The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Reed Art Gallery is proud to present O Time Your Pyramids by Portland artist Julie Poitras Santos, from Friday, March 4 through Friday, April 15, 2016.
“O Time Your Pyramids” is a quote from Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, a parable about consciousness and our infinite desire for knowledge. This exhibit, and many other examples of Poitras Santos’ work, explores how individuals translate experiences to language and how language expresses ideas. Poitras Santos, who is also a poet, is interested in where art and language intersect. She created this exhibit especially for the Reed Gallery space and reflects on its new home in the Center for Innovative Learning, amongst the second floor stacks of library books.
“The artwork in the galleries evokes a liminal, dream-like space populated by sensual materials and cryptic texts. It explores how we make meaning by translating our experiences to language, and language to ideas,” Poitras Santos said. “Our reality is intrinsic to the operating of our bodies, our minds. Through research and dialogue, and by looking to divinatory methods, the work creates a separate place between known territories, allowing space for new narratives to arise.”
Poitras Santos has taught at Maine College of Art, Bowdoin College, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She lived in Barcelona, Spain, for three years (2004-2007) and worked as the Artistic Director of the Art Residency program Can Serrat, in Montserrat National Park, Cataluña.
Poitras Santos’ solo and collaborative work has been exhibited domestically and internationally, including exhibitions at the Center for Visual Arts in Denver, Colorado; Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick, Maine; the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Spain; Reykjanesbaer Art Museum in Iceland; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. She has attended residencies and created performances and projects in the United States, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Iceland. These include working at the NES Artists Residency in Skagastrond, Iceland, in 2009, the European Ceramic Work Center, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in 2005, and the Vermont Studio Center in 2004. Poitras Santos has received grants and awards, including a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission in 2011 and a Boulder Arts Commission Major Grant from the Boulder City Council in Colorado in 2002.
“O Time Your Pyramids is the opportunity for the gallery to be used in a way completely unique than ever before,” Reed Gallery Director Heather Sincavage said. “The spare, but highly intentional and curated use of space becomes a backdrop for five performers. This exhibit provides the very special opportunity for students to work with a practicing artist in the field in a non-studio based approach to expression. I am very proud of what the students have agreed to undertake as part of Julie’s vision.”
The student performers are: Mollie Hicks, AJ Mullane, Monica Quist, Emma Ruff and alumnus, Jessalyn Levesque.
All are invited to come out to First Friday Art Walk on March 4 and attend this free event. Light refreshments will be served.
Julie Poitras Santos, O Time Your Pyramids, installation and performance, 2016. Image by Lucinda Bliss.