Ticonic Gallery + Railroad Square Cinema Lobby present The Farm Tools Project, a visual exploration of the use of hand tools on small farms in Maine and the exchanges that take place between farmers and the land. Artist Michel Droge and archaeologist Sarah Loftus traveled around the state with a portable cyanotype kit (an old form of non-toxic photography relying on sunlight and water) creating images of tools with farmers in their fields and talking with people about their practices, the significance of the tools they use and how they engage with the earth to produce and harvest food.
The exhibition offers a close examination of the daily use and histories of farm tools and aims to further our engagement with local farms. The tools depicted pose questions around invention and ingenuity, as well as the resilience and resurgence of small farms in Maine. How can we connect and support our local farms? What does it mean to practice sustainable farming in the 21st Century? How can farms mitigate food insecurity in our community? Ticonic Gallery invites viewers to consider these questions in a larger communal context.
The Farm Tools Project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission and by the Kindling Fund, a grant program administered by SPACE as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regranting Program.
Participating farms: Black Kettle Farm, Lyman; Burke Hill Farm, Cherryfield; College of the Atlantic’s Peggy Rockefeller Farm, Mount Desert Island; Four Season Farm, Harborside; Frith Farm, Scarborough; Girard Farm, Lyman; Hurricane Valley Farm, West Falmouth; Ironwood Farm, Albion; Villageside Farm, Freedom
Michel Droge is a painter, printmaker, and educator whose work engages with the environment and the human condition in an era of uncertainty. They are a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Award and recent fellowships at Ellis Beauregard Foundation and Surf Point. Michel is currently an artist in residence at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and has an M.F.A. from Maine College of Art.
Sarah Loftus is an archaeologist at Northeast Archeology Research Center in Farmington, Maine. Her research focuses on 19th and 20th century history and people’s relationships with the environment through material culture, labor, and technology. She has a Ph.D. In Anthropology from Syracuse University. Sarah worked on several of the farms that are part of the Farm Tools Project.
Farmers across the state are facing loss of livelihood and significant health impacts due to contamination from PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals”. 100% of art sales proceeds will be donated to the Maine Farmland Trust and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s joint PFAS Emergency Relief Fund to support farmers impacted by potential PFAS contamination. To donate or learn more, please click here to visit their website.