Benjamin Lussier: Prout's Neck & Monhegan Island

Quarries, Light on Stone

New landscape paintings by Nina Jerome


My work alternates between natural and constructed landscape spaces. The quarry integrates the two; this twentieth century scar on the land providing a man-made sculptural armature through which nature weaves new growth. I observe and respond to the quiet, historic qualities of a rural industrial space, and to the idea of time as it relates to these established, solid, granite spaces. 


Situated on Wahoa Bay in Addison, Maine, the Black Diamond Granite Quarry (1880-1932)  had three adjacent quarries in the woods linked with a rail track that carried the monumental blocks to the cut stone wharf, where schooners transported the black granite to East Coast cities.  I have been observing the distinctive shapes and spaces of this location for many years, and last summer provided the time and focus to investigate its variations. At first observation, it was the reflections and interaction between the rocks, trees, and sky that attracted me. As the drawings and paintings continued I discovered that the shape of the pool, the precarious angle of the invading trees, and the shifting light on the face of the granite also played an important role in attracting me to the space. 


The process begins with photographs, followed by drawings and watercolor sketches through which I make selections about placement and composition. After coating the canvas with an underlying color, I begin painting gestural marks that gradually build the movement and interaction of elements in the space. The joy of working with a series of paintings of one place derives from the discoveries one makes along the way, as drawings reveal new ideas, and one painting leads to another. As I continue to develop this work, it is the resilience of nature that astounds me. A plentiful presence of trees, plants, and birds have returned to reclaim this once-industrial site less then one hundred years after its abandonment. 


Below is a photo of the Black Diamond Quarry at the beginning of the Twentieth Century beside a representation of a painting done of the same site in 2021. The painting, “Quarry Reflections 18, Sunset”, is 40x30 inches, painted in oil on canvas. 

                                                               Black Diamond Quarry: "Quarry Reflections, Sunset"

Screen Shot 2021-03-22 at 11.00.56