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TravelPod Member Reviews Portland Museum of Art
Winslow Homer "Weatherbeaten" Art Exhibit
tah101fall2012 0 contribution United States Dec 2, 2012
The Portland Musuem of Art
Type of Attraction: Fine Art and Musueam Attraction
Reviewer: Gerry Forrest Pound
Date of Visit: 12/20/2012
Many visitors from places far and near are welcome to come to the Portland Art Museum to experience the restored art exhibit of Winslow Homer's paintings of the southern Maine natural places during the Contemporary and Romantic eras of the late 19th century. The exhibit is open now November and December, Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is located on the first floor of the museum itself. In this exhibit, you will see many of his famous paintings describing composed images of wave rolling over rock, people of all genres occupying the sandy beach areas and the historical places that make Maine so unique by nature. Visitors can park in any metered parking location, or visitors can choose to park in a nearby parking garage and have a ticket associate provide them with directions to the Portland Museum of Art which is located at Steven's Congress Square, or the corner of Free St., High St., and Congress St., across the famous Starbucks café in our Great City of Portland.
There are a three planned exhibits of Winslow Homer's works in the months from September the 22nd to December the 30th, December 30th through February next year 2013, and from October 6 to February the 17th , also of next year. The current exhibit, "Weatherbeaten," is easily located on the first floor, and there is plenty of professional associates to help visitors along the way. It is important for visitors not to bring cell phones or cameras or any hand held video streamlining device because the exhibit is well secured and the security does not allow any flash photography of any one of Winslow Homer's paintings. It is best for the visitor to ask security for an exhibit map and information brochure that will welcome them warmly into the eyes of the artist.
When first planning a visit to Portland, visitors must be prepared and provide security with proper identification and then follow the musuem's general security line of operations. Then they can go into the ticket lines to purchase a day ticket of the Winslow Homer's exhibit during normal hours of operations. The security of the Portland Museum of Art runs a thorough check at the front doors. The cost per visitor is 12 dollars for adults, 10 dollars for senior citizens and students with and identification, 6 dollars for youth ages 13-17, and free for youth under the age of 12. Members who have a membership card are granted free admission as well. Friday evenings from 5 p.m. - 9a.m. are,free admission for every visitor who would like to explore his works. They do not allow any kind of flash photography in the exhibits whatsoever.
It would be best for visitors to take the tour of this seasonal exhibit, "Weatherbeaten," by the painter Winslow Homer in Maine, whom focused his skills on paintings of place, with the map and information brochure provided by visitor services. I talked with the front desk associate at the visitor services for a better idea of the history of Winslow Homer's exhibit. For the sake of learning a little more information and just to know more about the exhibit, a brochure is particularly useful for first time visitors. Visitors coming to see of the art work here will notice they are rich in color, texture, and resemble many of Winslow Homer's famous art work of the late 19th century, and the exhibit is easily navigable, organized by date of painting with the sense of place Homer instills in each one of his masterpieces.
His works mostly consist of oil based paintings on canvas, and if you search carefully, visitors may discover paintings of oil based paint on parchment. Previous exhibits have been visited from many local citizens living in the Greater Portland area, and also from places as far away as Boston, New York City, and people with a European residency. Those people often come here to stay for a summer week vacation, often returning to the Greater Portland area the next summer season. As for during this winter exhibit, which is open until December 30th of this year 2012, many of the visitors are primarily local from the Greater Portland area, but the museum of art still has guests from Boston, which is by the way, Winslow Homer's home town by birth.
Visitors can get here from Boston and New York City by taking either Forest Ave., South and turning right on Congress Ave., and parking at one of the City's parking garages further on the east end of the city of Portland. Individually, visitors from Boston or other cities and places outside of the Greater Portland area should drive on I-95 N and take exit 6 B, and merge into traffic off the exit 6 B exit ramp onto Forest Avenue. Following traffic to the end of Forest Ave., will take the visitor to Congress St., and parking is on the east end of town which can be found by actually turning left onto Congress Street. From the parking garage, the Portland Museum of Art is a giant's stone throw walk up Free Street just one building past the Portland Children's Art Museum. All are welcome anytime of the year.
Visitor trends vary throughout the year seasonally. The population of visitors coming to see the current artist is not as populated as in the summer, however, his works are attract visitors not only from the North East and New England region, but also from the mid-west and other parts of the country outside New England and north regions, too, come to see Winslow Homer's beautiful portraits of mostly rugged coastlines with waves crashing over rocks, and various classical outdoor and natural scenes of the era of transition between romanticism and modernism in our beautiful state of Maine.
The books and materials are made available to visitors and are conveniently located at the Information Center, to the left middle room of the 1st floor. On the second floor, visitors can explore Winslow Homer's Legacy art exhibition. Visitors will appreciate the colorful and yet bold authentic resemblance of all his pieces, and I would recommend visitors take home his book, entitled "Weatherbeaten," edited by Thomas A. Denenberg, directed by Mark H.C. Besserre. The contributor and lenders of his book also made this art exhibit possible. In this 169 page book, there is an exact reference to the masterpieces of Winslow Homer's exhibit here at the Portland Museum of Art with lots of explanation along in the narrations section by section. It's interesting to note that the book is made available for only less than twenty dollars and there are a variety of gifts, post cards, and reading material for the general public of equal or lesser value.
His book comprises of five chapters, tender and solemnly summarizing his works. The first chapter, entitled "Weatherbeaten," is a great example of his tender touch and wonderful narrations which begins by explaining the purpose of the exhibit. As the opening statement is recorded, the purpose of the exhibit is "TO MARK THE restoration of the Winslow Homer Studio, the Portland Museum of Art is proud to present the exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer in Maine." (Denenberg, T. 2012).Remembering that Winslow's visual depictions of life during the Romanticism and Modernism times of which the artist, Winslow Homer, grew up in while completing most of his paintings with the professional artistry of oil based paints on canvas.
Of actually going on the tour, everyone is watched carefully by a friendly and dedicated staff of security personnel within the exhibit. The exhibit starts with a rather broad opening and generally visitors can choose their navigation. However, typically, visitors should start at one painting, and follow the exhibit along to the next painting as the exhibit was restored to be a walking tour. On that same note, if a visitor finds one painting more than extraordinary, the visitor may use the benches marked for seating and reflection purposes.
I personally started at the left entrance, rather than the right, and remember here reviewing some of Winslow's earlier works of the Romanticism era. Glancing deeper into the first painting, holding your stare a few seconds longer, you may realize that beneath and beside each painting is a summary explaining the picture. If you're like me, you'll find your imagination opens up. I stopped, glanced around at the remainder of the exhibit, and then stared back curiously at the first painting again.
Upon reflecting upon the immediate high quality of imagery in the bubbling white waves rocking up and down the coastal rocky shores, at a pose from a distance from the actual shore, with ticket calmly pressed in pocket, I felt like I was actually there beside our famous painter. I then began to squint to see the details of color in contrast to each amazing brushstroke resembling each segment of white rushing water crashing into the gray shale rocky shore, and further opened my eyes and deepened my farsighted vision into the alive and thunderous blue waters of the coastal seas, realizing finally, this is the Maine coast I, too, know. Realizing the background strength in color and contrast is a strong feature of Winslow Homer.
Indeed, Winslow Homer is no fool who rushes into his paintings, yet by the sight and past art course lessons learned by my Art professor of fundamental painting, he yields a contrast in cool colors in the backgrounds and warm darker colors in the foreground. As a matter of reflection, the shale rocks are so vividly and dimensionally defined that each foreground painted on canvas is what it actually would look like when standing stationary for a while. His art sometimes can leave you dreamy, thinking, wondering, and pondering of where the next one will take you.
The next painting, along the exhibit, takes the reader to a place in time where the peace of the outdoors begins to settle in, and the sounds of the waves crackling, like crispy washes of Winslow's careful brushstrokes, allow you to almost hear what Winslow was thinking of through really gazing into each magnificent washing wave, splashing on the rocks. Focusing in on the whites and hues of blue, I began to find myself into them. The world around me stopped. I continued on, reading a passage of the painting, and realizing I should have the rest of the hour to find some more interesting romanticism and modernism in other types of illustrations.
Having started at the left side of the exhibit, I went to the third painting, studied it, quivered, shivered, and realized by looking at the cold icy oceans, I was only deliberately making myself get goose bumps. So I realized that I must continue to explore out of interest of what the picture would say if it had a conversation with me, I decided I would probably end up thinking I was having multiple conversations at the same time, as I glanced around and saw several other paintings different this time around. This time around, glancing around rather quickly at the remainder of the exhibit, I was able to confer the variety of the Romanticism and Modernism era.
These other pictures created the kind of diverse setting I was looking for. They comprised of painted people, mostly ladies, sometimes children, and fishermen and police men, acting or playing, or just enjoying the coast, and sometimes other places congruent to Maine's scenic and natural beauty. I realized I was going to find the top 5 paintings I enjoy. This kind of exhibit and exercise can either keep you on your toes, or it can keep you motionless, finding inner peace and contentment. Moving on to the next paintings, I was going to feel this same mixture of a warm and content yet chilling feeling up and down my spine.
Yet it wasn't until after the whole exhibit into Winslow's sense of place that I felt his warm colors become part of my eye's serenity. I was going to explore the rest carefully, with one goal in mind. My goal is to keep a steady eye on each painting and pick up internal opinion data on the entirety of the exhibit.
Having gone around the exhibit, and I would encourage visitors and colleagues to do the same. I would recommend and encourage visitors to also see these following five paintings. I would recommend looking carefully with thought and a "what if I were the painter?" pose
1. "Saco Bay 1890," oil on canvas (lended by the Clark Art Institute),
2. "A Light in the Sun;" oil on canvas (lended by the Corcoram Gally of Art),
3. "West Point, Prout's Neck, 1900" (lended by Clark Art Institute)
4. The Fox Hunt of 1983 and then back to the beginning again at number 5. "Weatherbeaten" (Lended by the bequest of Charles).
Furthermore, it is wise to indicate that the details begin to really define themselves, and every stroke becomes more free, keen, and contemporary. According to the validity of the claim that Winslow Homer is wiser than a tourist student finding a needle in a haystack, I must admit his work was very much alive and felt like he was actually reading, narrating, and explain to each one of us of each painting of where it comes from, when it was created, and how it was constructed back in the Romanticism and then the Modernism era. Finally, in thinking of the sustainability of his photographs, it should be alright to say the seas, too, come alive, and a very unique sense of place settles right down in. Then curiosity and desire move in and then moved out, but at least it has some eco-touristic push or boost in the real world.
I think it's interesting to note some historical data as it is important. Let me begin with the artist himself, because he did pass away a while ago. Winslow Homer is now 50 years old, and decided to make the smart move and settle down with no monkey in the exhibit. After I really enjoyed my deeper inquiry about his contemporary and romanticism, I began to feel a lot more able to come again anytime. I would recommend to all visitors, faculty, and staff to go to the Portland Museum of Art for the upcoming Winslow Homer exhibit, "Between Past & Present: The Winslow Homer Photographic Project" hosted now until February 17, 2013. All in all, "Weatherbeaten" is an extraordinary exhibit that no visitor should give up missing from their weekly or daily trip to the Portland city of music and arts!
Gerry Forrest Pound
Denenberg, Thomas A. (Editor). Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. "Foreword." p. IX. Copyrighted 2012. The Yale University Press and the Portland Museum of Art.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
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