Altared Spaces

Back in 1993 a cadre of artists put together a show of shrines at the Icon Gallery, sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists, called Sacred Spaces. It was such fun collaborating that the same troupe installed a large outdoor exhibit at the Maine Festival two years later. When we opened this gallery space it was inevitable we would host a return engagement.

This time around 20 artists conspired to construct an environment of shrines and altars which celebrate the sublime and the ridiculous, with all stops between. The artists spent a week concocting the show, and the process, as usual, was as much fun as the results. If Gallery Muir is about serving a community of artists, the score is love-1.

This kind of show is so dense it is impossible to give more than a rough sense of it in this medium. Even after visiting the shrines every day in the gallery we find new wonders and delights each time we look. And the constructions are ephemeral. Most of these visions will evaporate when the show comes down, only to be resurrected in other combinations, in other places.

Because there are so many images, I have separated the works of each artists onto a separate page, with a thumbnail and link below. Just click on the links to see more views of each shrine. If awe and laughter are two sides of a coin, this stuff will flip you.



[Mildred Johnson]

Front Windows


[Bryce Muir]

Window Shrine

[Gretel Porter]

Richard Lee
Jungle Book
[In the side window]

to the Altar Room

Wish Ribbons

[Gretel Porter]

Lock Box

[Peggy Muir]



James Fangbone
Fang's Altar

Abby Shahn

Stephen Petroff
Altared Book

David Brooks
Pillar & Altar


Family Altar

Pat & Tony Owen
"Almost Amazing"

Mark Nelsen
Sicily & The News

Gretel Porter
Shrines to India

Mildred Johnson
Iron Altars

Peggy Muir
Elvis Altarcloth

Douglas Carpenter
Time and Space

The McFarland Family

Mr. Thrifty Goes to Town

Susan Drucker

Susan Mills
Antlered Altar

Chana Boone
Shrine to Music

Bud Swenson
All art is Political
All art is Spiritual

Wally Warren
A trio of Altars

Matthew Pierce O'Donnell

Altar Paintings

A feel for the space