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Regionalism: Maine Art and Artist

Is regionalism possible in a globally- connected environment? What does the term Maine artist mean in today’s art culture and is such a term meaningful at all?

In the last century American artists studied art abroad to escape what they felt was a provincial culture. As a reaction, some artists attempted to make a purely American painting. When Jackson Pollack was asked about such American painting, he replied; “The idea of an isolated American painting, so popular in this country during the thirties, seems absurd to me, just as the idea of a purely American mathematics or physics would seem absurd. And in another sense, the problem doesn’t exist at all; or, if it did, would solve itself: An American is an American and his painting would naturally be qualified by the fact, whether he wills or not. But the basic problems of contemporary painting are independent of any one country.”

There has long been a similar tension in Maine, as in other regional art cultures like Santa Fe, the Adirondacks, and Cape Cod. Artists have always made their studios in beautiful places, but many remain culturally connected to urban, cosmopolitan art culture. Cezanne and van Gogh painted in Provence but their style was linked to Paris and their posthumous fame came through their influence on art in Paris and other European capitals. With electronic communication and cheap travel, it is easier than ever to live in a rural area and remain connected to cosmopolitan culture.

Today’s art culture inhabits an international archipelago populated by the educated, well- traveled, and well- read. These like-minded individuals may have more in common with their counterparts half way around the globe than with their next-door neighbor. Can a regional style be authentic in this atmosphere, or is it bound to be a willfully naïve affectation?

So we ask what does Maine mean to you? Does it affect your work or does your art have nothing to do with where you live? Are you drawn to Maine by some romantic idea, by the landscape? Do you summer here to escape the heat of the city? Did you move here to escape the high rents of the city? Do you feed on the local art culture or does it oppress you, confine you? Is it special, or parochial, or is it, dare I say, provincial?

The editorial board of the Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly invites UMVA members to submit up to 4 images for the theme, Regionalism. You may also include a written statement, essay or comments to accompany the work of 150 words or less.

Include an image list and statement or essay in Word doc. format. Image credit list format: #1  Artist’s Name, ” Title of Work”, medium, size, date(if desired), photo by (if this is not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist)

Images should be approximately 1000 pixels on short side with total resolution between 500KB to 1.2MB. Image files names must include the artist’s name and the number corresponding to the image list. Put “Regionalism” in the subject line and submit to by September 1st deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members Submit” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

We are no longer able to accommodate artists’ formatted visual essays, we will lay out text and images submitted using the new guidelines above.

Maine artists and arts community members can become members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists by clicking here. Membership helps support the UMVA’s advocacy and helps make this Maine Arts Journal: UMVA Quarterly possible. For a free subscription to the MAJ click here, this means that a link to this Journal will be mailed to your inbox.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, we leave the question of photo credit to the discretion of the submitter when there is no required photo credit (photo by self, image ownership freely given, copyright with contract, copyright expired, work for hire, etc). This is particular to our article genre we have dubbed “visual essays” which are generally designed and submitted as complete PDFs by the author. In light of our policy and requests, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.

Thank you,
MAJ Editorial Board

Jeffrey Ackerman, Alan Crichton, Daniel Kany, Natasha Mayers, Jessica McCarthy, Nora Tryon