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Posted: 2015-06-19

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Fall 2015 Academic Year Welcomes Marie Shurkus as Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History and Joshua Reiman as Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture

Portland, Maine - MECA will soon be welcoming a dynamic pair of new faculty hires: Chair of Academic Studies and Associate Professor of Art History, Marie Shurkus and Assistant Professor of the MFA in Studio Art and Sculpture, Joshua Reiman.

Ian Anderson, VP of Academic Affairs and Dean at Maine College of Art recently lauded the efforts of the search committees behind both positions. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcomes of these searches. Dana Sawyer, Chair of the Academic Chair Search Committee, and Sue Nutty made a great team, assisted by Rob Sullivan, Gail Spaien and Moira Steven. Co-chairs of the MFA Search Committee Gail Spaien and George Larou, along with Ling-Wen Tsai, Anne Emlein and Chris Stiegler, were no less impressive, culling through a strong pool of almost 100 applicants.”

Both of these faculty positions are pivotal in helping to shape the academic experience and future of the college.

Marie Shurkus holds a Ph.D. in Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University in Montreal as well as an MA in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism from the Art Institute of Chicago. She comes to MECA from Claremont, California, where she taught contemporary art history and media studies, among other subjects, at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges. One of the founders of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Marie brings with her more than 15 years of teaching experience.

Shurkus’ research interests are closely aligned with MECA’s educational philosophy and pedagogy. She explained, “My doctoral research was inspired by one of the fundamental insights that emerged from the development of digital technologies, namely that images exist separately from their material substrates. Embracing this insight, I examined the post appropriation strategies that developed in the late 1980s.” More recently, she has focused her efforts on “exploring how critical debates around representation have moved away from from a purely semiotic analysis of imagery, toward a more phenomenal understanding of the image as an immaterial form that motivates affect.” A product of this research was “Camera Lucida and Affect: Beyond Representation,” published in 2013 in Routledge’s Journal of Photographies.

Marie’s first order of business at MECA will involve an investigation into the academic side of the first-year experience. Having led the Visual Arts Program at Vermont College through both the accreditation process and the strategic plan, she is also prepared to work on assessment and the self-study. She will be reaching out to academic faculty, with whom she looks forward to collaborating and creating a seamless, rigorous liberal arts and art history core curriculum for the newly ordained (and newly combined) Academic Studies Program.

Joshua Reiman is an artist working in sculpture, film, video and photography. His work deals with themes of personal and cultural identity. He is interested in how a mythical narrative or factual history can stand in front of an artwork, and how that operates for an audience. His work involves “transforming realities and non-realities into a visual hybridation or synthesis of what is real, fake and imagined.” Josh is also a contributing writer for Sculpture Magazine; his most recent piece -- an interview with Janine Antoni -- is the cover story of the May 2015 issue.

For the last two years, Josh has been a Visiting Professor of Art in Sculpture, Installation and Site-work at Carnegie Mellon University and a Wimmer Teaching Fellow at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Prior to that, he was a visiting part-time faculty member at SMFA and an adjunct at Syracuse University. He has also worked extensively as a consultant and fabricator for the artists Matthew Barney, Keith Edmier and Tom Otterness on large-scale, epic sculptural projects. His own work has been shown internationally.

Josh is a dedicated and committed teacher, noted by his references to bring deeply engaged learning and innovative projects to the classroom.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Raffi Der Simonian ( or 207.699.5010).


Art in Exodus: Selected Works

Posted: 2015-06-04

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World Refugee Awareness week is scheduled from June 13th to June 20th.

Partners from all over Portland such as the City, Catholic Charities, Opportunity Alliance, Preble St, ILAP band together to support the event. WRD is celebrated annually on June 20th. This year to launch the event we will be having a festival at Deering Oaks Park on June 13th from 2 to 5. The family friendly event will bring people together from all over our community to engage in a community dialogue using side walk chalk, participatory events, henna, music, dance, and food.
From June 3-June 20
Porteous Front Window
Art in Exodus: Selected Works from Ali Shakir Alasadi, Eslaerides Ruiz, and Nawar Al Obaidi
Refugee Artist Reception
Friday, June 19, 5-7

Monhegan Residency

Posted: 2015-05-04

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Alina Gallo (MFA '08), Botanical Study: Mushrooms

"The Monhegan Artists’ Residency supports the creative growth of dedicated Maine artists by providing them time and space in which to work free of interruption and constraint in the inspiring environment of Monhegan Island."

The program offers living quarters, studio space, and a $100 per week stipend for a five-week period. One residency is peak summer, one in late summer/early fall. There are three residencies per summer, two for artists and one for an art educator.

MECA alumni who recently received the residency:
2015: Justin Richel '02
2014: Victoria Statsenko '14
2013: Kristin Fitzpatrick '13
2011: Alina Gallo, MFA '08

Other alumni recipients since its inception in 1989:
Cyndi Davis '90,
Nicole Duennebier '05,
Joe Kievitt '93,
Connie Hayes '80,
Margaret Leonard '82,
Martha Miller '06

East to East to Open in the ICA

Posted: 2015-04-30

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East to East

The show will be open from June 5 – July 3, 2015

Curator's Statement

Two Maine artists return home – elin o'Hara slavick with After Hiroshima, a project from the Far East, and Shane C. Smith with Avi Form – a project about the Downeast Penobscot living on Indian Island, Maine.

Both artists pay special attention to the specific cultural sites on which they work or to which they refer - Hiroshima, Japan (the Far East) and the Native lands of the (near Downeast) coast of Maine. The archive, cultural memory, the past and its power in the present, loss of histories, people and lands, artifacts, the performative gestures of remembering, honoring and witnessing all play important parts in this work. East to East investigates these dynamic explorations of history, memory, loss, language that artists make as cultural storytellers and producers. The work is deeply engaged in the physical trace - be it photographic, indexical, handmade, sculptural, textual or performative.

Elin o'Hara slavick grew up in Portland, Maine, and took her first photography class at the Portland School of Art (now MECA). Slavick, who has never shown in Maine, is currently a Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in Studio Art, Theory and Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked with Shane C. Smith on an independent study for fall, 2014 semester, in which he produced some of the work in this exhibition.

Shane C. Smith was born in Bangor and grew up in Milford, Maine, between Old Town, Indian Island and French Island. Smith, a conceptual and performance artist, utilizes an intermedia approach to investigate the subject and language within histories as they relate to place. His socially based practice has lead to designing and building a playground in Uganda, Africa and a stop-motion film featuring Penobscot Native American mythology that premiered at the Taos, New Mexico Talking Picture Show. After earning his MFA from UNC, Chapel Hill, he will continue his studio practice in New York City.

For the artists, this exhibition grows out of the mutually beneficial and equally challenging relationship between mentor and mentee. One instructs the other and the other teaches a new language.

2015 Merit Show Winners

Posted: 2015-04-07

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Congratulations to all the Merit Show winners this year. Participating students compete every year in the Merit Show for scholarship prizes and must meet a minimum GPA requirement. This year’s show featured the work of 46 students.

The Geary Prize:
Robert Condon, Junior, Graphic Design

Jury Select:
Jacqueline King, Sophomore, Painting

Honorable Mentions:
Ashley Wernher-Collins, Junior, Textiles & Fashion Design
Catherine Quattrociocchi, Sophomore, Metalsmithing & Jewelry
Emily Koerner, Junior Textiles & Fashion Design
Gillan Doty, Junior, Ceramics

Outstanding 2D Work:
Anna Welch, Sophomore, Printmaking

Outstanding 3D Work:
Emmett Freeman, Sophomore, Ceramics

4th Place:
Hannah Boone, Junior, Painting

3rd Place:
Peter Dore, Junior, Woodworking & Furniture Design

2nd Place:
Elana Sternick, Junior, Woodworking & Furniture Design

Best in Show:
Iva Milovanovic, Junior, Ceramics

Posted: 2015-04-06

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KENNEBUNK – The Brick Store Museum’s newest exhibition, Visual Storytelling: Celebrating Maine Illustrators, will open Friday, March 20. The exhibit will not only display the history of illustration, but feature the artwork of illustrators, artists, and cartoonists living in Maine today. The illustrated image has become a significant part of our culture and captured the imaginations of generations.
Illustrators taking part in the exhibit include current and former MECA faculty Stephen Costanza, Daniel Minter, Scott Nash. The show also features the work of MECA alumi, Jada Fitch. Also exhibited are Dahlov Ipcar, Ashley Bryan, Chris van Dusen, Wade Zahares, Melissa Sweet among others. Each artist has been invited to share 3-5 pieces of work. There are many kinds of illustration featured in the exhibit, including children’s books, political cartoons, comic books, and natural history illustration.
Visitors will be invited to create their own art inside the gallery – right on the wall! Upcoming summer illustrators’ workshops (check for future listings) will invite families, students, and adults to take part in specialized presentations by the artists themselves. Visual Storytelling is sponsored by the Captain Lord Mansion, the Captain Jefferds Inn, and Hurlbutt Designs. The exhibit will run through Sept. 27, 2015.
For more information, please contact Prof. Scott Nash (
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