Maine College of Art Photography faculty member Peter Shellenberger and artist-in-residence Caleb Charland are collaborating on a body of work to be exhibited at the Addison Woolley Gallery in Portland. Both artists incorporate unconventional materials and processes in their imagery. The exhibition, curated by Bruce Brown, opens with a reception on February 2 and continues through February 26. Shellenberger and Charland will discuss their process at an artist lecture on February 12 at 2 pm.
Faculty Member Elizabeth Jabar Exhibits in Waterville
Printmaking faculty member Elizabeth Jabar presents "Kindred" an exhibition of her work at Common Street Gallery in Waterville through December 28. In “Kindred” Jabar poignantly captures diverse narratives and interprets what it means to be in kinship with our cultural ancestors.
Jabar is a Waterville native and returns to her roots to mount an exhibition of prints, paper cuts, and artist books that reflect on the ideas of kinship, ancestry and cultural heritage. Working from a narrative framework, She uses a lexicon of abstracted and representational forms that come from a diversity of sources including, nature, folk art traditions, textiles, and the human figure. Her densely-layered, vividly-colored works are made using a combination of print techniques—woodcut, silkscreen, and lithography, as well as the use of dyes, wax, and thread. Her works also expand the conventions of the print medium, and utilize nontraditional formats including cut paper, book objects, and unframed wall compositions.
Jabar's unique approach to both form and format creates a multi-sensory experience for the viewer. She explains that her work conjures multi-layered narratives that lead us away from the ordinary into a contemplative space full of color, potent symbols, and a unique visual language that is not easily categorized. These formal and material strategies underscore what Jabar states is her goal of “reflecting upon the richness and complexities of cultural identity.” Her work is in various collections throughout the United States and Canada, and she has won several grants and awards and residencies.
Matt Hutton, program chair of the Woodworking & Furniture Design program at MECA, will give a lecture at 3pm on December 7 in the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. Hutton's work is included in the current exhibition, "A Perpetual Present" on view through December 23.
Hutton earned his BFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana and an MFA from San Diego State University. Matt has also studied woodworking in England and Japan.
Recently, Matt has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and lectured at Rochester Institute of Technology, the Herron School of Art and Takumi Juku in Japan. Matt was also recently awarded the Artist Award from the Society of Arts & Crafts and the Searchlight Award from the American Craft Council.
Students in Ling Wen Tsai's class "Introduction to Drawing" will show their work at Bakery On the Hill Gallery through January 29, 2012. All works were inspired by and created in the bakery. Participating students include: Brian MacMillian, Brittany Jasmin, Caitlin Hathaway, Cecil Cates, Cecilia Vazquez, Dylan MacLeod, Emily Armstrong, Emma McCabe, Ezequiel Rodriguez, Franceska Nebel, Gianna Caranfa, Hailey Howard, Hayley Cummings, Johanna Stacey, Lucas Greco, Lyndsey McElreath, Richard Ehman, Sarah Oppelt, Shadell Segree, and Wesley Cunningham.
MECA, Telling Room and Library Partner for Teen Exhibition
The 10-month post-baccaluareate program at MECA prepares students to become art teachers. In addition to the classes on campus and the student teaching in classrooms, the future teachers also participate in community collaborations. This fall, students in the Art of Teaching Art class with Paul Gebhardt partnered with the Portland Public Library and the nonprofit writing organization The Telling Room to conduct a series of workshops for teens. The work focused on the theme of The Telling Room's yearly anthology “Searching for Maine: Searching for Me.” First, students wrote their personal stories of identity. Then MECA students helped them create silhouettes and cut them out. To complete the project, they wrote their stories inside their silhouettes and exhibited them in the gallery at the library. “For a lot of these teens, they never understood the concept of a gallery opening,” said Telling Room creative director John Holdridge. “There was this great moment where there was a room full of high school students, Telling Room staff, MECA students and professors all in the space together, viewing the work, having conversations – classic art opening conversations about the work and some not about the work. It was good to provide a space where significant cross-sections of this Portland community can come together, high school students, higher education students and professionals; we wanted to provide a hub for all of these people to be able to come together.”
Printmaking Pop-Up Shop for the Holidays
Students in MECA’s Second Year Lab, Power to the Print, will install a temporary exhibition and retail space inspired by the market phenomenon known as the pop-up shop. POW! Print Lab will create a distinct visual presence and offer a unique opportunity for viewer participation. Just in time for the holiday season, this exclusive two-day event will feature an eclectic collection of student-made printed works ranging from wood-cuts to silk screened posters, limited edition bags, t-shirts, buttons, stickers and even ornaments.
POW! Print Lab represents the conclusion of a semester's exploration of printed matter and its power as a tool of communication, dissent, and alternative culture from political protest to the entrepreneurial ethos of DIY culture and pop-up shops.
POW! Print Lab opens first Friday December 2, in the Free Street Gallery at Maine College of Art. Come early Friday evening for surprise special events! Sale continues on Saturday, December 3. All profits support the work of the student artists.
Professor Agnes Bushell Publishes Book
Liberal Arts Faculty member Agnes Bushell published "Death in Arcadia." Set in Portland, the mystery involves politically motivated performance artists, idealistic art students, eccentric old ladies, and the death of a trustee. This is the 11th novel for Bushell.
Her earlier work, "Local Deities" was hailed by the book reviewer for The Nation as "a potboiler like the best of Dostoyevsky’s." It is based on her friendship with two of Maine’s most notorious radicals.
She co-founded Maine's political journal, "The Dissident" and Littoral Books, an independent press.
Posterama: A Student Exhibition and Art Sale
MECA students will host the exhibition Posterama! from October 24th to November 20th. Posterama! is both an exhibition and sale of printed matter designed and created by MECA students. The front window and lobby of Porteous will house the exhibit. The sale will take place on November 4th during the First Friday Art Walk. The exhibition is a collaboration of MECA students with support from faculty and staff. Students from Professional Studio Seminar, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, Printmaking, and New Media are taking leadership, organizational, and curatorial roles to develop their skills. Students will receive 60% of sales, while the remainder is divided among MECA scholarship support and funding of visiting artist lectures and workshops. Maine College of Art is committed to teaching their students to think about a better future, become involved within their community, and problem-solve for society. The Posterama! sale will take place from 5 to 8pm on November 4th on the sidewalk outside of MECAʼs Porteous building, located at 522 Congress Street. The sale will offer affordable art consisting of posters and cards ranging from $5 to $30.
INSIDE/OUT Public Art Project
In response to artist JR’s TED Prize wish “to turn the world inside-out using art," Maine College of Art’s Public Art Studio Class partnered with TEDxDirigo to create Portland INSIDE/OUT.
This temporary public art installation will feature the portraits and voices of everyday Portlanders, representing diverse groups within the city who may not always be heard. These portraits and quotes will be documented through social media and shared throughout the city on posters and banners of various dimensions.
Portland INSIDE/OUT provides a unique opportunity for community members to express their ideas about positive change in time with the November mayoral election. The installation will begin November 4th, and will continue through the 19th, and will take place throughout the city.
Major support for Portland INSIDE/OUT comes from Creative Portland Corporation, Portland Color, and VIA. The INSIDE/OUT MECA artist team is collaborating alongside Portland neighbors, organizations and building owners including The City of Portland, Creative Trails, Cultivating Community, Parkside Neighborhood Center, Company of Girls, The Telling Room, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, Mark Marchesi, Pete Nenortas, Michael Berube, Parallax Partners, No Umbrella Media, Winky Lewis, and many, many more.
Graphic Design faculty member Mark Jamra was one of 53 winning type designers in the 2nd Type Design Competition of the Association Typographique Internationale. More than 500 submissions were considered in this juried contest to find the best typefaces of the last decade from around the world.The contest aims to provide a wide-angled snapshot of the state of typeface design around the globe ten years after the 2001 competition, and to promote typographic excellence and best professional practices. It also intends to raise awareness about the role of typography at encouraging and maintaining cultural diversity.
Visiting Artists: Little Friends of Printmaking
MECA, the USM Art Department and AIGA Maine present the visiting artists Little Friends of Printmaking for a lecture on Thursday, October 27 at 12:30pm in Osher Hall. You can easily spot The Little Friends of Printmaking in a crowd—their inky hands and clothes are a dead giveaway. Their artwork is just as distinctive. Husband-and-wife team J W & Melissa Buchanan first made a name for themselves by designing and printing silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into further fields, designing fancy junk for whoever would pay them money. In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, these art-school refugees continue their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies throughout North America, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen. Their awards include honors from the Art Directors’ Club, American Illustration, and Communication Arts. Also, their work has been published in the books New Masters of Poster Design, Juxtapoz: Poster Art, and Handmade Nation, among others. The Little Friends currently live in Milwaukee, WI with two very round cats. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Book club with Chris Thompson's "Felt"
The Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and Artists in Context present a OneBook Club event featuring the book "Felt: Fluxus, Joseph Beuys, and the Dalai Lama" by MECA faculty member Chris Thompson. Read the book, and then join the author and your community of fellow readers for a discussion. The event takes place on Thursday, October 27 from 7pm to 9pm at the Frontier Cafe in Brunswick.
"Felt" centers on a highly publicized yet famously inconclusive 1982 meeting between German artist Joseph Beuys and the Dalai Lama. Thompson—an associate professor of art history at Maine College of Art in Portland—explores the interconnections among Beuys, the Fluxus movement, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual practice.
Students in the Community This Fall
The community is an extension of our campus. Below you will find examples of where our students are working on projects with local businesses and nonprofits that make Portland unique.
All first year students at MECA are required to take the class FYIn, which introduces them to each other, the college, and the local community. The class of more than 120 students is divided into six groups, each with a community partner and real world project. This year’s partners are: Cultivating Community, Spiral Arts via Youth Alternatives, King Middle School, Space Gallery and The Portland Freedom Trail.
Students in Samantha Haedrich's Graphic Design class are working with the Portland Pirates to create a new logo in celebration of the hockey team's 20th anniversary.
Scott Nash’s Illustration students are working with Portland Rotary on designs for the public clock in Monument Square.
Students in Dana Sawyer’s philosophy course The Potentials of Human Consciousness are partnering with the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Portland.
Students in Elizabeth Jabar’s Second Year Lab collaborated with Pickwick Independent Press (founded by alum Lisa Pixley ‘07). Students carved letter forms and make a giant outdoor letterpress to print tweets on canvas sheets that were then strung on rope and hoisted to the top of the Artist Studio building during Block Party. They are also partnering with the League of Young Voters on creating printed matter related to voting issues.
Paul Gebhard's students in The Art of Teaching Art will be partnering with The Telling Room and local Portland youth on their anthology and exhibit Searching for ME.
Maine College of Art students will have an exhibition of work in the Monument Square branch of Key Bank in November. As the official sponsor of the popular First Friday Art Walk, Key Bank is partnering with a different arts organization each month.
Students in Christina Bechstein’s Public Art class are partnering with TedXDirigo and the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA to participate in INSIDE OUT, a large-scale art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. This global project asks local communities to produce black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal, and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. The students are identifying subjects for large photographic portraits related to issues of voice and audience in the first Portland mayoral election. Look for them around the city during the first week of November.
Students in Matt Hutton’s Woodworking & Furniture Design elective class Design: A Sustainable Approach are working with Allagash Brewing Company. As part of their process for the Curieux ale, Allagash uses 30-gallon whiskey barrels. This fall, students are tasked with using these discarded barrels as their case study for the semester. Research includes understanding the origin of the product, developing a prototype, and then producing a new object, either sculptural or functional. Finished pieces will be on view at the Allagash retail store in late winter.
Faculty Lecture: Adriane Herman
Adriane Herman, Associate Professor of Printmaking and Foundation at MECA, will give a lecture in Osher Hall on September 15 at 12:30pm. Herman investigates conscious and unwitting forms of consumption and collection. She has had solo exhibitions at Western Exhibitions in Chicago, the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York. Sites of group exhibitions include International Print Center New York; The Dalarnas Museum (Sweden); Portland Museum of Art; Ulrich Museum of Art (Wichita); The Brooklyn Museum, Rose Contemporary, and chosen barren land in Tainen, Taiwan. Herman’s work has been collected by The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, The Progressive Corporation, Sprint, Inc., The Walker Art Center, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.
Herman has received grants from the Maine Arts Commission, the Charlotte Street Foundation , and the Avenue of the Arts Foundation. Her solo and collaborative work has been written about in numerous journals, including The New Yorker, Art on Paper, Art Journal, The Kansas City Star and Art New England, as well as the following books: Printmaking at the Edge: 45 Artists/16 Countries/A New Perspective; Imprint of Place: Maine Printmaking 1800-2005; The Best of Printmaking; Thomas Kinkade: The Artist in the Mall, and Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes.
Herman's independent efforts to normalize consumption of fine art dovetail with collaborative curatorial efforts such as SlopArt.com and projects she has undertaken with students and colleagues, such as “Long Overdue: Book Renewal,” which recycled myriad books, yielding 175 artworks temporarily collectible through Portland Public Library and Inter-Library Loan. Another book-based collaborative project Herman recently initiated is called Plunder the Influence and can be browsed online or viewed in the Joanne Waxman Library until the end of September.
Herman has lectured and conducted workshops at over fifty institutions. She holds a B.A. from Smith College, an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Level II certificate in the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating. She offers limited edition multiples in barter for intimate details about others’ lives in the form of grocery or “to do” lists.
Scott Nash Summer Exhibitions
Illustration faculty member Scott Nash has a solo exhibition at the Centerville Historical Society Museum on Cape Cod. The show "Bedtime Stories for Pirates" is on view through September 23 and includes original illustrations, drawings, and 3-D marquettes all related to the process he follows to illustrate a final published children's book. His work is also included in the University of New England exhibition of children's book illustrators through October 30.
An accomplished illustrator with a distinctive vibrant style, Scott has illustrated more than 30 children’s books, including Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp and The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields, Over The Moon by Rachel Vail, Betsy Who Cried Wolf! by Gail Carson Levine, Snow Day!, Beach Day!, Rainy Day! and the just released Camping Day! by Patty Lakin, and the Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown.
Ceramics Faculty are Featured Guest Artists at Watershed
MECA ceramics professors Lucy Breslin and Mark Johnson will be featured guest artists for a summer session at the Watershed Center for The Ceramic Arts in North Edgecomb, Maine. Watershed features an internationally known summer residency program that attracts artists interested in using clay as their primary material. The center brings together a diverse group of artists to live and work in a supportive, creative environment.
Images: (top) Lucy Breslin, (bottom) Mark Johnson
Students Conracted to Design Trophies
The Maine chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness contracted with MECA students to produce trophies for the agency’s Maine Walk. Sculpture students Nathan Plourde and Evee Dupuis each produced unique works in cast bronze. They corresponded regularly with the agency, giving them drawings and written documentation, keeping them appraised of the process and progress of the work right up to completion. They were paid for their invention and labor, and compensated for the cost of materials.
Evee wrote about her design, “Liberate is a depiction of the journey to mental health. The abstract interconnected shapes which define the foundation serve as a reference to interpersonal relationships while bringing to mind the intricacies of the human body. A cage, which sprouts organically from the apex of the base, serves as a portrayal of our tendency to become imprisoned within self-constructed parameters -- the doubts, negative imagery, and detrimental thought patterns which become habitual. Songbirds, an ancient symbol of hope, hover above this visual implication of entrapment, illustrating our ability to move beyond these inhibitions and fly free."
Nathan knew instantly that he wanted to make a symbol of the Greek mythological goddess, Hygieia. His design depicts the goddess holding a basin of water with a large snake coiled up along her body drinking the water. Nathan wrote, “Hygieia, daughter of Asclepious from Greek mythology is the goddess of health, cleanliness, and sanitation.”
Faculty Member Philip Brou wins PMA Purchase Prize
At the members’ opening reception for the 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial on Wednesday evening, April 6, five prizes were awarded to artists in the exhibition. The Purchase Prizes were awarded four artists: Philip Brou (MECA Painting faculty) for Black Box; James Groleau for Arbil Rubia Riyadh and Sinjar Karbala Basra; Siri Sahaj Kaur for Kristie; and Don Voisine (attended ‘73) for High Time. The Purchase Prizes are chosen by select members of the Museum’s Collection Committee and will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection. The William E. and Helen E. Thon Jurors’ Prize of $4,000 was awarded to artist Michael Shaughnessy for Cascade, Current and Pool (For the Vanquished Falls of the Presumpscot River).
Biennials at the Portland Museum of Art have evolved since 1998 and have gained in popularity as one of the foremost venues for contemporary art in the state. The three jurors—Jim Kempner, Owner and Director of Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York; David Row, a painter based in New York and Maine; and Joanna Marsh, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.—chose 65 works by 47 artists culled from more than 900 applicants. Of the artists chosen, nine have particiapted in previous Biennial exhibitions. The 2011 Biennial is the seventh in a series that showcases the best in today’s art world by artists associated with Maine, from digital video to painting, installation to photography, sculpture to prints, and more. The 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial is on view April 7 through June 5, 2011 at the Portland Museum of Art.