HALLOWELL — The Harlow presents “50 Years of Art,” a retrospective exhibition highlighting the work of local artist and art educator Barbara Loken. “50 Years of Art” is on view from Feb. 15-March 23, at the gallery at 100 Water St. An opening reception featuring live music performed by the artist will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Fe. 15.

The exhibit “50 Years of Art” celebrates the rich variety of work Loken has created over the years and how it has changed, depending on circumstances, new techniques learned and combinations of materials used. The exhibition features a vibrant range media including watercolor, pottery, mixed media paintings, songwriting, printmaking, batik and more.

Loken describes her background and inspiration as an artist: “I started out in college doing watercolors. After college I did two summer sessions at the International School of Art in Salzburg, Austria, where I was exposed to lots of new ideas. I traveled around the Middle East, spent a few months in Jerusalem, Jordan and then a few months in Israel always sketching and learning about lots of different art. I returned to Italy where I spent another year living in Sicily where I sketched, drew and painted fishermen, cactus, and markets and learned Italian and lots of Sicilian songs. Returning to Minnesota, I taught a year at St. Olaf College, where I met and married Neal and continued to paint and did some silk-screening and Batik.

“Neal, my husband, and I set off to see the world in 1970, backpacking across Asia. It took us a year to cross countries including Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong-Kong. When we finally got to Japan, Neal found a Japanese potter to work with and I studied with a Japanese Woodblock artist. I often wrote songs about the places we visited, which later became a whole series of ‘song pots’ when we returned home and started our pottery studio. Our studio first started in Minnesota and then when we moved to Maine, where I taught art at Hall-Dale High School for twenty years, and we both continued to develop Loken Pottery. This exhibition includes pieces from many of these periods.”

The Harlow is a membership based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to connecting and celebrating art, artists and community in downtown historic Hallowell since 1963. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

For more information visit harlowgallery.org or call 207-622-3813.

Abstract Mixed Media by Barb Loken.

Abstract Mixed Media by Barb Loken.

Watercolor Still Life by Barb Loken.

Ceramic Song Pot by Barb Loken.

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