The Rockland Recreation Department is offering a one-day bus trip to Bangor Wednesday, Dec. 8 that will include a visit to the University of Maine Art Museum and the Bangor Mall.

The bus will depart the center, at the corner of Union and Limerock streets, at 8 a.m. and will return at approximately 5:30 p.m. Cost, which covers bus transportation only, is $20 and may be a little less, depending on how many seats are filled. To reserve a spot, call 594-0321. Admission to the museum is free this year, thanks to Machias Savings Bank in honor of Ted Leonard.

First stop will be the downtown UMMA, which offers two photography exhibits and a show of Picasso prints. The day will end with a  few hours of shopping at the mall. Following is information on the art shows.

“Pablo Picasso: The Passionate Print, Selections from the Museum Collection” reflects Picasso’s virtuosity as a printmaker. Known to be one of the greatest artistic masters of the 20th century, Picasso produced more than 2,000 original prints. For many artists printmaking may be a secondary interest, but Picasso’s involvement in the graphic arts spanned his entire career. His remarkable ability to move seamlessly from one printmaking technique to another is reflected in the etchings, aquatints, linocuts and lithographs included in the exhibition. Six works of art on display recently received conservation treatment at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, underscoring UMMA’s commitment to preserving significant works from the collection.

“String Too Short to Use: Recent Works by Todd Watts” is new series of large-scale color photographs created especially for this exhibition. The artist’s creative process combines traditional photography with the dynamic act of drawing. Utilizing an array of photographs taken with an 8-by-10 inches camera, Watts painstakingly constructs new compositions using digital software and other means. The artist layers, stretches, inverts and manipulates the images. By merging the familiar with the ambiguous, he creates environments that challenge the viewer’s visual perception. In addition, Watts’ skill as a colorist is reflected in a vibrant palette that also extends onto his custom-painted and constructed frames. A number of these new works convey the artist’s awareness of environmental issues and the alteration of our natural resources.

Watts was born in New York City and graduated from the School of Visual Arts there. He moved to Maine in 1999. His works are included in many prestigious museum collections including Albertina in Vienna, the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery.

The final exhibit is “A Pointed View: Photographs by Ilya Askinazi” which, like the others, runs through Dec. 30. Russian-born photographer Ilya Askinazi and his mother emigrated from Moscow, Russia, in 1980 for the possibility of a new life in New York City. Askinazi’s passion for photography was ingrained in him at an early age through his studies with Russian photographer Israel Goldberg. In 1984, Askinazi moved to Maine, where he continues to find inspiration for his photography. The selection of works in “A Pointed View” represents a small portion of the thousands of images he has created in recent years. These black and white photographs were taken using a Deardorff 8-by-10 inches view camera and are contact prints from the large negatives.

The exhibition features images from the artist’s recent trip to Israel as well as New York City and locations throughout Maine. Subjects include the figure, landscapes and the urban environment. Askinazi possesses an innate ability to hone in on the most unique aspects of his chosen subjects — seeing beautiful abstract moments in nature and depicting the seductive qualities of light. Images of interior spaces are imbued with a psychological intensity; street scenes and store fronts convey a range of shifting moods; and landscapes reflect the ever-changing atmospheric conditions of the natural world.

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