UMVA Art Gallery Presents Sea Changes: Transformations Wanted by Joanne Tarlin – MAINE ART SCENE MAGAZINE

(Portland, ME) The Union of Visual Artists of Maine is pleased to host the artist’s next exhibition “Sea Changes: Transformations Wanted” Joanne Tarlin at its Portland Chapter Gallery from August 5-29, 2022. There will be an opening reception on Friday, August 5 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. In addition, there will be an artist talk on Saturday, August 20 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Tarlin will present assemblage sculptures for the first time, made from plastics and seashells she has painted on the beach and consumer packaging. These small works boldly call out the abundance of plastics among us and despite their recycling markings, their obvious danger to the environment. Tarlin transforms plastic into surreal eternal flowers and arranges them in recycled gum packaging transformed into a vase, asking the question which will dominate: the natural or the synthetic.

Joanne Tarlin expresses her desire for action and remediation on issues such as rising sea levels, plastic pollution, hate crimes and other injustices, in surreal water and landscape paintings and sculptures created at from jetsam and “recyclables”.

Tarlin lives along Harpswell Sound where, at low tide, she scours the shore for debris: plastic bags, bottle caps, nets, frayed lines, pieces of broken lobster traps, driftwood and more, to turn into art. Their colors, textures and shapes as well as empirical plant forms fill his paintings. She juxtaposes the familiar in nature: plants, water and sky, in familiar hues, with bold shapes and unusual colors. One series features vibrant pinks and oranges in landscapes that have two horizons; a turbulent sea under storm clouds and a choppy surface is submerged below a second horizon above which the “sky” is plastic pink or buoy orange. Tarlin tries to create complexity, even a bit of confusion with views both above and below horizons, near and far. Its lines morph into the shapes of birds, fishing nets and branch-like lines bending to yield or embrace space, as if weariness or hope were personified. With titles reminiscent of news headlines, for example, Sea Level Rising, Feeling Overwhelmed? or, What We Don’t Know About Climate Change Tarlin Reveals What She Thinks.

About Joanne Tarlin

Joanne Tarlin grew up in an old apple orchard and spent much of her youth outdoors, which fostered her connection to nature. In her studio overlooking Harpswell Sound, she has a copy of Winslow Homer’s Gulf Stream. Tarlin, like Homer and the Romantic painters, renders earth, sky, and sea as metaphors for life and expressions of his ideas and ideals. Tarlin moved to Maine in late 2019 and her work has since been included in the Center for Maine Contemporary Art [ON]now the Competition exhibition; featured in Maine Arts Journal Quarterly and featured in Wanderlust in Coastal Maine, June/July issue of ArtScope magazine. She was recently named to the board of directors of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. Tarlin received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts and is a member of the National Association of Women Artists. She is a former board member of ArtsWayland in Massachusetts and co-founder of their gallery @theWgallery; she is also a founding member of the online artist collective ArrayContemporary. Joanne’s work is part of collections across New England and abroad.

About the Maine Union of Visual Artists and the Portland Media Center.

The Union of Maine Visual Artists is a collective of volunteer artists. We represent artists from across the state in all fields of endeavor and welcome those who support contemporary Maine artists. UMVA is dedicated to upholding the dignity of artists while creating positive social change through the arts. By collaborating with other cultural and political organizations, we raise awareness of important issues while promoting an inclusive arts community in Maine. The UMVA Gallery is located in the Portland Media Center at 516 Congress Street in Portland Maine. For more information, please visit

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