Faculty Exhibition: Archaeology Above Ground

November 18—December 20, 2009
Tina Rath • Matt Hutton • Meg Brown Payson • Peter Shellenberger

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2009 Faculty Exhibition in the ICA

The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design (ICA at MECA&D) in Portland will present the exhibition Archaeology Above Ground from November 18 – December 20, 2009. An artist reception will be held on November 19, from 5pm to 7 pm. ICA entrance, events and lectures are free and open to the public.

Archaeology Above Ground features the work of four MECA&D faculty members who employ the ability of man made objects – both mundane and precious – to reveal secrets of the natural world. These works shed light on an environment that can be sensuous, dangerous, geologically complex, and at times, sublime. The show highlights the work of artists who merge traditional boundaries between disciplines. In Archeology Above Ground, painting becomes architecture, photography becomes radioactive study, furniture becomes landscape, and jewelry emerges as an invasive biological sculpture.

Featured artists Tina Rath (Metalsmithing & Jewelry), Matt Hutton (Woodworking & Furniture Design), Meg Brown Payson (Painting), and Peter Shellenberger (Photography) are all current faculty members of the BFA program at the Maine College of Art & Design. Archaeology Above Ground is the second in MECA&D’s series of juried thematic faculty exhibitions. This exhibition was juried by architect Christopher Campbell, visual artist Alison Hildreth and University of Maine Museum of Art curator George Kinghorn.

Tina Rath is a studio jeweler whose recent work explores the history and psychology of natural collections. For Archaeology Above Ground, Rath will contribute an installation, wrought in fine wood and precious metal, that draws from her interest in the history of cabinets of curiosity. A series of wooden drawers dynamically jutting from the wall will be covered with reproductions of natural forms – barnacles, fungus, moss – meticulously wrought in precious metal, exotic wood and enamel.

Matt Hutton is a furniture maker whose recent work focuses on the transformation of the Midwest landscape. For Archaeology Above Ground, Hutton will contribute 6 large wooden headboards, whose physical structure and dramatic placement in the gallery evoke the sense of vast space and sparse built environment of the American West.

Meg Brown Payson is a painter and printmaker whose work is grounded in the body’s encounter with the world. For Archaeology Above Ground, Brown Payson has created a monumental painting that will encircle the entirety of the ICA’s Evans Hunt Gallery, evoking the visceral impact of a moment of sublimity.

Peter Shellenberger will contribute a series of photographic images that utilize the radioactivity of the infamous orange Fiestaware of the 1950’s to create an exposure.