In the fracus of First Friday it's easy to lose sight of what artists in Portland, and creatives in Maine in general, have in common. We talk about authenticity, respect for materials, an awareness of time and the craft of making as attributes of the Maine brand that Portland's creative economy embodies. Starting this Friday night, at the Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick, (and running through May 19) is an opportunity to see a version of that shared sensibility enacted in the work of five accomplished Portland artists.
A Thickening Rhythm is a show curated by artist Julie Poitras Santos that brings together work that embraces "slowness." Of the five artists in the show, Lauren Fensterstock, Carrie Scanga, Ling-Wen Tsai, Deborah Wing-Sproul and Julie Poitras Santos herself, all teach at Maine College of Art (MECA) except Scanga, who teaches at Bowdoin College. The pieces range from Fensterstock's Colorless Field, a black-on-black expanse of tall "grass," to Scanga's Ballast, a lightweight stack of intaglio printed "bricks," to Tsai's silent Water & Wind video and Sitting Quietly installation of noise-canceling headphones, to Wing-Sproul's Intimate Distance, a 24-minute video that explores what it means to be seen, to Poitras Santos' raven mirror/unravel, a performance for actors wearing feathered wings to the constant sound of rolling dice.
Coleman Burke also has a gallery in Chelsea, in New York and a storefront in Portland. The Brunswick space is in the converted Fort Andross Mill building. The Mill is a bustling hive of creative economy activity similar to the State Theatre building or the old Railroad Terminal buildings in Portland, but with the addition of restaurants, a huge indoor flea market and a Saturday morning farmers market.
Fans of "Slow Food," will enjoy the pleasures of slow art as well. And the drive from Portland to Brunswick, where Bowdoin is located, is easy and not particularly slow, and good eats are just down the hallway from the gallery at the Frontier Café.