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Encaustic painting by Kim Bernard

Art Review: On a roll

By Ann Bryant

It was a perfect day on Sunday to be a bit too early to get into the George Marshall Store Gallery. Walking around the back to the lazy, salty inlet and traipsing around barefoot for one of the first times in this warmer weather was one of the perks to making a special trip to York, Maine.

The other, of course, was seeing the work of Tim Gaudreau and his fellow finalists for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant. Gaudreau’s eco art installation work fills the walls of the small back room of the upstairs gallery, and is interrupted only by windows that are apertures looking out to the very thing he’s making a statement about.

He calls it "Self Portrait as Revealed by Trash: 365 days of photographing everything that I threw out." It won him the grant. The entirety of the piece equals 5,000 photos. Calling this a self-portrait is the most accurate description, there are revealing objects interspersed among the cotton swabs and empty coffee cups. Gaudreau will be holding a gallery talk there Sunday, May 21 at 3 p.m. titled "The Evolution of Eco Art." As he says in his statement, "I believe artists have considerable responsibility as cultural instigators to ask questions, raise issues and challenge assumptions." Even though you may want to deduce that there might be a feeling of a heavy-handed activism over you when you see this piece, don’t. The personal nature of these objects - condom wrappers, endless empty boxes of various veggie meats, tons of Ben and Jerry’s containers, and even his wedding ring - are more emotionally charged than if you had taken a photograph of the man himself.

Five of the eight finalists were photographers. Each one brings another style to the show, contributing another facet of satisfying imagery set apart mostly by method. Douglas Prince’s painterly revisions of digital floral images are printed on canvas scrolls, offsetting Alexandra de Steiguer’s emotionally rich gelatin silver prints of the barren, lonely Isles of Shoals. That in turn is offset by the quirky and thoughtful Nancy Grace Horton, whose "Tonya in the Kitchen Series" is printed on small plaques.

Curator Mary P. Harding had a good point. She sees the plaques and Scott Kuckler’s chemically treated gelatin silver prints as objects in themselves - as more than photographs, transformed from two dimensional images to three dimensional, textured artifacts.

Concurrent to this show, in the dock-level gallery, are the ceramic works of Don Williams. Found objects, irregular and yet well-planned panels of glazed ceramic, sticks, and stainless frames define a body of work that is organically reminiscent of circuit boards. Useful objects abound as well, like sake sets, plates, bowls, vessels, and tables. You’ll find yourself looking at these things for a long time. If it’s not the beautifully glazed surface that pulls you in, it’ll be the texture, or the asymmetry, or the odd touches of angular perfection mixed with intentional scars and imperfections.

A ‘field trip’ to his studio is planned for May 19. To reserve a spot on the list for a mere $5, call the gallery in advance. It should be a real treat.

Ann Bryant has waited for right here and right now for always and ever. Time baffles her, but she gets email - beagoodegg@gmail.com.

WHAT MOMENTUM IV, exhibition of the grantee and finalists of the 2005 New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant; dock level gallery: CERAMIC LANDSCAPES AND FUNCTIONAL WARES by Don Williams,
WHEN through June 4
WHERE George Marshall Store Gallery, 140 Lindsay Road, York, Maine,
CONTACT (207) 351-1083, www.georgemarshallstoregallery.org

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