What Needs to Be Retrieved
The Marriage of Tools, Art and History
Summer 2005

Show Update

A few of the artists have now removed their works, but many have left many selections.  Others have replaced some of their works with new pieces.  We encourage everyone to come visit (or visit again) to see the new works.  Alan Magee's works are still on exhibit and John Whalley has rotated in some new works.  During the off season, the museum attempts to be open on Saturdays from 10 - 4:30 and Sundays from 11 - 4:30.  Check the hours by calling 207-288-5126.

"One Through Eight" by Margo Klass, "Thingpoem" and "Inheritance" by Alan Magee and "Untitled" by Melita Westerlund

From June 25 to October 10, the Davistown Museum in Liberty hosted the first special show in its five year history, called What Needs to be Retrieved: The Marriage of Tools, Art, and History.  The exhibit celebrates the many ways in which hand tools help construct and interpret the world, focusing on artists' myriad uses of tools in their work.  The show juxtaposes work from the permanent collection and over twenty Maine artists with a selection of historically significant tools. The title of the show, taken from a Philip Booth poem, alludes to its theme - the stories, usefulness, and beauty in tools and other objects often discarded or overlooked.

Participating artists share Curator H. G. Skip Brack's passion for the uses, stories, and beauty of tools.  Some of them painted and drew tools, many of which they found in Liberty Tool Company, one of Brack's three used and antique tool stores.  Painters include Philip Barter, Alan Magee, Jaye Schlesinger, and John Whalley, whose graphite drawings are also on display. Magee's 100" x 33" tapestries, created from his paintings by computer-assisted weavers in Belgium, pay larger-than-life homage to implements that he found at Liberty Tool Company.

Other artists incorporated tools in sculptures. They include Peter Borelli, Roger Majorowicz, Margo Klass, David McLaughlin, Nate Nichols, Eric and Justin Paetow, G. Buddy Swenson, Melita Westerlund, and Eric Ziner.

Roger Majorowicz, "Kings Mills II"                     Margo Klass, "Warrior"

Photographers exhibiting their work are John Boeckeler, Tillman Crane, Dave Higgins, show photographer Donna Just, and Philip Rogers.  Kathleen Kelly exhibits her color aquatint prints, and Annaliese Jakimides has made collages, using silk dyed with rust from Hulls Cove Tool Barn nails and files. Curator Skip Brack selected tools from the museum collection to highlight for the show and created new assemblages of found objects.

John Whalley, "Plumb Line"     Eric Ziner, "Jack of all Trades," found objects

An important component of the show is located at the museum's outdoor sculpture garden adjacent to the Hulls Cove Tool Barn and Hulls Cove (Bar Harbor) office of the museum, 75 miles from Liberty.  In it, visitors will find new installations by Obadiah Buell, Nate Nichols Melita Westerlund, and others to complement the permanent pieces, set in 2 ½ acres of fields, flowers, trails, ponds, a stream, and picnic and play areas.

Tillman Crane, "Liberty Tool Storefront"

The title for the show is a line from a poem, by Castine's Philip Booth, that speaks to the underlying theme of the stores and museum.

Eaton's Boatyard

To make do, make a living:
to throw away nothing,
practically nothing, nothing that may
come in handy:
within an inertia of caked paintcans,
frozen C-clamps, blown strips of tarp, and
pulling-boat molds,
to be able to find,
for whatever it's worth,
what has to be there:
the requisite tool
in this cultch there's no end to:
the drawshave buried in potwarp,
chain, and manila jib sheets,
or under the bench,
the piece that already may fit
the idea it begins
to shape up:
not to be put off by split rudders,
stripped outboards, half
a gasket, and nailslick garboards:
to forget for good
all the old year's losses,
save for
what needs to be retrieved:
a life given to
how today feels:
to make of what's here
what has to be made
to make do.

              From LIFELINES by Philip Booth,
              copyright (c) 1999 by Philip Booth.
              Used by permission of Viking Penguin,
              a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The museum has published a catalog of the artwork in this show, which is for sale at the museum, Liberty Tool Co., the Tool Barn in Hulls Cove and Captain Tinkham's Emporium in Searsport.  The catalog is available by mail order for $12.00.  Please contact the museum and provide your mailing address.