Beginning with an opening reception Saturday, July 9, from 4 to 7 p.m., the downtown Tidemark Gallery will present “Hopeful Monsters,” an extensive group of oils, pastels, monotypes on the subject of evolution by Chris Augusta.

According to the artist, a “hopeful monster” is a term coined by geneticist Richard Goldschmidt — it is a biological aberration, a relatively freakish individual of a species. As often as not, a hopeful monster is maladapted to its environment, proving to be the beginning and the end of its own line.

“However, in an unstable environment, in a world of chaos and uncertainty, a hopeful monster may find its own monstrosity to be of survival value,” Augusta said. “A species survives and flourishes not simply by its capacity for adaptation, but as much by its capacity for maladaptation.”

Among other things, the function of the artist has always been to produce and nurture hopeful monsters, he added.

"A work of art is itself a kind of adaptation; it always embodies and reflects its unique time and place. But a work of art is simultaneously a kind of maladaptation; it represents life over extending itself, life on the edge of survival and extinction,” he said.

“Hopeful Monsters” will remain on view through Aug. 6. Regular gallery hours at Tidemark Gallery, 902 Main St./Route 220, are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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