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The Finsen Sisters: New Territory

at the Blue Hill Public Library, Blue Hill, Maine, September 2020

September’s exhibit, New Territory, in the library’s Britton Gallery and Howard Room showcases eclectic images from sisters whose work is diverse although their individual processes are clearly from the same gene pool. Maine’s coastline beckons; its iconic islands and lakes speak with various edges that captivate. Here Jill Finsen and Susan Finsen chart new territories using abstraction to familiar imagery, to surprise the viewer.


Jill Finsen says that her paintings depict the interplay of familiarity and the imagined. At times awkward and quirky, they celebrate emotional responses to objects and places she portrays. Rather than realistic hues and forms, she uses bold color, flattened planes and varying paint texture to invite the observer to engage: it is irrelevant whether the viewer is familiar with a depiction of a particular cove in Maine, specific home or garlic scape. Painting from observation or memory, she creates exaggerated objects and anchors unresolved details in an imagined space. Viewers can roam the image for themselves, entering where they will and exiting with an experience that is both aesthetic and affecting.

You can see more of Jill's work at

Click image to enlarge and for more information

Susan Finsen’s painting process is a combination of intuitive drawing, conscious shaping and layering, and the search for her spontaneous 5-year old self; marks are made and covered up; imagery is created, erased, continuously re-imagined. She says that color, line, shape, plane and found or created collage materials arrange themselves to express what she sees, remembers and invents. She has no idea what the painting will be at the start. Each begins with crayon/paint marks, and then a conversation between her arm, eyes, feelings, thoughts, and the painting takes over.


As a photographer, Susan’s eye selects views, structures and angles. Once captured, she modifies the image using editing software as drawing tools. Susan plays with the shapes and lines, and alters exposure, color, contrast, surface, light and other elements to find the mood, energy and connection with the viewer she wants.

Jill Finsen and Susan Finsen create their own wakes and share currents and tides that offer diverse encounters. They continuously find renewed inspiration in their Maine coastal sojourns. Their work is generated by a certain unpackaged spirit that delivers an itch of awakening, asking one to ponder and ultimately, smile.


The show will be available for viewing during library hours through the end of the month. 

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