UMFK

Blake Gallery displays unique fantasy exhibit, public welcome

FORT KENT, Maine — An unusual art exhibit with a fantasy focus is on display at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery and is free to view for all who are interested. 

Artist Michelle Richardson’s “Creatures with Wings and Other Strange Spirits” will be featured at the gallery through Sept. 29.

“I have always loved fantasy. I began reading it at a very young age,” Richardson said. “The way I view life is through a lens futuristic, I would say, and I find inspiration all around me.”

Richardson’s sculptures include fantastical pieces motivated, she said, by her imagination.

Conveying her thoughts into physical constructs is not without challenges.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get that image that is in your head out. Sometimes you just do the best you can. Sometimes it changes as you work on it. One of the hardest things as an artist is to let go of the image and allow the inspiration to let me make something unique and different,” Richardson said.

A multi-media artist, Richardson works with clay, pencil, acrylic, scratchboard, collage and watercolor and has pursued art from the time she was 3 to 4 years old.

“I sculpt to discover what creatures are lurking in my subconscious,” said Richardson in a press release. “Invariably the creatures arrive with stories in tow, which I interpret into sculpture.  Some of the sculptural tales are uniquely mine, such as a beast who catches stars, or a spirit that compulsively collects the remnants of lost dreams, broken hearts and fading wishes, while other sculptures are based on ancient stories — for example, the sacred ochre caves of our ancestors or Narcissus.”

She added, “When completed, the sculptures then pass out of my hands and into the world, carrying the stories with them.  They are all waiting in the gallery.  Every idea that ignited my imagination, every creature that demanded, I reach for a lump of clay,” she said.

Richardson has been married for 30 years to John Richardson, a  computer science instructor at UMFK. He expressed admiration for his wife’s artistic achievements.

“I love it. I like the fantasy aspect of it, just the concept of taking a thought and making it into a physical reality,” he said.

When she is not creating unique and interesting works of art, Michelle Richardson enjoys reading, birding, baking, hiking and amateur photography.

UMFK will host an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to meet and greet Richardson at the gallery. An “Art Talk” will be held Thursday, Sept. 27, from 10:20 to 10:50 a.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Visitors may view Richardson’s exhibit during regular Blake Library hours. For more information, contact Gallery Curator Sofia Birden at 834-7527, or visit www.umfk.edu/library/.

For more information about the works of Michelle Richardson, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/greyclanart.

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