The summer exhibition “Barbara Ernst Prey: Open Spaces — Meditations on the Environment” runs through Aug. 21 at Blue Water Fine Arts, Main Street/Route 131. The public is invited to an opening reception Thursday, Aug. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Mounted in celebration of Blue Water Fine Arts’ 10th anniversary, “Open Spaces” offers 40 watercolors and dry-brush paintings, as well as early works for The New Yorker Magazine, by Prey, who recently was featured on “The CBS Evening News.” The exhibit fills the 100-year-old former Village Inn with never-before-seen monumental paintings that revisit some of the same spaces settled by her ancestors in the 1700s. In these compelling new works, Prey continues the tradition of American landscape painting while also engaging with contemporary concerns for the environment.

Prey, a longtime seasonal resident, is currently the subject of a documentary by Paul Lieberman, former cultural writer for The Los Angeles Times. She also is featured in the National Endowment for the Arts NEA Arts Magazine video “The Artist’s Role in the Community: Six Perspectives” and will be honored by the Heckscher Museum, as she was by Raynham Hall Museum, for her accomplishments and contribution to American art.

These experimental and imaginative paintings in “Open Spaces” examine the urgency of open spaces.

“My commissions with NASA, Fulbright scholarship and my work on the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Arts have given me a global appreciation of the world and the necessity and importance of our responsibility as stewards,” said Prey.

Prey is included in the 2011 book “100 Artists of New England”; five of her classic Maine images are reproduced and she also graces the book’s cover. Prey’s paintings of Maine and New England have been exhibited in New York and Europe, including a recent Paris retrospective. They are included in museum collections such as the Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and The White House. American embassies abroad including Paris, Madrid, Prague and Oslo, also have exhibited the New England paintings.

An art blogger for The Huffington Post, Prey has been painting and exhibiting in Maine for close to 30 years. With work in the White House’s permanent collection, her appointment to the National Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a long list of important private and public collections, her place as a significant American artist is secure.

Blue Water Fine Arts is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and by appointment. For more information, call 372-8087.

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