“At Frank’s Place” – An exhibit of drawings and paintings by Martha Briana and Frank Pierobello at Mayo Street Arts. Opening reception Friday September 3rd from 5-8pm. Free and open to the public.
If you’ve ever been to the dive bar at Morrill’s Corner you’ve seen Frank’s paintings. The outside of the building used to have a motorcycle painted on it, but it’s been covered over recently. The entrance now bears a sign enticing: “WARM BEER, BAD FOOD – COME ON IN”.
Morrill’s Corner Pub, the once notorious den of drunken fishermen, dirty bikers, topless dancers, and raging all-night bashes has waned to a quiet, crusty haven
for a handful of well-rooted regulars, a tough and tired barmaid, and the odd dart tournament. The two-storied fortress features an oval bar, dumbwaiter, mechanical bowling game, and shag carpeting circa 1971. You could say the place reeks of nostalgia.
But there is something strange and beautiful too: LOTS and LOTS of post-impressionist oil paintings. Van Goghs, Monets, Cezannes, copied to a T. And originals, too – seascapes of Portland Harbor, Prout’s Neck, Willard Beach; landscapes of Deering Oaks Park, the Eastern Prom, Mill Creek; and portraits – portraits of women, women with children, barroom scenes of couples, guys playing pool and women drinking beer; still lives of flowers, bowls of ripe fruit.
The paintings saturate the bar with color, life, beauty, and a tenderness you just wouldn’t expect.
At age 76, bar owner Frank Pierobello has managed to devote much of his life to his art. He hangs his paintings in the bar for the public to see. Regulars love to pose for him and are proud of their portraits. Frank has attended the same life drawing class every Monday morning for the last 25 years, which is where he and Martha met.
Martha Briana is an artist, model, and renaissance woman. Daughter of a sea captain, Martha has worked as a deckhand, cab driver, donut waitress, and vintage tool salesman. She sails around in her own wooden boat and can tie any knot you need. Besides drawing nudes and posing for others, she is an skilled potter and print maker. Though Martha is less than half Frank’s age they have a lot in common – they are both feisty characters with a passion for the pursuit of art.
“At Franks Place” drawings and paintings by Martha Briana and Frank Pierobello will be on exhibit September 3rd through October 2oth at Mayo Street Arts in Portland. Opening Friday September 3rd 5-8pm. Free and open to the public.