Romare Bearden's improv collage
A gem of a show, two shows really, has quietly appeared at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  October 21, 2009


People, unhid

A Robert Solotaire retrospective at Gleason
The late Bob Solotaire collected views the same way he collected friends, and he had a great many of both.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  October 07, 2009


Deep layers

Mark Wethli's latest work is some of his best
Throughout his long career Mark Wethli's work has been studied, careful, and formally rigorous.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 23, 2009


Growth + maturity

Portland's art scene has changed quite a lot
The Phoenix 's first 10 years in Portland roughly bracket the period during which I stopped writing about art.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 16, 2009


Retro for fall

Major artists of Maine's past go on display
Leaves are turning, roads aren't crowded; it's time to look ahead for interest in the fall art season.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  September 16, 2009

cupid list

Idealist views

Three shows at the PMA explore truth
The path through my various responsibilities has led me to the Portland Museum several times in recent weeks, and along most of the floors. While passing through the Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit of photography I was struck by thoughts about templates created by dominant illusions, and how a consistent sense of an ideal world flowed through Cameron's work.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  August 26, 2009

thon list

Building up

Inspired modernists Cutler and Thon
In the current show at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery at the Maine College of Art in Portland, we see two generations of 20th-century modernist painting.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  August 19, 2009

coast list

Growing Maine art

PMA exhibit examines the influence of colonies
Long ago an art critic of my acquaintance remarked that New York was a border town to Europe, and until fairly recently that was true. Artistic ideas would be born in Europe, often France, and migrate slowly across the Atlantic and take root.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  August 05, 2009

met list

Lesson from a master

Legendary Met director will take your questions
Philippe de Montebello retired at the end of last year from his position as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York after 31 years. During his tenure, the museum nearly doubled in size to two million square feet and increased its collections by some 80,000 pieces.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  July 15, 2009

robert list

More than words

The Farnsworth's Robert Indiana retrospective
What are we to make of Robert Indiana? His is generally considered part of the Pop art group of artists who came into prominence in the late '60s, along with Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Roy Lichtenstein, and though he is not perhaps as highly regarded in the art world, he has a wider popular following than any of them.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  July 08, 2009

stephan list

Weight + measure

Aaron Stephan's sculpture takes center stage
The centerpiece, conceptually and physically, of Aaron Stephan's show at Whitney Art Works is "Flat World/Round Map," a cast-iron sphere about six feet in diameter. While not exactly the largest ( "18 Columns" covers more ground and "The Burden Crates" is taller) it creates a center of gravity around itself.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  June 17, 2009

summer list

Summer people

Artists have long visited Maine, too
Ever wonder why there is so much professional-level art made and shown in Maine, a state with a total population less than that of many minor cities? One answer is that following the fame of people like Winslow Homer, creative types flocked to Maine, often to artists' colonies.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  June 10, 2009

nicoletti list

Happy meeting

Divergent approaches, the same landscape
An artistic intersection between Joseph Nicoletti and Ying Li happened in northern Italy. These very different painters from widely differing backgrounds found common interest in the Italian landscape, and have made paintings whose similarities illuminate their differences.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  May 20, 2009

hart list

Close focus

Mary Hart's small paintings demand attention
Aucocisco has opened its new premises with a show of small paintings by Mary Hart. The new space on Exchange Street is spare and elegant, and so, in their own way, are Hart's little paintings.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  May 13, 2009


The power of 'Cool'

A contemporary-art show at Bowdoin is a must-see
"New York Cool" is required viewing for anyone who has an interest in contemporary American art. Comprised of nearly 80 works, the show, at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art through July 19.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  May 18, 2009


Story telling

Whitney's latest show has quiet power
The three artists whose work is currently on view at Whitney Art Works in Portland have a taste for narratives, real or invented.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  April 16, 2009


Restoring a master

A new biography seeks to redefine Marc Chagall's place in art history
When Marc Chagall died in 1985 at the age of 98 he was internationally famous, wealthy, and had lived to see a museum built for him by the French government.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  March 30, 2009


Familiar paths

Terry Hilt sheds new light on Maine's coast
Terry Hilt's show of watercolors at Aucocisco provides an opportunity to consider the role of modernism in today's art.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  March 18, 2009


Easy on the eyes

At Whitney Art Works, "The Funnies" directly engage viewers with 150 pieces by 25 artists.
"The Funnies" at Whitney Art Works is a sprawling show of upwards of 150 pieces by 25 artists, all of whom have been brought together by local artist — Jeff Badger.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 26, 2009


Forceful feelings

Rodin's solidity has staying power
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was one of the greatest sculptors in history.
By KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 04, 2009
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