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Messler Gallery showcases design finalists

The Messler Gallery of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, opened its “Designing Benches: Farnsworth Competition Finalists” exhibit to the public on Jan. 25.

David Stetson's bench made from reclaimed redwood.

The exhibit showcases the top 15 entries in a design competition co-sponsored by the Farnsworth Museum of Art, also in Rockland. The challenge was to design new gallery benches for the Farnsworth. A call for entries went out last July to all Maine artists and artisans.

“We are delighted with the creativity and craftsmanship of the entries,” Farnsworth Museum chief curator Michael Komanecky said in a statement. “We are thrilled to make an acquisition of handsome Maine-made benches from the show.”

A total of 44 entrants submitted 73 designs. The finalists, juried by the Farnsworth, are Nick Barboza of Bangor; Eben Blaney of Edgecomb; Judy Bonzi of Rockport; Gregory W. Crispell of Garland; Chris Gray of Blue Hill; Terry Kelly of Mapleton; Gregg Lipton of Cumberland; Mason McBrien of Union; Richard Ong of Arrowsic; Stephen Porter of Searsmont; James Provenzano of Farmington; Kevin Rodel of Brunswick; Libby Schrum of Camden; David Stetson of Sheepscot, and Andrew White of Union.

Gregory Crispell's bench, "Eleven," made of white ash with a water-based varnish finish.

Messler Gallery visitors were able to try out the benches while viewing a concurrent exhibition of seating-themed Maine paintings. Participating artists include Barbara Sullivan, represented by Caldbeck Gallery; Ted Keller, represented by Carver Hill Gallery; Harold Garde; represented by Harbor Square Gallery; and Stephen Hoedecker, Connie Hayes, David Vickery and other artists represented by Dowling Walsh Gallery.

The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship is a non-profit, year-round school that offers courses in furniture making and related arts such as carving and woodturning.

Contact: Messler Gallery, 25 Mill St., Rockport, Maine 04856. Tel: 207-594-5611.

This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue.

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