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Posted: 2015-06-19

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Fall 2015 Academic Year Welcomes Marie Shurkus as Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History and Joshua Reiman as Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture

Portland, Maine - MECA will soon be welcoming a dynamic pair of new faculty hires: Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History, Marie Shurkus and Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture, Joshua Reiman.

Ian Anderson, VP of Academic Affairs and Dean at Maine College of Art recently lauded the efforts of the search committees behind both positions. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcomes of these searches. Dana Sawyer, Chair of the Academic Chair Search Committee, and Sue Nutty made a great team, assisted by Rob Sullivan, Gail Spaien and Moira Steven. Co-chairs of the MFA Search Committee Gail Spaien and George Larou, along with Ling-Wen Tsai, Anne Emlein and Chris Stiegler, were no less impressive, culling through a strong pool of almost 100 applicants.”

Both of these faculty positions are pivotal in helping to shape the academic experience and future of the college.

Marie Shurkus holds a Ph.D. in Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University in Montreal as well as an MA in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism from the Art Institute of Chicago. She comes to MECA from Claremont, California, where she taught contemporary art history and media studies, among other subjects, at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges. One of the founders of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Marie brings with her more than 15 years of teaching experience.

Shurkus’ research interests are closely aligned with MECA’s educational philosophy and pedagogy. She explained, “My doctoral research was inspired by one of the fundamental insights that emerged from the development of digital technologies, namely that images exist separately from their material substrates. Embracing this insight, I examined the post appropriation strategies that developed in the late 1980s.” More recently, she has focused her efforts on “exploring how critical debates around representation have moved away from from a purely semiotic analysis of imagery, toward a more phenomenal understanding of the image as an immaterial form that motivates affect.” A product of this research was “Camera Lucida and Affect: Beyond Representation,” published in 2013 in Routledge’s Journal of Photographies.

Marie’s first order of business at MECA will involve an investigation into the academic side of the first-year experience. Having led the Visual Arts Program at Vermont College through both the accreditation process and the strategic plan, she is also prepared to work on assessment and the self-study. She will be reaching out to academic faculty, with whom she looks forward to collaborating and creating a seamless, rigorous liberal arts and art history core curriculum for the newly ordained (and newly combined) Academic Studies Program.

Joshua Reiman is an artist working in sculpture, film, video and photography. His work deals with themes of personal and cultural identity. He is interested in how a mythical narrative or factual history can stand in front of an artwork, and how that operates for an audience. His work involves “transforming realities and non-realities into a visual hybridation or synthesis of what is real, fake and imagined.” Josh is also a contributing writer for Sculpture Magazine; his most recent piece -- an interview with Janine Antoni -- is the cover story of the May 2015 issue.

For the last two years, Josh has been a Visiting Professor of Art in Sculpture, Installation and Site-work at Carnegie Mellon University and a Wimmer Teaching Fellow at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Prior to that, he was a visiting part-time faculty member at SMFA and an adjunct at Syracuse University. He has also worked extensively as a consultant and fabricator for the artists Matthew Barney, Keith Edmier and Tom Otterness on large-scale, epic sculptural projects. His own work has been shown internationally.

Josh is a dedicated and committed teacher, noted by his references to bring deeply engaged learning and innovative projects to the classroom.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Raffi Der Simonian ( or 207.699.5010).


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