Ducktrap River bridge construction, 1998 oil on canvas by Dennis Pinette

ROCKLAND — From Aug. 4 through Sept. 16, the Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm Street in Rockland, will exhibit the work of Lois Dodd of Cushing, Melanie Essex of Cushing, Dennis Pinette of Belfast, and Tim Van Campen of Thomaston.  A reception to meet the artists will take place on First Friday, August 4, from 5-7 p.m.  

Titled “Structure”, this selection of Lois Dodd’s oil on panel works calls attention to the artist’s love for painting buildings: brand new houses, ones falling in, being moved, stuck up on skids, iconic Maine weathered capes, slowly collapsing barns, and decrepit outhouses – everything human made, and having a life span of who knows how long.  The paintings measure in the range of 8 x 10 to 20 x 14 inches. Predominantly Maine in subject, the works delight the senses and engage both thought and imagination. Her paintings are in the public collections of all the Maine museums, and innumerable museums across the country. Major exhibits abroad include galleries in London and Berlin.  The Caldbeck has worked with Dodd since 1985. 

Melanie Essex presents 20 paintings in her show titled “Ultramarine”, all measuring in the size range of 15 x 15 to 36 x 36 inches.  Mostly painted over the past two years, the oil on panel and oil on canvas paintings show us a mesmerizing view of land, sea (in this case, river), and air, from her Cushing studio, overlooking the St. George River. Mood is translated into color and shape and movement. The landscape has a mood, the artist has a mood, the world has a mood – all these share a place on the canvas.  Essex’s work is in many private collections in the U.S. and in the U.K. Studies include Harvard University and The New York Studio School.  This is the Caldbeck’s fifth solo show for the artist, who has been with the gallery since 1998. Writer, I. H. Essex, writes about this body of work, “There is a clarity to the Maine light, and Essex’s work seeks to explore the dynamic dimensionality of its presence: the saturation of the solstice, the dusk-like quality of early spring, and the lucidity of a summer sky through an impossibly vibrant blue.”

The oil on canvas works by Dennis Pinette are selected from the work made since 1990, with sizes ranging from 11×14 inches to 25×25 inches. For the catalogue for Pinette’s retrospective exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum in 2003, curator Suzette McAvoy wrote, “Dennis Pinette’s paintings have hovered entrancingly between dream and reality. The subjects have segued from the early industrial scenes to the fields and the fires of the mid to late 1990’s, and from these to the more recent paintings of woodland interiors and stormy, turgid seas.” All of this painting time table is revealed in this Caldbeck exhibit. The most recent work in this exhibit evolved during 2021 and 2022, a period of quiet and isolation for so many people. Pinette went out every day to work, to immerse himself in the making of graphite drawings of the Belfast landscape. Pinette received his BFA in painting from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut. His work is in the permanent collections of the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Portland Museum of Art, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Other collections include the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln MA. His first show with the Caldbeck was in 1985. 

Tim Van Campen first showed with the Caldbeck in 1987. Originally a painter of large canvases, in the early 1980’s, the artist took a detour that had considerable consequences – he started to make drawings with his mechanical typewriter.  On view in this show will be the portfolio of the original “Typewriter Drawings” that came out of this period. The meticulous, one key strike at a time typewriter ribbon medium labored into intricate patterns, reminiscent of textile weaving.  Each piece measures about 8 x 10 inches. As computer technology marched onto the scene, Van Campen dove into the world of digital design. Textile companies made extraordinary fabrics and rugs from the artist’s designs, and limited edition prints rolled out his large format digital printer in his studio. During the COVID isolation/inspiration period, the artist reworked these digital design files, and made them into smaller, more intimate works. The focus of this solo exhibit is those small pieces, where the digital designs are transferred to aluminum panels, made of a material called “Di-bond”. Measuring from 8 x 6 to 12 x 8 inches, each piece is an icon, a treasure of color and design only Van Campen can create. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Skowhegan School of Painting. His work is in numerous Philadelphia and Maine collections. The artist writes a kind of poem: “Iconic statements evoking an expression of tranquility, Centered in symmetric geometric abstraction, Combining concise line and subliminal aesthetic, Blending a fine art background with technological savvy, A simplistic yet sophisticated approach to art.”   

Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 1-4 p.m., and also by appointment and by chance. For further information, please email the gallery at, or call 207-594-5935.