Bonney Woods & Flint Woods
Artists & Installations
Many thanks to the Onion Foundation for its generous support of the invited artists exhibiting in the Flint and Bonney Woods. This exhibition lasted, in changing form, from 21 October – 15 December 2017.
Sarah Bouchard’s Self Tcelfer, located on the Crosscut Trail in Flint Woods, creates an intense meditative space that changes with the time of day and the seasons. A spiraled array of aluminum panels blanketed in irregular folds of shining industrial sheeting surrounds a tree-centered resting spot, creating an emotionally and visually reflective place---the trees, light, snow, rain, and the visitors themselves, all simultaneously reflected in fragments. Sarah Bouchard is a conceptual multimedia artist and the founder of Mahatma Projects, a body of monumental public installations that combines a rigorous physical process of artmaking with a deep connection to community and environment.
Michael Droge’s two large navigational charts, one on the East Trail and one below the north Lookout, were inspired by traditional navigational stick charts used in Polynesia. The artist collaborated with UMF student artists and gallery interns to gather local materials from the woods and build the charts, abstract planes festooned with moss and lichen, hanging in space. The constructions call attention to the ways we visualize and experience place as we move past objects and look through complex, layered natural spaces. Michael Droge is an abstract painter and printmaker whose work explores the relationship between natural and constructed environment and their living creatures.
Bethany Engstrom’s audio and waxed-muslin tent installation, By The River, stands next to the Upper Traverse in Flint Woods. Inspired by Thoreau’s description of our human need for “the tonic of wildness,” the tent is both inviting and restive. Visitors approach cautiously and sometimes enter hesitantly, questioning property and privacy in these public woods. The tent itself is translucent and moves lightly in the breeze, offering no particular barrier to the outside. Bethany Engstrom is a multimedia artist whose work is known for exploring the experience of space. She is an associate curator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
Rick Osterhaut works with sustainably harvested white pine and reclaimed wood in two site-specific artworks in Flint Woods. He is known for his affectionate and humorous observation of Maine’s native animals. Under a walking bridge on the East Trail, a shoal of lively hand-carved brook trout course over the stream. Nearby, roughly hewn Wood Men join hands around a tree, protecting it from a suited man representing rapacious corporate entities. Rick Osterhaut is the founder of Maine Rockers, and specializes in designing whimsical fine furniture and folk-art.
Jan Piribeck & Jim Provenzano
Jan Piribeck and James Provenzano collaborate on a serene installation in the hemlock forest of Bonney Woods. Look In builds on the quiet, insular nature of these woods and offers a meditative alternative to the series of lookouts punctuating many of Maine’s most beautiful places. Chairs of different styles and vintages placed throughout the trails invite the woods-walker to sit, be still, or share a conversation. Jan Piribeck is a professor of art at the University of Southern Maine known for her work fusing art and GIS (Geographic Information Science). James Provenzano is a conceptual artist, custom furniture maker, and master upholsterer.
Jesse Potts’ untitled sculpture sits near the main entrance to Flint Woods. Composed of twisted road asphalt and other found materials, it is a startling disruption of the otherwise the soft forest floor, at once familiar and alien. Jesse Potts’ work as an experimental sculptor embraces many mediums. Often using electronics to add time-based elements to his installations, his work layers ideas of home, memory, travel, and geography with distortions in time and space. Jesse Potts is a professor of art at the University of Maine Farmington.
Susan Smith calls attention to the gulf between our current and historical sense of place in the natural environment. In Refuge, Smith built on, in, and around one of Flint Woods’ old wells. The spring-fed wells first served as fire-protection reservoirs and trout ponds in the 1890s. Drawing with varieties of birdseed, Smith creates an edible environment following the natural flow of the landscape. In collaboration with the local animals and the weather, the work slowly returns to nature as the season deepens to winter. Susan Smith is a founding member of Maine Farmland Trust, the founder of Uprooted Collective, and is currently chair of the Intermedia Program at the University of Maine.
Members of the fall 2018 Art and Environment class, UMF art majors, and community members installed work in the Bonney and Flint Woods.