My Woods 4, 2003, monotype oil paint
Opening Reception Saturday, March 3, 6pm - 8pm
Artist Talk Wednesday, March 7, at 12:30 p.m.
Lubec is remote. Located at the very end of a narrow peninsula in Maine, the tiny fishing village sits at the most eastern point one can reach within the continental United States—a perfect place for those seeking inspiration from a natural environment.
Family connections brought Bohlen to the area. Briefly married to Hyman Bloom, she invited him to accompany her for short stays at her stepfather’s home in the mid-1950’s. Many artists came. Photographers Paul Caponigro, Marie Cosindas and Nicholas Dean visited the area, as well as well as sculptors Kahlil Gibran, Marianna Pineda and Harold Tovish. Painters Iso Papo, Ellen Sinclair and Stephen Trefonides were also attracted to the rugged landscape, each approaching the opportunity to work with landscape in their own way.
Ironically, given the town’s location, Bohlen “wasn’t particularly interested in ocean views.” Instead she turned her attention to the dense woods of North Lubec and purchased a deserted farm to have a place that was truly her own. Taking full possession by planting trees and building a studio, she cheerfully admits to a seeming folly. “It was a miserable piece of property—no one had done anything in fifty years and it took a long time to make it feel right.”
Art played a big part. Using a portable etching press especially designed to be transported by backpack, Bohlen worked inside her isolated studio to create translucent monotypes that are “not just about trees.” Having spent the past twenty years transforming a barren landscape, she intimately knows her property. “These prints are about particular trees that I know.” Each is a unique record of twisted, complex shapes surrounded by delicate, almost surreal light. Light defines and informs memory, allowing the artist to not only take possession of her woods, but also her experience of being there.
Born in Boston, Nina Bohlen received her BA from Radcliffe College in 1953 and later studied with artists Hyman Bloom, John Brennan, Morton Sacks, Harold Tovish and Frank Tock. She has taught at the New Arts Center, Newton, MA; Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA; Maine College of Art, Portland, ME and the Tides Institute, Eastport, ME. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Drawings from Boston: Selections from the Collection of the Boston Public Library, 1957 and Goldstein and Fishman’s Drawing to See, 2004. She was a 1977 award recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC and artist-in-residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France in 1989.
Bohlen has exhibited extensively, with solo exhibitions at the Boston Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library, Boston, MA; the Duxbury Free Library, Duxbury, MA; Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA; Harvard College and Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA; the St. Botolph Club, Boston, MA and other institutions. Since 1957 she has shown at such venues as Carl Siembab, Shore, Swetzoff and Tragos galleries in Boston, MA: at June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME; and the Far Gallery in NYC. Her work appears in the permanent collections of the Boston Public Library, Boston, MA; the Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; the Tides Institute and Museum of Art, Eastport, ME; and in numerous private collections.
The artist currently lives and works from her homes and studios in both Waltham, MA and Lubec, ME.