An ongoing film series featuring some of Maine’s most distinguished artists
sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists


Archives / In Production
The following artist DVDs are in various stages of production. In addition to posting short clips from these works-in-progress, we are now beginning to post full-length interviews. The first is a Jon Imber film-in-progress. The second two are with Ashley Bryan (50 minutes) and Abby Shahn (41 minutes). Click on their images below to watch these interviews. All of these projects are in need of funds for them to join the thirteen completed DVDs. Please help support the completion of these important documentaries – helping preserve the legacy of art in Maine and America.

click to see video clip of Jon Imber film-in-progress
Jon Imber: Virgin Territory (working title) is a work-in-progress about how an artist, one of the important artists of our time, brought a community together to celebrate life in the midst of his dying. It is a story about each one of us and the humor and courage we can draw on to deal with our own mortality.

In the film we first encounter Imber in his Somerville, MA studio while he is switching from painting with his right hand to his left. Over the summer of 2012 his right arm had been weakening. The diagnosis was ALS, a degenerative, terminal, muscle neuron condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Over the next few months, Imber loses strength in his left arm but persists in painting, now holding the brush braced at his waist between his left and his right hands, moving the brush with his shoulders and hips. As the community rallies to support him, he supports them, painting over 100 portraits in the summer of 2013 of people who drop by to give him a back rub. This is a story of two very different kinds of art — one determined to find its place in the history of art, another determined to find love in community.

Click on photo above to see a clip of the film-in-progress.

Ashley Bryan preview
ASHLEY BRYAN was born in Harlem, New York, in 1923. He attended Cooper Union and the Skowhegan School and later chaired the art department at Dartmouth College. Bryan paints, writes and illustrates children’s books, on Little Cranberry Island and performs poetry around the world.

In 2008, he was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. He won the 2009 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for “lasting contribution to literature for children.”

Click on photo above to see a preview.

photo of Abby Shahn.  click on photo to see the interviewArtists often refer to ABBY SHAHN as a “painter’s painter,” meaning they are particularly inspired and influenced by the courage of her stylistic innovations. Her subjects include abstract exploration of the energies and archetypes of nature, local crises with a universal significance and geopolitical themes. There is an emotional spectrum in her canvases, collages, mixed media work, installations and performances that ranges from the playful to the very serious. Born in 1940, Shahn lives in central Maine where she settled when her parents, the remarkable artists and authors Ben and Bernarda Shahn, were among the earliest members of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
  Click on photo to see the interview.

photo of Fred Woell.  click on photo to see the interviewFred Woell is indeed a Maine Master. He has spent a good part of his adult life, 37 years, on Deer Isle, gathering junk, making his “anti-jewelry” and other sculptures, and inspiring friends and students. The power of his work resides in its commentary on everyday American life with all its ironies and sometimes misguided values. He often juxtaposes images creating an assemblage of ideas. Rather than sermonizing, he uses the junk he collects to create brilliant, mischievous, humorous sculptures – often producing insights into the healing nature of art.

  Click on photo to see a preview.

WILLIAM IRVINE (b. 1931) grew up in the small coastal town of Troon, Scotland, where he began painting at age 12, captivated by what he calls “the magic of painting, that doorway through which we can enter into other worlds.” He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1956, then lived and painted in London for ten years until 1967. In 1968 he moved to Blue Hill, Maine, where the proximity to the sea continues to inform many of his paintings.

Yvonne Jacquette preview
Originally from Pittsburgh where she was born in 1934, YVONNE JACQUETTE attended the Rhode Island School of Design. She first came to Maine in the 1950s and eventually spent each summer in Lincolnville with her husband, photographer and filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt (1914-1999). Jacquette is best known for her aerial views of New York City (her winter home), Tokyo, Maine and other places.

Click on photo at left to see a preview.

Born in Sayre, Pennsylvania, in 1925, CABOT LYFORD attended Cornell University. After viewing the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” in the Louvre, he vowed to sculpt. He attended the Skowhegan School and later taught sculpture and art history at Philips Exeter Academy for 23 years. In 1990 he received the National Academy of Design’s Sculpture Prize. He lives and works in New Harbor.

Born in New York City in 1924, EMILY NELLIGAN graduated from Cooper Union. Since first visiting Great Cranberry Island in 1944 with her husband, artist Marvin Bileck (1910-2005), Nelligan has focused on making exquisite charcoal drawings of the island landscape, capturing its shadowy contours and primal edges. The Bowdoin College Museum of Art mounted an exhibition of her work in 2000.

Born Charles Stanley, CARLO PITTORE (1943-2005) studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Portland School of Art, Chelsea College of Art in London and Brooklyn Museum Art School. He was a significant figure in the international field of mail art in 1970s and 1980s and gained recognition for his bold figurative work. As an advocate for artists, Pittore founded the Union of Maine Visual Artists. He mentored young artists through the Academy of Carlo Pittore in Bowdoinham, Maine.

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Sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists, an educational organization promoting Maine art.

© UMVA / Maine Masters Project 2009-2013