Off the wall art at CRAFT
Rockland — On Sept. 28, Portland artist Lissa Hunter spent the day marking up the walls of CRAFT Gallery, the little barn tucked into the courtyard at 8 Elm St., between the larger Landing and Caldbeck galleries. CRAFT owner Barbara Michelina had no problem with it — in fact she was thrilled.
“It’s the first time she’s done this in a gallery … fortunately, I have nice landlords,” she said as Hunter wielded her charcoal.
“It’s new to me, I’ve only done it for one other show, but that was a non-commercial gallery,” said Hunter, who has a Congress Street studio in downtown Portland.
Hunter had brought rough sketches on long sheets of paper with her to use as a guide. She laid them on the floor and referred to them she began working around a black-framed painting of black birds in flight against a blue sky. Soon, the birds began to appear on the wall, starting at the edges of the frame and flowing out from two sides.
“It’s an offshoot of the paintings, which are very focused, looking at something deeply. I wanted to go beyond the frame,” said Hunter.
When she first tried it, the results made her ask herself a question.
“I thought, I like it, but is this nuts? But people who saw it loved it,” she said as she smudged the charcoal wings into deep black.
The question that will be answered in coming weeks is, will people love it enough to want it on their own walls? Hunter is offering to travel to the buyer’s house and break the art of the frame there. She uses a fixative spray on the wall work to keep it from smudging. Theoretically, it can all be washed off if desired — a theory Michelina will test when she closes the gallery for the winter on Nov. 11.
Hunter’s beyond-the-frame works will be featured during the city’s First Friday art walk Oct. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. Also featured in the season-ending “Expanding Boundaries” show are ceramics by Simon van der Ven of Lincolnville, along with work by the gallery’s other fine craft artists. For more information, call 594-0167 or visit craftonelm.com.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.