Our personal environments are powerful factors in our well-being. For Maine artist Bernard Langlais (1921–1977), the physical and emotional effects of place unify his creations, from expressionistic landscape paintings to giant wooden lions.
Presenting works that span the artist’s thirty-year career, Bernard Langlais: Live and Let Live considers the intertwined nature of Langlais’s art and his various living and working environments. Using original and re-created architectural elements from his Maine houses and studios, the installation will evoke these environments and provide an overview of Langlais’s artistic evolution as it related to place. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will also learn about a critical figure in the preservation of the artist’s work—his wife, Helen Friend Langlais (1929–2010).
Bernard Langlais: Live and Let Live is curated by Hannah Blunt, the former Langlais Curator for Special Projects at the Colby College Museum of Art. The works presented are drawn from the Arts Center’s collection as well as generous loans from the Colby College Museum of Art, the Langlais Sculpture Preserve, and the Bernard Langlais papers at the Archives of American Art. It is the first posthumous survey of Langlais’s work outside his native state of Maine. Live and Let Live touches on themes of making as a means for self-empowerment, pride of place, caretaking, and of building and dwelling as a form of nurturing.
Image: Bernard Langlais, untitled (Three Lions) (in situ), c. 1976–1977; wood, paint, and metal; dimensions variable. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Colby College and Kohler Foundation Inc.