Barbara Ernst Prey in Port Clyde: “40 Years Painting Maine”

An American painter with international reputation, Barbara Ernst Prey has been maintaining a studio and painting in Maine for over 40 years. The northeastern state has a long tradition in the history of American landscape painting, thinking of artists such as Hopper, Church, Homer, Wyeth—but few, if any, are women.

Over the many years of painting in Maine, Prey built a close and longstanding relationship with the local fishing community, which is fundamental to her subject matter.

Prey mostly works on site ‘en plein air’ and was always drawn to the unique landscape of Maine, examining and implementing her surroundings through the visual language of landscape painting. The exhibition is a synthesis of Barbara Prey’s dialogue with her immediate environs in the Port Clyde, ME area and her observations on the same location’s evolution over the course of 40 years.  40 Years Paining Maine further explores the strong watercolor tradition in Maine and with a woman painter, revising the male dominated art-historical tradition.

Barbara Ernst Prey’s work work resides in the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the White House permanent collection, the private collections of Orlando Bloom and Tom Hanks, and in over one hundred American embassies and consulates worldwide. In 2015, MASS MoCA commissioned Barbara Prey to create the world’s largest known watercolor painting (8 by 15 feet) for its new Building 6, opening Spring 2017. Her creative repertoire extends across media to oil painting and illustration, the latter of which she contributed to the New Yorker for a decade.