Artists in image: Top L to Bottom R: Hillary Hutton, Michele Kirchner, Deborah Jellison, Kathleen Buchanan, Terry Golson, Eric Darling and Andre Benoit.
Join Archipelago, the Island Institute’s store and gallery, for its new gallery show, Nature Abounds currently on display through December 30. Nature Abounds shares works of 7 local artists using lobster rope, glass, collagraph, cotton, acrylic, wood, wool and Styrofoam in their pieces. The nature along Maine’s coast inspire these artists who include Andre Benoit of Boothbay Harbor, Kathleen Buchanan of Rockport, Eric Darling of Appleton, Terry Golson of York, Hillary Hutton of Vienna, Deborah Jellison of Searsport, and Michele Kirchner of North Haven.
Kathleen Buchanan’s collagraph prints are inspired by the coast of Maine and its ability to “reinvent itself with ever-changing ocean and sky, and seasons which each have grace and character all their own.”
“As an artist, I am fascinated by relationships. My connection to the natural world, my role as a mother, and my own sense of self all find expression in my images. I enjoy looking at landscapes and their inhabitants not only as appealing composition subjects, but also as metaphors for our human experience. Collagraph printing, with all its intricacy and subtlety, is a fascinating medium to use in the communication of these ideas,” Buchanan states.
Terry Golson creates her animal sculptures at a community studio on the coast of Maine. She lives with her husband and dog in a home that faces a beaver marsh. Wildlife abounds.
Golson was a professional equestrian and an animal behavior consultant. In 2021, Golson started doing ceramics at a local community studio. Golson hand builds animal sculptures. They are inspired by a life spent observing and working with animals of all kinds.
Andre Benoit’s wood assembly pieces are steeped in history. “It seems for a lifetime I have been drawn to collecting things of interesting shape and visual appearance. "My intent as an abstract assemblist sculptor is to represent the human form and iconic motifs with repurposed wooden remnants. What I choose to represent may range from maritime iconic to impressionistic and their coloration mono to multi-chromic. With abstractions, I generally attempt to create more than one focal point to maintain eye-movement through the composition beyond a single glance.”
Deborah Jellison is a mixed media artist living in Searsport. Inspired by the wooded landscapes and rocky coastline of her home Jellison’s work most often references the natural environment – the patterns of barren trees pressing against a winter’s sky or fractals formed in the ice on the forest floor.
Jellison states: “A lifetime spent in wooded landscapes had taught me to live and appreciate nature. The natural environment, for me, is “home” a space and sacred place which provides me with inspiration and materials for my studio practice. Each barren tree against the sky or fractal formed in ice on the forest floor suggests both forms and patterns which often appear in my work. Experimentation with lush overlays of gold, texture, and pattern over landscape or figure allows me to create visual stories and express a personal mythology.
It is my hope to offer the viewer a glimpse of restorative and divine power of the natural landscape and its inhabitants.”
Hillary Hutton learned to weave in college, at the Mass. College of Art in Boston, in 1978. “I purchased my first loom in 1980 and have been weaving ever since. In 1990 I began weaving rugs seriously and started showing them at craft shows. Over the past 15 years I have perfected the technique and am focused on improving my skill with each rug I weave.” Her bold and interesting pieces bring much visual interest to the home environment.
Michele Kirchner lives with her family 12 miles out to sea on the island of North Haven. She is continually drawn to rural agrarian landscapes, mossy woods, and shady, quiet places where nature carries on its processes.
Kirchner explores this engagement and appreciation of place in her artwork. Local resources and artifacts from life and nature find their way into her art, supporting or opening doors to new learning with the ideas they inspire. Many of her Plastiglomerate pieces in this exhibition showcase her technique of felting “stones” around Styrofoam found on the shore of North Haven.
Eric Darling also uses discarded materials in his artwork as he shares pieces from his “Drift Rope Project” which started by collecting abandoned lobster pot warp from the Midcoast area. “There is a cultural and historical connection between the rope and the livelihoods of many coastal communities of Maine and beyond, which has inspired me to start this project.” His background in painting inspires the deft use and arrangement of the rope to create mixed media landscapes.