Yesterday, Clif and I went to to the Museum of Art at Bates College. Of the three colleges, Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin—all of which have fine art museums—Bates’s is the smallest. Nevertheless, as The View Out His Window (and in his mind’s eye): Photographs by Jeffery Becton illustrates, small doesn’t mean second rate. Far from it. (If time allows, do clink on the link to take a look at some of the work in this terrific exhibit.)
The moment I walked into the gallery and saw the photographs, I got that particular feeling—a sort of current—that comes from seeing very good art. Becton’s photographs are large, and they feature surreal montages of old houses, old doors, peeling paint, still lifes, and decay. Water figures prominently in all the photographs as it comes into a room or laps at the edges or is just plain there. The palate is muted, almost soothing, yet there is also a certain sadness in most of the photos. If Andrew Wyeth had had a more vivid imagination, this is how he might have painted.
From one of the wall signs, I learned that “[t]o create the works…[Becton] photographed, painted, layered, fused and altered digital imagery from myriad sources and constructed the pictures…”
The woman at the desk told me that she’d like to step into one of the photographs. My response: “Only if there was a quick way out.” All that water coming into the rooms has a, well, unsettling effect.
Indeed, on the wall, is a quotation by Jeffrey Becton: “We love, need, and fear water and for good reason. I try to tease out the resonances and amplify them because life is difficult and unfair and the passing of time is mysterious.”
The exhibit runs until March 26, and Clif and I plan to go back for a second look. Bates College is only thirty minutes or so from where we live, and for us it is an easy trip. Readers, if you like art and live within driving distance, then I urge you to go see this exhibit. Admission is free, and on Monday and Wednesday the museum is open until 7:30.
After the exhibit, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Fuel, which specializes in simple French cooking, “country French food with no attitude.” The food and flavors at Fuel have a subtlety missing from most restaurants in Maine, even the good ones. Fuel also makes delicious cocktails, which I cannot resist.
The restaurant has a comfortable bar, and we chose to sit there and order from the bar menu. (We have a gift certificate, and we decided it would go further at the bar.)
First I started with a cocktail, a cosmopolitan. As Clif was driving, he had a beer.
I had lobster pasta and cheese, a lovely blend of cheeses and lobster—I found three whole claws in my dish.
As we never eat beef at home, Clif ordered a burger and fries, a treat for him because he has it so infrequently.
Was there room for dessert? You bet there was. We ordered profiteroles—a fancy word for cream puffs—filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.
A sweet ending to a fine day.