Four New Exhibits in Caldbeck for First Friday – Knox County VillageSoup

ROCKLAND — The Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm St., will open four new exhibitions on the first Friday, August 5, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. The shows will continue until September 11. Featured are oil on panel works by Lois Dodd of Cushing, Maine and Blairstown, NJ; oil and acrylic on large and small canvases by Kayla Mohammadi of Walpole, Maine and Brookline, Mass.; David Dewey of Owls Head, Maine; Alan Crichton of Liberty, Maine; and Brenda Free of Rockport, Maine.

In the barn gallery, the figures and landscapes of Lois Dodd will be presented together in an exhibition entitled “Working Women and By the River”. Celebrated throughout Maine and New York since the early 1950s, Dodd’s work has reached audiences both domestic and abroad. This exhibition is curated by the founder and co-director of the Caldbeck Gallery, Jim Kinnealey, with whom Dodd has enjoyed setting up each of his Caldbeck exhibitions since 1985.” Hilton Kramer talks about Dodd’s relationship with the European tradition of figurative painting , where the artist “brings a quintessentially American accent, a clear delight in the medium itself that comes with a keen sense of humor and a carefree sense of proportion. The result is unmitigated delight for the viewer – you can see it in the faces of the people who visit this exhibition – and a triumph for the artist.

In her “Overlap” exhibition, Kayla Mohammadi will present new paintings in acrylic on canvas, as well as oil on panel. The works vary in size from 11 x 14 to 59 x 45 inches. Art historian Vittorio Colaizzi writes of Mohammadi’s work: “It depicts the complex cultural heritage of painting, to which the West is becoming increasingly attentive, as well as the medium’s entrenched desire for raw experience. Mohammadi… paints an atmosphere of pleasure, an atmosphere that we might again inhale or feel on our skin, even as we become acutely aware of the abstract constructive elements of his paintings and thus their intellectual distance from, but not from, the opposition, sensual abandonment. Mohammadi has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Dedalus Foundation, and the Blanche E. Coleman Foundation. She has been represented by the Caldbeck since 2011.

The David Dewey watercolors in this exhibit, ‘From the Sketchbook’, have been made over the past three years with accumulated visits to nearby Beech Hill, Ragged Mountain, Weaskeag Marsh and Rockland Harbor. Taking spiral-bound watercolor sketchbooks and cutting them lengthwise down the middle, Dewey transformed long, slender panoramic forms into heroic landscape portraits. Measuring mostly 5 1/2 x 22 inches, the paintings hang in a frieze around the gallery room. Curator Susan Larsen has written that in Dewey’s work, “order and life, then and now, mastery and risk, come alive and balance each other.” He is the author of “The Watercolor Book” published by Watson-Guptil Publishers. His paintings are in collections across the country, including the Bowdoin College Museum in Brunswick, Maine; Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington; The Farnsworth Museum of Art in Rockland, Maine; Newport Museum of Art in Newport, RI; The Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine; Addison Museum of American Art in Andover, Mass.; and Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ The artist has been represented by Caldbeck since 2004.

Alan Crichton’s watercolors measuring 5 x 7 inches were made during the pandemic. The artist writes that they “emerged during the long studio retreats imposed by COVID. Time suddenly opened up again, time to just fix things and do things. The days seemed longer, and it felt good. Everywhere else was chaos. He continued, “The paintings start out pretty haphazard with colors and brushes that I like and lots of overlapping watery washes and defined strokes. A visual suggestion pops up and I take it, see where it takes me. Eventually, I come up with an image that says, ‘Hello, here I am! Do you see me?’ And that’s where I stop. In 2000, Crichton and a team of other artists founded the Arts Center at Kingdom Falls in Liberty. This non-profit artists’ residence and community arts education organization became Waterfall Arts when it moved to its current location in Belfast. Recently retired, the artist is back in his studio. Studio art studies include the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and New York Studio School. Teaching positions include Colby College, Vermont College, Waterfall Arts, and the Farnsworth Art Museum. His award-winning art appreciation and opinion column, Hi-Lo Art, is regularly published in The Waldo Independent, The Republican Journal, The Camden Herald, Art New England, Maine Arts Journal and The Free Press.

In her first exhibition with the Caldbeck, Brenda Free will present recent works in acrylic on paper, measuring between 7 x 13 inches and 10 x 15 inches. She writes: “In my work there are hidden images, clues that we know both more and less than we think. Anchored in my sensibility, a decade ago of deciphering my world while living on a boat. My eyes, my instincts, even my beliefs about where I thought I had been or was going were often dominated by instruments. In my work, I layer past and present, instinct and reality, its associated discomfort and possibility. The artist received his BA from the University of Maine, Orono, with continued studies at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC Before going to sea, Free was co-owner of an advertising agency in Boston. When she moved to Maine, she showed her studio work with the Jonathan Frost Gallery.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and also by chance and appointment. Please email the gallery at [email protected] for more information.

Overlapping by Kayla Mohammadi.

“Sunrise Arch, Beech Hill” by David Dewey.

“Harvest” by Alan Crichton.

“Finding Home” by Brenda Free.

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Julia P. Cluff