Belfast – “Exquisiting in the Ordinary”, a faculty show of paintings, prints and works in mixed media by Kris Engman and Dina Petrillo will open at 5PM on Friday, March 1st at the Fredrick Hutchinson Center, University of Maine Belfast campus.
This show of over a hundred pieces will include work in a wide range of materials by both Engman and Petrillo, with a focus on a large body of oil paintings in still life by Engman and prints that combine photography and etching press emboss by Petrillo.
About the goal of her work, Engman says, “For the past decade, I’ve worked directly from the Waldo County landscape which is my home. I feel connected to the woods and waterways of midcoast Maine and believe that by painting the ‘ordinariness’ of these surroundings, my community and I can be reminded of how beautiful it is in its natural state.” And she continues, “ Privately, I believe that when we find beauty in something, we tend to want to safeguard it.” She concludes, “As a teacher and artist, I use any opportunity I can to speak out about preserving the wild world. I have collaborated with the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine and served on the Board of Waterfall Arts, a Belfast arts organization, whose mission it is to ‘create community in harmony with Nature‘.”
Petrillo muses on Engman’s paintings, “You might pass them, as if they were the thing they represent, a cluster of broken egg shells left on a counter, there in the drowsy normalness of ones kitchen, and then you are struck, as if inhaling a startlingly cold breath and commanded to wait and look, and really look for a long stretched moment at how exquisite a thing might be, a thing so unprepossessing, quiet, that we that we might have missed it.” And she goes on to say, “Kris’s paintings remind us that it is the stuff, things, people, places, creatures and events of our own lived lives that we could do a better job of enjoying, of gracing with our attention and in her paintings she has captured that ‘lo and behold ‘moment – a gathering of broken eggs shells is a lotus flower struck just so by the morning sun or a row of tomatoes glisten jewel-like in a late afternoon winter’s gloaming.
David Estey says about Kris’s extensive body of work, “Many of you know Kris for her extraordinary drawings, paintings and sculpture. These latest paintings will show what a great colorist she is and how she has gained from exploring photoshop.”
Engman was born in New England, educated at the Maine College of Art, The Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Pennsylvania. She’s traveled throughout Europe, living for a time in Eastern Europe while teaching in the Hungarian Public Schools and in 1997, founded Project Kalocsa, a cultural exchange between Kalocsa, Hungary and Belfast, Maine. Engman teaches in the Art Department the University of Maine in Orono. She now lives in Liberty and has two grown daughters.
WEBSITE: www.kerstinengman.com Kerstin Engman 2012
Petrillo’s show “Creature Botaniche: Piante e Forme Umane Congiunte” of forty works in print, encaustic and mixed media opened in Crevalcore Italy last April at Castello di Galeazza. Clark Lawrence, curator of the show says about the way Petrillo works, “As an inquisitive artist and educator, her eyes and mind are open wide, and she’s just as comfortable addressing difficult aesthetic issues as she is fascinated by many tiny details in life that other people don’t even notice – from the delicate patterns of tree trunks chewed by goats to the tiny ridges on leaves. Petrillo mainly uses what is around her, beginning by freely garnering materials, ideas, and images; then she begins to confidently combine and layer them into compositions of bees wax and papers, photographs, ink, paints, and plant material from her surroundings.”
Lawrence concludes, “Dina is fantastically curious, greedy and inventive!”
Petrillo says about the prints in “Creature Botaniche”, my gaze settles on different features and the foregrounds and backgrounds seem to go in and out of focus. It’s a perceptual experience that’s ambivalent – tentative, shifting between revealing and concealing something about the human and botanical forms. She continues, “ I have an urge to fuse them – humans and plants as if mending and healing in printed prayer” And she finishes, “I imagine the ink, images and paper pressing a warp and weft making a tapestry celebrating and cautioning our conjoined fates.
I’m trying to achieve imagery that is beautiful enough to dwell on… prompt the viewer to linger and consider a question.” A number of pieces remain in the collection of Corte Eremo in Mantova, the organization’s new home after the earthquakes last Spring that shook northern Italy. Website: www.dinapetrillo.com
Petrillo originally from New York, moved to Maine more than a decade ago and runs the Post Office Studio Workshop in downtown Belfast. Petrillo holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and MA in Arts and Art Education from Columbia University and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. In 2013, she and her husband Ryan started Belfast Bay Shade Company and recently exhibited their botanical collagraph and fine art lampshades in the competitive Designer Maker Handmade division of the New York International Gift Fair at the Javits Center in New York City this past January.
The reception will run 5-7, Friday, March 1st at the Hutchinson Center on Rt. 3 in Belfast. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.