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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: February 12, 2018

Beer label artists show their other work at Oxbow

Written by: Bob Keyes

Artwork by Karl Grandin
Photos courtesy of Oxbow Bottling & Blending

Gallery 49, the rotating art wall at Oxbow Blending & Bottling at 49 Washington Ave. in Portland, is showing the art of four international beer designers, including Oxbow’s art director, Will Sears.

He invited a few of his colleagues to bring their personal artwork to Portland for an exhibition in the tasting room. Oxbow dedicates one of its walls in the tasting room to rotating art shows. Sears, a Portland artist, curates the space and has put together a dozen shows. He’s trying to infuse the tasting room with the original art of local, regional and, in this instance, international artists.

Artwork by Will Sears

In addition to Sears, the show features art by Karl Grandin of the Swedish-based beer brand Omnipolo, Keith Shore of Danish-based Mikkeller and Mike Van Hall, a beer label designer for many brands, including Stillwater, DC Brau and others. They met at a beer convention and began talking about their common interest in art and beer.

“Because we’re a beer company and I’m the art director, I’ve got good rapport with other art directors from other breweries,” Sears said. “We thought this was a cool opportunity to take our conversation and do a show.”

Artwork by Keith Shore

They’re calling their exhibition “Artistic Directions.” It features collages, assemblages, drawings, prints and a variety of other kinds of art. After they hung their show, the four traveled to Oxbow’s brewing facility in Newcastle to concoct a collaborative beer – and create a collaborative label for it. The beer, still unnamed, will be available in about six months, Sears said, offering no promises about the outcome.

“This was an excuse to do the beer,” Sears said. “We just really wanted to do the label.”

“Artistic Directions” – The artwork of Will Sears, Karl Grandin, Keith Shore and Mike Van Hall

WHERE: Gallery 49, Oxbow Blending & Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland
WHEN: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, noon to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; through March

And check out this BAR GUIDE REVIEW

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