Tessa Greene O'Brien
Floating in the Water Looking up at the Sky
July 2, 2021 - July 31, 2021
"Something clicked within me when I first spent time in Eastport, ME - a tiny in town filled with contrasts. It is a borderland, with little red buoys marking the thin line between the United States and Canada, and a dramatic tide that highlights the push & pull between ocean and land. The line between nature and humans there is thin, and the border between the past and present feels this was as well.
The Eastport series evolved over the course of the last 18 months, with several visits back to the community. The paintings all depict places in or around Eastport, but the subject matter is more about me trying to paint the romance of falling in love with a new place, trying to remember what it looks like when I was away, and trying to record and savor every detail while I was there. The landscape was new to me but it felt familiar, reminding me of the small coastal community that I grew up. I was attracted to the familiarity of a place that was unburdened by actual memories.
The Eastport paintings are about how it feels to lie on your back floating in the water, looking up at the sky, what sunny fields smell like, and the crisp satisfaction of high noon shadows on shingled houses. They are about grief, joy, & the failures of memory to satisfy desire. I am using paint & textiles to try to describe the way that places layer over one another in memory, with edges blurred. The paintings are overgrown, spilling over, faded, swirling, & scattered, with dappled light & color turning a place into a daydream."
This series was made possible with the generous support of The Tides Institute, the Ellis Beauregard Foundation Travel Grant, and the St. Botolphs Club Emerging Artist Grant, I extend my deepest gratitude to each organization.
- Tessa Green O'Brien