September 11 – October 14, 2023
“Alison Rector: Island Refuge”
Artist’s Reception: Wednesday, September 13 from 5–7pm
“Pause and breathe. Time slows down again. Then it starts up as the wind rustles the marsh grass. Rector has inhabited this spot and looked, listened, and smelled the sea air coming across the marsh.”
— Lisa Gibbons, catalog excerpt
Alison Rector is a representational painter and silkscreen printmaker, who is best know for her luminous painting of interiors. For Shared Quiet, her 2014 solo show at Courthouse Gallery, Rector focused on a series of Maine libraries, in particular the Carnegie Libraries. She was inspired by their architecture, and their presence in small communities. By the early twentieth century, a Carnegie library was often the most imposing structure in hundreds of small American communities, and Maine has eighteen of them.
Rector’s paintings are psychological portraits of forgotten places. She often looks for ordinary or neglected spaces in order to depict an extraordinary moment. She paints with oils and uses light falling across objects or filtering through windows and doors to create a sense of atmosphere and allure. Poet Bruce Pratt captures the essence of Rector’s work:
When I study her paintings, I sense that I am standing in them in real time, smelling new paint or old must, feeling the sea breeze luffing the curtains or the dry heat rising from a woodstove, hearing the creak of the stairs or the whistle of the kettle, tasting meals long ago eaten at now unoccupied tables. Like James Joyce’s prose, Alison’s art stimulates all of our senses, elevating the prosaic to the majestic, which is why her work inspires ekphrastic responses—poems that comment on another work of art such as Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.”
Rector holds a BA in Painting from Brown University. She has been featured in Art New England, The Gettysburg Review, Maine Home + Design, and Carl Little’s books More Paintings of Maine, Art of Acadia and Paintings of Portland. Her work has been in numerous exhibitions, several biennials at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, including the 2018, and 2003 biennial at the Portland Museum of Art. In 2017, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art purchased a painting for their permanent collection and highlighted Rector’s work in a a solo exhibition “The Value of Thought.”
Rector’s work was highlighted in a solo exhibition at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, Maine.