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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: December 23, 2015

The new year brings art shows from two long-standing Maine artists

Written by: Bob Keyes
Left: Convergence Series 18. Right: Convergence by Roland Salazar Rose

Left: Convergence Series 18. Right: Convergence by Roland Salazar Rose

The first of the year brings opportunities for fans of visual art to appreciate two long-standing Maine artists.

Roland Salazar Rose, who lives in Biddeford, is showing paintings from his time in Mexico at the Union of Maine Visual Artists gallery at the CTN TV studio on Congress Street, and Leonard Meiselman of Woolwich is showing work inspired by the die-off of trees on Monhegan Island.

Rose, who uses the name Salazar for his painting career, spent 25 years in Mexico, and will show landscapes, portraits and other paintings inspired the light, land and legends of central Mexico. He moved his father to Mexico in the late 1980s for health reasons, and fell in love with the country.

“Living in Mexico opened up my vision,” said Rose, who was born in the Bronx in 1927. “It softened me as a person, and took away the rough edges of New York.”

He moved to Maine as a young man, and was active in the emergence of Portland and southern Maine as a hub of arts and culture. He opened a coffeehouse in Kennebunk, and helped establish the Danforth Gallery in Portland. In the early 1990s, he organized a wood sculpture symposium in Portland.

He returned to Maine from Mexico in 2012. He is 88 now, and lives in a third-floor apartment that doubles as his studio. Since his return, he has shown his work at Engine in Biddeford, River Arts in Kennebunk and the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell. He’s glad to show his work in Portland again. It’s been a long time, he said.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” he said, “and the right time.”

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, MPBN will air the movie “Salazar: The Four Seasons of the Master Myths.” He narrated the documentary, which explores his time in Mexico and his life as an artist.

The Portland exhibition opens with a First Friday Art Walk reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 1 and is on view through Jan. 31.

In Brunswick, Meiselman explores the life cycle of trees on Monhegan in “A Protest Artist on Monhegan.” The exhibition of paintings opens at Curtis Memorial Library on Jan. 4. Meiselman has been coming to Monhegan since the 1950s, and is concerned about the loss of trees on the island.

“Monhegan is where I became who I am,” he said. “I learned reverence for life on Monhegan (and) am devastated by the trees vanishing from the coast.”

He’ll have a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 9, and has scheduled events to explore the island-tree issue. “Conversations with Trees,” featuring six Maine poets, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 22; and “Spruce and Saltwater” with four arborists will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 27.

The show is on view through Jan. 29.

“Salazar: Mexico Years” by Roland Salazar Rose

WHEN: First Friday reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 1, on view through Jan. 31
WHERE: Union of Maine Visual Artists gallery at CTN, 516 Congress St., Portland
HOURS: Noon to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
ADMISSION: Free
INFO: salazargallery.com or 869-0999

“A Protest Artist on Monhegan” by Leonard Meiselman”

WHEN: Jan. 4-29
WHERE: Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St., Brunswick
RECEPTION: 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 9
RELATED PROGRAMMING: “Conversations with Trees” with six Maine poets, 7 p.m. Jan. 22; “Spruce Trees and Salt Water,” with four arborists, 5 p.m. Jan. 27

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