From his large, brightly colored acrylic painting of flowers called “Rejoice” to his small, square, abstract black-and-white suggestion of a woods scene titled “Jay Hakes Road, Winter,” Brunswick painter Edward McCartan offers a range of approaches to representing the beauty of nature in his current exhibit in the hall gallery at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta.
McCartan, who retired in 2002 from teaching art and art history at schools in New York, according to his accompanying artist statement, offers an eye-catching, joy-inspiring show worth seeking out.
Some of McCartan’s pieces are rather realistic paintings of flowers, such as “Jo’s Irises,” a piece depicting a flurry of blue and white flowers and their spiky green leaves, and the aforementioned “Rejoice.” Others, such as “Sunday” – a delicately designed painting featuring black bamboo overlaid with lacy gold suggestions of leaves – are more abstract and showcase McCartan’s sumi-e talents. Sumi-e painting, for the uninitiated, is an East Asian style of brush painting.
Yet other pieces are created as smaller paintings effectively attached to larger pieces. “More Botanicals” — made up of a small abstract painting of flora attached to the center of a larger square painting in oranges and yellows featuring painted line drawings of flowers and leaves – is one such piece. Likewise, “Some Botanical Friends” features a central painting of flowers placed onto a background of a larger painting of flowers and leaves represented (as in “More Botanicals”) similarly to the way plants are often sketched in field guides.
“Poppy Dream” is a very large acrylic painting that is essentially a mixture of the realistic and the abstract, the Western and the Eastern. Featuring close-ups of two red poppies on a sectioned background featuring silhouettes of leaves, the piece commands attention and represents a melding of McCartan’s various techniques and styles.
“These works represent my exploration of botanical and gestural imagery … Small natural forms, twigs, ferns, flowers, etc. leave room for experimentation with sumi-like strokes and lines and the layering of glazes throughout the composition,” writes McCartan in his artist statement. “I go to nature and the possibilities inherent in the materials for inspiration. It is an ongoing exploration.”
McCartan’s exhibit will run through Friday, March 15. LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus is located at 35 Miles St., Damariscotta.
For those interested, McCartan currently offers workshops and private lessons at his studio in Bath and teaches art courses at Midcoast Senior College. Find him online at emccartan.com.