Listening to artists

Cabot Lyford

“I wanted my work to be beautiful, meaningful, complete, and last forever.”~ Cabot Lyford, sculptor

It isn’t often we get to hear directly from artists, and yesterday, at the Strand Theater in Rockland Maine,

Maimany of us had the opportunity. Three films that focus on Maine Masters, Joseph Fiore, Jon Imber, and Cabot Lyford, brought us into the studios and lives of legendary local artists. Each one’s voice came through – full throttle. This BLOG touches upon two – Lyford and Imber.IMG_1987

Cabot Lyford, brought his very first work into the world at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He knew early on that only through wood and stone could he fully live. And that is what he did. Wielding tools of every shape and size over the decades, he found meaning through materials. IMG_2002

IMG_2000The tenderness we feel in his human forms and their relationships to “the other” simply astounds. IMG_1989

Lyford, now in his ninetieth year, who says he no longer has the physical ability to do the work, has more than met his own standard. His sculpture evokes the gentle ebb and flow of a stream finding its way into the wider sea. It has a mysterious yet masterful IMG_1376power, one that will endure forever.

Jon Imber, whose work  has been curated by Suzette McAvoy in an exhibit at the Center for IMG_1677Maine Contemporary IMG_1678Art, demonstrates the profound changes the artist experienced as he learned to use his left hand to paint when Lou Gehrig’s disease took its firm hold. “Ironically [the paintings] are lively and full of movement—embodying the very mobility the ALS took away from him,” Harvard colleague Heddi Siebel wrote. Through his last works, we feel the  positivity Imber brought to the Art making process and come to understand his belief that taking a risk of grand proportion is the only path to expressing what is deepest within one’s soul. Imber painted a series of portraits, a number of which are on exhibit at the CMCA. In his own mind, Imber’s last “summer of painting,” one in which his physical but not emotional health was deteriorating, was when his best work occurred.

How, we wonder, does Art making of this scope and complexity possibly happen?

We can only know from listening to the artists.IMG_1672IMG_1680


With gratitude to those who inspire – artists, film makers, curators, alike,

Nancy Harris Frohlich


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