Of the two new exhibits opening this week in Brunswick's Icon Gallery, one is sure to please.
The Icon Gallery itself is intriguing. Located on Mason Street, it is an old farmhouse converted into an art gallery which currently displays "Works on Paper," by Andrea Sulzer and "Sculpture," by Duncan Hewitt.
Visible from the street, the front hallway yields a stripped and weathered staircase that contrasts sharply with the large blocks of primary colors painted on the walls. The low ceilings and narrow hallways of the house, along with chairs and potted plants in every room, provide a feeling of hominess in conflict with the stark nakedness that most galleries posses.
Just off the beaten path of Maine Street, it is a quiet and pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
Past the colorful hallway is the first of the two exhibits on display. The three sculptures by Duncan Hewitt, a professor of art at the University of Southern Maine, are a curious mixture of wood and metal. The first sculpture, entitled "Inner Tubes," is a wall covered with what look like deflated, circular inner tubes. After closer inspection, it becomes clear that in fact the inner tubes are made not of rubber, but metal. When viewed from across the room this sculpture supplies a pleasing aesthetic full of curved lines and contrasts.
The final two sculptures utilize wood and paint to create two separate brick walls. The first, "Brick Vault," forms a tunnel which, when walked through, evokes a certain childlike anticipation of what may lie at the other end. The second, "Brick Wall," is simply a wall that has been placed just inside the next room to create the illusion of an impenetrable barrier. These sculptures are thought-provoking and each reveals a certain twist or surprise when examined closely.
Up the stairs from the Hewitt exhibit is its less impressive counterpart. "Works on Paper" by Andrea Sulzer is a collection of abstract drawings and 3D works that leave much to be desired. Sulzer, who is a highly distinguished artist, was named the 2005 Visual Arts Fellow by the Maine Arts Commission. Despite her credentials, this exhibit is not her best work. The majority of her drawings largely depend on ink pen and colored pencils but her color schemes do nothing to enhance the aesthetic or interpretive pleasure of the pieces.
There are a few exceptions to this, however, and these occur when it comes to Sulzer's work with textiles.
In an image entitled "Raft," her abstract placement of the textile element and her use of contrasting color both catch the eye and draw attention to detail within the piece. Similarly, her sculpture "Chute" is an interesting mix of 3D cardboard pieces along with oil paint and intricate carvings.
Of her drawings, the gem is "Untitled," which is actually a collage of 15 separate thumbnail pieces. Their intense attention to detail and structural arrangement in rows is geometrically pleasing and draws the eye from one frame to another.
Hewitt's compelling sculptures and the pleasure of the gallery's quirks make a visit to the Icon well worth the trip. Hewitt's and Sulzer's work is on display until October 13 from 1-5 p.m. on weekdays and from 2-4 p.m. on the weekends.