Contemporary Maine Carving

Thursday, December 2, 2004 - Thursday, March 3, 2004

Curator's Statement

The history of Maine is inexorably linked to wood, trees, timber, lumber, and the arts that utilize them. Among these is the art of carving—shaping a piece of wood into something else by cutting away at it.  This show brings together many of the outstanding people working in the State today who carve wood.

The exhibitors were chosen to show the impressive range of carved work being made in Maine. They include figurative artists, abstract sculptors, wildlife carvers, folk artists, and craftspeople. Some are self-taught and some have studied with masters, some are following traditions and others are clearing new paths.  They are united by the fact that they all carve their creations from wood, something that humans have been doing since the Neolithic era.

The exhibit does not pretend to be all-inclusive or encyclopedic, but has tried to be somewhat representative.  Some of the participants are well-known in their fields: for example, Rodney Richard has had work shown by the Smithsonian Institution and has traveled to Russia in an exchange; Cabot Lyford is one of Maine`s best-known sculptors; Valdemar Skov has made work for both the Maine State Capitol Building and the Blaine House (the Governor’s residence); Jacques Vesery is one of the top wood-turners in the country; Stanley Neptune and Joe Dana have participated in the National Folk Festival; and Clark Fitz-Gerald was commissioned to make major sculptures on both sides of  the Atlantic.

The show was supposed to only include people alive and working in Maine today.  It would have, but sadly Clark Fitz-Gerald died at the beginning of November after agreeing to participate in the show.  He was 87 years old—and had several projects underway in his studio at the time of his death. Visitors should get some idea of his vibrant personality and creative energy from the sculpture that is on display, and understand the extent to which he will be missed.

- Steve Lindsay, Guest Curator