Summer J. Hart


Summer J. Hart is an interdisciplinary artist and writer from Maine living in the Hudson Valley, New York. She is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation. Her written and visual narratives are influenced by folklore, superstition, divination, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature. Summer is the author of Boomhouse (2023, The 3rd Thing Press). She is the recipient of a 2022 MacDowell Fellowship in Literature. Her poetry can be found in Bedfellows, Heavy Feather Review, The Massachusetts ReviewNorthern New England Review, Waxwing, and elsewhere. Her mixed-media installations have been featured in shows and galleries including SPRING/BREAK, NYC; Pen + Brush, NYC; Gitana Rosa Gallery at Paterson Art Factory, Paterson, NJ; LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA; and The Parsonage Gallery, Searsport, ME.

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 Out in May Back by October explores the balance between extractive and sustainable approaches to nature. Made primarily from abandoned newsprint sourced from the ruins of the East Millinocket paper mill, Hart’s drawings and installations variously combine recycled, reclaimed, remade, and commercially made paper, ink, and water. The show’s title evokes the spring-to-fall season of the river drives that, for generations, moved thousands of trees from the forest of northern Maine, down the Penobscot River, to the factories in which timber was pulped, bleached, and milled into paper.

A central piece of the installation is “Out in May Back by October” an 8.5’ x 12’ hand-beaded portrait of Harts’ paternal grandparents, Robert Fraser and Mary Metallic, who met on the Listuguj (then Restigouche) Mi’gmaq First Nation reserve during a Great Northern Paper Company recruitment drive. Each bead in this monumental portrait was handmade by the artist by systematically tearing, weighing, and repulping mill paper. She fashioned the pulp into over 8,000 beads, dyed them in shades of gray, drilled them, and beaded them in 22 sections on a loom—a technique her Native aunt and mother taught her in order to make bracelets as a child.

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Mill Paper Wall Hangings

Hand-fringed reclaimed East Millinocket Mill paper.

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Dyewater Ink Drop Drawings

(1 out of 109,) India ink, reclaimed bead dye water, 6” x 4.5” each.

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Dyewater Ink Drop Drawings

Installation shot, India ink, reclaimed bead dye water, 6” x 4.5” each.

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Salt For the Stain

36” x 36” strung between trees.

Hand-fringed graphite drawing of my grandmother, Mary Metallic Fraser from my last visit with her in memory care. When the wind is still, her face is visible. When the wind pitches a fit, she scatters into the landscape.

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Detail, Protection from What Remains

Hand-cut synthetic paper and light installation

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Detail, Unsaid

Hand-cut synthetic paper, light, and sound installation

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Boomhouse (September 2023, The 3rd Thing Press)

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Boomhouse thrums with loss, with complicated love, with fortitude. The poems travel a chain of rivers and lakes from the great timber stands of Canada to the dying mill towns of Maine, bending and rippling through history, oral accounts, superstitious customs, family lore and memory. Summer J. Hart navigates the twisting dynamics of a family that is both Native and settler. She weaves stories and spells from the most delicate and indelible details.”