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The ICA at Maine College of Art is free and open to the public Wednesday - Sunday 11am-5pm, Thursday 11am-7pm, and First Fridays 11am-8pm.

MFA Thesis Exhibition '15

Aaron Smith, Synergy Project 8: Eclipse, 2015

May 8 – May 31, 2015

A reception will be held on Friday, May 8th, from 6 to 8pm, to celebrate the opening of the MFA Thesis Exhibition. The work was created by students who are graduating from the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts program.

The show includes work from MFA students Laura Blair Bodden, Audra Christie, Stratton McCrady, Brandon Pierce, Alena Shaughnessy, Aaron Smith, and Matthew Tanzi. The MFA program granted students an interdisciplinary approach that encourages them to think across traditional academic boundaries and challenge their art practice and intellectual curiosity.

The 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition will be open for viewing through May 31st: Wednesday – Sunday11am-5pm, Thursday until 7pm.

Artist Statements

Laura Blair Bodden

The photographs and projection work in Laura Blair Bodden's series Thresholds exaggerates the time and space of twilight. In this body of work the liminal is explored as a space between spaces, as space of waiting. Bodden uses constructed sets to produce images that embrace the nature of the shadow landscape.

Audra Christie

Audra Christie has a hybrid art practice that utilizes process, encounter, engagement, community, and her experience living in rural Maine. Her social design practice and specifically the  Tiny House Studio project seeks to stimulate interaction and foster a communal experience. Christie's work connects the viewer with the moment and acts as a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity. The Tiny House Studio can be seen at MECA's green space, just down the street from the ICA.

Stratton McCrady

Following in the path of artists such as Diane Arbus and Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, McCrady's project Acting Out: Performances, Debaucheries and Lies grew from the desire to study and to illuminate the fringes of local society and specifically the Burlesque community in the Portland area. He portrays the humor, sexuality, generosity, the curiosity and the beauty of his subjects.  

Brandon Pierce

Brandon Pierce is a conceptual artist using elements of performance, self-experimentation, and drawing to explore the limits  of rationality in the understanding of the self and its place in society. His current work is two-fold. In his performance work he is cataloging and exploring the nature of the barriers he imposes between himself and his identity as an artist. In his sculptural work he is exploring the physical and social effect that aesthetics, essentially his output as an artist, plays in the speciation and maintenance of social structures, particularly class.

Alena Shaughnessy

Alena Shaughnessy's work brings the outside world inside and makes the internal world visible.  Her work is made of visual fragments of life to include outdoor pieces like skies, indoor pieces like carpet and in between pieces like doors. Time and space are altered. Shaughnessy's installations are domestic spaces that become universes.

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith is a photographer and installation artist who makes phenomena visible by creating relationships between light, space object and the viewer. His Synergy project consists of small simple machines that manipulate light in order to change the way objects and space are perceived. The meditative state evoked by his work present viewers with realities that lie outside of their immediate physical grasp and can be accessed through their imaginations.

Matthew Tanzi

Matthew Tanzi's animations ask the question 'what dictates reality'— and specifically what are the differences between the invented realities put forth through the medium of film and our perceived realities in the physical world. His animation The Witlessly Automated Adventures of the Extra Ordinary Hectkor uses social satire and humor to allow the audience to consider these questions for themselves.  


East to East

June 5 – July 3, 2015

Two Maine artists return home – elin o'Hara slavick with After Hiroshima, a project from the Far East, and Shane C. Smith with Avi Form – a project about the Downeast Penobscot living on Indian Island, Maine.

Both artists pay special attention to the specific cultural sites on which they work or to which they refer - Hiroshima, Japan (the Far East) and the Native lands of the (near Downeast) coast of Maine. The archive, cultural memory, the past and its power in the present, loss of histories, people and lands, artifacts, the performative gestures of remembering, honoring and witnessing all play important parts in this work. East to East investigates these dynamic explorations of history, memory, loss, language that artists make as cultural storytellers and producers. The work is deeply engaged in the physical trace - be it photographic, indexical, handmade, sculptural, textual or performative.

Elin o'Hara slavick grew up in Portland, Maine, and took her first photography class at the Portland School of Art (now MECA). Slavick, who has never shown in Maine, is currently a Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art, Theory and Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked with Shane C. Smith on an independent study for fall, 2014 semester, in which he produced some of the work in this exhibition.

Shane C. Smith was born in Bangor and grew up in Milford, Maine, between Old Town, Indian Island and French Island. Smith, a conceptual and performance artist, utilizes an intermedia approach to investigate the subject and language within histories as they relate to place. His socially based practice has lead to designing and building a playground in Uganda, Africa and a stop-motion film featuring Penobscot Native American mythology that premiered at the Taos, New Mexico Talking Picture Show. After earning his MFA from UNC, Chapel Hill, he will continue his studio practice in New York City.

For the artists, this exhibition grows out of the mutually beneficial and equally challenging relationship between mentor and mentee. One instructs the other and the other teaches a new language.


We Are What We Hide

June 2013 - June 2016

This exhibition’s inherent relationship between secrecy and disclosure requires all selected works to be buried in the walls of the gallery.  Every six months, beginning in June 2013, another work will be unearthed from within the gallery walls.  Each unveiled work will then be on view until the conclusion of the exhibition in March 2016.  This long running exhibition will be ongoing in the gallery and shown concurrently with other, more temporary, exhibitions throughout its three-year run

Featuring works by: Rick Araluce, Brendan Fernandes, Ethan Hayes-Chute, Catrin Morgan, Amalia Pica, and Ruby Sky Stiler. 

Co-curated by Robert Blackson, director of exhibitions and public programs at Temple Contemporary, and Daniel Fuller, director at ICA @ MECA. 

Thomas Moser: 
A Legacy In Wood

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 23
July 22 - September 20, 2015

Connecting the past to the future through fine wood craftsmanship Thos. Moser, Cabinetmakers is one of Americas finest furniture making endeavors. This exhibit surveys their 44 years of engagement with wood: Thomas Moser’s struggle to find himself after being orphaned at eighteen, his learning through long dead masters, his decision to leave a tenured teaching position to pursue furniture making full time, and his aesthetic and entrepreneurial choices throughout life. At a time when artisans are searching for meaningful ways to engage with their work and their audience, which can afford them fiscal independence, Thomas Moser’s journey provides an example of devotion to artistry and craftsmanship that is uncompromisingly ethical while generating a livelihood for his family, a community of artisans and delivering to the world objects of great beauty and utility.

This Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art retrospective is the first exhibition to examine the central importance of Thomas Moser to the world of fine furniture craftsmanship. The exhibition will illuminate Moser’s approach to this most democratic expression of artisanship both formally and conceptually through the objects themselves, comprehensive didactics illustrating origins, timeline, influences, aesthetics, his relationship to and respect for wood, displays of tools and joinery as well as a beautiful accompanying catalogue.

The work included in the exhibition spans four decades; in many instances walking the viewer through the growth of a chair from early design iterations through several design changes or variations on a central theme, always returning to what Moser via Plato calls “ultimate chairness.” The driving aesthetic is reductive and includes the surety found through exposed joinery in chairs, tables, beds or desks fashioned to endure longer than the growth of the tree.

In the Sound Art Closet:

Robert Beatty: Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata

“Soundtracks for Takeshi Murata” collects Beatty’s compositions for digital video glitch pioneer Takeshi Murata, produced between 2004-2007.  Beatty’s collaborative relationship with Murata has spawned some of his strongest work to date, and Glistening Examples is honored to present this music to the public for the first time outside of screenings, museums, and galleries.  Beatty has performed alongside Murata’s work in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Beijing, where he performed several shows, including at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art during the 2008 exhibition, “Stray Alchemists.”

Courtesy of the Artist and Glistening Examples, Maine. 


ICA @ MECA has a new site for our publications: 



ICA @ MECA is a Proud Member of the Publication Studio Network:


Please visit: www.publicationstudio.biz for more information. 



A Collaboration with the Community Television Network, Portland, Maine's Public Access Station. 

Continuing our goal to reach wider audiences beyond the psychical space of the museum, we offer the general public greater access to cutting edge contemporary video art. When in Portland it is worth staying up late to watch work by: Anja Kirschner and David Panos, Kristan Horton, Ellie Ga, Harrell Fletcher, Trisha Baga, Artie Vierkant, Trevor Paglen, Michael Bell-Smith, Nicolas Milhé, David Berezin, Mitchel Kehe, Øyvind Aspen and a special program curated by Rachel Reese of Possible Projects, which included work by: Anne Eastman, Derek Frech, Oliver Laric, and Nanna Debois Buhl. All of this, from the comfort of your own living room! 

Season 3 is now on CTN! 

Videos by: Judith Hopf, Will Benedict & Tom Humphreys, Michael E. Smith, Nina Koennemann, Michael Rakowitz, Sara Magenheimer, Neil Beloufa, and Aleksandra Domanovic.

The AAAAARG Library

Since 2005, AAAARG has served as an online research tool for tens of thousands of students, educators, curators, and artists seeking access to books and essays on critical theory, art, architecture, and film. Developed around a near-10,000-item printed card catalogue that indexes the content of the AAAARG Web site, the Library creates a temporary, participatory space for the free redistribution of textual material.

The AAAARG Library was commissioned by Fillip as an artist project by Sean Dockray for its 13th issue, to be released in winter of 2011. It continues Fillip’s ongoing interest in the alternative forms of distribution and economic exchange that have developed around contemporary international art publishing.

The AAAARG Library will exist within the ICA @ MECA through a Sunday morning reading group, offering an extra-institutional space that will develop through a symbiotic (rather than an oppositional or hierarchical) relationship to the systems of exchange. This reading group is open to MECA students and the public alike.

The project is curated by Fillip publisher Jeff Khonsary.


Maine College of Art - The ICA at MECA from Maine College of Art on Vimeo.

MFA Thesis Show, May 9
East to East, June 5 - July 3
Thomas Moser: A Legacy In Wood 









  • Out There: The Mediated Landscape: November 19 to December 21, 2008
    Christina Bechstein, Phillip Brou, George LaRou, and Gail Spaien
  • Ruminant: August 27 – October 19, 2008
    Adriane Herman, Ling-Wen Tsai, Yumi Janairo Roth, Yoonmi Nam
  • Send: Conversations in Evolving Media: June 11 – August 10, 2008
    Meggan Gould, Alex Kahn, Jason Lewis, Carlo Pittore, and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES
  • 2008 MFA Thesis Exhibtion: May 10-24, 2008
  • 2008 Senior Index Exhibition: April 2 – April 27, 2008
  • 2008 Winter Exhition Series: January 25 – March 16, 2008
    Revisioning Portland; Arthur Ganson: Machines Contemplating Time; and Lisa Young: Transcendence and Temporality


  • 2007 Faculty Exhibition: November 16, 2007 - Jan 6, 2008
  • intervals: MFA Alumni Exhibtion: October 12 - 27, 2007
  • Maine College of Art 33rd annual Art Auction: November 9, 2007
  • Anthromorph Alumni Exhibtion: August 29 to October 7, 2007
  • Corridor at Sea: The Performative Object: June 15 to August 19, 2007
  • Maine College of Art MFA Thesis Exhibtion 2007: May 12 to 25, 2007
  • 2007 BFA Senior Thesis Exhibtion: May 12 to 29, 2007





  • MECA Alumni Exhibition                                                
  • Art Auction                                                  
  • Skowhegan Faculty 2002-03                              
  • Senior Thesis Exhibition 2003                                                     
  • Sebastiao Salgado: Migrations-Humanity in Transition
  • 2003 Scholastic Art Awards      
  • 2003 Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition                                                   


  • MECA Art Auction                                                  
  • William Pope.L: eRacism
  • Playground                                                
  • 2002 Senior Thesis Exhibition                          
  • Terrain: Sculpture Today                              
  • 2002 Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition     
  • 2002 Scholastic Art Awards                                                    


  • Maine Contemporary Furniture                          
  • MECA Art Auction                                   
  • Two Photographers
  • 2001 Maine College of Art MFA Faculty Exhibition
    Katarina Weslien, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ulf Rolloff
  • Domestic Culture: home in visual culture
  • 2001 Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition     
  • DAY WITH(OUT) Art                                          


  • MECA Art Auction                              
  • Translation/Seduction/Displacement
  • Robert Farber: A Retrospective, 1984-1995
  • Senior Thesis Exhibition 2000                         
  • Beyond Decorum: The Photography of Iké Udé
  • Scholastic Art Awards                                            
  • Congressional Art Awards                               
  • 2000 Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition            


  • Rez Williams: Steel Walls and Waterlines                  
  • Eva Marco                                                            
  • The Art of Reading : Books and Non-Books
  • From the Centre to the Edge
  • Maine College of Art Alumni Exhibition                  
  • Lucy Mitchell: Omnium Gatherum
  • Senior Thesis Exhibition 1999                                 
  • 1999 Maine College of Art BFA Exhibition                   
  • Maine High School Competition                                  
  • 3 Installations                                                    
  • 1999 Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition          


  • Do It                                                                  
  • Tonee Harbert, Bradley McCallum, Martha Rosler           
  • Lesley Dill, Judy LaBrasco, Susie Brandt                
  • 1998 Senior Thesis Exhibition                               
  • 1998 Maine College of Art BFA Exhibition              
  • Maine High School Competition                                  
  • David Thomas, Tom Friedman, Lucy White                    
  • 1998 Maine College of Art Faculty                          
  • Uta Barth, Nancy Chunn, Anthony Caro                       
  • Zeke Berman, Harvey Quaytman, Deborah Oropallo           
  • Quiet in the Land                                                  
  • David Ireland  
  • Flow Thru Out by Mierle Laderman Ukeles



The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art features innovative exhibitions and public programs that showcase new perspectives and trends in contemporary art. Located in stunning galleries in our landmark Porteous Building, the ICA at MECA presents cutting edge work by local, national, and international artists. A lively schedule of public programming includes lectures, workshops, and performances. The ICA at MECA provides a unique resource to the MECA community, offering insight into the practices of the professional field and first hand experiences with renowned visiting artists. Internships are also available, providing hands-on museum experiences ranging from the research and development of exhibitions to teaching to museum management.

Maine College of Art - The ICA at MECA from Maine College of Art on Vimeo.


Jeff Waites
ICA Interim Director, Director of Student Exhibitions
207-699-5040 x 5040

ICA Front Desk




Wednesday - Sunday 11am-5pm

Thursday 11am -7pm

First Fridays 11am-8pm 


ICA at MECA is always free.
Donations are appreciated. 

Tours and Education Programs
To make an appointment for exhibition tours and for information on education programs, lectures, panel discussions, and programs for children, please contact us at 207.699.5029.

The ICA at MECA is fully wheelchair accessible.


A variety of public programs, including artist talks, art history lectures, and panel discussions, are organized in conjunction with exhibitions. The ICA also sponsors programs with the local art community and participates in community events.

First Fridays Artwalk
First Friday of the month
5:00-8:00 pm
Portland's open night for galleries and museums.

The ICA is committed to providing college students with hands-on museum experiences ranging from curatorial assistance to teaching in an educational program or working with artists to develop projects. Students can choose a general, educational or curatorial internship.

Art on the Move
This program offers thematic exhibition tours for K-12 schools and college groups. Call to schedule a tour for your group.


Programs for Young People

Adventures in Art-School Program

A contemporary art education program for elementary school children, that includes classroom visits, ICA exhibition tours and art-making, student exhibitions, and on-going curriculum connections.


Contemporary Connections-School Program
A program for grades 6-12 which combines ICA exhibition tours with school curriculum to create connections between contemporary art and everyday life.

K - 12 and College educators are welcome to contact the ICA via email or 207.699.5029  to inquire about customized interactive tours.



A Meticulous Ferment: Beth Lipman and Kirsten Hassenfeld, 2010
Exhibition catalogue.
Available Summer 2010

Archaeology Above Ground, 2010
Exhibition catalogue
Published by Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary
Art. 15-page catalogue with an essay by Kristine Woods; full color
installation photography. Available for US$ 7.00 postage paid.

Out There, 2009
Exhibition catalogue
Published by Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary
Art. 15-page catalogue with an essay by Patricia C. Phillips; full color
installation photography. Available for US$ 7.00 postage paid.

Ruminant, 2008
Exhibition catalogue
Published by Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary
Art. 13-page catalogue with an essay by Nadine Wasserman; full color install
photography. Available for US$ 7.00 postage paid.

Revisioning Portland, 2008
Exhibition catalogue
Published by Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary
Art. 31-page catalogue with essays by Michelle Taylor-Harris and Mark
Klett; full color photography. Available for US$ 7.00 postage paid.

Wenda Gu: Art from Middle Kingdom to Biological Millennium, 2003
Published by MIT Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
London, England
Edited by Mark H. C. Bessire and Designed by MECA faculty Margo Halverson & Charles Melcher of Alice Design Communications.
For more information call the ICA at MECA: (800) 639-4808

(The exhibition: "Wenda Gu: Middle Kingdom to Biological Millennium" is organized by a consortium of art colleges, including The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, and will be on display at the ICA at MECA June 21-October 3, 2004.)

William Pope.L: The Friendliest Black Artist in America, 2002
Published by MIT Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
London, England
Edited by Mark H. C. Bessire and Designed by MECA faculty Margo Halverson & Charles Melcher of Alice Design Communications
This book, which accompanies a nationally touring exhibition of Pope.L's work, explores his impact on American art and culture. It contains sections on practices, body, performance, dialogue, consumption, and a selection of the artist's writings and a chronology. The essays are by Mark H. C. Bessire, C. Carr, Geoffrey Hendricks, Stuart Horodner, Lowery Stokes Sims, Kristine Stiles, and Martha Wilson.
Available for U.S. $24.95
For more information call the ICA at MECA: (800) 639-4808

Translation/Seduction/Displacement: Post- Conceptual and Photographic Work by Artists from South Africa
Exhibition Catalogue
published by Maine College of Art, Portland, Me: Institute of Contemporary Art and Fer Inc.
Edited by Lauri Firstenberg and John Peffer
Essays by Rory Bester, Santu Mofokeng, John Peffer, and Lauri Firstenberg; 47 pages, black and white images. Available for US $15.00 postage paid.

Someday: Robert Farber: A Retrospective
Exhibition Catalogue
published by Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Essays by Carl Belz, Robert Rosenblum, and Robert Storr; checklist of exhibition; color, 72 pages. Available for US $15.00 postage paid.

Beyond Decorum: The Photography of Ike Ude
published by MIT Press and edited by Mark H.C. Bessire and Lauri Firstenberg with an
interview by Okwui Enwezor and essays by Aimee Bessire, Lauri Firstenberg, Kobena Mercer, Valerie Steele and Ike Ude. In color with 185 pages the book is available through MIT Press. To order call 800-356-0343 0r (617) 625-8569.

Rez Williams: Steel Walls and Waterlines, 1999
Exhibition brochure.
Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary Art. Eight-page fold-out brochure with essay by Mark H.C. Bessire; exhibition checklist; nine black-and-white images. Available for US$ 5.00 postage paid.

Flow Thru Out,1999
Exhibition brochure.
Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary Art. Six-page fold-out brochure with essays by Mark H.C. Bessire and Sasha M. White; four black-and-white images. Available for US$ 5.00 postage paid.

The Art of Reading: Books and Non-Books, 1999
Exhibition brochure.
Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary Art.
Eight-page fold-out brochure with essay by Sasha M. White; exhibition checklist; seven black-and-white images. Available for US$ 5.00 postage paid.

Omnium Gatherum: An Installation by Lucy Mitchell, 1999
Exhibition catalogue.
Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary Art. 32-page catalogue with essays by Aimee H.C. Bessire and Mark H.C. Bessire; exhibition checklist; nine black-and-white images. Available for US$ 8.00 postage paid.

Quiet in the Land: Everyday Life, Contemporary Art and the Shakers, 1997
Exhibition brochure.
Maine College of Art, Portland ME: Institute of Contemporary Art.
Twelve-page fold-out brochure with essay by France Morin; five color images. Available for US$ 5.00 postage paid.