Anne Emmanuelle Marpeau lives in an old boatyard on France’s Breton coast. Her art brings to life stories, paintings, and photographs she has collected. In 1997 she visited Maine and became fascinated with stories of its coast. Marpeau uses only traditional materials to make her work. She carves her boats, rocks, people’s heads and many other details from wood. Bodies are made from tightly rolled fabric. Ocean forms are made from old-fashioned window plaster.
Anne-Emmanuelle Marpeau calls her artworks ex-votos. Literally translated as from the vow made, ex-votos traditionally were placed in churches to seek grace or give thanks. Marpeau’s pieces are offerings, story boxes, telling tales of events gone past, and of events imagined. You will see people working and celebrating life. They show life on the coast in the days before gasoline and electricity. They show that the way of the sea was hazardous—and still is. You will see models being sailed, dories and peapods being rowed, boat builders, fishermen, lighthouse keepers, lifesaving crews, and families.