January 26, 2009
The University of Maine at Fort Kent's Blake Library gallery will exhibit a collection of acrylic paintings celebrating the sacred feminine experience entitled, “Femme Divine,” by Aroostook County native, Andrea Peterson from Monday, February 2 through Saturday, February 28. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, February 8 at the Blake library at 3 p.m. The reception is open to the public. In her paintings, Peterson has extracted the purity of the spiritual and natural worlds and made it something unique but also universally understood. The paintings stem from a deeply personal place that began with my early connection to the woodlands and hills of New Sweden. It was there that she learned that the energy buzzing from the ground and in the trees was her own personal goddess making it known.
Much of Peterson’s work comes from the incarnation of the landscape as The Mother Earth’s body. In “Rite of Passage”, that she has captured that miraculous moment when the moon rises at twilight; it is always a point of connection that she has with her daughters. The moon was and continues to be a great source of fascination and worship to her and her mother.
“We do the planting, harvesting, hair-trimming, weather-predicting, and more often than not, the birthing, on the full of the moon. My mother could never put it into words why, but it is just so, and now I finally allow it to just be so,” notes Peterson.
The vibrant colors and organic shapes meld to reflect the beauty of the feminine spirit found in nature. To abstract their shades and pump them up to that high vibration makes them dance on the canvas. One of her works, “View from the Grove,” is a reflection about a special place that a dear friend shared with me on a hill near my childhood home. The setting sun has a way of bouncing through the trees as if even the leaves and rocks are laughing.
Her paintings give praise to her mother and the long line of strong grandmothers, sisters and aunts for sharing with her something magical and treasured. Most importantly, they are a legacy she gives to her daughters; they are the essence of what she believes in and the hope that they will find their own very special place in the feminine divine.
Another one of her paintings celebrate the daily absolutions, as well as the special celebrations, of the sacred feminine. “The Water Mother” celebrates birth, while “Flow” relates the reproductive cycle and the beauty of natural order. Often we forget to give praise to the spirits for creating such an amazing thing as our human bodies. In this piece, she portrays the systemic cleansing of a woman’s body with vibrant colors and strong lines to signify how truly amazing the process is. Peterson was trained as an artist at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. During her college career, she was granted the Patricia Collins Art Scholarship, as well as the Joel Dana Art Scholarship. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1999 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. The artist’s use of rich and unexpected colors in her acrylic paintings often makes the connection between the spiritual and physical worlds. The role of the sacred feminine and its existence as Mother Earth greatly influence her work and her belief that all art must be sacred. Painters she admires are Kahlo, O’Keefe, and Wolf Kahn.
For several years after her formal schooling, Andrea made her home along the coast in Rockland and Portland, where she continued to develop her taste for the abstract and women’s studies. She now resides in Caribou with her partner and two young daughters.
The exhibit can be viewed during regular library hours. For more information, contact gallery curator Sophia Birden at (207) 834-7527.