Artists » Lesia Sochor

“Sustaining an idea until it’s ripe, one begins the process…….Stretching and gessoing a canvas is a discipline I have done for forty years.”

“In 2007, a provocative series was inspired by my mother-in-law’s sewing drawer. I was reminded how sewing connected me to my female ancestors. The unassuming spool of thread, full of meaningful purpose, is a powerful icon whose history chronicles stories of necessity, practicality, fashion, poverty and sweat. From one generation to the next it stirs personal recollections and family stories. The image sparked dozens of oil paintings, both literal and metaphorical. The “common thread” sews us into a fabric called The World.”

“This series of thread eventually evolved into the ‘Bodice’ paintings. Thoughts of beautifully hand crafted clothing and the time honored process of making it guided me to explore painting on the actual sewing pattern paper. Using oils in thin layers, the resulting translucence evoked fabric and form. The images comment on the beauty, power and art of fashion in all of its guises, while recognizing the enormity of today’s garment industry.”

“In New York City, I was intrigued and repulsed by the mannequins in the garment district windows, and was compelled to paint them. These cool and creepy fiberglass embodiments of the female form speak volumes about image, couture, sexuality, identity, culture and where our clothes are made. There are layers of meaning here.”

“This ongoing theme of women, sewing, and fashion continues in the most recent paintings ‘Body Language’. From the ordinary to the flamboyant, the clothes we wear and how we wear them can define and reinvent us. The daily ritual of creating an impression can reveal our occupation, age, origin, social class, politics (sexual and otherwise), personality and beliefs. I continue to use sewing pattern paper as the surface upon which I paint, allowing the language, instructional text, and markings to remain visible.”

“I was born in Philadelphia, Pa. to Ukrainian immigrant parents and attended the Philadelphia College of Art graduating with a BFA in painting. In 1980 I moved to Brooks, Maine, along with dozens of artists who put their creative roots down. We built homes, raised children, worked, gardened and made art. I was one of the original founding members of ‘Artfellows,’ the first ever gallery in town. It grew into an important exhibition and gathering space for emerging and prominent artists.  For 36 years I’ve painted, exhibited, and taught in the artistic fiber of this community.”

“In the late 80’s and 90’s I worked with the Maine Arts Commission as an artist in residence to a host of schools. This experience led me to direct my own school ‘The Art Annex’ for 6 years. I have taught publicly, privately, and in museums for 25 years.”

“Other venues in my artistic career include: curatorial work in Woodstock, NY, Ellsworth, ME, and Belfast, ME, designing book jackets for Thorndike press, illustrating 2 children’s books for Down East publishers, and proliferating the ancient art of ‘Pysanka’, a Ukrainian art decorating blown eggs, in workshops throughout the state of Maine. I have exhibited extensively in Maine and beyond, and continue to thrive as a working artist. The Alex Katz Foundation recently purchased three works for their collection.”

Education
Philadelphia College of Art, BFA, 1974
Studio Drawing/Painting, Art Annex, Belfast, ME  1996-2000
Welding, Waldo Regional Technical School, Waldo, ME  1998-2000
Art History, University of ME, Hutchinson Center, Belfast, ME  2000
Icon Painting, Massachusetts College of Art, 2000
Drawing Residency, Haystack School of the Arts, Deer Isle, ME  2001
Book Arts, University of ME, Orono, 2004

One and Two Person Exhibitions

Ukranian Artist Association, NYC 1977
Bluestone Patio Gallery Woodstock, NY  1978-1979
The ArtFellows Gallery, Belfast, ME  1981
The Belfast Library, Belfast, ME  1981, 1987, 2001, 2007
New York Clay Company, Belfast, ME  1984
The Bayview Gallery (two person), Portland, ME  1991
Caldbeck Gallery, Rockland, ME  1992, 2010
The Chocolate Church Art Gallery (two person), Bath, ME  1995
Harbor Square Gallery, Featured artist, Rockland, ME  1996
Mathias Fine Art, Trevette, ME  1997, 2000
MRT Gallery, Brooks, ME  1999
Thornton Oaks, Brunswick, ME  2001
Unity Center for the Performing Arts, Unity, ME  2001
L. Lizzard Gallery, Bar Harbor, ME  2004
Aarhus Gallery (two person), Belfast, ME  2009
Betts Gallery, Belfast, ME  2011
Elizabeth Moss Gallery, Falmouth ME  2012, 2014
CMCA, Center for Maine Contemporary Art,(two person) Rockport, ME  2013
Aurora Gallery, Worcester, MA, 2015
Islesford Dock Gallery: Featured Artist, Little Cranberry Island, ME  2015

Museum, University and College Exhibitions
All Maine Biennial, USM Gorham, ME  1981
University of Maine, Orono, 1982
Unity College, Unity, ME  1992 (solo)
Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, ME  1993
Thomas College, Waterville, ME  1996 (solo)
Gilley Museum, Southwest Harbor, ME  1997
Maine Discovery Museum,  Bangor, ME  2002 (solo)
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME  2003, 2005
University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME  2005
State House, Augusta, ME  2005
Lesley University, Cambridge, MA 2010 (solo)
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA 2012
Freyburg Academy, Pace Galleries, Freyburg ME 2013
State House, Boston, MA  2013

Selected Group Exhibitions
Woodstock Artists Association, Woodstock, NY  1976 – 1979
Bluestone Patio Gallery, Woodstock, NY  1977
Ukrainian Artists Association, NYC, 1977
Allied Artists of America, NYC 1978
National Arts Club Watercolor Exhibit, NYC, 1978
Park Gallery, Albany, NY  1979, 1980
Audubon Artists Annual Exhibit, NYC 1980
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, ME 1980, 81, 1983 – 85, 1993, 2005, 2011, 2012
ArtFellows Gallery, Belfast, ME 1980 – 1985, 1990 and 1997 Invitational
Woodstock Guild of Craftsmen, Woodstock, NY, 1983
Caldbeck Gallery, Rockland, ME  1983, 1984, 1992, 2010
Christine York Gallery, Augusta, ME 1985
407 Gallery, Rockland, ME 1985
Bayview Gallery, Camden, ME 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992
Hobe Sound North, Portland, ME 1985, 1986, 1987
Maine Artsts Show, Ithica, NY 1987
Frick Gallery, Belfast, ME 1992
O’Farrell Gallery, Brunswick, ME 1992
Ellsworth Public Library, Ellsworth, ME 1995, 1996
Mathias Fine Art, Trevette, ME 1996 – 2002
Davidson and Daughters, Portland ME  1996
Spring Street Gallery, Belfast, ME  1997
Clark House Gallery, Bangor, ME  1998, 2002
NTWH Gallery, Belfast, ME  1999 – 2003
Camden Public Library, UMVA, Camden, ME 2003 – 2004
MRT Gallery, Brooks, ME 2009
Aarhus Gallery, Belfast, ME 2009-2013
Bangor Publc Library, Bangor, ME 2010
Islesford Dock Gallery, Islesford, ME 2011, 2012, 2013
Schooner Gallery, Millbridge, ME 2013
Fountain Street Arts, Framingham, MA  2014
Harlow Gallery, Hallowell, ME  2014
Asymmetric Arts and Black Hole Gallery Collaborative, Rockland, ME  2015
Arts Worcester Biennial, Worcester, MA  2015
Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY  2015
Carver Hill Gallery, Rockland, ME  2015
Betts Gallery, Belfast, ME  2015

Publications and Reviews
‘Maine Art Now’ by Edgar Allen Beem
Maine Times, Carl Little
Maine times, Critic’s Choice
MPR Interview, Roots: Ethnicity in Maine Exhibition
Maine Magazine,  April 2012  ART issue
Portland Press Herald, Philip Isaacson
The Bollard Magazine, Sarah Bouchard
UMVA (Union of Maine Visual Artists) online interview with Kenny Cole
Newspaper articles throughout Maine and beyond

Artistic Background/Lectures
Curator for  summer season, Woodstock, NY   1978
Founding Member, ArtFellows Gallery, Belfast, ME  1980
Curator of exhibition Roots: Ethnicity in Maine,Union of ME Visual Artists, Ellsworth, ME  1996
Founder & Director of Art Annex, school for youth and adults, Belfast, ME  1996-2001
Curator, Marsh River Theatre Gallery, Brooks, ME, summer season 1999
Board Member, Kingdom (now Waterfall Arts) Montville, Me. 1999-2002
Farnsworth Art Museum lecture, Rockland, ME  1998
NTWH gallery lecture, Belfast, Me. 2003
Waterfall Arts lecture, Belfast, ME  2010
Pecha Kucha presentor (20 images, 20 seconds to describe each) CMCA Rockport ME 2012
Curator of Summer Exhibition: “Fermentation”  Waterfall Arts, Belfast, ME 2015

Teaching Experience
Visiting Artist, Maine Schools, 1987-1993
Art Workshops, Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, ME  1993-2003
Maine Arts Commission, Education Programs, 1994 – 2000
Summer Art Workshops, Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME  1994-1997
Drawing classes, Hersey Retreat Elder Hostel, Maine 1995-1999
Art Course, spring semester, Rockport College, Rockport, ME  1996
Art Educator, Toddy Pond School, Belfast, ME 1996-2009
Artist-in-Residence, East Side School, Belfast, ME  2002-2003
Artist-in-Residence, Drinkwater School, Belfast, ME  2006
Art Instructor, Waterfall Arts, Belfast, ME  2002- 2012
Art Educator, Appleton Village School, Appleton, ME  2003-2008
Artist-in-Residence, Ironwood program for teens, Morrill, ME  2005-present

In the Collection of
Woodstock Artists Association, NY
Kalamar Designs, Inc., Wantagh, NY
MBNA Corp., Newark, Delaware and Camden, ME
Mathias Fine Art, Trevette, ME
Alex Katz Foundation
Private Collections in the US, Canada and abroad

Awards
Lucette Ruellan Award, Woodstock, NY  1978
Honorable Mention, All Maine Biennial, Gorham, ME 1981
Mathias Fine Art Purchase Award, Trevette, ME  2000
Honorable Mention, KVAA, Hallowell, ME 2011

Commissions
Poster Design, Theatrical company, Woodstock, NY  1977-1979
Book cover design, Thorndike Press, Unity, ME  1987-1989 & 1992
Nationally used Environmental Awareness game/tool for public and private schools, 1994
Illustrator, Country Roads Press, Castine, ME  1994 –1995
2,000 sq. foot commission skating pond backdrop for actress Kirstie Alley, Isleboro, ME 1994
Mural design and execution, Mt. View Jr. High School, Thorndike, ME  1995
Mural design and execution, Toddy Pond School, 1999
Down East Books, Illustrator of 2 children’s books, 2005, 2007

Personal Interests, Concerns and Involvement
Family / two children and their well-being, nature, foraging, gardening, hiking, cooking, wine making,  proliferating the art of  Ukrainian egg decorating, the environment and local politics.
Member of: Union of Maine Visual Artists, Natural Resources Council of Maine, CMCA, Farnsworth Art Museum, MOFGA, WERU, MPBN, public broadcasting

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