Twenty years ago, Mary Harding thought she’d take some time away from work. She resigned from the Barn Gallery in Ogunquit, Maine after four years as its director.
That was before she saw the paintings of York, Maine’s Brave Boat Harbor by Tom Glover. How could she not show these paintings? She had to show them somewhere.
Not far from Glover’s inspiration, the historic George Marshall Store had stood empty since the Museums of Old York moved their offices. It was filled with good energy and light, both a reflection of the river behind it.
“One thing led to another,” said Harding, who is now curating the George Marshall Store Gallery’s 20th anniversary season.
Although she wasn’t planning to run a gallery again when she started years ago, Harding’s vision has since defined it, and continues to advance it. “I believe one good thing leads to another,” Harding said. “I follow that notion.”
Her inspiration and motivation for each show comes from the shows before it and a goal to keep getting better.
“I don’t want people to say we show ‘this’ kind of art. But I do want people to know they’re always going to see something of quality and integrity. That’s important to me,” Harding said. “And I think there’s an advantage to seeing something new and inspiring.”
The anniversary season opens with a reception on Saturday, April 25, from 5-7 p.m. Two new shows are on view through May 31.
“Momentum XIII” features the work of Lauren Gillette, last year’s recipient of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Artist Advancement Grant, and Carly Glovinski, who was a finalist. The annual exhibition demonstrates the work made possible through the grant and is intended to encourage others to apply.
“Select” is a solo show for gallery favorite Arthur DiMambro, in the space downstairs.
Gillette uses a combination of text, drawing, sewing and collected objects to tell stories through installations. She is a student of human nature and shares the lessons she learns in creative ways.
For this show, Gillette continues to chronicle society’s outlaws, this time focusing on “Bad Boys,” from A to Z. On 26 wall quilts, she tells us how they went wrong, starting with “All American” Joe Namath. Some the women she’s called out also make an appearance in an accordion-style book, “The Scarlet Thread.”
She also created posters that group famous or historical figures into unexpected categories, such as bad parents. These will be displayed in the kind of swinging panels that department stores use.
In another installation, Gillette tells more personal stories in chronological order, prompted by the names of different nail polish colors. She said it started with a name she loved for a color she hated.
“When you’re selling beauty, you’re also selling memory,” she said.
There’s also a repurposed Rolodex full of unsolicited advice and random rules of life, compiled by Gillette. Much of it is funny, but hard to deny, including, “Good looking people get into the nudist colony for free.” She calls this piece, “I’ll Save You the Trouble,” and encourages viewers to contribute on blank index cards.
“It’s a commonality. It’ll get people talking,” Gillette said.
It all shows well next to work by Glovinski, who investigates patterns, ordinary objects, and organizing systems, often by recreating them with other materials. She is contributing some recent work, including marker drawings that replicate rag rugs and painted versions of jigsaw puzzles, and she is installing a new wall drawing inspired by phone books, made from colored string.
Glovinski’s work can also been seen in “Land-Line” at 3S ArtSpace in Portsmouth, through May 17.
Harding choose some of her favorite paintings by DiMambro for “Select.” She describes the artist as passionate and prolific, painting every day at 87 years old.
He often combines still life and landscapes, fish and hills, a bounty inspired by Italy. Others were painted closer to home, such as Packer’s Falls in Durham, and capture people in or near water. His distinctive style is intuitive, but reverent.
Over the season, which runs till the end of the year, Harding will present five more exhibitions, concluding with “20th Anniversary Highlights.” The gallery has now shown the work of more than 400 regional artists.
Glover, of the Salmon Falls Mills artist studios, will return to the gallery in the fall.
Top of page: Work by Arthur DiMambro in his solo show, Select, at the George Marshall Store Gallery in York.