Inside the Brunswick Business Center at 18 Pleasant Street, the Points of View Art Gallery can be found. Artwork by Maine-based artists adorn the walls between office spaces for community members, mimicking the interconnected nature of Brunswick itself.
With its current exhibition “Full Color,” the Points of View Art Gallery proves that it is still going strong after nearly 20 years since the gallery’s opening. The range of mediums used to approach the exhibit’s theme of color highlights the diversity of the artists’ styles.
Within the group, there is a range of artistic experience, from artists who discovered their passion later in life, to those like Ed McCartan who has spent his career painting and teaching art. McCartan expressed that maintaining inspiration is and always has been an ongoing process but that his background in philosophy has been a consistent spark for his work.
“I like the spirituality of art. I try to meditate and focus on things beyond the material, to touch on the metaphysical,” McCartan said. “I’m at this stage of my life, really appreciating the connection between us and nature, the little, overlooked things, the small flowers that you walk by, or the beautiful design in a tree.”
Alongside his love for creating, McCartan acknowledged the challenges that artists face professionally.
“It’s tough to live off of your sales. I’m not naive. I like to sell, but I don’t want to be determined by sales. I do it because I love it.” McCartan said. “I want to experiment and take risks and keep painting. I’ll let the materials and the canvas tell me what’s next. Putting pure colors down, pure raw colors is exciting.”
Amid the unrest of life as an artist, the Points of View group provides a space for the members to ground themselves and connect with one another.
“We’ll sit around and check in with what’s going on, what are you doing in your life and then we get down to business, critiquing, talking about art, sharing shows coming up,” McCartan said.
This community has been helpful both for artists like McCartan and for those like Judith Long, who was at the start of her artistic exploration when the founding group came together.
“I was around 65, and one day I thought, ‘wow, I’ve always said that someday I’d like to learn to draw, I guess someday better be now,’” Long said.
She began her journey with a drawing course at Maine College of Art and has since explored many mediums, from graphite to dark room photography, watercolor, printmaking and collage. Though she now focuses primarily on printmaking, her persistent interest in a variety of mediums is revealed in her photolithography print for the exhibit titled “Savannah’s Child.” Long explained that the meaning behind the name “Points of View” reflects the artistic range within the group.
“A lot of people are drawing or painting, and yet within that, there are very different approaches,” Long said. “Just like pencil points, we all have different points of view.”
McCartan finds his pursuit for a range of perspectives in his appreciation of Bowdoin student art.
“The talent I see at Bowdoin is a breath of fresh air. I recently looked at the display in [the Visual Arts Center], and it’s really good work. I’ve always been impressed,” McCartan said. “It’s very healthy in the art world to be exposed to many different people with different points of view.”
As for the future of the Points of View group, Long emphasized that they’re constantly adapting. This has included reducing weekly meetings to only once a month and expanding the exhibition themes to allow for more freedom. The older age of the members occasionally impacts their artmaking abilities, but the spirit of the group is still strong.
“We’re talking realistically about how much we can do. This year’s annual meeting may be the end of the big efforts for shows. Over the years we’ve gained new people and lost old people and the core remains,” Long said.
For now, McCartan is enjoying the present.
“I’m realizing, ‘How many more years have I got? I’m gonna use them.’ Today I was at a gallery picking up a painting and tomorrow I’m gonna go over in the morning and paint,” McCartan said.