Waldoboro’s Hurricane Gallery opens its 2019 exhibition with a reception on Saturday, Aug. 24 for the show “Democracy and Its Discontents,” which is a clear nod to Sigmund Freud’s famous essay “Civilization and Its Discontents,” with its emphasis on the eternal battle between the rational and the irrational, consciousness and the unconscious, civilization versus the individual’s instinctual need for freedom.
So opines gallery owner and artist Robert Macdonald, whose painting “Remembering Tiananmen, 30 Years After” strikes the keynote of the show. Mao and Trump, Jesus and the benevolent and powerful Chinese mythical beast Shishi are shown together, the scene set in the precincts of majestic Tiananmen Gate, where scores, perhaps hundreds, or even thousands of students were slaughtered just 30 years ago by the forces of reason and repression.
In Hurricane’s new show are artists conscious of these eternal antagonisms. Scott Minzy, new to Hurricane, gives viewers a series of superb woodcut prints of lobsters — in Maine nothing more iconic, but here nightmarish creatures born of madness and fury but rendered in boldly ordered, controlled, and confined, sharply delineated black-and-white.
Two more artists, more gentle, are Montville’s premier shaman and graphic artist Susan Bakaley Marshall, whose works in paint and pencil beautifully channel love and gratitude, and also Cory Stafford, whose small oils are easy to fall in love with — visionary evocations of the natural world.
Also new to Hurricane Gallery is Catherine Moye, whose work disdains verisimilitude, veering from the primitive and simple to the fantastic and complex. What’s it all about?
One of Hurricane’s stalwarts is Alan Hynd, whose work is second to none in its wonderfully rendered graphic comments on war and injustice. But this year, his works have a moving valedictory quality: two self-portraits and a striking study of his son sleeping.
In addition, always providing novelty are new works by the Burmese brothers Min Yan Naing and San Naing and by the ever-tantalizing Carol Wiley.
No Hurricane show would be complete without Elaine Niemi, now hospitalized and unable to work.
Still, her remarkable legacy lives on –in the Midcoast scene as ordinary folks lived it in paintings and sculptures. Nothing is truer or more inventive.
“Too many artists find art’s excellence and value in technical skill and excellent design,” said Macdonald, an antic gleam in his eye. “No! Beyond technique is the overmastering idea, and above all, the stirring up in viewers of thought and feeling.”
And beauty? Perhaps the most beautiful works in the show are by another newcomer, the wood carvings of Carl Solberg. Solberg’s sculptures are their own justification. They exist for themselves and for those fortunate enough to see them.
The opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24. To reach the gallery, from Route 1 in Waldoboro take Depot Street and go a short distance to Quarry Road, turn right, and bearing right one will soon reach the gallery. It is open always, but call first: 701-7477.