MECA&D's Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program is pleased to announce the 2023 Summer Lecture Series, which brings together an international roster of visiting artists, curators, and scholars to participate in the MFA Summer Intensive in Portland Maine. In addition to critiques and studio visits with graduate candidates, Visiting Artists deliver a lecture open to all MECA&D students, faculty & staff.

Visiting Artist lectures are held in Osher Hall and begin at 5:30pm. This year, we are pleased to announce that for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series is once again open to the public.


Summer 2023 Visiting Artist Lecture Series

Monday, June 19
Sebastian Black

Painter and sculptor Sebastian Black is best known for his “Puppy Paintings”, a series of paintings that render droopy dog faces in fragmented abstract forms and warm colors; the forms can also be seen to constitute the nude forms of female figures. Reminiscent of the early-20th-century fascination with African masks, Black’s paintings nod to Cubism and poke fun at the art world.

Image: Sebastian Black, Untitled, oil on linen, 62" × 84", 2022

Wednesday, June 21
Leon Benn

Leon Benn lives in Portland, Maine. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA) and the University of California, Los Angeles (MFA). He has had solo exhibitions at David B. Smith Gallery, Denver; Grant Wahlquist Gallery, Portland, ME; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles; Stems Gallery, Brussels, and Carter & Citizen, Los Angeles. His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Able Baker Contemporary, Portland; Space Gallery, Portland; Brand New Gallery, Milan; the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; James Harris Gallery, Seattle; and Lisa Cooley, New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME, amongst others.

Image: Leon Benn, You See I Have Not Forgotten, oil, oil stick, acrylic, and fabric dyes on linen, 63" x 52.5", 2023

Monday, June 26
Chiara No

Chiara No is an artist and educator who lives and works in Johnson, VT. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her MFA at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. No’s work has been shown at SpringBreak NYC; MoCA Westport, Westport, CT; Field Projects and Printed Matter Art Book Fair, in New York City and Los Angeles, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; EXILE, Vienna, Austria. Her work on paper is in the Whitney's Special Collection, the Walker Art Center Library and Archives and the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Library in Chicago. No is currently an artist-in-residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, will be a Fellow at the Lighthouse Works this Fall 2023 and has been an AIR at Ox-Bow, Haystack and Wassaic Projects. 

Image: Chiara No, Summoning Her/etic, yarn, cow leather, fake hair, nylon, silk poppies, thread, recycled plastic bags 78" x 66" x 24", 2020

Wednesday, June 28
Jaime DeSimone

Jaime DeSimone is the Chief Curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. Prior to joining the Farnsworth in summer 2022, DeSimone served as the Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic Curator of Contemporary Art at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine from 2018-2022, where she curated the exhibitions Flying Woman: The Paintings of Katherine Bradford (2022), Richard Estes: Urban Landscapes (2021), Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times (2020), and Ragnar Kjartansson: Scenes from Western Culture (2019–20). In 2019, she was the recipient of the prestigious Curatorial Research Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for research and travel in connection with the North Atlantic Triennial. DeSimone is also a current scholar in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative III (2021-2022).

Monday, July 3
Jason Lazarus

Jason Lazarus is an artist exploring vision and visibility. His work includes a range of fluid methodologies: original, found and appropriated images, text-as-image, photo-derived sculptures made collaboratively with the public, pigment-inks-as-image, live archives, LED light images, and public submission repositories among others. This expanded photographic practice seeks new approaches of inquiry, embodiment, and bearing witness through both individual and collective research.

Image: Jason Lazarus, A Century of Dissent: Harlem, media and dimensions variable, 2017

Monday, July 10
Lourdes Correa Carlo

Born in San Juan, Lourdes Correa Carlo holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Yale University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan. Carlo has exhibited with the Museum of Contemporary Arts in St. Louis, The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Arts in San Juan, The Bronx Museum in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Julius Caesar in Chicago, among other institutions. Carlo has received fellowships from The Foundation of Contemporary Arts in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Yale University, and Escuela de Artes Plasticas.

Image: Lourdes Correa-Carlo, No Title (WTF?), photograph, 2009

Wednesday, July 12
Tra Bouscaren

Tra Bouscaren is a post-disciplinary artist focused on spectacle at the crossroads of waste culture and the surveillance state. Bouscaren’s work has been featured at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Museum fur Naturkunde (Berlin), National Museum of Art (Addis Ababa), San Diego Art Institute, Orlando Museum of Art, The Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art (Pittsburgh), and Lincoln Center (NYC). He has presented and/or published his practice-based research at MOCA Tucson, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Stony Brook University Conference on Art and Philosophy, Studies In Control Societies Journal, Ildo Lobo Center for Culture in Praia, CAA Conferences in Chicago and Los Angeles, the Rubin Center for Visual Arts and several NPR local affiliate stations.

Image: Tra Bouscaren, Quantitative Easing at Orlando Museum of Art, installation, mixed media, 2021

Monday, July 17
Gina Siepel

Gina Siepel is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and woodworker, based in Greenfield MA (Pocumtuc land). Their artistic practice reflects an engagement with place, history, queer experience, and ecology, and their work integrates conceptual concerns and craftsmanship with a focus on wood as a natural and a cultural material. Gina’s works have been shown in museums and galleries nationally, including the Colby Museum, the DeCordova Museum, Vox Populi Gallery, and Amherst College. Gina has been a fellow or artist-in-residence at Skowhegan, Hewnoaks, the Winterthur Museum, the Vermont Studio Center, Sculpture Space, and Mildred’s Lane. Gina holds a BFA from the School of Art + Design at SUNY Purchase and an MFA from the Maine College of Art.

Image: Gina Siepel, Cycle of Self-Determination, wood, steel, rope, paint, and found objects, 201

Wednesday, July 19
Patricia Brace

Patricia Brace is a performance artist whose work addresses the relationship between intersectional feminism and socio-politics through the use of dance, new media, and installation. Brace currently teaches at Maine College of Art and Design and formerly taught at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She has recently exhibited at the ICA at MECA in Portland, Maine, This Friday Next Friday Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and Tête Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Her work has also been shown at Gary Snyder Project Space, SOHO 20, Ortega Y Gasset Projects, Smack Mellon, Public Address Gallery and Trestle Gallery, all in New York.

Image: Patricia Brace, Year Long Performance (Day 228) @ Grand Canyon, endurance performance, 2021 | Photo credit: Chris Hayden

Monday, July 24
Monique Long

Monique Long is an independent curator and writer based in New York City. Her work focuses on themes related to race, identity, gender, class, and systems of power that are grounded in history, literature, and politics. Long is also a critic who has contributed essays and interviews on fashion and contemporary art to publications widely. Last year, her group exhibition, Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art, opened at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and then traveled to the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia. Currently on view at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine is Elizabeth Colomba: Mythologies which she curated with the chief curator at the institution, Shalini LeGall.

Wednesday, July 26
Alicia Eggert

Alicia Eggert is an interdisciplinary artist whose work gives material form to language and time, the powerful but invisible forces that shape our perception of reality. She derives her inspiration from physics and philosophy, and work often co-opts the methods and materials associated with commercial signage to communicate messages that inspire reflection and wonder. She has made flashing neon signs that illuminate the way light travels across spacetime, billboards that allow Forever to appear and disappear in the fog, and signs that reveal the relationship between reality and possibility. These sculptures have been installed on rooftops in Russia, on bridges in Amsterdam, and on uninhabited islands in Maine, beckoning people to ponder their place in the world and the role they play in it.

Image: Alicia Eggert, This Present Moment, neon, custom controller, steel, 144" x 180" x 48", 2019

Monday, July 31
Jen Liu

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, performance, and painting, on topics of national identity, economy, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. She has presented work at the New Museum and Issue Project Room, New York; LAX Los Angeles; Royal Academy and ICA in London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien and das weisse haus, Vienna; the Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; MUSAC, Leon; as well as the 2014 Shanghai Biennale (China) and the Coreana Museum in Seoul, Korea. She has also received multiple grants and residencies, including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Sommerakademie, Bern, Switzerland; de ateliers, Amsterdam, NL; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York; among others.

Image: Jen Liu, The Pink Detachment: Principle of Equations and Equivalences (detail), 2017 

Wednesday, August 2
Elana Adler

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Elana Adler grew up throughout New York, Western Massachusetts, and England. She received a BFA in Textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and a MFA in Fibers & Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. She is a multidisciplinary artist, using the grid as a tactical mapping system, and a geometric configuration inherited from the past. She is also the co-founder of contemporary art space Adler & Floyd located in Chicago, IL.

Image: Elana Adler, I Can See Through Your Barriers, mixed media installation, 2021