John Heliker

FROM THE MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM
SEPTEMBER 2, 2007

‘THE CRANBERRIES’ WORTH THE TRIP

I also applaud “Encountering the Cranberries” at Gallery 170 in Damariscotta. Curated by writer and art critic, Carl Little with a family affiliation with the Cranberry Isles, it is a handsome compendium of current and barely erstwhile art from that favored land.

Almost 60 two dimensional works and at least four pieces of sculpture have been selected by Mr. Little, and my impression is that he has somehow encased the sunshine of past summers and set it free in a splendid old house half a state away. The atmosphere in it’s rooms is a tonic for the late weeks of the season.

Seventeen artists are represented and with few exceptions I could describe their work as celebratory. It extols the summer so fluidly that it makes your heart sing. I make this point because my preferences run to intense works that give your stomach a wrench and Little’s show is so effusive that it almost startled me.

There is a dark moment or so in a pair of drawings by Emily Nelligan. They are a tender contribution to the mystery of eventide. Without bypassing admirable paintings by, John Lorence, Daniel Fernald and Carl Nelson, I accept the show as a gift of an opportunity to see work by the late William Kienbusch. History has confirmed the singularity-at least in local terms-of his vision. No one working in these parts in the 1960’s embraced both the severity of his abstraction and his fine touch for the tangible world. The balance is often exquisite and Mr. Kienbusch is a master for it.

Philip Isaacson