Black River Gallery opens in Boothbay Harbor
The Black River Gallery (BRG) of Boonton, New Jersey is now of Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Artists Catherine Day and Sue Kenney have opened the gallery to feature their photographic art and the work of guest artists. Right now, the gallery features Bernadette DeCesare. And Vancouver-based artist Sid Dickens has his collectible tile series “Memory Blocks” available there.
Along with Day and Kenney’s signature photography pieces are the small 22 carat gold leaf prints on vellum. No two are the same, said Kenney. They also do photographic encaustic pieces, wax on paper.
"We're just trying to do different treatments to our photographs … that sets us apart from the photographers out there,” said Day.
Kenney added, "We try different techniques to the photographs to make them more interesting for everybody because, you know, you can't just say you took a photo – that's great, so you blew it up?”
As for how they make their photos look the way they do, Kenney said, "It's a treatment. It's a secret.”
The gallery, in the former Casual Interiors, is nearly 1500 square feet of space for the artists to work with. That is a step up from what they were used to in New Jersey – 350 square feet. Day said even so, they find there can always be a little more room for art.
After coming to Maine and working for Oliver's at Cozy Harbor Wharf and in the kitchen of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Day left to go back to New Jersey and open BRG with Kenney in the gallery’s original location. Kenney had already owned and maintained a gallery. She started shooting photography as a teenager and eventually ended up working in a darkroom for 25 years.
"It was my first career, but when digital hit, it put us all out of a job. Then I went to galleries, I opened a gallery."
Kenney ran her first gallery for eight years before she and Day put BRG together and five years after that, BRG came to Boothbay Harbor.
When Day began managing Oliver's, and Kenney was finishing up with her first gallery, Kenney would visit and find herself shooting massive amounts of photography while Day was at work.
"I fell in love with it up here, I just thought it was such a beautiful place,” said Kenney.
It had to be Boothbay Harbor said the two artists and that BRG ended up where it did in the harbor was close to a miracle. Kenney said it was as if the stars had aligned for the gallery to happen.
"I just loved the area,” Day said. "I just decided it was time to come to Boothbay Harbor … We were very fortunate to get this space – somebody down the street told us to come up and we got it like the day before it went into the newspaper for rent.”
The best part of owning the gallery is always making art and meeting people, said Day and Kenney. The two meet people from all over the country and world. And all these years later – with BRG in its first year on McKown Street in Boothbay Harbor, they say their work is still the same.
The art is all about having an eye, said Kenney. "There's beauty around every corner."