Our Maine features five fine art photographers celebrating Maine -- Josie Iselin, Jim Nickelson, Lisa Mossel Vietze, Olga Merrill and Terry Hire. This exhibit will remain in the gallery through Saturday, August 1, 2020 and online through December 31, 2020. To view the entire online gallery, click here: Our Maine, or click on the highlighted names above to see the online collection of each artist.

Featured Artists:

Terry Hire received his BFA in Art History and BA in history from the University of Tennessee.  Prior to moving to Maine in 1981, he lived in Nashville, TN where he was an interior designer, working on hospital design, store planning, and private home design. During that time, he fell in love with photography and took courses at the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport. He moved to Maine in 1981. His long-time interest in photography was put on hold during his work as an interior designer at WBRDC Architecture in Bangor until he opened his own firm, Design Alternatives, in Belfast.

For the last 15 years he seriously pursued photography, and his colorful images are in the hands of many private collectors. Terry Hire died unexpectedly on January 31, 2020.

Josie Iselin is a photographer, author and designer who lives in San Francisco but spends large chunks of her summers on Vinalhaven, where she shares a home with her brothers, her children and their cousins. 2020 might be the first year Josie has not spent time in Maine since 1969.

"Out my back door I take a long draught of the moist air amidst the burgeoning green of my early June yard; the ocean—just up over the hill—clings to the wind depositing clarity into the air around me. Out my front door the fog is shrouding the hill that dominates this little neighborhood, but the sun is playing with the fog and already glinting off the Bay beyond. Everything about this day breathes and smells of Maine.

But all of this sensory Maine-ness is here in San Francisco, where I live and work, where I have been in situ for months, waiting for release to travel and explore. The feel of stones in my hand and the curiosity to examine these stones, to put them on my scanner, to ask questions about why they are the way they are, is a process of looking closely that germinated on Maine beaches but is honed along my local shorelines overlooking the great Pacific Ocean. The visceral exuberance of pulling a massive sugar kelp from Penobscot Bay and holding it aloft to gasp at its golden, flouncingly sculptural splendor is at the core my work. How do I make these majestic organisms, the marine algae that are hidden from us under the tight lid of the tide, how do I make them come alive? First I have to get a specimen onto my scanner. (Both the sugar kelp and colander kelp were dried and shipped west through the US Postal Service.) Then I have to learn about its life history so that I can write its story." -- Josie Iselin

Olga Merrill is a visual artist primarily using the medium of photography. “It's incredible beauty everywhere“ she said to her Mainer husband during her first summer, 2013, in the USA. He surprised her with the camera at the end of 2015. Since then, her view of the world was made through lenses and thse world got another artist whose works are inspired by the beautiful Maine seacoast.

Some of Merrill's seascape images give the traditional sense of pictorialist graininess, and an almost meditatively slow feel of a mysterious, painted picture. The fascinating pattern of ice images pursues the exploration of emotion, providing more opportunity for an imaginative response from the viewer. All Olga's abstract works create space in the minds of those who allow themselves to become absorbed in a dreamlike world.

She says “I feel happy in fairy tale Maine and I invite everybody to see how Maine reflects my vision, dreams and feelings."

Lisa Mossel Vietze: "I moved to Maine after college and Maine is where I found my personal and artistic voice. I picked up a camera in the mid 1990s with the intention of making large landscape images full of drama and space with grand, far-off vistas in which I could hope to escape from childhood misery. 

​But what my images came to reveal is the power and intimacy of smaller landscapes. I was increasingly drawn to forms, vitality, and the vibrations of color. I found my camera diving more and more into the world of macro photography, particularly the botanical world. I stopped chasing the horizon and began to search my own backyard. I explore the coasts, woods, fields, and gardens of Maine seeking to discover what is beautiful on any given day.

My search for beauty in my surroundings is much like my own search for the Divine. The color and vitality of flowers is like a salve for me. I make these images to heal and draw me deeper into my own living. Flora is not only delicate, flora is resilient. Plants exist despite poor environment, and even bloom. For me, flora reminds me of what exists within myself and has since the beginning – resilience, power, and beauty."

Jim Nickelson: "My work that is included in Our Maine is inspired by the wonderful views of the night sky and the full moon that are such an integral part to Maine's natural treasures. All of this work includes photographs of stars taken from Maine's night sky. The rising or setting of the full moon over the Maine landscape or ocean has been a significant part of my photographic practice for a decade now, and I've incorporated these photographs as well into my "Pale Fire" project. I hope that my interpretation of the Cosmos as seen from Maine resonates with viewers and perhaps even compels them to take another look upwards themselves."

Located at 386 Main Street in Rockland, the Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery features artists who work with natural, coastal, and working waterfront themes inspired by living and creating art in Maine. Our hours are currently Wednesday - Saturday 10 - 4.