A panel of Maine art professionals recently selected three artists to participate in the 2018 summer Monhegan Artists’ Residency program on Monhegan Island: weaver Sarah Haskell, of York; printmaker Jude Valentine, of East Machias; and educator and painter Raegan Russell, of South Berwick.
Haskell is a textile artist who works with thread in many forms. Prior to her residency time on Monhegan, she intends to weave and “weather” ground cloths, which she will then embellish on the island. She said she will “use the time to stitch, hem, knot, and embroider” and will also “expose additional pieces of hand-woven cloth to site specific environmental elements,” while observing “the forces of nature at work, not only on my handwoven/stitched cloth but ultimately on me.”
Haskell is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and was recently awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Hewnoaks Artist Colony.
Valentine creates landscape monoprints in a process through which she draws and paints directly on polymer plates while outside in the landscape. She said she sees her prints as revealing “elements of landscape,” while being “densely layered with an energetic animism of line and limited color.” Valentine holds a BFA from the Maine College of Art and an MFA from the Vermont College of Art, and is an assistant professor at the University of Maine, Machias. She was a 2017 artist in residence at the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center in Jefferson.
Russell is the visual-art department chair at the Berwick Academy in South Berwick, and will be participating in the two-week K-12 art teachers’ residency. She looks forward to being inspired by the beauty of Monhegan and said she sees her paintings as a way to “hold on to the ephemeral and to explore the changing landscape and its forms.” Russell received a BFA and an MFA in painting from Boston University and is currently on sabbatical in Southeast Asia.
The jurors this year included Kathryn Jovanelli, museum administrator at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor; Henry Wolyniec, a Portland artist and former studio manager at Space Gallery; and painter Nathaniel Meyer, a Monhegan residency recipient in 2015 and an art teacher at Lewiston High School. All three were impressed with the varying concerns for the natural world apparent in this year’s applications and their inventive modes of expression.
The jury viewed a wide range of visual arts, and selected work in three particularly experimental media: fiber arts, cliche verre monotypes, and works on paper that combine printmaking and painting techniques. Portland artist and MARC board member John Knight, who organized this year’s jury process noted that “jurors had a challenge selecting three artists from many strong candidates, but they found work that resonated with all of them after multiple viewings and lively discussion.”
Since 1989, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency has supported the creative growth of dedicated Maine artists by providing them time and space in which to work free of interruption and constraint in the inspiring environment of Monhegan Island.
For well over 150 years, the island has inspired countless artists, such as Robert Henri, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, and Jamie Wyeth. While Monhegan continues to attract artists from around the world, it is increasingly difficult for Maine artists to find affordable housing for an extended visit on the island. To this end, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency provides free housing, studio space, a weekly stipend, and time for visual artists to reflect on, experiment with, or develop their art. Three residencies are offered each summer for artists with strong connections to Maine: two five-week sessions and one two-week session specifically for K-12 visual art teachers.