Langlais paintings restored, exhibited

Mar 29, 2018
Early abstract oils by Bernard Langlais are going on view at the Garage Gallery in Rockland.

Rockland — Georges River Land Trust, in conjunction with Eastern Tire Service, will display 20 never before exhibited paintings by former Cushing artist Bernard “Blackie” Langlais in the Garage Gallery of Eastern Tire, 70 Park St.

The public is invited to an opening reception Friday, April 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. The artwork will remain on display through May.

These works, part of the larger Langlais Sculpture Preserve Collection gifted to the Land Trust by Colby College Museum of Art and the Kohler Foundation in 2015, have been newly restored and framed through a grant from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

Langlais was born in Old Town. He studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; the Brooklyn Museum Art School; and as a Fulbright Scholar to study the paintings of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in Oslo. Working in New York in the 1950s, Langlais developed a modernist painting style characterized by landscapes and still lifes with bold colors and flattened perspectives, while also experimenting with hardedge abstraction and painterly expressionism.

Best known locally for the process he termed “painting with wood,” a technique he originated in 1956 while renovating his summer cottage and creating mammoth wooden sculptures all over his property in Cushing, Langlais’ early painting style provides new insight into the artist’s evolution. Late in his career, Langlais was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an honorary degree from the University of Maine and a Ford Foundation Purchase Award, among many other accolades. He died in 1977 at age 56.

The art show at the Garage Gallery offers an opportunity for the public to learn more about the land trust, the work of Langlais and the Langlais Preserve. Georges River Land Trust has conserved 3,600 acres of natural habitats and working lands in Knox and Waldo counties and receives a majority of its support through individual donations. For more information about programs, trails, events and membership, visit georgesriver.org or call 594-5166.

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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