Brick Store Exhibits Repairing Artwork, As The World Begins To Heal

Everywhere you go now people feel like they are in good shape.

After more than a year of watching COVID-19 shut down the world and lock people up in their homes, we all come out and feel a little better. Part of the pain of isolation and loss comes to an end.

Although planning began before the pandemic, the current exhibit at the Illustration Institute of Portland “The art of repair” seems appropriate for this moment in time. It is currently visible at Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, until August. Beyond the work of professional artists, it features everyday objects that people have repaired or repaired over the years. There are more than 100 pieces in total on display.

Some of the mended items on display – on loan from community members – include stuffed animals, a sofa, bowls, a knife, tools, shoes and more.

The exhibition presents works of art that reflect three types of repair: practical repair or restoration of an object, aesthetic repair from art that has a curative effect, and cultural repair or art that engages the community in a conversation about healing.

Photographer Joshua Dixon, who was mutilated by pit bulls, has had more than 50 surgeries.

Considering the range of ideas on repair that the organizers wanted to include, the works of art are also quite varied. Artist and photographer Joshua Dixon, who studied at Maine College of Art, was attacked by two pit bulls when he was 8 years old and underwent 59 surgeries to reconstruct his face. He has poignant photos of himself in the exhibit.

I cathartically release my emotions; to create an empathetic space where I and the audience can develop conversations about our society, ”he wrote in his artist statement for the exhibition.

Artist Michael Velliquette created a colorful and exuberant creature from cut-out paper figurines, some in the shape of hands. The artist’s statement indicates that in the play “the notion of ‘repair’ manifests itself through the emotional catharsis of the characters’ gestures and expressions – whereby the release of a strong emotion can have healing and restorative effects” .

Painter Edith Vonnegut, daughter of writer Kurt Vonnegut, painted various essential workers, those who kept pointing when the world stopped. These include a postman and a store clerk.

“My goal these days is to portray essential frontline workers with all the importance and majesty that has been bestowed on kings and queens and world leaders,” Vonnegut wrote in an artist statement for the exposure. “I honestly believe that none of the former deserved a majestic performance.”

Three paintings of essential workers by Edith Vonnegut, part of the “The Art of Repair” exhibition. Photo by Edith Vonnegut

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Margarita B. Bittner

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