Thursday, March 1, 2012

First Friday Art Walk Recommendations Off the beaten pathwalk....

Gail Wartell's "sunset" 
My friends ask me Lars, 
  What should I see? 
  Where should I go on art walk this month?

The Facts are the First Friday walk has grown to such a proportion that you can't see it all in one evening.  If people is what you really want to see and art is secondary go mainstream and hit the Maine College of art & Institute of Contemporary Art and central arts district.  Several things are guaranteed you'll see cutting edge artsy stuff with lots & lots of fellow art walkers.   A note on the ICA the current exhibit by Michael Bell Smith at least the digital part is interesting in that it may portend a future of digital video picture images.   The undergraduate student show is in the window & lobby .     
The Portland Museum of Art has 3 separate powerhouse show worth seeing but 1st Friday might not be the best night to see them,  One it will be very crowded with the just installed and just opened Degas Private Impressionist Exhibit (1st Floor) ,  The Making Faces Portrait exhibits (2nd Floor),  David Etnier's Photo Portraits of Maine Artists and their work (3rd floor)  & the Facebook Portrait Project (4th floor)  this place will be four deep on every piece. Honestly avoid this place on 1st Friday and return any other Friday from 5-8pm for the museums every Friday Free entry.  But If you go I remember I warned you.

 For this 1st Friday I recommend a move away from the main stream central art district go to Upper congress or Upper Exchange. As many know the Art is usually only the start of a fun 1st Friday night out in the Port City,  this Friday start early with a free concert of classical music in the most classic of settings.

First Friday Chamber ME Music Series
March 2nd, 5:00-6:00 p.m. 
Listen to a string quartet play beautiful music in one of Portland's architecturally unique gems for free is literally a blessed event.  Musicians Jon Poupore, Ann Wallace, Eleanor Lehmann, and Barbara Graustein will play the music of: Haydn, Mozart and Ries. Hear this monthly free concert in a room that so acoustically divine that you will wish they stayed and played longer. The program lasts one hour and it is free. 

Head back up onto Congress from One Longfellow Square  before you bang a right and head downtown look across the street from on Longfellow and take note of Boda (671 Congress st), their Thai Margaritas are a true works of art and the Tapas menus not bad either, this is a great stop to come back to after art walk. Head down and cross to the Green Hand 661 congress st.

The Green Hand Bookshop A throwback to the days when print really mattered.  I wondered in this week and spent over an hour flipping through a variety of books I would have never imaged. I discovered Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock: tales of correspondence between two artists, it's a kind of popup book for adults, beautifully illustrated, magnificently constructed, the conception and execution of this trilogy of books is extraordinary. I'm so looking forward to immersing myself in them.  The trilogy printed 1991-1993 has eluded me I now count myself as fortunate for this chance meeting.  Featured this month in the Green Hand Gallery are works inspired by the writings of weird science-horror author H.P. Lovecraft. The celebration of the 75th Anniversary of his March 15th, 1937 death should seem normal for this imagineer of a macabre who was apparently way ahead of his time. The Gallery space is small on one wall and my suggestion is do not rush in and out, there is more here than meets the eye initially,  trust me the Green Hand will surprise you.  Keep heading down to your next stop.

Gail Wartell's  Garlic Still life
LOCAL SPROUTS (649 Congress st)   these socially conscious culinary wizards have carved a creative -cool space that fits perfect in this young artsy urban semi residential area of upper congress. Local Sprouts is off the radar for many but not for long,  Sprouts recently has been nominated for 6 Phoenix Best of Awards including Best Burger, Best Jazz Venue, Best Remote Office, Best Vegetarian Restaurant, Best Soup and Best Non-Gallery Art Space (Click here to vote) 
  .Featured this week local Artist and WMPG DJ Gail Wartell.   Gail has assembled a variety of her water color still life's.  They are bold, bright, cheerful images and they feel very at home in this humus - veggy friendly environment.  Next stop across the street...     

  Blue  (650 Congress st) is a swanky hip matchbox size joint that has great beers, wines, local music & this month the Photo work of Greta Rybuss.  Greta's intimate candids of the AmeriCore service volunteers and their work her in Maine communities. Work reminiscent of a on the beat photojournalist Greta is great at grabbing a moment and allowing the story to unfold visually no caption needed.  Later in the evening Blue embraces Greek music and belly dancers.  Could it get any better... 

There are lots more venues between Blue and the Portland Museum for a complete gallery listing go here.

 Now if you find yourself on the other side of Memorial Square 
over near Upper Exchange,  I say... go Aucocisco! 

AUCOCISCO GALLERIES  89 Exchange Street  Hosts the Thirty-four members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists for the UMVA Painting Invitational & Silent Auction.
I have not seen this show up close but be prepared for a visual bomb of color & content I've heard there's close to 100 pieces that are available for purchase or bid.  The UMVA has some serious talent and the auction is an important fundraiser for the artist assistance fund and establishment of Artist Union & Health care plan.   The works and mediums are as varied as the artists.  Here is a listing of those exhibiting.: D. Amell, L. Anderson, B. Bean, P. Bonneau, C. Chastain, P. Cobb, K. Cole, D. Dahlke, R. Eastman, H. Farrar, T. Fletcher, C. Gamache, T. Ginn, R. Herzer, L. Hubbell, J. Kigel, J. Krischik, J. Lasdin, C. Michel, M. Morkve, L. Murray, M. Naqui, D. Noble, J. O'Donnell, K. Sahr, F. Schrock, L. Smith, E. Thayer, D. Trafton, N. Tryon & C. Walworth.
(look for our review next week...) 

Why Go out this 1st Friday and see art in our wonderful city?

Go because your good mind needs good art! 


 The Gallery Talk is made possible by the generosity of the 
WMPG Radio listening community.  This blog is the text version of the 
art rant heard every Thursday at 7am, 5 & 9:30pm on
WMPG college and community radio broadcasting
   from the University of Southern Maine
90.9 , 104.1 and streaming on the web at  

Note: WMPG 90.9 fm has increased it's FM signal strength from 1100 kilowatts to  4500 kilowatts! Thank you for making that possible. This means that you are now able to hear MPG on your car radio from Brunswick Maine to Dover, New Hampshire.  The station management, the University of Southern Maine & DJ's are totally pumped and excited about the ability to bring you fresh diverse live radio with a clean crisp sound!