The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design Presents:

Tory Fair: Portable Window

On view from January 15 – February 28, 2021

The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) is pleased to announce the opening of two exhibitions, Parallax/Geography and Tory Fair: Portable Window.

“These two exhibitions taken together,” offered ICA Director Julie Poitras Santos, “provide new perspectives on the representation of landscape. Through the lens of the camera and other framing devices, each artist offers us new ways of imaging the world around us, and demonstrates how our engagement can shift what we see. As many of us spend more time at home again, looking out of the window -- and by extension looking out through the window frame -- becomes an exercise in waiting. These works acknowledge a need for solace within the turbulence, and add context and vitality to our waiting, in essence framing the moment as one of active engagement with new ways of seeing.”

Parallax/Geography exhibits the work of four artists whose use of the photographic medium negotiates the slippery retreat of the real from the camera’s eye, extending the distance and longing that retreat provides. Using experimental processes and conceptually driven structures, these works revisit the classic materials of photography: time, light, space, and substrate. The term parallax refers to the apparent displacement of an object when seen from differing points of view. We use parallax to see: each eye provides a subtly different sightline that our brains then stitch together, creating our perception of depth. Through photographing constructed spaces, reflection, light effects, and distant geology, each of these artists navigate distance, landscape, desire, and time through the medium of photography.

ARTISTS: Elizabeth Atterbury, Tad Beck, Sage Lewis, Amanda Marchand.

Tory Fair: Portable Window premiers Tory Fair’s new video, photographs, and sculpture developed through an intergenerational dialogue with pioneering ecofeminist artist Mary Miss begun in 2018. Fair was inspired to steward some of the seeds Miss planted in the 1970s and is guided by her priorities: “Breathing space, human scale, and first-hand experience”, suggesting that art has the ability to give back and empower these fundamental rights. Reimagining one of Miss’s sculptures in particular, Portable Window (1968), Fair has created mobile framing devices in the form of large wooden wheels that roll through her neighborhood, creating videos that operate as an extension of the sculpture and capture what the sculpture is framing.

“This slow flipping is how I feel right now”, notes Fair. “Observing calm, and even beautiful moments, but then seamlessly moving to a disorienting and dizzy feeling, a rupturing of the frame, and uncertainty.” Framing space usually helps to formalize composition, but these videos frame in order to destabilize and disorient. The landscape tilts and turns. Fair’s playful work opens up several platforms to listen and learn in an unprecedented time of pandemic anxiety and cultural upheaval.

“During these times of reflection and introspection, Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) is privileged to present these artists whose concepts and implementation help us develop new insights, or knowledge at first sight,” notes MECA&D President Laura Freid. “We all need to find new ways to see and I am hopeful that these perspectives will provide inspiration for our students as they return to campus this month.”

Related programming:

  • Thursday, February 18, 2021, 5:30 PM: Tory Fair in conversation with pioneering environmental artist Mary Miss

Parallax/Geography and Tory Fair: Portable Window are organized by Director of Exhibitions Julie Poitras Santos with Assistant Director Nikki Rayburn.

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

COVID-19 Policies: The ICA’s simple, timed admission system allows us to welcome visitors to safely view exhibitions at the ICA at MECA&D during the Covid-19 pandemic. Visitors will be asked to comply with all social distancing recommendations, including wearing masks. Gallery staff will be monitoring attendance and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and hand sanitizer is available for all visitors. Visitor numbers will be limited during half-hour time slots. Please register for a free visit to the ICA here or use the QR code on our door to schedule your visit.

Featured Image: Tory Fair, Portable Window, 2020