The Eastport Arts Center’s Washington Street Gallery will present an Open Show inspired by the Luminist movement September 6-27. An exhibition opening reception will be offered on Saturday, September 9, 2-4 pm. Luminism was a 19th century art movement characterized by a treatment of light emphasizing a luminous, uniform glow. The movement’s influence can be seen to this day in the culture of landscape painting that still exists, especially in Maine. Its practitioners often emphasize the quiet beauty of closely observed natural scenes.
The gallery is open during EAC events or by chance or appointment; inquiries about viewing the show may be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about the Inspired by Luminists Open Show:
If you walk into any major museum in the United States and visit their 19th century American paintings, you are sure to find at least one whose setting is identified as Grand Manan, New Brunswick. What accounts for this abundance of artworks tied to such a particular place– one so close to where we stand on our little slice of Downeast Maine?
American painting of the 19th century faced a huge revolution just before the Civil War, led by a small group of painters. While these painters did not view themselves as a unified group, they did share stylistic sensibilities, along with the noted influence of writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, as well as the gentle, bucolic style of the Hudson River School of painters, such as Thomas Cole. Dramatic scenes of wilderness and climatic history paintings gave way to meditative scenes of nature. Termed Luminism by later art historians, this new shared aesthetic included a treatment of light that emphasized a luminous, uniform glow that defined each landscape pictured. These painters eschewed painterly conventions of the era, and strove to hide their hand in their work, making brushstrokes as invisible as possible, and creating a surface that seemed unblemished and almost untouched by human hand. Many of these painters traveled the North Atlantic coast, visiting Grand Manan Island, which at the time was home to a summer resort that became a destination for these artists.
This uniquely American movement cast long shadows on American art: its influence can still be seen to this day in the culture of landscape painting that still exists, especially in Maine. Its practitioners often emphasize the quiet beauty of closely observed natural scenes.
Downeast Maine is a place of great natural beauty and unique natural light that has inspired artists for generations. The Eastport Arts Center wants to honor this history, and provide a place for artists to add their own mark to the Luminist Movement through an exhibition of contemporary art inspired by the movement.
Following are some examples of Luminist paintings.