When native Mainers walk into artist Nina Jerome’s exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, Jerome said most of them immediately recognize her painting of a tall Maine pine forest, in the midst of many paintings inspired by the brambly, tangled wild grape and kudzu thickets of the foothills of the Piedmont region of Virginia.
“There’s just such a difference between the straight, kind of linear shape of those tall New England forests, and the kind of tangled, complex, chaotic movement of thickets,” said Jerome, who has been based in Bangor for most of her career. “The Mainers all notice that.”
Jerome’s show, “Entangled,” up now through Dec. 21 at the museum, consists of a series of paintings inspired by Jerome’s several residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst. In that region, and in many parts of the south, forests can often become overrun with vines — wild grape, kudzu, honeysuckle and others can grow up to 40 feet tall and choke out sunlight and other plants.
Inspired by the visual complexities of the vines, she began to draw them during her residency, and upon returning to her Bangor studio began turning those drawings into an extensive series of paintings, ranging from more directly representational studies of the leaves and branches, to more abstract loops and swirls.
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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