The ICA at MECA&D Presents Darkness and the Light
Guest Curator: Lissa Hunter

On view from July 1–September 20, 2019
Exhibition Reception: Friday, July 12, 2019, 5–8pm

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) is pleased to announce the opening of Darkness and the Light, an exhibition from Guest Curator Lissa Hunter. On view July 12–September 20, 2019, with a public Opening Reception on Friday, July 12, 5–8pm.

Dark and light. The space between. The moment of change. The necessity of one to identify the other. Hope. Fading. Clearcutting. Nature. Invited artists will show work addressing these and other implications of light and/or dark. All are Maine artists with established careers and reputations for fine craftsmanship and artistic excellence.

When I was a child, my mother would say, “Be in before dark”, as I ran out the door to play in summer. We lived in that kind of neighborhood. It was the fifties, in the Midwest, on a short block with dozens of kids and no fences. “Before dark” became a particular designation of time, between outside in daytime and inside at night. It held a kind of magical conversion, a sliver of time that signaled a shift in energy and focus.When the sun fell below the horizon, colors flattened and lost definition. The sky looked lighter than the treetops below, which became a single mass of darkness. Houses were Monopoly pieces, with no definition of windows or porches, just outlines and dark interiors until the lights within were turned on, creating golden rectangles. The air became cool. The earth smelled moist. And the fireflies became apparent, flashing lights against the gathering dark, adding to the sense of separation from the real world. It didn’t last long. Maybe ten or twenty minutes. —Lissa Hunter

Darkness and the Light is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design, Interim Director of Exhibitions Nikki Rayburn, and Guest Curator Lissa Hunter. Because of the size of the Institute of Contemporary Art, many of the artists have undertaken large-scale work to fully take advantage of the gallery spaces.

Exhibiting Artists Include

For the most part, the art scene in America is very young right now; it's a young audience and young makers, which is the same way it was for me when I was starting out as a young artist. I believe it’s very important, especially being in a college setting, that students be exposed to and learn from later-career artists who are still creating and inventing. Later-career artists who are still contemporary, who have an established voice and who know what they want to say and who have the skills and techniques in the materials they use to say it really well.—Lissa Hunter

Lectures & Performances

In conjunction with the exhibition, the ICA will host a series of lectures and performances exploring the topics of darkness and light, as well as gallery talks from the artists.

Friday, August 2, 2019: 5pm
Artist Gallery Talk featuring Curator Lissa Hunter and exhibiting artists.

Thursday, August 8, 2019: 6pm
Darkness and the Light Lecture featuring Bernard Reim, Adjunct Professor of Astronomy, University of Southern Maine, vice president of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England, and co-host of WMPG’s live weekly radio program "Scientifically Speaking"

Thursday, September 5, 2019: 6pm
Darkness and the Light Performance featuring jazz musician Barry Saunders, Artist Faculty, University of Southern Maine, and General Music Instructor MSAD 51 Greely Middle School.

Thursday, September 19, 2019: 6pm
Artist Gallery Talk featuring Curator Lissa Hunter and exhibiting artists.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a printed catalog, to be released on August 2, 2019.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For exhibition images, photo credits and captions, please visit this link. For more information about the exhibition, please visit this link.

About Guest Curator Lissa Hunter

Lissa lives and works in Portland and has spent her life as a studio artist working in textiles, basketry, clay and drawing. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Museum of Art + Design in New York, and the Houston Museum of Art, among others. She is a Maine Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellow and a Maine Crafts Association Master Craft Artist, as well as a Life Trustee of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. For more information visit

Contact: Leah Igo Brooks, Director of Marketing & Communications; 207.699.5010,


Susan Webster, Rembrance (detail), Felt paper, paint, thread, rivets, 9' x 12',2019