Circling the Square

Two Spring Things

It's May, and the weather slowly improves. Artistically, at least, there are a couple of things to bring us through until the elusive summer. As always, the new show at PhoPa should be great. A colored (!) print (!!) show, Ripple Effect showcases work from Gardiner, Maine's Circling the Square, a delightfully collaborative print studio.


In less repetitive news, everyone's favorite quirky art boutique will be showing work by one of my coworkers, Dorson Plourde. Plourde is an incredible elementary art educator in South Portland currently satisfying every one of my artistic preferences working on outdoor sculpture with his students. His whimsical series Big will feature at Pinecone and Chickadee on First Friday this month.


The first of Plourde's work I saw was his hand-painted blue/gray series. I asked him if he was insane. "Sometimes," he answered.

Advertising for the show with posters printed by Pinecone and Chickadee's own Kris Johnsen

The Big series that will be at Pinecone and Chickadee is arguably less compulsive and just as compelling. I laughed when I first saw the large lady bopping around Plourde's website, riding avocados and expelling rainbows. There's more than amusing illustration to the work, however. Big has an underlying discomposure hinging on the placement of the figure. She's in space, on a background, riding vegetables and never solidly on the ground. It's not difficult to relate this apathetic buoyancy to the predicament of the contemporary 20-something. Counteracting this transience is Plourde's commitment to his character. He prints his own labels, packaging and artwork, manufacturing tattoos and curvaceous self-designed dolls. Perhaps such dedication is his way of counteracting the aimlessness of a Great Recession post-grad. There does seem to be a level of calm to the series, speaking to the possibility that at least one of us may have found a way to combat the transience of our generation.

Affected criticism aside, get to Pinecone and Chickadee May 1st to enjoy some superficial drollery or wallow in quarter-life despondency; your choice!