HINCKLEY — The L.C. Bates Museum’s annual summer exhibition is scheduled to open Saturday, May 7.

“Wilderness and Culture” includes over 35 works by 20 artists from Maine or with ties to the state, who work in a variety of mediums. The virtual art opening is set for 5 p.m. May 7.

Caged Lion (1976-77), Bernard Langlais’s monumental wooden sculpture on the lawn next to the L.C. Bates Museum, encapsulates the notion of captivity. Taking its cue from the fall 2021 state-wide initiative and the 2021–22 Annual Humanities Theme at Colby College on Freedom and Captivity, the summer exhibition invites artists to engage with the meanings that these two concepts hold for the natural world and the ways in which people conceive, represent, and imagine freedom and captivity in nature, according to a news release on the exhibit.

The artists in the show consider notions such as wilderness, cultivation, and domestication. This exhibition comprises figurative and abstract depictions of the relationship between humans and nature. For example, Janice Anthony’s painting, “Lost Pond, Cobscook,” offers a view of a pristine pond surrounded by freely growing vegetation where one can find solitude and an escape from what Anthony calls the “busyness and production” of our society.

Expressing the theme of “Wilderness and Culture” in a more metaphorical way, Rachael O’Shaughnessy’s “Surf Echo 3” is a dark abstract print that alludes to the ocean’s awe-inspiring vastness.

In his photograph “Bridging the Wilderness,” John Meader illustrates how humans and nature intertwine as the “railroads were the industrial veins that grew through the wilderness.”

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Lynn Karlin presents an image of the successful domestication of wilderness. In her photo, “Domestication meets Cultivation,” a house cat sits next to a cruciferous vegetable head.

Nina Bohlen’s oil panel explores people’s ability to take advantage of nature in order to “beautify” or “entertain” their otherwise industrial world. Bohlen’s “In the Jungle” sets a dichotomy as the natural world collides with that of human creation: a colorful vase of flowers with a tropical bird perched on it is surrounded by dark jungle vines.

As a non-traditional museum that focuses on the natural world, L.C. Bates offers a setting to explore how the dichotomy of “freedom and captivity” plays out in nature.

“Wilderness and Culture” is the result of a collaborative effort between the L.C. Bates Museum staff and two Colby College students, María Minuesa and Caroline Scarola, under the supervision of Professor Véronique Plesch.

For more information, call 207-238-4250 or email [email protected].

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