Tree Talk art exhibition

MONSON — The Tree Talk art exhibition developed from a conversation Jemma Gascoine had with Mike Decker, Monson Arts education officer, when Monson Pottery/Gascoine Gallery was hosting the November 2023 Artist Meet n’ Greet. The Meet n’ Greet is an event hosted by local businesses to welcome the 10 artists juried into Monson Arts International Artist Residency Program. Both Mike and Gascoine agreed that they wouldn’t want to live in a place without many trees – about 90 percent of Maine is forested, the highest percentage of any state.

As they were chatting the Abbott/Watts resident photographer Sam Margevicius from New York was milling around in the crowd, so it is fitting that his photograph “Picnic Table Tableau”, made during his residency in Monson, is featured in the show. The show highlights six other artists who have been residents of Monson Arts: Anne Alexander, Susie Brandt, Helen Glazer, Don Miller, Jonty Sale, and Barbara Sullivan. It also includes five artists who have taught workshops for Monson Arts: Alan Bray, Randy Fein, Rebecca Goodale, James Pullen, and I. Other exhibiting Tree Talk artists are Dan Falt, Sam Giberson, Sumner Roberts, Candace Thomas, Todd Watts, and Kathy Weinberg. All of these artists have studios in four different states and two different countries.

This is the sixth art show that the Gascoine Gallery has hosted, but this time Gascoine tried a new approach. She invited artists who explore very different media to hone in and celebrate a single theme. The show includes book arts, ceramics, fiber arts, frescoes, stone carving, wood carving, wood cuts, paintings, drawings, and photographs.

Trees are in peoples’ DNA, which is why hiking in a forest or picnicking in a park is so nurturing for the soul, something Henry David Thoreau alludes to in his book, The Maine Woods, which was inspired by his travels in this region. Monson is the last town on the Appalachian Trail before the famed 100 Mile Wilderness, the most grueling section of the whole 3,000 miles. Approximately 3,000 hikers trek through the town each year, and often visit the Gascoine Gallery.

Historically, many people in Piscataquis County derived their income from the forest and wood products, whether it was logging, working in a wood or paper mill, trucking logs, or making furniture and paper products. Trees have been central to this Highland Community’s life, so it is no surprise that they have been the source of much artistic inspiration, too.

The exhibition is located on the second floor at 16 Greenville Road above Monson Pottery. The exhibition will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment and will run until the end of the year. The show opening is Friday, July 12 from 3-5 p.m. There will be appetizers, and the string trio the Elm Street Strugglers will be performing 3:30-4:30 p.m.

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