In Search of Studio Art

BAR HARBOR — The literal and figurative spaces that art inhabits was the topic of discussion at a College of the Atlantic lecture July 2. The discussion, moderated by Suzette McAvoy, highlighted the work of artists from the former Wingspread and Moss galleries of Northeast Harbor, both lost to fire in July of 2008. The lecture, titled “Studio Patterns,” featured artists Thistle Brown, Adele Seronde, Rebekah Raye and Philip Heckscher.

Ms. Brown, owner and curator of the Wingspread Gallery and an artist herself and Ms. Seronde, an abstract expressionist painter and Ms. Brown’s longtime friend and colleague, both lost the bulk of their lives’ works in the fire.

The gallery, established more than 40 years ago, had just opened an exhibit of the Seronde family’s work before it went up in flames.

Local painter and children’s book author Ms. Raye and calligrapher Mr. Heckscher were both exhibiting at the Moss Gallery before the fire. Ms. Raye lost several substantial pieces of art, while Mr. Heckscher was fortunate enough to have not lost any of his work. The Moss gallery was established by Christiaan and Cody van Heerden in 2007.

Since the fire last year, the many artists and gallery owners involved have struggled to find meaning and growth from the devastating loss.

Ms. Seronde described the shock she felt when she heard news of the fire. “I needed to move into another plane – to try to think anew and go a different direction,” she said.

On a lighter note, the artists discussed the transformative power art can have. “Once you get inside (a work or a subject), it surprises you, astounds you, delights you, and you see it anew. The image is often within you,” said Ms. Seronde.

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