Press Releases

July 4, 2021: Art review: ‘Acquired Symbols’ celebrates a teacher’s far-reaching effects

Jorge S. Arango writes up an excellent review of our Acquired Symbols show!


"The important role of catalysts in the development of art in Maine is currently on colorful display at the Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset, embodied by the exhibition “Acquired Symbols” (through July 17). By catalysts I mean people whose enthusiasm, influence, willpower and talent set changes in motion that reverberate in ways perhaps not immediately apparent in the larger art world. 

In the case of the Maine Art Gallery itself, which is located in a circa 1807 schoolhouse considerably far removed from the commercial thoroughfare of Route 1, the catalyst was Mildred Burrage, an artist well known in her day for her mica collages, who had previously experimented with impressionism and Jackson Pollock-influenced abstraction. It was thanks to her and a handful of others that the gallery came into existence in the mid-1950s and became an incalculably important stimulus for modernist art in the state. The venue she created has exhibited, among other seminal Maine painters, Dahlov Ipcar, William Thon, Andrew Wyeth and William Zorach.