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Summer 2018 Exhibitions


Barbara Ernst Prey: Earth, Sea, Sky

June 30 through October 14, 2018

Earth, Sea, Sky highlights Barbara Prey’s work in Maine through large-scale watercolor paintings and newer oil paintings. Several recent paintings from Mount Desert Island and the town of Southwest Harbor are being exhibited for the first time. The show also explores Prey’s creative process and the techniques that she uses in her light-filled paintings, which range from plein air nature studies to large landscapes and monumental paintings that expand the traditional boundaries of the watercolor medium.

With this exhibition of paintings by Prey, the Museum celebrates the art and the place that Wendell Gilley worked and called home. A love of nature and a keen eye for observation can be seen in the work of both artists - from the stunning vista of mountain, ocean, and sky in Prey’s painting Acadia to the balance of proportion and personality that Wendell Gilley brought to his bird carving through knife and brushstroke.

An important figure in 21st century contemporary art, Barbara Ernst Prey has exhibited internationally; she has work in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the White House (one of two living female artists), the Brooklyn Museum and many other public and private collections. She has also completed commissions for the White House Christmas Card, NASA, and the Art in the Embassies program, and in 2017 created the largest known watercolor painting (8 x 15 feet) at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). Prey has a distinguished background in the arts that includes degrees from Williams College and Harvard University. She maintains studios in New York, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Drawing from Nature

Observation and art are both evident in the work by naturalists and illustrators Amy Gagnon and Jordan Chalfant. They share their field notebooks, sketches, drawings, and paintings, as well as a their joy of discovery in this exhibit. The focus of their work ranges from the internal details of a flower to trailside vistas. In addition to viewing completed paintings, visitors can flip through the pages of their sketchbooks and learn ways to make notes, capture colors, and observe wildlife behaviors.

Year of the Bird

A diverse array of detailed bird carvings by Wendell Gilley highlight the majesty and wonder of birds as The Gilley Museum joins the celebration of the centennial year of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In honor of this milestone, over a 100 organizations around the world are recognizing 2018 as year of the bird, including National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The exhibit shares stories of migration, protection, and diversity, while capturing the unique beauty of birds.

Additional works by Wendell Gilley, including his first bird, and carvings by Steven Valleau and Museum members are on display. Gilley's workbenches, tools, and works in progress reveal the process of carving.

20 Birds of Mount Desert Island

Changing selections of collotypes from Carroll Sargent Tyson's watercolor paintings of local avian fauna are currently on display. Carroll Sargent Tyson (1878-1956) spent summers on Mount Desert Island. While well-respected for his impressionistic oil paintings, he also worked on watercolor portraits of birds. In 1941, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences published a collection of these in the folio Birds of Mount Desert Island.


RECENT Exhibitions


An Abundance of Riches

July 1 - October 21, 2017

The worlds of art and nature beautifully combine in Andrea Rich’s intricately designed, carved, and printed woodcuts. An internationally recognized artist, Rich has traveled worldwide to portray the beauty of birds and animals in their habitats through her work. Using a centuries-old medium that requires a carved wood panel for each layer of color needed to develop the composition, she creates detailed prints. These panels are painstakingly aligned one atop another sequentially and pulled through a printing press to create the final piece. An Abundance of Riches was on loan to the Wendell Gilley from the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum.


Friends in Acadia
Centered on the Whitfield Painter Collection of bird carvings by Wendell Gilley on loan from the collector’s family, the exhibit celebrated Acadia National Park's centennial year. Painter, a marine rope salesman, became friends with Gilley during his sales trips to Mount Desert Island in the 1950s. Usually spread across the country, the collection was reunited by Painter’s family for the first time for public exhibition at the Gilley Museum. The new installation of carvings was paired with a rare showing of all 20 prints from the series “Birds of Mount Desert Island,” by Carroll Sargent Tyson, who was a friend and painting mentor to Wendell Gilley.

A Visit With Ashley Bryan
The art, history, and nature of beloved and acclaimed artist Ashley Bryan’s work, selected from his prodigious output during the course of his 92 years and counting, is on display in this exhibit by The Ashley Bryan Center. Adults and children alike relate to the creations of Ashley Bryan, be they his other-worldly puppets created from objects found on island beaches to cathedral-evocative window panels made from sea glass or his drawings, paintings, writing, or illustrations from some of his dozens of books.

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