Portland Press Herald
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 11:05 AM
Fine-art conservators Bonnie and Domenico Mattozzi treat each of their ‘patients’ with equal care, be it a high-priced work by a famous painter or one man’s beloved hunting camp heirloom.
Project MEAC founders Domenico and Bonnie Mattozzi, whose nonprofit conserves 200 to 300 paintings a year. Some come from museums and libraries, but most belong to private citizens.
Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
Senior conservator Katrina Jacques cleans a painting at the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation, a painting restoration and conservation nonprofit in Portland.
MAINE PROJECT FOR FINE ART CONSERVATION OPEN HOUSE
WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday as part of First Friday ArtWalk
WHERE: 142 High St., suite 420, Portland
HOW MUCH: Free
The man didn’t leave a name or number. He just said he had an old painting that needed fixing, and that he would call back.
He sounded skeptical, and maybe a little reluctant.
But he did call back, and when he did, Bonnie Mattozzi was ready.
As co-founders of the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation in Portland (also known as Project MEAC), Mattozzi and her husband, Domenico, have grown accustomed to hand-holding and reassurance.
Their mission is serious. They wear white lab coats and latex gloves, and have trained at some of the most prestigious academies in the world. But fine-art conservation is as much about helping clients with their emotions as it is about fixing their paintings.
There are a lot of hugs and tears in this undertaking, Bonnie said.
“People come in, and they are distraught. They think their paintings are ruined and cannot be fixed,” she said. “But we can fix almost anything.”
On Friday, Project MEAC will open its Portland studios for the First Friday Art Walk for the first time and invite the public for a behind-the-scenes view of what they do.
In a town so richly endowed in the visual arts, few institutions operate behind a veil of mystery more than the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation.
The Mattozzis, senior conservator Katrina Jacques and University of Southern Maine interns Aubin White and Yelena Fiske work in a suite on the fourth floor of the State Theatre Building on High Street. The Mattozzis founded their for-profit fine-art conservator corporation in 1997, but only since last year, when they became a nonprofit organization, have they pulled back the curtain on their work.
Each year, Project MEAC conserves 200 to 300 paintings. Many of its clients are historical societies, libraries and museums, but the majority are private citizens with family heirlooms that need attention.
The gentleman who called and declined to leave a message is a good example. He had an old painting of a trout that had been hanging in a family cottage for more than 100 years. It was grimy and dirty. The canvas was worn around the edges of its wooden stretcher.
According to an inscription on the back of the canvas, WN Norton made the painting in 1891. The fish was pulled from McFarland Cove at Moosehead Lake, weighing 61/2 pounds.
Today, we celebrate a trophy fish with a photograph. A century ago, our ancestors hired a painter to capture the moment.
It’s a handsome trout, speckled in color and looking very much like the fighter it no doubt was. Is it a great painting? Sure it is. Is it valuable? Not likely. But that’s beside the point.
“It probably has no fair-market value, but it’s meaningful to this man, and it deserves to be conserved,” Bonnie said. “We look at the paintings as patients. Each painting is unique. Each has a life of its own.”
OTHER PAINTINGS that the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation restores do have value. For the First Friday ArtWalk, it will showcase three large canvases by Albert Herter.
The Herter name is familiar in Portland. Herter’s father and uncle, Christian and Gustave Herter, were widely known cabinetmakers and interior designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ruggles Morse hired the Herters to design the interior of the Victoria Mansion, his summer estate in Portland.
The younger Herter also produced furniture and tapestries as well as paintings. Herter, who was born in 1871 and died in 1950, painted the canvases that will be displayed on Friday around 1900. They depict three disciplines of the arts — architecture, painting and sculpture.
With their arched tops, the panels were intended to be placed inside an interior window well, looking into a large room. In one, an architect looks over design plans for a client’s home. The client is Herter himself, and the home being discussed is the Herter estate in the Hamptons of New York.
The others show artists at work — a painter at the easel, his subject posing for a portrait, a sculptor working his material.
The three panels came to Project MEAC from a private out-of-state collector, who asked that they be cleaned and restretched. One had a small tear that needed to be repaired.
Project MEAC will show all three at the art walk. Conservation work on one has been completed; the other two are in various stages.
The process is painstaking. The first step is simply evaluating the work. What’s wrong with it, and what can be done?
They write up a report that conforms to international conservation guidelines, and provide an estimate of the cost. That can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending not on the value of the painting but on the hours required to do the work.
Most smaller punctures can be repaired with a conservation adhesive and gauze patch. Paint can be matched. Canvases can be cleaned. Stretchers can be replaced. The only damage that sometimes cannot be fixed is that from heat and fire.
It’s complex, meticulous and science-based. Tears are fixed with tiny amounts of conservation adhesive. Solvents and detergent solutions are used for cleaning. Color matches are precise and done under natural light. Project MEAC farms out work for new stretchers to local cabinetmakers.
The most common tool of the trade? A cotton swab.
After a painting is hung in a museum or private home, it is verboten to touch it. The oil from fingers can damage the surface. In a perfect world, an art conservator is the last person to lay a hand on a painting.
“After we do our treatment, nobody is going to touch it,” Domenico said.
GENERALLY, THE MATTOZZIS take a conservative approach. Other conservators are more aggressive, preferring to make an old painting look like it just came off the easel.
The Mattozzis prefer doing the minimal amount of work necessary to conserve a painting.
“You want to halt the deterioration process. That is the major goal. Then you take a light cosmetic approach,” Domenico said.
The Mattozzis trained for years. Domenico was born into an artistic family in Naples, Italy. His father was an artist and an architect, and Domenico spent his childhood in the museums of his hometown.
He graduated from an art academy in Naples, and came to the United States to study at Fordham University and Hunter College. He has earned the rank of professional associate with the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
Bonnie is a New Yorker with a similar story. Her interest in art began at age 10, and she attended her first class at the Art Student League in New York when she was 11. She studied at Syracuse, the Fashion Institute of New York and New York University, among others.
The couple met at a conservation studio in New York, and moved to Maine in the 1990s to raise a family. They founded their fine-art conservation practice in 1997.
“Our kids were growing up, and we wanted to live in an urban area. We thought there was a need for conservators in Maine. There were few here at the time,” Domenico said.
FOR THE MOST PART, the Mattozzis have worked quietly at their trade, interacting with curators and private collectors, but not in any significant public way.
That changed last year when they became a nonprofit entity. As a nonprofit, they were able to apply for grants.
Both the Davis Family Foundation and the Quimby Family Foundation awarded grants. The Quimby grant stipulated that the Mattozzis provide a certain amount of public education. The open studio for the art walk satisfies part of that requirement.
Project MEAC is also committed to educating young conservators. Currently, they have two interns.
It’s an old-world trade with roots that go back centuries. The Mattozzis enjoy passing their skills on to a new generation.
One of their interns, Aubin White, is from Freeport. She studied environmental science at the University of Maine in Farmington, and is working toward a degree in art history at USM.
White was thrilled to be able to study this field so close to home. She assumed she would have to move to Boston or another big city to do this work.
But mostly, the Mattozzis enjoy the sense of discovery that occurs when someone brings in a painting.
Like the portrait of a client’s ancestor that came in a few weeks ago.
The old man was propped on an easel, looking dignified but tired. The painting had been neglected. The colors were dull and muted.
Bonnie Mattozzi could hardly wait to get started.
“Let’s see what we can do for him,” she said. “He’s really important to his family. He deserves special treatment.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:
Carried Away with justkim
by Anna S. • December 4, 2012 • Buy Local, Shopping • 2 Comments
Maybe it’s the holiday display in the window (including the wonderful snowman apron and old sewing machine). Maybe it’s the riot of color from row after row of practical, fanciful bags. Maybe it’s the giant paintings. Or maybe it’s the fact that all this is a reflection of the bubbly personality of Kim herself. Whatever it is, JustKim is a shop that draws the eye and draws you in.
The bags are the marquee product here, as they should be. They are sturdy, whimsical, and perfect for everything. Messenger bags, wine bags, tote bags, shoulder bags, even yoga bags and Christmas stockings (think of them as “loot bags”) …. Kim Pauley makes each one by hand and each is a unique work of art. Many styles are fully reversible, which essentially gives you two bags, two looks, for the price of one.
The bags, though, are not the only art in the store. On the walls are large scale paintings by artist Brian Brogan that use a deceivingly simply palate and technique to communicate complex themes. The shop also features a wide assortment of jewelry handcrafted by a curated slate of local artisans, along with soaps and candles, a few hats and scarves and holiday items, all of which are clearly items that the mistress of the shop loves and feels passionate about sharing.
My favorite part of the shop, though, is at the very back. The back of the shop is the artist’s workshop, where shelf upon shelf of color-sorted fabrics sit behind an industrial sewing machine. Kim’s shop is more than a gift shop, more than even just a specialty bag shop. Instead, in common with many of the best and most interesting handmade-economy based businesses in the city, it is a living space where art is imagined, created, and then pushed out of the nest and into the world to be enjoyed.
justkim is located at 615A Congress Street in Portland, one of the businesses in the State Theatre building. You can Like them on Facebook, visit her web page, or read a little more on the Portland Downtown District website. You should also check out this article about Kim and her bags from the Newburyport News.
Distance from the Maine State Pier: nine-tenths of a mile, about a 15-20 minute walk.
Still can’t find them? Here’s a map!
STATE THEATRE RECEIVES 2012 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Announces 2013 Corporate Partnership Initiative
The State Theatre is proud to announce it’s the recipient of the 2012 Economic Development Achievement Award from the City of Portland. Each year, the Portland Development Corporation and the City of Portland present business awards to three local businesses that have played a major role in developing Portland’s economic vitality. Recognized as a leading economic driver in the area, the State Theatre will receive the award on November 28 during a ceremony at the State Theatre.
“Choosing the State Theatre for this year’s Economic Development Achievement Award was an easy decision,” said Jack Lufkin, President of the Portland Development Corporation. “Since it re-opened two years ago, the State has had such a significant positive impact on Portland’s music scene and on the vitality of the Arts District. …What a great contribution it’s made to the City of Portland.”
On the heels of the announcement, Lauren Wayne, General Manager of the State Theatre and State Theatre Presents, also announced plans for a 2013 Corporate Partnership Initiative. Wayne emphasized the impetus for the initiative is to offer a select number of strategic partners the opportunity to help continue developing Maine’s vibrant music and arts community.
“We are thrilled to receive the recognition from the city regarding the State Theatre’s contribution to the health and economic vitality of Portland. We are also excited to announce that the State is looking for like-minded businesses who understand that the live music experience is where connections are made with the fans. We are seeking partners who can collaborate with us to develop creative and exciting ways in which to engage their existing customers as well as attract new customers, while energizing the arts and entertainment community.”
Now entering its 3rd year of operation, the State Theatre produces over 100 shows a year in its historic Arts District venue and throughout the city and state. In this short time, the State Theatre and State Theatre Presents has become a solid fixture in the New England music industry with more than 100,000 fans attending events per year. This past summer’s Gentleman of the Road concert with Mumford & Sons on the Eastern Promenade, which drew approximately 16,000 attendees from across New England, which drew accolades from the city, press, artists and fans, further underscored the State Theatre’s impact on the city and area businesses.
Michael Leonard, with over 15 years in entertainment marketing and sponsorship development, joined the State Theatre team in May and will be leading the Corporate Sponsorship Initiative. “It really is one of the best opportunities I have had the privilege to work on. The State Theatre is an important catalyst for Portland’s vital downtown Arts District and very visible economic engine for the city. The return it can provide the right businesses will be significant.”
Interested businesses should contact Michael directly at Michael@statetheatreportland.com.
Lauren Wayne hopes the Corporate Sponsorship Initiative will enable a few select partners to join the State Theatre as it continues to grow in impact and vitality.
For more information please visit www.statetheatreportland.com
Article taken from Bangor Daily News – http://bangordailynews.com
URL to article: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/12/business/retailing-it-on-main-street-where-community-and-business-goals-meet/
Portland Performing Arts Festival June 28 – July 1, 2012
Four days, 8 featured performances.
Plus 70+ Fringe events
Summer Is Here (and the arts kick off)
We’ve said all along that we wanted to kick off summer in Maine with an event that brings together all the performing arts in Portland’s Arts District. Well, it’s here. Tomorrow, Friday the 22nd, Prof. Bryant from Colby College will host a discussion at the Library about the Faulkner works that inspired our jazz masterwork. From there, it’s a swift run to our free guitar masters event next Thursday at One Longfellow Square. the Eepybird Cole & Mentos Spectacular in Monument Sqare next Thursday. One week from today, the Festival kickoff in Monument Square will set off fountains to rival a miniature Bellagio, all made from Coke & Mentos, free andopen to the public. And at that point, events start arriving thick and fast.
We can’t possibly explain it all here… just go look at the full schedule.
Box Office at PortTIX
The featured performances of the PPAF range widely, but they all have one thing
in common: tickets are available through our ticketing partner PortTIX
We’ve heard rumors that it’s not entirely clear how to get tickets, so here’s the skinny:
* (207) 842-0800 (M-F, noon to 6pm)
* in person at Merrill Auditorium box office (M-F, noon to 6pm)
* on the web, 24 hours a day tickets.porttix.com
The Fringe performances are all available through the presenting organizations… from the full listing above there are links to them.
Festival on TV
We love all our media partners, but MPBN is pulling out all the stops. They’ve requested, and Sharon has kindly assented, to videotape our classical guitar concert June 29. It will be broadcast at a later date as part of the Maine Arts series. Of course, this means we’ll have camera operators in a handful of seats, and a few more lights than we usually turn on. And since this is our smallest venue, please get tickets if you haven’t already. There will be some for sale the night of the show, but we won’t guarantee they’ll be in the section you want. We’re ready for our close-up, Mr. DeMille.
The Featured Performances
Thursday, June 28, 2012 3pm—Guitar Master Class, featuring Sharon Isbin and Doug Wamble with Maine classical and jazz guitarists (One Longfellow Square)
6pm Eepybird—the world-famous Coke & Mentos guys signature performance (outdoors, Monument Square)
Friday, June 29, 2012
7pm—Sharon Isbin, classical guitar concert (Williston-Immanuel United Church) tickets $20-45 (plus ticketing fee)
Saturday, June 30, 2012
7pm—Alison Chase/Performance, contemporary dance (Merrill Auditorium)
8pm—Celebration Barn Ensemble, new play premiere “Thumbs Up” (John Ford Theater @ Portland High School)
9pm—Doug Wamble Jazz, performing “Yoknapatawpha,” an 8-piece jazz work based on the works of Faulkner (State Theatre)
Sunday, July 1
1pm—Celebration Barn Ensemble “Thumbs Up” (John Ford Theater @ Portland High School)
3pm—Festival Finale Piano Concert (Williston-Immanuel United Church)
Portland Performing Arts Festival PO Box 5362 Portland, ME 04101
State Theatre Building open for First Friday Art Walk
Our galleries and artists’ spaces are open for ALL First Friday Art Walk! Please join us – we are open until 8 pm.
August 4, 2011 – State Theatre Building open for First Friday Art Walk
Our galleries and artists’ spaces will be open for August’s First Friday Art Walk!
July 31, 2011 – Country-folk icon triumphs at the State – Portland Press Herald
The Press Herald’s story on Emmylou Harris’ show that the State Theatre Saturday night.