Maine artist Lynne Drexler (1928–1999) painted both abstract and representational works alike—with distinctively vibrant colors and bold geometric shapes. Lynne Drexler: Painter, on view December 6, 2008 through March 1, 2009 at the Portland Museum of Art
, is the first comprehensive exhibition of her work, including 50 paintings, drawings, photographs, and textiles covering the course of her prolific career.
Drexler received her artistic training at the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York, studying with two of its leading practitioners: Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell. From Hofmann she absorbed a fundamental sense for the role of color and from Motherwell an understanding of the importance of draftsmanship and composition. In the early 1960s, Drexler and her husband, the artist John Hultberg, first came to Maine when his dealer Martha Jackson bought them a house on Monhegan Island. For the next decade, the two artists led a rather peripatetic life, moving from New York City to the West Coast, and eventually to Hawaii.
Classical music remained a life-long inspiration for Drexler’s art. When the couple lived in New York, she regularly attended concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, where she would make colored crayon sketches from her seat in the audience. Although she began her career as an abstract painter, after settling on Monhegan in 1983, her subjects became more linked to the island landscape through her black-and-white snapshots and her sketches. A new documentary film, accompanying the exhibition, explores in vivid detail her early abstract paintings and her deepening relationship with the island and its year-round residents.
This exhibition was organized by the Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum Association, Monhegan, Maine. Portland Museum of Art curator, Susan Danly, authored the fully illustrated color catalogue, published by the Monhegan Museum, which will be available in the Museum Store.