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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: January 7, 2019

Artists Berri Kramer ‘quilts’ together pieces of her past

Written by: Bob Keyes

Photos courtesy of Berri Kramer

Berri Kramer uses collage as a metaphor for life in her latest exhibition, “Oh, So It’s You Again,” which opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and is on view through March 1 at the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland. The exhibition encompasses three bodies of work, in collage, encaustic and mixed media. In her artist statement, Kramer writes that collage is a lot like life, always a juggle to keep things balanced.

One can always do more or leave well enough alone, Kramer philosophizes. “The more risks, the more options,” she writes.

Kramer, who lives in Cape Porpoise, taps her background as a quilter for this latest work, which mixes uncommon elements not to tell a story, she writes, but to conjure emotions and memories that were once hidden away. “It is an honoring of a precious piece of the past that I hold dear,” she writes.

This series includes elements from her father’s notebooks, old photos, handwritten letters and other remnants, giving the exhibition its title and theme.

She did the “Torn Edges” collage work almost two years ago and completed the encaustic series after that, following a renovation of her barn to house an encaustic studio. This past summer, she collected old tools and began rust-dyeing textiles.

“I have incorporated my love of textiles into this series by capturing the patterns created in a rust-dying process,” she writes. “Linen and cotton pieces were wrapped around springs, railroad spikes, horseshoes and a variety of kitchen tools. Using tea and vinegar, to dye the textile remnants, unpredictable patterns emerged. Their newly captured beauty became a celebrated design element in my new work. The rust dyed pieces are juxtaposed with collage papers I have made using found objects and paint. Together they create a new story of their own.”

Berri Kramer’s “Oh, So It’s You Again”

WHERE: Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress St., Portland
WHEN: Reception 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday; on view through March 1; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

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