Past Exhibitions

Mary Bourke, Bathers, acrylic on birch panel, 2015, 18 by 18 inches

Vintage Photos And Contemporary Art Come Together In Unusual Penobscot Marine Museum Exhibit

On view at PMM from May 28 through October 16, 2016

Mary Bourke, Bathers, acrylic on birch panel, 2015, 18 by 18 inches

Mary Bourke, Bathers, acrylic on birch panel, 2015, 18 by 18 inches

As part of its Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine summer programming, the Penobscot Marine Museum will present Maine: A Continuum of Place in the Main Street Gallery, May 28 to October 16. An opening reception for the show, with Guest Curator Carl Little, is planned for Friday, May 27, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Carl Little, author of Paintings of Maine, Art of the Maine Islands and other books, chose vintage photographs and postcards of coastal Maine from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection and paired them with images of those places by contemporary Maine artists. The photographs, which will have been enlarged, and the artworks will be displayed side by side.

Pairing PMM’s Three Bathers photo with Bourke Bathers

Pairing PMM’s Three Bathers photo with Bourke Bathers

“Pairing vintage photographs with modern-day paintings of similar subjects by artists active today was not only great fun, but also a way to highlight what I call the ‘continuum of place,’ ” says Little. “Maine’s landscape has inspired a remarkable sense of place over the past 150 years,” he notes, “and that vibrant tradition continues today.” The exhibition features the work of 17 artists from across Maine: Joel Babb, Susan Lewis Baines, Nancy Morgan Barnes, Mary Bourke, Sam Cady, Alison Goodwin, Philip Frey, Liddy Hubbell, Tina Ingraham, Ben Lincoln, Jeff Loxterkamp, Caren-Marie Michel, Linda Norton, Winslow Myers, Karen Spitfire, Jude Valentine, and David Vickery.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of “Maine Postcard Day”, Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2016 series of exhibits Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine presents a hundred years of images which have been used to communicate the unique qualities of Maine to the outside world. Using postcards, photography, and contemporary art, these exhibits explore the changes which have taken place in the images which have we have used to communicate “Maine”.

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Penobscot Marine Museum Celebrates Maine’s Sense Of Place

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On view at PMM from May 28 through October 16, 2016

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of “Maine Postcard Day”, Penobscot Marine Museum presents Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine, a hundred years of images which have been used to communicate the unique qualities of Maine to the outside world. With photographic postcards, photography, and contemporary art, this exhibit explores the changes which have taken place in the images which have been used to communicate “Maine”.

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Community Project: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Maine Post Card Day with Maine Libraries

Postcards were the Facebook and Twitter of their age. An estimated 200 to 300 billion postcards were produced and mailed world-wide from the 1890’s to the 1920’s and one of Penobscot Marine Museum’s major photography collections was produced by Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company, an early Maine postcard company. In 1916 Maine Governor Oakley C. Curtis proclaimed April 19th “Post Card Day” and issued a proclamation asking all Maine citizens to send a postcard of Maine to friends and family outside the state with the message “Come to Maine.” A petition has been sent to Governor Le Page’s office requesting that April 19, 2016 be proclaimed “Postcard Day” in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Maine’s Post Card Day. Penobscot Marine Museum is collaborating with the Maine State Library system to distribute postcards with historic images of Maine from the museum’s photography collection to libraries across the state for patrons to mail during Library Week, April 10th through 16th.

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Exhibit: Historic Maine, a Postcard View

This exhibit presents a history of the postcard, and takes a closer look at postcards produced by three Maine photographic postcard companies. The postcard craze in America, roughly 1905 to 1915, prompted the founding of many postcard companies across the country and in Maine. The vast majority of these American companies had their postcards mass-produced in Europe, but Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company in Belfast, made “real photo” postcards with crisper images using a labor-intensive darkroom process.

Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company photographers travelled across New England in Model Ts shooting scenes of small towns and rural life often overlooked by larger postcard companies. Postcards produced by Evie Barbour, who photographed the Blue Hill area with a box camera, and the Cunningham Brothers who photographed the area around Washington, Maine combine with images from the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company to create a highly personal and intimate portrait of Maine.

The exhibit includes oral histories of Mainers talking about the treasured places seen in these postcards, a trailer for a documentary on Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company by Maine filmmaker Sumner McKane, a Model T outfitted with contemporaneous photography equipment, and the museums’ gigantic walk-in camera obscura which demonstrates the inside workings of a nineteenth-century camera.

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Exhibit: Acadia National Park, a Postcard View

Acadia National Park was founded 100 years ago to preserve its extraordinary sense of place. It has long been the most famous and most visited place in Maine and has been the subject of tens of thousands of postcards. Penobscot Marine Museum joins the Acadia Centennial celebration with an exhibit of fifty years of Acadia National Park in postcards. The images are all from the Belfast-based Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company, the largest manufacturer of “real-photo postcards” in the United States. The exhibit shows how popular taste changes over time even as the actual landscape does not.

Exhibit: Maine: A Continuum of Place

“For all of us have our loved places; all of us have laid claim to part of the earth;
and all of us, whether we know it or not, are in some measure the products of our sense of place.”
—Alan Gussow, A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Land, 1971

Maine’s landscape has inspired a remarkable sense of place over the past 150 years. Artists such as Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, Marguerite Zorach, Eric Hopkins, and Andrew Wyeth have responded to its special qualities, including its coastline and islands. That vibrant tradition continues today. To highlight how artists’ sense of place has changed over time yet represents a continuum, guest curator Carl Little, author of Paintings of Maine and Art of the Maine Islands, chose photographs and postcards of coastal Maine from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection and paired them with images of those places by contemporary artists. The historic photographs and the contemporary artworks will be displayed side by side.

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Community Project: Photoplay! Postcards by M.J. Bronstein

Artist M.J. Bronstein has created postcards using historic images from Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collection. These postcards are designed for the museum visitor to be able to draw on them, adding to the historic photo. Each postcard becomes a unique creation for museum visitors to send to their friends.

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Behind the Scene: Why Postcards?

Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collection was started with a group of Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company postcard glass-plate negatives which were rescued from a flood and brought to Penobscot Marine Museum for preservation. Penobscot Marine Museum now has 50,000 of the company’s negatives, the largest Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company collection under one roof, as well as several hundred additional postcard negatives, and around 4,000 postcards.

Collecting postcards, deltiology, is the third largest “collectible” hobby in the world. Sending postcards is enjoying resurgence. In 2005 a man in Portugal founded an organization called Postcrossing which allows people to exchange postcards worldwide. This website, www.postcrossing.com, now has over 570,000 participating members across 215 countries and in ten years, over 31 million postcards have been sent around the world.

Postcards are studied by sociologists and art historians. The Smithsonian Institution currently has an online postcards exhibit “Greetings From the Smithsonian”. In 2009 the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a collection of postcards in “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard,” and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts followed suit with “The Postcard Age: Selections From the Leonard A. Lauder Collection” in 2012.

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Photography Exhibit Brings History to Life at Penobscot Marine Museum

(LB1990) CARRIE WINSLOW Crew Taking Up new Topsail, Ruth Montgomery, c. 1895-1916

(LB1990) CARRIE WINSLOW Crew Taking Up new Topsail, Ruth Montgomery, c. 1895-1916

Penobscot Marine Museum opens its 2015 season on May 23 with four major exhibitions of historic photography under the umbrella title Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.  The campus will be filled with hands-on activities.  Museum visitors will be able to walk into a huge camera, step inside an historic darkroom, watch a tintype being made, make a cyanotype photograph, make a pin-hole camera, take a photograph with a pin-hole camera, take photographs of themselves standing beside images of people from the 1880’s, add their own photographs to an online museum exhibit, and add their selfies to the museum’s “Wall of Selfies”.  Audio clips of interviews, biographies, and commentaries by historians, curators and professional photographers will be available to visitors on their mobile devices through QR codes, and on tablets in the exhibits.

The four exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography are Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015; and The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection.  On Friday, May 22nd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm the public is invited to the opening reception for the 2015 season, which will be held in the newly renovated Visitors Center on the Crescent, 2 Church Street, Searsport.

Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 explores the pioneering work of five women photographers who excelled in a field dominated by men.  Ruth Montgomery and Joanna Colcord grew up sailing around the world with their sea captain fathers.  While on board ship they taught themselves the craft of photography and documented life at sea and life in the countries to which they sailed.  Evie Barbour’s photographer husband had a business producing photographic postcards.  She helped him with the business, and when he died in 1907 she was able to take it over and support herself and her children.  Ida Crie photographed her native city of Rockland, creating a loving portrait and important historic document of the way Rockland was at the turn of the century.  Harriet Hitchborn grew up in Stockton Springs and developed her own successful postcard business.

 (R2014) Horse in Winter, Round Image, Anonymous

(R2014) Horse in Winter, Round Image, Anonymous

Twenty Best, an exhibit of the twenty most fascinating photographs in the Penobscot Marine Museum collection, includes a photograph of the Great Bangor Fire of 1911 which destroyed much of the city, the earliest known photograph of Searsport, and an unusual ambrotype circa 1870 of a Chinese steward.  Also included are photographs by the legendary Finnish-American photo-journalist Kosti Rhuohoma, who shot iconic portraits of working Americans which appeared in LIFE, National Geographic and other publications from 1940 to 1960.

Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015 explores the snapshot as a self-portrait of our culture.   In the 1800’s cameras were expensive and photography was the work of professionals, but when Eastman Kodak introduced the inexpensive Brownie camera in 1900 suddenly everyone had a camera in their hand.  What do we photograph and why, and what do the snapshots we take tell us about ourselves?  This exhibit is guest curated by retired Beloit College professor Michael Simon.

The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project, a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine in 2015.  This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations offers exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.

Two additional exhibits round out the 2015 season.  Disorganized and Defeated: The Battle for Penobscot Bay 1779 displays for the first time the Museum’s newly acquired court-martial papers of Commodore Dudley Saltonstall.  The exhibit examines the effects of the Revolutionary War on the citizens of Penobscot Bay.  This exhibit complements the replica of the Revolutionary War period frigate L’HERMIONE’s arrival in Castine Harbor.  Memoirs of War: A Soldier’s Seabag tells the story through their mementos and souvenirs of ten Maine veterans’ wartime experiences from WW II to the present.  This exhibit was designed and curated by the Senior Class of Searsport District High School.

Penobscot Marine Museum is grateful to the following individuals and organizations, without whose support Exploring the Magic of Photography would not have been possible:  John Bielenberg for designing and building, with Richard Mann, the camera obscura; Maine Humanities Council for their grant funding Through Her Lens; Maine Humanities Council and Maine Arts Commission for funding The Maine Frontier and Make a Cyanotype;  Alice Knight and  Stockton Springs Historical Society for loans of photographs for Through Her Lens;  Libby Bischoff and Maizie Hough for consulting on Through Her Lens;  Liz Fitzsimmons for researching and interviewing The Carters and the Lukes; Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Britta Konau, Brenton Hamilton, and Maynard Bray for commentary on Twenty Best; Alice Knight, Silvia Wardwell, Betty Schopmeyer, Dan Harrison and Beverly Mann for commentary on Through Her Lens; and Betty Shopmeyer for scene painting. A special thank you to Dave Johnson for the gardens and for construction and painting to Paul Jean, Jeff Dorr, John Ward, Brian Marquis and to Tom Preble for making it happen.

 

About Penobscot Marine Museum

Penobscot Marine Museum is located on Route One in the historic seacoast village of Searsport, Maine.  The permanent exhibits include a ship captain’s house, an exquisite collection of Buttersworth marine paintings, scrimshaw, 19th century Chinese and Japanese pottery, paintings and textiles, traditional small water craft, a fisheries exhibit, and an heirloom vegetable garden.  The museum has over 140,000 historic photographs, and a maritime history research library.  Eight of its twelve exhibit buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Museum is open seven days a week, Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend in October.  Museum hours are Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm.  For more information go to www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org, call the Visitors Center 207-548-0334 or offices at 207-548-2529.

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Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts

The Penobscot Marine Museum will exhibit photographs from their collection at the Camden Public Library during April’s “Maritime Month” celebration. “Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts” is a a collection of photographs taken by Don Merchant and Maynard Bray in the late 1940s along the waterfront in Rockland and other midcoast towns. The photos will be an display all month; Matt Wheeler of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Maynard Bray, and Don Merchant will give a gallery talk and slide show with photos and commentary through time and the Midcoast on Tuesday evening, April 7, at 7:00 pm. All are welcome!

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Don Merchant and Maynard Bray, both born in Rockland two days apart, became fast friends when the sixth grade brought them together again. Boats became their shared passion, and each went on to make a career of things maritime—Don by shipping as an engineer (worldwide with Isthmian Lines, then locally with the Maine State Ferry Service) after his Maine Maritime Academy education, followed by establishing Merchant’s Landing on Spruce Head Island with his wife, Sally; Maynard, first in shipbuilding as a marine engineer, then with Mystic Seaport, and finally as an editor, writer, and boatbuilder in Brooklin.

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Don’s interest in picture taking came from his stepfather, Sid Cullen, who was the Courier- Gazette’s staff photographer (and, ultimately, its owner). Maynard’s interest came from that same source as well as from his cousin Elmer Montgomery whose collection of photos, like Don’s and Maynard’s, is now at Penobscot Marine Museum.

Don’s camera was a Kodak Duoflex and Maynard’s was (mostly) his mother’s folding Jiffy Kodak. They processed their own films and printed their own pictures. Although they still take photos and always have, those shown here cover only the post-war years from 1946 to 1949 when Don and Maynard considered local waterfronts their playground.

Click here for more information

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Gigantic Walk-in Camera Planned for Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2015 Season

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A huge walk-in camera, designed by John Bielenberg and built by John Bielenberg and Richard Mann, is one of the many inter-active exhibits planned By Penobscot Marine Museum for this summer’s Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.  This is the first major exhibition to feature the museum’s extensive historic photography collection of over 140,000 negatives, prints, slides, postcards and daguerreotypes.

The camera obscura is the precursor of our modern camera.  Its principles were used by the ancient Greeks to observe solar eclipses.  Inside the museum’s camera obscura, light sensitive paper will be available for visitors to take their own “photographs” from the projected image, and paper and pencils will be available for sketching the image, a technique used Leonardo da Vinci in the Renaissance.

PMM’s camera obscura; Horse in Winter, Round Image

PMM’s camera obscura; Horse in Winter, Round Image

Other exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light include Museum Selfies taken by museum visitors; Visit an Antique Darkroom complete with a glass plate negative enlarger; Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best featuring the most fascinating photographs in the collection; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015, curated by retired photography professor Michael Simon; The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.

Included in the museum’s events will be a screening of the film The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson.  Isaac Walton Simpson was a blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, and father of thirteen children.  This live multimedia presentation uses film, Simpson’s photographs, oral histories and live music to illustrate the pioneering frontier culture of northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century, a pivotal time in Maine’s history.

Anonymous; Boy with Oranges, Buenos Aires, c. 1895-1916

Anonymous; Boy with Oranges, Buenos Aires, c. 1895-1916

Visitors to Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light will be able to take cyanotype-making workshops; pin-hole camera-making workshops; to see tin-type demonstrations and to have their own tin-type made.  Life-sized photographic backdrops in several exhibits will encourage visitors to take photographs of themselves “inside” historic photographs.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project (www.mainephotoproject.org), a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine.  This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations will offer exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.

The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission.  Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light opens at Penobscot Marine Museum on May 23, 2015 and continues through October 18, 2015.   The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson will be shown on Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m.

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Disorganized and Defeated: The Battle for Penobscot Bay 1779

In PMM’s Main Street Gallery, 40 East Main Street.

The newly acquired court-martial papers of Commodore Dudley Saltonstall will be displayed for the first time in this exhibit examining the effects of the Revolutionary War on the citizens of Penobscot Bay.  This exhibit coincides with  replica of the Revolutionary War period frigate L’HERMIONE’s arrival in Castine harbor.

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Penobscot Marine Museum’s Historic Photography Exhibit Now in Deer Isle

Penobscot Marine Museum’s historic photography exhibit Hancock County Through Eastern’s Eye is now at the Island Heritage Trust barn, in Deer Isle, Maine.  The photographs in Hancock County Through Eastern’s Eye are of places people loved a century ago, when the owner of Eastern Illustrating sent his crews with their box cameras into tiny towns telling them to ask local citizens what they should photograph, what was important to them about their town.   This exhibit is hosted by the Deer-Isle-Stonington Historical Society, and will be at the Island Heritage Trust barn, 420 Sunset Rd., Deer Isle, through August 31st.

Stonington, Maine courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Stonington, Maine courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

An online exhibit on Penobscot Marine Museum’s website www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org includes many additional Hancock County images.   The Eastern collection is the largest single photographic collection in Maine, consisting of nearly 50,000 images of Maine and the rest of New England and upstate New York. Most of the photos are on glass-plate negatives.   The Penobscot Marine Museum is raising funds to acquire more of Eastern’s negatives, and has recently added a searchable database online to their website which includes nearly 30,000 Eastern Illustrating photographs. Photo prints are available from the museum, with proceeds from their sale going to expand the collection.  The exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and is part of four county exhibits the Penobscot Marine Museum will produce.

Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  The exhibit is free.  For more information go to www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org or www.dis-historicalsociety.org.

Penobscot Marine Museum is in Searsport, Maine and has seven new exhibits and over fifty programs and events during the 2014 season.  Its three acre, ten building campus is  open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm, through Sunday, October 19.

Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources

Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19
Opening reception Friday, May 23, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery, 40 East Main Street

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Photo by Maynard Bray

Using interactive displays and photographs, Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources explores the history of Maine’s fisheries, historic coastal tide mills, and wind powered ships. The exhibit also looks at Maine scientists’ pioneering work in the exciting and sometimes controversial future of these resources. How is modern technology affecting our fisheries? Do wind and tidal power have a place in our future? How do modern technologies impact Maine’s working waterfront, culture, environment, and the state’s largest industry of tourism?

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History Chests: Exhibit Designed by the Sophomore Class of Searsport District High School

Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19
Opening Reception Thursday, May 22, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
This exhibit is in Merithew and Fowler True Ross Houses.

Nine sea captain chests, which contain specific artifacts showing the different aspects of the impact the Penobscot Bay has on the Midcoast region, were assembled and documented by students from the sophomore class of SDHS. The topics include marine art, the granite industry, lumbering, fisheries, the Penobscot Nation, life at sea, navigation, ship building, and Far East trade.

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Eric Hopkins: Shells – Fish – Shellfish

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Monday, June 16 through Sunday, October 19
Opening reception Friday, July 25, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Blue Fish, 1988, painted wood, 48"x56"x30"

Blue Fish, 1988, painted wood, 48″x56″x30″

This exhibit is in Penobscot Marine Museum’s Douglas and Margaret Carver Memorial Art Gallery, 11 Church Street
Capturing Eric Hopkins’ life-long fascination with life from the sea, this major retrospective includes paintings, monotypes, and glass and wood sculpture, much of which has not been seen before. It also includes Hopkins’ personal collection, which has inspired the work in this exhibition, of the skeletons, shells and other remnants of creatures picked up on beaches over the course of his life. The sea was an integral part of Eric Hopkins’ childhood on the island of North Haven and around Penobscot Bay. “I look back and think how connected everything in my life was,” Hopkins says. “The rocks and shells and bones and branches were my play things. I’d see the patterns of clouds repeated on the waves on the water and later in the flesh of the filleted flounder.”

Broken Shell Form #1, 1986, ink and oil o/c, 4' x 3'

Broken Shell Form #1, 1986, ink and oil o/c, 4′ x 3′