The ICA at MECA will host a screening of Tala Madani's short animations on August 1 at 5pm as part of the exhibition "Drawn to Disaster." Stylistically ranging from lush painterly expressionism to loose, almost comical line drawing, Iranian-American Tala Madani, conveys her politically controversial subject matter with a genuine innocence and empathy. Appropriating the preconceptions of racial and gender difference as a departure point into the bizarre and surreal, Madani uses her position of ‘other’ to draft her own elaborate fantasies, detailing a riotous underworld of cliquey sect-like subterfuge.
This year her work has appeared in the 54th Venice Biennale, Danish Pavilion, Venice, Italy and the Singapore Biennale, Open House, Singapore. Last year her work was at The Drawing Center, in Greater New York, MoMA PS1, and the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK.
Scott Nash Summer Exhibitions
Illustration faculty member Scott Nash has a solo exhibition at the Centerville Historical Society Museum on Cape Cod. The show "Bedtime Stories for Pirates" is on view through September 23 and includes original illustrations, drawings, and 3-D marquettes all related to the process he follows to illustrate a final published children's book. His work is also included in the University of New England exhibition of children's book illustrators through October 30.
An accomplished illustrator with a distinctive vibrant style, Scott has illustrated more than 30 children’s books, including Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp and The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields, Over The Moon by Rachel Vail, Betsy Who Cried Wolf! by Gail Carson Levine, Snow Day!, Beach Day!, Rainy Day! and the just released Camping Day! by Patty Lakin, and the Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown.
Interview with Justin Richel '02
Justin Richel '02 recently completed two installations this summer, one at the DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum and the other at the Oqunquit Museum of American Art. He was recently profiled on theNew American Paintings blog to describe his work and inspirations. Read the interview.
ICA Director Wins Curatorial Research Grant
ICA at MECA Director Daniel Fuller was awarded an Etant donnes curatorial research grant. Etant donnes is a French-American fund for contemporary art dedicated to nurturing and supporting outstanding programming of contemporary artists from France and the United States.
In his first five months at the ICA new Director Daniel Fuller has executed a video screening with Parisian artist Mircea Cantor and has organized upcoming exhibitions with both Lili Reynaud-Dewar and Pierre Bismuth, also of Paris. The ICA seeks and values cultural diversity in its exhibition program and has identified France, with Paris in particular, as rising towards a significant period of tremendous creativity and experimentation in regards to video and performance art.
It is especially imperative that the ICA accommodates artistic interactions with France in an attempt to best serve our community and surrounding regions. Maine is second only to New Hampshire in the percentage of French American residents in the United States and also has a greater proportion of people speaking French at home than any other state in the nation. This grant would allow us an opportunity to forge a stronger connection with an often-ignored regional constituency.
The culmination of this research will result in a series of rapidly changing video installations focusing on these experimental video artists currently residing in France.
Visiting Artist: Anthony Campuzano
Anthony Campuzano, one of the participating artists in the exhibition "Drawn to Disaster" in the ICA at MECA, will give a free public lecture on July 27 at 6pm in the gallery. Known for his use of found language, Philadelphia-based artist Campuzano activates text from a variety of sources - newspaper headlines, Wikipedia entries, the covers of paperback novels, trivial cultural events, common cliches, pop song lyrics - in drawings that couple intense color with the tangible presence of the artist's hand. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.
Book Launch: Books Gone Bad
In 2009, Diane Wren was a MECA photography student working in the college’s Joanne Waxman Library when the staff discovered some books with possible mold damage. In looking for resources on how to identify and treat mold, staffers were disappointed at the available options. Knowing that Maine is filled with small libraries and historical societies facing the same issue, Wren applied for and received a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to create an easy to use guide for preventing, identifying and treating mold on a limited budget. Wren did the research, photography, design and illustrations for “Books Gone Bad: Mold in Library Collections.” The guide was sent free of charge to all libraries and historical societies in the state. A book launch is scheduled for July 8 at the Joanne Waxman Library from 6-8pm.
Ceramics Faculty are Featured Guest Artists at Watershed
MECA ceramics professors Lucy Breslin and Mark Johnson will be featured guest artists for a summer session at the Watershed Center for The Ceramic Arts in North Edgecomb, Maine. Watershed features an internationally known summer residency program that attracts artists interested in using clay as their primary material. The center brings together a diverse group of artists to live and work in a supportive, creative environment.
Images: (top) Lucy Breslin, (bottom) Mark Johnson
Mitchell Foundation Winner Exhibits Work
The Joan Mitchell Foundation, in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, is pleased to announce an exhibition of its 2010 MFA Grant Program Recipients. Michel Droge MFA '10 is one of the 15 selected recipients and received a $15,000 grant. From June 9 - July 30, the 15 recipients will be showing current artwork at CUE Art Foundation.
The annual MFA Grant Program was created in 1997 to help MFA painters and sculptors in furthering their artistic careers and to aid in the transition from academic to professional studio work upon graduation. A complimentary catalogue, available at CUE's gallery, has been published on the occasion of this exhibition. The catalogue features works and bios for each artist and essays on their work.
The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in April 1993 as a not-for-profit corporation following the death of Joan Mitchell in October 1992. The Foundation strives to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to aid and assist the needs of contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.
Vivian Beer '00 Featured in American Craft Magazine
"Vivian Beer is fearless. That's really the best way to describe her. The 33-year-old designer/maker takes steel and cuts it. Bends it. Shapes, welds, grinds, and sands it. She transforms it - by hand and machine - from rigid raw material into impossibly curvy furniture and sculpture. And she does all of this, more or less, alone."
Read the full profile of sculpture alum Vivian Beer '00 in American Craft Magazine.
Beer's work was commissioned by the Portland Public Art Committee and is featured along the Back Cove Boulevard.
Alina Gallo MFA '08 Selected for Monhegan Residency
Alina Gallo MFA ‘08 of Portland was named a 2011 Monhegan Island artist in residence by the Monhegan Artists’ Residency Corporation.
Gallo received a BFA from Naropa University and an MFA from Maine College of Art. She was a featured artist in the 2008 Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) Biennial and will be part of “Drawing from the Collection” at the L.C. Bates Museum this summer. In her work, she employs symbols “to relate to and deconstruct the history of Persian, Indian and Christian miniature painting.” On Monhegan she hopes to integrate elements of the island landscape into her work.
Gallo is keeping a blog during her time on the island.
Image: Alina Gallo, Visitation, homemade egg tempera on panel, 2011
MECA at the Maine Mall
In partnership with the Maine Crafts Association, Maine College of Art will maintain a retail presence at the Maine Mall in South Portland now until Labor Day, September 5, 2011. The kiosk features the work of MECA alumni working in a variety of disciplines, from printmaking, ceramics, jewelry and wood. Creative Common is located in the mall's Center Court near Starbucks Coffee and GAP.
MECA Alumni Vendors:
Ekka Naigle Shannon Rankin Michelle Roberts Patty Sandberg Lisa Weiss
MECA Demonstration Dates: June 18 - Joe Rosshirt, 12pm-4pm, Illustrations July 2 - Shawn Brewer, 5pm-9pm, Printmaking July 16 - Ekka Naigle, 5pm-9pm, Ceramics July 30 - Elise Bothel, 12pm-4pm, Felting July 30 - Dietlind Vander Schaaf, 5pm-9pm, Collage August 27 - Steven Anderson, 5pm-9pm, Woodworking
Ahmed Alsoudani '05 Featured in Venice Biennale
Painting alum Ahmed Alsoudani '05 is one of six selected artists included in the Iraq Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. It is the first time in 35 years that the country is represented in the international exhibit. Alsoudani was also profiled this month in the New York Times and Art in America.
Pictured: Ahmed returned to MECA in the fall as a visiting artist and met with students in the painting department.
Metalsmithing & Jewelry alum Janice Grzyb '81 won the 2011 Saul Bell Award in the silver category. This fanciful sterling silver ring was completely hand-fabricated by the artist then sandblasted to give it a sparkling finish. The bird perches atop the ring with folded wings and two ruby-set eyes. The Saul Bell Design Award competition has both inspired and challenged jewelry designers around the globe for the past decade, and now in its tenth year, it continues to recognize artists whose work challenges traditional perceptions of jewelry design.
MECA Awards Scholarships to Congressional Art Awardees
This year, the Maine College of Art awarded the winner and first runner up from each congressional district with its “Excellence Award for the Congressional Arts Competition.” This award provides each winner an $8,000 scholarship and each of the first runners up with a $6,000 scholarship to the Maine College of Art for each year they attend the school and remain in academic good standing. If the winning student is not a senior in high school and unable to immediately use the scholarship, the Maine College of Art will defer it and honor it for the student’s use after graduation from high school.
The Maine Congressional Art Competition is co-hosted by the Maine Arts Commission and the offices of Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.
Maine’s winners, chosen by jurors selected by the Maine Arts Commission, have their work displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol for one year. Both winning students, along with a parent, will be provided tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines to participate in an opening ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June. Finalists and runners up, their families, and art teachers are also invited to a reception at the Blaine House in Augusta where the selected students are recognized for their work by Maine’s Governor and members of Congress. Jeremy Vroom of Bangor and Whitney Wei of Farmingdale are the winners of the 2011 Congressional Arts Competition.
Image: Hallowell by Whitney Wei.
MFA Moth Press Publishes Anne West Book
The MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art is pleased to announce the publication of "Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work; An Explorative Guide to Making, Thinking, and Writing" by Anne West. In this book West describes a technique she calls "mapping through writing" that encourages visual artists to ask strategic questions, approach problems, and catalyze creative thinking. The book is structured as a series of exercises and prompts that define the mapping process and introduce methods for artists to develop, articulate, and disseminate ideas.
"Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work" was edited by Moth Press Director Katarina Weslien. According to Weslien, "Anne West has cultivated a flexible, non-linear writing approach for the artist-writer. The book introduces multiple skill sets to stimulate creative thinking, raising connection to the surface by creating visual maps of interconnecting links. It is a book supportive of the making process, an invaluable to anyone interested in articulating the layers of meaning embedded in the process of making."
West is a visiting artist in the MFA program this summer. She will give a public lecture on July 18 followed by a booksigning.
The Maine chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness contracted with MECA students to produce trophies for the agency’s Maine Walk. Sculpture students Nathan Plourde and Evee Dupuis each produced unique works in cast bronze. They corresponded regularly with the agency, giving them drawings and written documentation, keeping them appraised of the process and progress of the work right up to completion. They were paid for their invention and labor, and compensated for the cost of materials.
Evee wrote about her design, “Liberate is a depiction of the journey to mental health. The abstract interconnected shapes which define the foundation serve as a reference to interpersonal relationships while bringing to mind the intricacies of the human body. A cage, which sprouts organically from the apex of the base, serves as a portrayal of our tendency to become imprisoned within self-constructed parameters -- the doubts, negative imagery, and detrimental thought patterns which become habitual. Songbirds, an ancient symbol of hope, hover above this visual implication of entrapment, illustrating our ability to move beyond these inhibitions and fly free."
Nathan knew instantly that he wanted to make a symbol of the Greek mythological goddess, Hygieia. His design depicts the goddess holding a basin of water with a large snake coiled up along her body drinking the water. Nathan wrote, “Hygieia, daughter of Asclepious from Greek mythology is the goddess of health, cleanliness, and sanitation.”
Graduating MFA and BFA students will mount thesis exhibitions to mark the completion of their degree programs.
The MFA Thesis Exhibition will be held in the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art from May 14-June 12 with an opening reception on May 14 from 6pm-8pm.
The BFA Thesis Exhibition will be held on the first, second and third floors of the Porteous Building as well as the June Fitzpatrick Gallery at MECA from May 6-24 with an opening reception on May 6 from 5pm-8pm. This show was curated by Sculpture seniors Alex Asplund and Liz Hardy.
Image: Sculpture by Liz Hardy '11.
We are pleased to announce the MECA Artists-in-Residence for the 2011 season. The College is fortunate to have access to two properties for use in summer and fall to host the MECA community as artists-in-residence. At the Stephen Pace House in Stonington, Maine: Erin Sweeney ‘94, Hannah Barnes ‘02, Marguerite Lawler, Mary Linnea Vaughan MFA’00, and Richard Abbott ‘78
At the Baie St Marie Artist and Family Residency at the Jenny Family Compound in New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia: Stacy Howe MFA’10, Celeste Roberge ‘79, Anne Garland ‘93 & Joanne Clarey, Martha Almy ‘95, Alison Taylor ‘94 & Willamain Somma.
For the second year in a row, the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art won the Portland Phoenix Best Art Gallery award, as determined by readers. From the Phoenix: "The ICA had a big year. They brought in a new director (Daniel Fuller), staged impressive off-site video screenings on big screens at Portland Pirates games, and stuffed their gigantic gallery rooms with six heaping platters of conceptual art, from trippy motion-sensor mirrors, towering handblown glass statues, and one very provocative labyrinth. No gallery in Portland covers more ground, takes more chances, or appeals to a broader crowd. Best of all: it's right in the center of town."
Faculty Member Philip Brou wins PMA Purchase Prize
At the members’ opening reception for the 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial on Wednesday evening, April 6, five prizes were awarded to artists in the exhibition. The Purchase Prizes were awarded four artists: Philip Brou (MECA Painting faculty) for Black Box; James Groleau for Arbil Rubia Riyadh and Sinjar Karbala Basra; Siri Sahaj Kaur for Kristie; and Don Voisine (attended ‘73) for High Time. The Purchase Prizes are chosen by select members of the Museum’s Collection Committee and will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection. The William E. and Helen E. Thon Jurors’ Prize of $4,000 was awarded to artist Michael Shaughnessy for Cascade, Current and Pool (For the Vanquished Falls of the Presumpscot River).
Biennials at the Portland Museum of Art have evolved since 1998 and have gained in popularity as one of the foremost venues for contemporary art in the state. The three jurors—Jim Kempner, Owner and Director of Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York; David Row, a painter based in New York and Maine; and Joanna Marsh, the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.—chose 65 works by 47 artists culled from more than 900 applicants. Of the artists chosen, nine have particiapted in previous Biennial exhibitions. The 2011 Biennial is the seventh in a series that showcases the best in today’s art world by artists associated with Maine, from digital video to painting, installation to photography, sculpture to prints, and more. The 2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial is on view April 7 through June 5, 2011 at the Portland Museum of Art.