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2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition Opens at MECA

Posted: 2015-05-06

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2015 MFA Thesis Exhibition To Open At MECA

Portland Maine ~ 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 2014 MFA Thesis Exhibition will be open for viewing through May 31st: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am-5pm, Thursday until 7pm.

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.  

For more information or to schedule an interview with any of the featured artists, please contact Nicole Holmes (

MFA Student Charley Young Named One of Canada's "30 Under 30"

Posted: 2014-05-06

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For being only 28 years old, MECA MFA student Charley Young has had a prolific career. Young was just named one of the ARTINFO Canada's "30 Under 30" artists—an honor she shares with other young talents such as artist and curator Petra Collins. Young is an interdisciplinary artist who works in drawing, sculpture, and public installation. Her work includes “large-scale mono-prints of historic building facades, intimate portraits of vanishing mountains, and small-scale hand casts that record the space between the body and its environment.”

Young has been an artist-in-residence at the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture, the Vermont STudio Centre, Spark Box Studios, and the Banff Centre. In June, she will participate in the Arctic Circle Program to create work in Svalbard, Norway. Young will complete her MFA at Maine College of Art this spring. 

>>For more on Charley Young

>>For more on "30 Under 30"

MFA Student Wins Travel Grant

Posted: 2013-10-31

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MFA student Kathleen Daniels won the Roderick Dew travel grant. She will visit the El Yunque rainforest located in Puerto Rico, one of the most complex ecosystems on earth. While there, she will observe the relationship between flora and host trees. Her current studio practice focuses on the disturbances in the landscape that affect plant life essential to human survival. Using bamboo armatures covered in paper, Kathleen creates futuristic biological plant forms that are a result of cross-breeding and mutation. The funding is made possible by alum Roderick Dew. Recognizing the importance of travel for artists’ professional development, he awards this grant annually. Roderick graduated with a BFA degree from MECA in 1980 and an MFA degree in 2000.

MFA Student Completes Residencies

Posted: 2013-10-31

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Charley Young, a student in the MFA program, recently completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Spark Box Studios in Ontario. As an interdisciplinary artist, Charley is interested in drawing, printmaking, and public installation. To date, her work includes large-scale monoprints of historic building facades, that document a site's appearance prior to its destruction. She is currently an artist in residence at the Banff Centre. In 2014, she will participate in the Arctic Circle Program Expedition.

MFA Priority Deadline: February 15

Posted: 2012-01-03

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The priority deadline for applications to the Maine College of Art Master in Fine Arts program is February 15.

Drawn by its rugged beauty and reputation for fierce individualism, artists have long favored Maine as a place of retreat. For centuries, Maine has hosted enclaves of innovation. Artists well-versed in current discourse, engaged in global politics, and committed to pushing the boundaries of aesthetics, ethics and individual practice repeatedly choose this place to gather and work. Won’t you join us?

Maine College of Art’s Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts takes a structural cue from its setting. We understand the importance of place, but also recognize that notions of place are indexical, as they are constantly re-framed by the shifting boundaries of individual experience.  With this in mind, we believe that our unique residency structure presents an ideal format for a 21st century arts education. Students benefit from an intensive Maine residency in summer with the freedom and independence of working from any home location in fall and spring. Our responsive curriculum emphasizes student-directed research geared to empower the voice of the individual, while our global network of faculty, advisors, visiting artists and alumni provides a strong community of support.

Low Residency
Students can live anywhere while working towards their degree. Fall and spring semesters, experienced from any home location, support flexibility and independence. Summer and winter residencies in Maine provide the intensity of group interaction and feedback. This structure promotes the development of a sustainable lifelong practice.

Non-Resident Studio Advisors
During fall and spring trimesters, each student is carefully paired with a studio advisor for their home location.  Advisors meet one-on-one with students in their personal studios.  With over a decade of experience, the program has established an extensive network of studio advisors from across North America and abroad and can support students living in any location. While the majority of our instructors are practicing studio artists, we are committed to exploring other disciplinary perspectives through faculty whose research areas lie outside the arts.

Visiting Artists
An international roster of visiting artists, curators and critics join the program throughout the summer, each for a week at a time. Visiting artists deliver a public lecture, conduct one-on-one studio visits with every student, participate in group critiques and take part in an interview or classroom activity.

More about the program
Apply now

Image credit:
Marissa Lare MFA '11,  “Siren Song, “digital photograph, 2011.

MFA Student Exhibits in New Brunswick

Posted: 2011-11-16

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Current MFA student Kim Vose Jones MFA '12 is exhibiting at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada. Vose was selected for the gallery's Studio Watch program which offers public exposure for promising emerging New Brunswick artists. Her installation, A Farewell to Flesh, features multiple components utilizing a ton an a half of Nova Scotia salt in sculptural forms. Prior to enrolling in the graduate program at MECA, she volunteered at a clinic in Pakistan, attended the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University and studied glass at Alfred University.

Read the review
Kim's website

MFA Alum Curates Judy Taylor Exhibition

Posted: 2011-09-01

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MFA alum Nancy Nesvet has curated an exhibition of work by Maine artist Judy Taylor. Taylor's 11-panel Labor Mural was removed in March from the headquarters of Maine's Department of Labor by Governor Paul LePage. A large-scale reproduction of the mural, preliminary drawings, labor paintings and supporting work
will be on view through September 20th at VisArts in Rockville, Maryland.The show will include an opening reception on September 8th, an artist talk by Judy Taylor on September 10th and a panel discussion on September 15th focusing on the intersection of art and politics. Panelists include Georgetown University Labor History Professor Joe McCartin; Julian Spirer, an attorney who has argued cases on art in the public sector; Don Tuski, President of Maine College of Art and Penny Harris, former President, League of
Women Voters, Maine.

Mitchell Foundation Winner Exhibits Work

Posted: 2011-06-08

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The Joan Mitchell Foundation, in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, is pleased to announce an exhibition of its 2010 MFA Grant
Program Recipients. Michel Droge MFA '10 is one of the 15 selected recipients and received a $15,000 grant. From June 9 - July 30, the 15 recipients will be showing current artwork at CUE Art Foundation.

The annual MFA Grant Program was created in 1997 to help MFA painters and sculptors in furthering their artistic careers and to aid in the transition from academic to professional studio work upon graduation. A complimentary catalogue, available at CUE's gallery, has been published on the occasion of this exhibition. The catalogue features works and bios for each artist and essays on their work.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in April 1993 as a not-for-profit corporation following the death of Joan Mitchell in October 1992. The Foundation strives to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to aid and assist the needs of contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.

Alina Gallo MFA '08 Selected for Monhegan Residency

Posted: 2011-06-06

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Alina Gallo MFA ‘08 of Portland was named a 2011 Monhegan Island artist in residence by the Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation.

Gallo received a BFA from Naropa University and an MFA from Maine College of Art. She was a featured artist in the 2008 Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) Biennial and will be part of “Drawing from the Collection” at the L.C. Bates Museum this summer. In her work, she employs symbols “to relate to and deconstruct the history of Persian, Indian and Christian miniature painting.” On Monhegan she hopes to integrate elements of the island landscape into her work. 

Gallo is keeping a blog during her time on the island.

Image:  Alina Gallo, Visitation, homemade egg tempera on panel, 2011

MFA Moth Press Publishes Anne West Book

Posted: 2011-05-13

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The MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art is pleased to announce the publication of "Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work; An Explorative Guide to Making, Thinking, and Writing" by Anne West. In this book West describes a technique she calls "mapping through writing" that encourages visual artists to ask strategic questions, approach problems, and catalyze creative thinking. The book is structured as a series of exercises and prompts that define the mapping process and introduce methods for artists to develop, articulate, and disseminate ideas.

"Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work" was edited by Moth Press Director Katarina Weslien. According to Weslien, "Anne West has cultivated a flexible, non-linear writing approach for the artist-writer. The book introduces multiple skill sets to stimulate creative thinking, raising connection to the surface by creating visual maps of interconnecting links. It is a book supportive of the making process, an invaluable to anyone interested in articulating the layers of meaning embedded in the process of making."

West is a visiting artist in the MFA program this summer. She will give a public lecture on July 18 followed by a booksigning.

Read the interview between Weslien and West

Order the book

MFA Alum Exhibitions

Posted: 2011-04-01

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Alexandra Silverthorne MFA '10 will exhibit selections from her series A Building in Which… in a three-person exhibition at the BlackRock Center for the Arts. In addition she is finishing a book of photographs and short writings from her MidNights series.  The book features an essay by Jayme McLellan, Director of Civilian Art Projects, and a discussion with Montreal-based curator Rebecca Duclos. The book will be published in Summer 2011. In August, Silverthorne will participate in HiFi vs. LoFi at Lala Gallery in Lafayette, Indiana.

Image: Photos from Silverthorne's thesis exhibition at the ICA at MECA in 2010.