Current Exhibitions

PAINTED POETRY:
Alexander Gassel, A Retrospective

March 5 – September 26, 2021

This exhibition of contemporary paintings by Russian-born American artist and designer Alexander Gassel blends the avant-garde with traditional Russian iconography and combines ancient symbols with contemporary subjects. Gassel creates extraordinarily vivid works that reflect his cultural heritage alongside his life experience in America.

Artist, conservator, and writer Alexander Gassel’s artworks combine ancient icon painting techniques with Biblical, mythological, modern, and deeply personal narratives. A synthesis of Art Deco designs influenced by Erté, narrative genre scenes evoking Chagall, saturated color schemes recalling Kandinsky, and complex formal structures reminiscent of Malevich all combine to make for a highly sophisticated and individual vision that is unique to Gassel, yet typically Russian. Harmonious, elegant, and moving, his art consistently garners international attention and appears in many public and private collections, including that of the Vatican.

Click here for a virtual tour of this exhibition.

Miniature Masterpieces: Russian Lacquer Boxes

October 30, 2020 – May 23, 2021

Click here for a virtual look at this exhibition.

The development of Russian lacquerware, widely renowned for its exquisite detail and bright colors, is a fascinating story of artists adapting local traditions to produce new enterprises. This exhibition features more than 100 lacquer boxes from the villages of Feodskino, Palekh, Khouli, and Mstera. The papier-mâché treasures are decorated with miniature paintings of folk scenes and fairy tales lacquered and polished to a high sheen. This exhibition is made possible through the generous gift of lacquerware from the private collection of Dennis H. and Marian S. Pruslin.


Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal

On view through May 9, 2021 in the Auditorium

Maine-based contemporary artist Lesia Sochor’s Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal, is an exhibition inspired by the beautiful tradition of intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter egg painting.

Sochor’s paintings are narratives told in paint that are prompted by personal experiences. The Pysanka series evolved from Sochor’s annual spring ritual of creating Ukrainian Easter eggs called Pysanky. Depicting the symbolic meanings and traditional motifs of this talismanic object in oils and watercolors spawned a new path of contemporary expression for this ancient art form. Sochor creates a direct link to her ancestral roots by continuing the tradition of Pysanky making passed down by her Ukrainian immigrant mother.

Decorated with traditional folk designs using a wax-resist method, Pysanky are miniature jewels that Ukrainians have been creating for countless generations. The word pysanka comes from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, meaning “to write” or “to “inscribe,” as the designs are not painted on, but written (inscribed) with beeswax.