Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Paugus Grange Number 540, Courtesy of the ArtistThe second in a series of five photography exhibitions at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Rose Marasco: Patrons of Husbandry (June 5 – July 5, 2015) highlights selections from the artist’s Maine Grange series. The series was created in the 1990s and first exhibited at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine as Ritual and Community: The Maine Grange. Marasco documented both the architecture and the culture of Maine Grange Halls from Saco to Houlton, Deer Isle, Castle Hill, and beyond; capturing the traditions of an organization over a century old operating in contemporary America.

A visitor from the Waban Center enjoys a drawing session at the OMAAThe National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry was founded in 1867. Since its beginning, the Grange, as it is often called, has focused on strengthening local community by placing a spotlight on community service and local agriculture. Its present existence is unique, as the group’s membership has experienced a downturn with the decline of local farmers in recent U.S. agricultural history. Marasco’s images observe the Grange’s ability to continue preserving its core traditions, rituals, and values in an ever changing, modernizing culture. When the images are displayed, they offer viewers a chance to consider past and current social, communal, and agricultural values in America.

In this display, stark black and white silver gelatin print images of Grange Hall exteriors meet vivid Ektacolor photographs of the buildings’ interiors; calling attention to the history of architecture, the history of photography, and the progression of time. The OMAA’s combines a selection of these Grange images with various pieces of text Marasco composed of research and first-hand experience. Together, the images and didactics give the audience a chance to view the Grange simultaneously in a personal and objective way. While the neutral environment of an art museum and the gap of time from the series’ creation separates viewers from the rituals of this community, the artist has given the audience a chance to look through her lens and closely observe a fragment of American history in contemporary light.

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