Farnsworth opens ‘The Screen Show’

Feb 02, 2019
“The Screen Show” includes, front, “Grove” (detail), by artist Laurie Downey and woodworker Ryan Rhoades; Allison Davis’ “Curious Thing,” center; Johanna Moore’s “Waveform” (partial view), back left; and Alla Broeksmit’s “Midway,” back right.

Rockland — The downtown Farnsworth Art Museum is opening a juried exhibition of new works by Maine artists that explores the screen form. “The Screen Show” will be on display in the museum’s Rothschild Gallery from Saturday, Feb. 9, through Sept. 22.

The exhibition will include six new works selected by the jury for this show; and two early 20th-century folding screens from the Farnsworth collection also will be on view. The latter have served as a departure point for this exhibition of contemporary interpretations of the screen form. They are an eight-panel oil on board painting, “Manship Toasting the Angels,” done in 1923; and a 1930 three-panel oil on canvas painting by Carroll Thayer Berry with a fanciful view of Camden harbor.

Folding screens were especially popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, serving typically as room dividers and often used by their owners to dress or undress behind. But they also have been a more experimental form of artistic expression. Prominent artists, architects and designers in both Europe and America including James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Dewing, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Thomas Hart Benton, Donald Deskey, Ansel Adams, Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney are among many who have explored the screen form.

Artists and artisans working in Maine submitted folding screens proposals, which were reviewed by a jury of Susan Danly, former curator of prints, photographs and contemporary art at the Portland Museum of Art; Susan Groce, professor of art at the University of Maine, Orono; Peter Korn, founder and executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport; Rockland artist Warren Seelig, distinguished visiting professor in the fibers/mixed media program at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Farnsworth Chief Curator Michael K. Komanecky; and Farnsworth Associate Curator Jane Bianco.

The jury selected works for this show from the following artists: industrial designer Allison Davis of Rockland; textile designer Gigi Aea of Camden, in collaboration with cabinet maker Owain Harris; artist and frame maker Johanna Moore of Farmingdale; graphic designer Laurie Downey of West Baldwin, in collaboration with woodworker Ryan Rhoades; assemblage artist Susan Levett of Tenants Harbor; and painter Alla Broeksmit of Brooklin.

In conjunction with this exhibition, Komanecky will give a talk, titled The Screen Show: Six Folding Screens by Six Maine Artists, on Saturday, March 23, at 2 p.m. in the museum’s auditorium. Primary media sponsor for The Screen Show is Maine Home + Design. For more information, visit farnsworthmuseum.org.

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

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