These fairy houses by Trish Kerwock are among the many works of art on exhibit at the Southwest Harbor Public Library in honor of both the library’s Women’s History Project and the Acadia National Park Centennial. The exhibit will be open through April. PHOTO COURTESY OF SWH LIBRARY

MDI women say it with art



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Once again, the Southwest Harbor Library’s Women’s History Project Art Show reveals the depth and variety of talent represented by the women of Mount Desert Island.

This year, the subject is MDI itself, and each artist has found a different way to honor this place from a very personal perspective. Diane Vreeland and Patricia Jewell have chosen the traditional “womanly arts” to honor the island. The former has crafted an exquisitely detailed quilt, embroidered in crewel with a garden’s bounty, the latter with a hooked rug depicting a typical Mount Desert Island home with its inviting front porch and required border of rugosa rose bushes. Kathe McDonald combines traditional needlecraft with a contemporary method of photo printing on fabric for her quilted wall hanging of frogs.

“Signpost 11,” by Liddy Hubbell PHOTO COURTESY OF SWH LIBRARY

“Signpost 11,” by Liddy Hubbell
PHOTO COURTESY OF SWH LIBRARY

Some artists chose to interpret the theme literally with images of the island’s familiar lobster claw contours, such as Wanda Harris’s map done with pieces of sea glass and Beth Pomroy’s fascinating “MDI Day and Night” in which she uses a pointillist technique with beads of latex and acrylic paint to create a pair of jewel-like maps.

Island-found sea glass is the primary material used by Nan Ulett for her lovely still life of colorful flowers and vases and the late Jenny Kline for her window looking out onto a seascape filled with sweet little boats.

Trish Kerwock, with assistance from Betsy Holtzmann, has gone to the forest rather than the beaches to gather materials for her charming mossy fairy houses, any of which an upwardly mobile sprite would be proud to call home.

Donna Parker, who calls herself an “art explorer,” has employed the mandala form for her island tribute that incorporates mountains, mermaids, lovers and a sun sinking into the sea. Kathy VanGorder has created something of a mandala as well, with her photo collage of Bass Harbor Marsh.

Roberta Sprague uses tiny pieces of colored tissue to create her remarkably detailed “Sun Rise, Cadillac Mountain.” Gaia deBoer also uses paper along with printed fabric for her charming “Flower House,” which many will recognize as the old Bass Harbor post office.

Many artists, including the pros, such as Ellen Church, Judy Taylor, France Hilbert, Margret Baldwin, Kathleen Frank and Liddy Hubbell, whose evocative Arts and Crafts style “Signpost 11” is a highlight of the show, and talented Sunday painters, including Barbara Strubell, Jean Walton, Katrina Linscott and Sonia Field have picked particular places. They include Thunder Hole, the Long Pond Shore path, Hodgdon Pond or moments in time – children frolicking in the water, a young woman awed by the beauty of an approaching fog bank – to represent their love of Mount Desert Island.

Christine Swersey’s bright palette of pinks, yellows, pastel blues and violets gives us an MDI spring in color rather than form.

Wafting through it all at the opening was singer Brittany Parker, who used her words and lovely voice in the song “Great Blue Heron” to express her love for the island. Parker’s song is also streamed on a video display of paintings by three women who gather once a week to paint together, sharing and learning as they go. There is plenty of time to see what all these creative women have shared, as the show will be on display at the library through April.

‘A Passion for Acadia’ up through April

The Bass Harbor Memorial Library will host an artists’ reception on Thursday, March 24, from 4:30-6 p.m. Twenty local artists are included in the Women’s History Month exhibit, “A Passion for Acadia,” also celebrating the Acadia Park Centennial. The display includes works by a range of artists, including familiar favorites A. Jones, Judy Taylor and Linda Rowell Kelley and artists newer to the area, like Jean Forbes, Ginny Lane, Frances Hilbert and Kerri Kimura. Some dramatic three-dimensional works by Kathie Pratt, Sydney Roberts Rockefeller and Katrina Spofford and other delightful gems also will be on display at the library through April.

Nan Lincoln

Nan Lincoln

The former arts editor at the Bar Harbor Times writes reviews and feature stories for The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.

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