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Let the World In

January 27 - May 5

Wilder Alison, Sachiko Akiyama, Leon Benn, Jordan Carey, Diana Cherbuliez, Hong Hong, Carol Eisenberg

Curated by Tessa Greene O’Brien

January 27 – May 5, 2024

Let the World In showcases a group of artists exploring the concept suggested in the title; Openness, observation, and material integration. Using a variety of approaches, the artists each exhibit curiosity, sincere investment, and a fond yet questioning approach to the world that we all co-inhabit. 

The title, Let the World In also references an eponymous National Gallery of Art, (Washington, D.C.) exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg prints from the 1960s, when he first began to integrate photos and reproductions of newspaper clippings into his previously abstract assemblages. Art historian Leo Steinberg wrote that Robert Rauschenberg “let the world in again,” by introducing recognizable imagery and common household materials into his artworks, at a time when abstract expressionism was the predominant artworld trend. 

The age-old divide between abstraction and representation is blurred or sidestepped altogether by the exhibiting artists. Going beyond the surface binary, these artists are directly referencing the world around us through process, material specificity, and rendered imagery, reproduced and re-presented to reflect the unique relationship that each artist has with their subject matter. Rather than siloing themselves in the studio, strictly bound to camps of formalism or realism, the artists spill outside of binding parameters and joyfully expand their visual languages to create work that is tactile, meaningful, and alluring.

Rauschenberg was a lifelong activist, and it is easy to surmise that his inclusion of news clips and photography into his work in the 1960s was related to the societal unrest of the times. This societal awareness carries forward through the Let the World In artists, whose work is imbued with their lived experiences & identities. The title serves as a plea and a rallying call, a reminder that all of our existences are intertwined, we are interdependent as a species, and no human is an island. 

About the Artists:

Wilder Alison creates harmonic abstract paintings using cut, sewn & dyed wool, embedding queer theory into the act of dividing and combining. Sachiko Akiyama uses subject matter that is both personal and symbolic- birds, trees, hands, for example, and draws forth those forms from wood, resin, and paper mache, presenting fragments of the world in arrangements that appear both mysterious and familiar. Leon Benn observes and paints his surroundings, psychedelically reinterpreted in reverberating color. Jordan Carey stretches tissue paper over hand-built wooden kite forms, creating painterly depictions of his native Bermudian landscape. Diana Cherbuliez translated photographs of the construction of her home and studio on Vinalhaven into embroidered and appliquéd quilt squares made from her well-worn Carhartts. Carol Eisenberg creates fantastical color field imagery by digitally layering and manipulating her photographic fragments of leaves and flowers. Hong Hong begins her paper pulp paintings in giant outdoor baths, leaving open the possibility for dust, leaves, and airborne sediments to integrate into the finished paintings that are worlds unto themselves.

About the Curator:

Tessa Greene is a Maine-based artist and curator. A Maine native, she received a BS in Fine Art from Skidmore College and an MFA from Maine College of Art and Design. She was a 2022-2023 Residential Fellow at The Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and previous residencies include Surf Point Foundation, Tides Institute, Monson Arts, Haystack, Hewnoaks, Vermont Studio Center, Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, and the Stephen Pace House. O’Brien co-directed Able Baker Contemporary gallery from 2019-2022, and continues to integrate curation into her creative practice.  She has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, and has received grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation,  St. Botolph Club Foundation, Ellis Beauregard, Maine Arts Commission, and the Kindling Fund via SPACE Gallery & the Warhol Foundation. She lives in South Portland, Maine.

Header Image: Diana Cherbuliez, Homemaker (6), 2017, Worn-out Carhartt work pants, thread, 8 1/2” x 12 3/8”, Courtesy of Grant Wahlquist Gallery


January 27
May 5
Event Category:


Main Gallery
21 Winter Street
Rockland, ME 04841 United States
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