Art in the Capitol

‘Painting Islands,’ with light

Jun 04, 2017
Photo by: Howie Motenko Howie Motenko’s collaborative North Haven “Painting Islands” image was taken at Mullens Head Park on May 1, 2016.

Augusta — “Painting Islands: Uniting Community with Art” is on view in the Maine State House through the end of June as part of the Maine Arts Commission’s Art in the Capitol program.

In this show, Maine photographer Howie Motenko explores collaborative art using the photographic technique of light painting on all 15 of Maine’s un-bridged, year-round islands. The exhibit is free to the public and on display on the second floor of the State House in the Governor’s Reception area.

“We selected these photographs to showcase Maine’s rich island heritage, and the ways in which the arts can bring communities together,” said Julie Horn, Visual Arts Program Director for the Maine Arts Commission and the curator for Art in the Capitol.

Motenko’s mission in his Painting Islands project, funded in part by the Maine Arts Commission, was to create participatory art with each island community through the medium of light painting photography. The result is 15 highly color-saturated archival pigment prints that represent Maine’s island community’s choices of images that best represent them.

For a full year beginning in June of 2015, Motenko, working in partnership with the Maine Seacoast Mission and the Rockland-based Island Institute, visited, discussed and documented each island. The artistic collaboration began with island residents selecting a subject that resonated most strongly with their community. Next, at dusk, island volunteers “light painted” their self-selected scene with flashlights to complete the artistic collaboration — they illuminated the most significant image of their community while Motenko created a long-exposure photograph of it during “the blue hour.” The project is designed to create a stronger sense of community for each island. To learn more, visit paintingislands.com.

Motenko is a resident of Mount Desert Island who has spent the past nine years photographing Acadia National Park and local area. He said that travel and landscape photography are in his blood, evidenced by his visiting six continents, 30 countries and 26 states. Additional projects have included Painting Bridges: Uniting Community with Art, studies of the carriage road bridges at Acadia National Park; and Acadia Photo Safari.

The Art in the Capitol program features rotating exhibits throughout the Capitol Complex and offers an additional venue to expand the audiences for Maine artists or artists working in Maine on Maine-based themes. Exhibitions are self-guided and may be viewed during the building hours where the exhibition is on display. State House hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more about the Art in the Capitol Program, contact Horn at julie.horn@maine.gov or 287-2713. The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more information, visit mainearts.com.

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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