Mama’s Museum Visit :: Alone.

Saturday morning I woke up with wanderlust. I felt the need to go somewhere special that was just for me … but had no plan. Both Halis and Isaac were asleep, and their deep snoring told me that it would be a while before they would wake. So, I got in the car, drove to Frank’s Bakery for some fresh made doughnuts … and then it hit me …. I am alone. I can go to the Art Museum without an uninterested husband or a needy child. Heaven. I have been waiting for this moment for months now — ever since I heard that Andy Warhol’s polaroid pics were on exhibit there.

Once I entered the UMaine Museum of Art (off campus in Bangor) … I was pleasantly surprised to find such a contemporary, open, and inviting space in which to explore various works. I have been to other art museums throughout New England and Canada … many of them in dark spaces. But this museum was so pleasantly lit … and so strikingly minimalist and modern … that it felt as though I were attending a museum in a much larger (and more modern) city than Bangor. But Bangor is full of surprises (just check out our incredible library – I am sure it rivals the collections of much larger cities).

However, I was terribly disappointed to find out that the Warhol exhibit had already been sent packing … over a month ago. Apparently I waited too long to find some quiet Mommy time to attend the exhibit. But there was an interesting exhibit that caught my attention: Gyotaku Prints by Boshu Nagase. If I were to explain this art, I am sure that I would not do it justice, so you may want to click on some of the above links that I have provided. In the most elementary terms … Mr. Nagase creates exact images of fish by rolling ink onto a dead fish … then pressing it to paper … then filling in all the detail with watercolors and various other inks. Apparently he is THE master of this art form.

It was incredible to see this work in person, especially after watching the video on display that shows the artist creating some of the very works that surrounded the walls. Incredible talent.

Of course, there were other works on display, including Metaphysics of Landscape : Paintings by Timothy McDowell … and A Bit of Colored Ribbon: Works by John Bailly.

To be honest, John Bailly’s work almost frightened me. I wanted to back away from it. It was “noise” and unease. Only later did I find out that this was part of his intent (please see above links to learn more). But I did find beauty in one of his works … that felt somewhat inviting … though still very chaotic …

As for Timothy McDowell’s Metaphysics of Landscapes, though I did not find his work particularly remarkable (but then again, I am no art connoisseur I assure you), I loved the color combinations … and the surreal, dream-like feel to the work.

However, my two favorite works in the museum were not part of any of the visiting and aforementioned exhibitions. I only know they are my favorites, because they were the paintings that I stopped and stared at for a while … and one even took my breath away for a moment … this work titled “Agent” by William Gropper:

This piece just spoke to me somehow … the perspective, the color, the man’s expression. I would hang this on my wall (for about $20,000 or so).

My second favorite piece is in stark contrast to my first. It is a self portrait by the Italian artist, Francesco Clemente :

I was drawn to the simplicity of this portrait … minimal lines … splashes of color … lack of any background details … full lips (did I mention I have a “thing” for full-bodied lips?). I know nothing of the artist … and this self-portrait did not give me any additional clues. Perhaps it was the mystery that I was drawn to — the fact that the artist seemed to give me nothing of himself — other than “here I am”.

Well, apparently this has been a mini “show-and-tell” version of my art museum outing. I hope you find something to look at or pursue further (follow the links).

Hopefully I will still get to see some Andy Warhol polaroids before I leave this world. I find them far more interesting than his other works! But then again, I find photography much more interesting than any other work 🙂

And I already told Halis that I think I am going to make every other Saturday morning into a “Mommy Alone” morning … where I check out something new in our sweet little city … or at least eat more bakery doughnuts!

Enjoy your day.



Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.