AUGUSTA – The Maine Arts Commission begins its 2009 season of Arts in the Capitol with the unveiling of works by renowned artist Dennis Pinette. Also on display will be a large-scale painting by New York native Samuel Gelber, who now paints nearly year-round in his studio in his farmhouse in Morrill.

Artwork from Pinette will be on public display throughout Maine’s Capitol Complex until April this year, while Gelber’s work is expected to brighten the walls of the State House Appropriations Room for the entire year.

Pinette’s collection, called “Expansion of Logic,” was recently on display at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. It can now be seen in the State House, the Blaine House and at the offices of the Maine Arts Commission.

Born in Belfast, Pinette grew up in Massachusetts, practiced art in Connecticut and returned to Maine to become one of the state’s premier landscape painters. His paintings of wilderness are rich and bold, and his intense images of nature with paper mills, power plants and other industrial constructions have brought him national acclaim.

In 2003, Pinette had a 15-year retrospective at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. His work is included in the permanent collections of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Portland Museum of Art and the Colby College Museum of Art, as well as numerous private and corporate collections.

“The works in this exhibit are from an artist at the top of his field,” said Kerstin Gilg, a Maine Arts Commission’s Public Art associate. “The paintings are engaging and beautiful while looking squarely at the provocative relationships that occur within nature, and between nature and the constructed world.”

The piece by Gelber hanging in the Appropriations Room of the Statehouse covers 96 square feet. Titled “Four Seasons Summer,” it comes from Gelber’s “The Four Seasons” collection, which was first exhibited at Rockland’s Farnsworth Museum in 2002.

Gelber describes this oil-on-canvas painting as a construction of lines, colors, dots and dashes representing the energies of landscapes. Vertical and diagonal lines characterize upwards growth and myriad branching that cross elaborately, inviting the dedicated viewer to judge and reconstruct the whole.

The “Expansion of Logic” exhibit, like all Arts in the Capitol events, is free and open to the public. Arts in the Capitol exhibitions are self-guided. The works are installed in offices of state employees and require that visitors be flexible and respectful of people working there. At times, exhibitions may not be accessible due to meetings.

Exhibits may be visited as follows:

Maine Arts Commission Office: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Maine State House: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Blaine House: 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please call ahead, (207) 287-2121.

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