Artist Mark Wethli will be the featured speaker at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art's Sunday Salon May 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday Salons are an engaging series of conversations related to current topics in contemporary art and are free with admission.

Wethli is a painter and public artist who lives and works in Brunswick, where he is the A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art at Bowdoin College. Continually asking the viewer to contemplate their own awareness of knowing and seeing, Wethli has explored many forms in his artwork including painting, sculpture and installation, both representational and abstract.

Wethli’s father, Ralph Wethli, who was trained as an aircraft mechanic and went on to retire as a flight engineer for Pan American World Airways, restored a derelict Piper Cub in the 1950s when Wethli was a boy. One of the artist’s earliest memories is watching his father work on the plane a bit at a time during evenings and weekends, alongside his day job as a helicopter mechanic, in Buffalo, N.Y.

Wethli’s “Piper Cub,” on view through Mother’s Day, is in large part a memoir of that achievement and a tribute to his father, who taught him, by example, the virtues of hard work, integrity, and pride in craftsmanship. Ralph Wethli also was instrumental in helping build his son’s Piper Cub at age 82 — exactly 50 years after restoring his own.

The most noticeable thing about Wethli’s “Piper Cub” is that it’s incomplete — the abstract framework of an airplane rather than one that’s ready to fly. Wethli has done nothing to artistically modify or interpret the plane, other than painstakingly recreating and presenting it.

Together, Mark and Ralph Wethli will converse on topics regarding the construction and presentation of “Piper Cub.”

CMCA, 21 Winter St., is a contemporary arts institution presenting year-round exhibitions, engaging events and educational programs for all ages. Admission is $6, free for children younger than 12 and members free. For more information, call 701-5005 or visit

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