Viva, Rhodes and Garren: “Viva Cuba” is the name of the fantastic photography exhibit currently on the walls of The Carey Gallery at Skidompha Library in Damariscotta. Featuring photographs from recent trips to Cuba by Katherine Garren, of Damariscotta, and Gisela H. Rhodes, of Newcastle, this show is must-see stuff. Rhodes (and her dog), incidentally, volunteer once a week at Skidompha.
“We hope that this collection captures the Cuban people, their warmth, resilience, and cultural pride,” says the accompanying artist statement. It certainly does. The colorful photos – of such things as musicians, street scenes, and the ubiquitous cherried-out vintage automobiles that Cuba is known for – are so vivid and obviously heartfelt that they easily capture one’s attention and hold it.
Some of the photos have been printed, to great effect, onto ceramic plates handmade by Garren. “Cars IV,” for instance, from Garren’s 2014 trip to Havana, is a photo-on-plate that hangs above “Cars III,” a vibrant photograph taken by Rhodes in Havana last year featuring a shiny vintage red DeSoto and a woman dressed in red holding a bulky black handbag. Hanging above both pieces is “Cars I,” a 2017 Havana street shot featuring two vintage cars, one a pristine turquoise-and-white Chevrolet.
In one corner of the little gallery are a number of intriguing “everyday” photos, such as “Soviet TV,” “Bedroom,” and “Library,” all taken by Garren. “Bedroom” is a particularly nice, intimate look inside the life of a resident of Cuba.
Rhodes’ largest photograph, “Graffiti,” is gorgeous. It is a beautifully framed photo of a building featuring some of the most lovely graffiti one is likely to encounter anywhere. Rhodes’ “Tourists” is a clever photo taken in Havana in 2017 – look in the rearview mirror of the car pictured for a fun surprise!
This is a first-time show for both of these artists, but one would never guess it.
“Viva Cuba” runs through Monday, April 30. Skidompha Library is located at 184 Main St., Damariscotta.
Thanks for the tip: Thank you to “Artsbeat” reader Thomas Quaranto for telling me about the three lovely paintings by Paula Burkholder currently hanging at the Wiscasset Public Library. Two of them now belong to Quaranto, who loves them so much that he purchased art for the first time in his life, he told me.
The paintings are delicately crafted winter scenes, painted on recycled barnboard, and will be on view indefinitely.
The Wiscasset Public Library is located at 21 High St., Wiscasset.
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)