Maine Farmland Trust Gallery’s first fall show, “Clearing,” celebrates the art of Jill Caldwell, an artist from Rockland whose abstract landscapes manage to capture the essence of a panorama. The show will open with a public reception Friday, Sept. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, 97 Main St.

It is hard to imagine a more vivid landscape than rural Maine in the fall. With its fiery reds, ochre yellows and crisp blue skies, Maine’s autumns have inspired many an artist. Perhaps even more than the colors it is a particular clarity — the invisible clearing of air and mind that happens as the cacophony of summer recedes and winter announces itself in the distance — that calls to be captured on canvas.

Openness, clear lines, richness of color and texture and a sense of transcendence beyond space and time are some qualities that characterize Caldwell’s work. Her approach to the show at Maine Farmland Trust Gallery was a more abstract idea about land and farmland.

“Many of my paintings portray fields, meadows, implied land and perhaps implied crops and farms. They are not specific. It is more about the essence of land than an exact place or thing,” she said.

There is an interesting relation between Caldwell’s process of layering colors and textures to create her work and the story of the archetypal farmland it portrays, said Anna Abaldo, gallery coordinator for Maine Farmland Trust.

“Just think of the subliminal layers of crops and compost that accumulate as the land gets planted year after year or the texture of the plow cutting through the soil,” she said.

To Caldwell, the layering of paint and materials is also about the passage of time – the layers of things that build up over time, like life experiences, like relationships built between people. “All these moments of time and experience add up to who we are,” she said.

“And so it is with the land that feeds us. In the end, it is our deep relationship to the land we live and work on — the layers of interplay that accumulate over time — that gives us a true sense of place.” said Abaldo.

The show will be on display until Oct. 18. In tandem with the upcoming Belfast Poetry Festival, Lincolnville poet Vincent Abaldo has written a number of poems in response to Caldwell’s paintings, which will be exhibited as part of the art show.

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide nonprofit organization working to permanently preserve and protect Maine’s agricultural lands; and to keep Maine’s farms farming. Maine Farmland Trust created its gallery to celebrate art in agriculture and to inspire and inform visitors regarding the vibrancy of farming in Maine. For more information, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to