Imber remembered

Four shows open CMCA’s 62nd season

May 17, 2014
Jon Imber’s “The Heart of the Harbor” is an oil on panel. The late artist’s work is featured in the season-opening exhibition of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.

Rockport — The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is opening its 62nd season with four new exhibitions: “John Imber: Force of Nature”; “Four Painters: Hannah Bureau, Elizabeth Hoy, Robin Reynolds, Jay Wu”; “Shoshannah White: Undercurrent”; and “Mary Armstrong: Troposphere @ 12 Kilometers of Heaven.”

The public is invited to the opening reception Saturday, May 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. at CMCA, 162 Russell Ave. in downtown Rockport. Admission to the reception is free.

“Jon Imber: Force of Nature” brings together for the first time major examples of the artist’s work executed over the 10-year period, between 2004 and 2014. Imber’s canvases embrace color and gesture, applied with seemingly fearless confidence and abandon. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Rose Art Museum; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; and the Farnsworth Art Museum, among many others. Last month, Imber died of ALS, a degenerative neurological disease. He continued to work prolifically in his studios in Stonington and Somerville, Mass., throughout his illness, adapting his painting method to his changing physical abilities.

The accomplished young artists included in “Four Painters” studied with Imber over the course of many years, and each was invited to participate in the exhibition at Imber’s request before he died. An esteemed teacher as well as artist, Imber taught figure drawing at Harvard University for 27 years. He told his students to be “even more daring. Take risks. Paint with confidence. Stick something in the painting that will surprise you.”

“Shoshannah White: Undercurrent” presents selections from a new body of work created by the Portland-based artist as a result of a three-month residency in 2012 at Swallowtail Lighthouse on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. White said that in an era of climate change and shifting landscapes, she is interested in “tapping into our timeless connection to the sea, while employing tools and techniques from across time to explore this constant yet ever changing body.” Her photography has been featured in publications and exhibitions internationally; and her installation work is sited throughout Maine.

Mary Armstrong has been painting the landscape near her home and studio in Robinhood Cove in Georgetown for many years because, she said, “In every moment, I am in awe of the dance between earth, water, and sky.” In her work in “Troposphere @ 12 Kilometers of Heaven,” she creates the illusion of a vast and endless space that is full of incidence and light, building up her images from many layers of oil paint and wax. Armstrong teaches painting at Boston College and has exhibited in solo and group shows in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Ireland. She has received numerous honors and awards including a fellowship from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, Ireland, and a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts.

The exhibitions will be on view through July 6. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, visit cmcanow.org. The nonprofit CMCA’s 2014 major media sponsor is Maine Home + Design magazine.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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