Subject Matters at OMAA

OGUNQUIT, Maine – “Subject Matters: Sebastian Martorana in Sculpture,” the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New England, is on view at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art through Oct. 31.

Baltimore-based, contemporary artist Sebastian Martorana incisively carves stone sculptures which traverse a range of subjects. Working primarily in marble, Martorana charges the oldest of artistic disciplines with the concerns of a contemporary generation.

Martorana embraces a direct approach to sculpture. He often works from observation, sculpting from life using tools fabricated to achieve the required effect over the surface of stone. Where elements of his work appear forthright and effortless, they are in fact the result of a skillful approach to artistic traditions, reveling in passages of texture, pattern, volume and form that are by turns humorous, familiar and politically-charged.

The exhibition surveys nearly ten years of work, with 21 of Martorana’s sculptures on view as part of the installation, including his 2008 work, “White Plastic Bag Memorial.”

“This was my first attempt to create preemptive memorials — meaning memorials to something that will soon be gone,” Martorana said. “They are, at the same time, praise for legislative movements to phase out the use of plastic bags and objects of reflection for the passing of the ‘plastic’ era. Physically, plastic bags and stone memorials share the same lifecycle, only differing greatly in their duration. They both appear smooth, sparkling and shiny at first, but when left to the elements they begin to breakdown, lose their shine and become overlooked, just part of the background to passers by.”

“Subject Matters” is organized by OMAA and the exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort and Barbara and Richard O’Leary.

The OMAA was founded by Lost Generation artist Henry Strater and opened in 1953. Closely tied to one of the earliest art colonies of the American modernist art movement, OMAA today houses a permanent collection of important paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photographs from the late 1800s to the present. The museum honors Strater’s vision to preserve and showcase American art by mounting innovative modern and contemporary exhibition programs each year from May through October. OMAA and its three-acre seaside sculpture gardens overlook Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean. Learn more at

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