This season, OMAA is proud to participate in Hopeful: A Project by Charlie Hewitt. In 2019, Charlie Hewitt (b. 1946, Lewiston, Maine) was commissioned by Speedwell Projects, a nonprofit gallery in Portland, to create public art for its rooftop located at the nexus of five city neighborhoods. Hewitt installed a colorful and bright sign, lit with marquee lights and featuring a bold and simple message, “Hopeful.” The retro design is influenced by signs for roadside attractions recalling an earlier era. Hewitt collaborates with David Wolfe at Wolfe Editions in Portland on the design and with Neokraft Signs in Lewiston on fabrication. A commitment to working with local artisans and makers is central to Hewitt’s artistic practice. On January 20, 2021, Hewitt’s Hopeful sign in Lewiston appeared during the nationally televised Celebrating America event following the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. In addition to Portland and Lewiston, Hewitt has shown more Hopeful signs in Bangor and Brunswick, as well as in other cities and towns in Maine, and other states across the country.
Stylistically rooted in expressionism and surrealism, Hewitt’s imagery and symbols are influenced by the mill-working communities he grew up around. The energy and culture of these communities, including the values of church, family, and work, are infused in his artwork. Hewitt is represented in numerous collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, and Brooklyn Museum in New York; Library of Congress in DC; and Portland Museum of Art and Farnsworth Museum of Art in Maine.
A prolific printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Hewitt is concurrently developing two workshop studios to foster opportunities for community interaction and creativity — the Electric Garage in Jersey City, and the Electric Greenhouse in Portland. He divides his time between Maine and New Jersey.
This exhibition is organized for the Ogunquit Museum of American Art by Assistant Curator, Theresa Choi, and is made possible with support from Maine Home + Design Magazine.