The River Residency is a week long invitational artist residency & canoeing expedition. Our aim is to bring together a group of artists all of whom make work that relates to the landscape, to spend several days traveling down a river in Northwestern Maine, observing and recording as we go. We will schedule in time each day to draw or paint in multiple locations as we paddle down river. There is no expectation of production from the artists during the trip. The time can be used to take source photographs for inspiration, for quiet reflection, or for plein air work. Each artist will determine how they would like to frame the experience, and we will support those goals as best we can.
Following the trip, the artists will have a few months to make one or more pieces which we will then show together in a group exhibition. We also aim to compile a book to accompany the show, with drawings, written reflections, and works on paper from the trip. This will be sold at the show and through the website as a fundraiser for future trips, and artwork contributions are optional, and at the discretion of each artist.
The Upper West Branch of the Penobscot River will be the setting for our time together. With the help of Apeiron Expeditions we will explore this beautiful waterway on a multi-day canoe trip ending in the historical logging camp, Chesuncook Village. Our guide will provide the experience and instruction for a safe and rewarding trip, making this trip accessible even to people with no outdoor experience.
Each days paddle will offer time for work and reflection throughout our travel downstream to the next campsite. Afternoons and mornings in camp offer you the choice to explore, talk with other artists, create, sit quietly without distractions, learn outdoor skills, or take part in campfire cooking and baking. Our accommodations will be simple: tents, sleeping bags, outhouses, and the river. Instead of electricity, cell phones, and warm showers we will have fresh baked treats, afternoon swims, and wildlife sightings.
Tessa O’Brien is a Maine based painter with community-minded inclinations. In addition to her studio practice, she assists in operations at Able Baker Contemporary Gallery in Portland, ME, and co-founded the Portland Mural Initiative in 2015. She has participated in a number of residency programs, including Haystack Open Studio Residency, Monson Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, and has a background in outdoor education, having worked as an instructor at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, where she and Alex met in the early 2000s.
Alejandro Strong is a Maine guide and philosophy professor. His work in both fields explore the connection between cultures and the natural world. Alex started Apeiron Expeditions with the goal of making wilderness expeditions an accessible place for creative endeavors.