Beginning May 15, the Farnsworth Art Museum commissioned Portland-based artists Rachel Gloria Adams and Ryan Adams to create a site-specific mural, “You Showed Me Love,” on the museum’s campus. The collaborative project, completed on Friday, May 26, merges the artists’ signature styles of vibrant graphic patterns of natural worlds and gem-like lettering. The work was created on the Museum Street side of the Farnsworth’s main museum building. “You Showed Me Love” represents the inaugural work in the Farnsworth’s new mural initiative, which will invite artists to participate in this site-specific project every two years.
Through “You Showed Me Love” the artists combined their signature styles with their personal story of love. The phrase illustrated in the mural was inspired by musician Frank Ocean, whose album “Channel Orange” was playing in the background when the artists shared their first date. The mural holds both personal and communal meanings for the pair, and on the occasion of the Farnsworth’s 75th anniversary, “You Showed Me Love” presents a message of gratitude, hope and positivity.
“It is truly an honor for us to feature the work of these two wonderful artists as part of our ongoing 75th-anniversary programming,” said Farnsworth Chief Curator Jaime DeSimone. “The value of public art installations is immeasurable. Public art stimulates the imagination, encourages creativity, learning and free-thinking, and engages visitors in social interaction. Rockland is already known for its vibrant mural installations, and we hope the museum’s new initiative will add a meaningful contribution to this tradition in our community.”
Rachel Gloria Adams is a multidisciplinary artist living in Portland. Adams has developed a vibrant, graphic pattern-based visual language filled with references to the natural world that possess an heirloom quality. Her work takes form by way of quilting, painting, design and large-scale murals.
Ryan Adams developed his “gem” style of work through the study of letterforms and the layering techniques used in experimenting with spray paint to add shadows and highlights to create depth and movement throughout the pieces. The lettering that serves as the backbone of the work can directly convey a statement or saying within the piece that is camouflaged within the bending and intertwining geometric shapes.
The museum will celebrate the mural project at its members’ reception and community celebration on Friday, June 16, from 5 to 7 p.m., with a special preview for Farnsworth members from 4 to 5 p.m. The celebration will also include the opening of two new exhibitions at the museum’s Wyeth Center — “Alvaro’s World: Andrew Wyeth and the Olson House” and “Preserving a National Historic Landmark: The Olson House.” The celebration is free to the public. The Farnsworth Art Museum’s Mural Project is supported by an anonymous donor, Hampton by Hilton of Rockland, the Lunder Foundation, and its Annual Exhibition Sponsors.
Founded as a bequest of Lucy Copeland Farnsworth in honor of her father, the Farnsworth collection includes more than 15,000 works by approximately 1,300 artists, as well as two historic sites — the Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House. The Farnsworth’s collection is nationally recognized as one of the finest repositories of American paintings. The exhibition “The Farnsworth at 75: New Voices from Maine in American Art” highlights a year of special programs and events that celebrate Maine’s important contributions to American art and the museum’s role as steward of this ongoing narrative. For calendar information, visit farnsworthmuseum.org.