Past Show

What subject matter could be more cliché than crashing waves on rugged rocks? In Maine, artists repeatedly try to capture on canvas the power and intensity of the sea. While many consider surf scenes to be a tired genre, the paintings in Camden Falls Gallery’s late summer show, “Surf’s Up” serve to dispel these preconceived notions. On view from August 26 through September 17, the exhibition features work by new gallery artists Stan Moeller and Scott Moore, along with paintings by Alison Hill, Guy Corriero, and other gallery artists.

Stan Moeller, who recently joined the gallery, has an extensive background in plein air painting. He has conducted workshops abroad in Tuscany and the south of France, and was awarded a painting residency in Brittany. He recently taught a master class at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH, entitled “En Plein Air Figure in the Landscape.” About his work, Stan writes, “I love the way light works… and folds around the human form.”

Moeller’s featured painting in “Surf’s Up” is a 36” x 48” oil on linen, entitled “Maine’s Rocky Coast.” In this work, craggy cliffs demarcated by strong, warm browns and grays contrast with the roiling surf. A cooler application of aqueous blues and greens stretching to a distant, hazy horizon evokes the freedom of open water along a wild coastline. In two of Moeller’s smaller works, the focus is on singular waves crashing against rugged rocks. The explosive spray at the center of these images conveys the powerful force of the sea as it strikes the land.

Our second featured artist, Scott Moore, comes with an artistic pedigree; both his parents engaged in design careers in Washington, DC. Scott’s mother was a fashion illustrator and his father was an Art Director for the Institute of Heraldry. Moore received his BFA from the Maine College of Art and has made coastal Maine his home for over forty years. His facility with painting landscape and figurative subjects has been recognized and honored with many recent exhibitions from Bar Harbor, ME to Charleston, SC. Moore was asked to be a consulting artist for Maine’s Percent for Art program, and he recently curated the show “Four Maine Painters” for the Maine Audubon Gallery.

Moore’s evident affection for the rugged Down East shoreline is apparent in the fresh eye he brings to interpreting details. In his vibrant new work, “Surge” (which was painted in Acadia National Park  just off the Loop Road, looking back towards Sand Beach), the sea itself becomes the primary compositional element. Locked in structurally by hard edges of rock on both sides, we sense the tension and power of the waves being forced through a narrow gap to surge upon the boulder-strewn shore. With sure, unfussy brushstrokes, Moore records the chaos of the inflow of one wave interacting with the eddying remnant of the previous wave, surrounded by sunlit spruce and ledge.

Alison Hill, a year-round resident of Monhegan Island, painted her sizable 30” x 40” entry in this show, “Gull Rock Surf,” en plein air, after traipsing all the way to Burnt Head (on the far side of the island) carrying her supplies and canvas along rutted island paths. Painting outside with constant changes in light and atmosphere is daunting enough, but to work on a canvas this size out-of-doors is a Herculean task.

Not surprisingly, Hill creates a piece of such vibrant immediacy that the viewer feels he or she is standing in the very wet shoes of the artist, hearing the bass boom of the waves striking the rock and the rhythmic sizzle hush of receding saltwater. Alison’s direct application of oils (mixing colors intuitively as the subject dictates) demands unstinting focus and a sure confidence developed over years of painting numerous portraits and landscapes.

Guy Corriero is also quite familiar with the “island magic” of Monhegan, having spent most summers since 1970 teaching and painting its unique vistas in both watercolor and oils. As a a young man, Corriero spent many a summer life-guarding the shores of Long Beach, New York, where he could spend hours observing wave patterns and hue and tonal changes in the Atlantic. His featured oil, “Rocky Shore at Prout’s Neck,” follows in the grand tradition of Winslow Homer, paying homage to a majestic headland near the town of Scarborough. Corriero’s powerful re-envisioning of this promontory places the viewer below the famous cliff walk at high tide. The primordial energy of raging surf is perfectly captured by the artist, as is the intensity of the eastern light. Using rich contrasting warm tones in the foreground, his paint sears the chiseled granite like liquid fire.

Corriero has won numerous awards from the American Watercolor Society and many purchase prizes for his studio oils, in shows ranging from Mexico to Michigan to Maine. His extraordinary teaching abilities were honored with a New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence just prior to his retirement from the academic community.

Camden Falls Gallery invites you to view the work of these and other artists as we conclude our busy summer season. The gallery is open from 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am-6pm on Sunday. For more information, please call 207-470-7027 or visit www.camdenfallsgallery.com.