2003 – Susan Bennett and Michael Branca

Susan Bennett

Wind , stainless steel, 20" x 24" x 6" approx.

Susan Bennett is a University of Southern Maine graduate. Her work has been included in juried shows in New York, Santa Fe, Boston, and Rockport, Maine. In 2009 she exhibited her work at USM in Portland and with the New England Sculptors in Boston.

“Placed in frames, the landscape is viewed as an object, a substitute for the viewer’s perception of reality. Totemic and ritual symbols of non-human spirits, dreams, and myths have in time, been weeded out of our consciousness. We are fortunate to encounter remnants of these instinctive and intuitive experiences.

On an early evening a few days before my Monhegan residency ended, I walked to Lobster Cove. It was a beautiful evening with the sun shining through a warm moist wind. I found a seat on the rocks a short distance from the ocean swells just beyond me. I mixed up a batch of paint and water that looked and felt like mud. I painted on paper, placing the sheets of paper over the rocks to dry. While the paint was drying, the sun was touching the edge of the water, turning red, edging the clouds with purple. I washed my feet and hands with the leftover water from my jug and knew in that moment, I would hold this memory forever.”

P.O. Box 11561
Portland, Maine 04104


Michael Branca

“In five weeks as the ridiculously lucky Artist-in-Residence at the Carina House on Monhegan Island, Maine, I completed my first eighteen oil landscapes. I took on the challenge of working outside as a way of improving my skills as a painter. I thought I’d enjoy the process, but I did not expect to fall in love with it the way I did. I understand now the compulsive drive that leads a person to spend a lifetime painting the landscape. Whole days spent rooted in a beautiful spot, trying to keep up with nature. Chasing the light, racing the tides, fighting the fog. I can’t imagine ever getting it completely right, but I’m sure I’m not done trying.”

Monhegan Blue (from Lighthouse Hill) August 27, 2003, oil on canvas, 11" x 32"

Michael Branca is a contemporary Maine artist. His preferred media and subject matter span a broad spectrum, from large fantastical oil paintings to en plein air landscapes to small conceptual assemblages. His work often addresses the human feeling of disconnectedness with nature, and attempts to find beauty, joy and humor in the unexpected, mundane and common.

Branca was born in Milton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Colby College and attended Temple University/ Tyler School of Art in Rome. He has been awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center and Monhegan’s Carina House, and is currently the Artist in Residence at Southern Maine Community College. His work shows regularly in prominent and obscure galleries and museums.

“The focus of much of my work is on the struggle of the individual to find harmony in and among each of his/her worlds – the natural world, the people world, and the self world. Within each of these spheres, we sometimes feel at home but too often feel out of place. Through my paintings and mixed-media pieces, I seek to explore these relationships. My visual stories have no one plot-line, but rather are intended to evoke within the viewer some sense of my simultaneous awe and discomfort in functioning in the worlds that surround me.”