The idea of cultural identity is tricky, and finding a cohesive means to express the guiding principles of being an American in the utterly subjective realm of artistic interpretation is impossible.

Even though an "American experience" shared by all of us who live in the United States is difficult to conceive, the current exhibit at the Davenport Museum of Art (with the name The American Experience) seeks to portray a version of our nationhood through visual art.

Initially, the pairing of Eric Mart and William Hannan in an exhibit at MidCoast Gallery West feels dichotomous and unnerving. There is the storied flow of Hannan's calligraphy around his illustrations in one eye, and the skittering, nearly audible rattle of Mart's sculptures in the other.