The Portland Museum of Art Presents the First Museum Exhibition by MECA alum, Ahmed Alsoudani '05
(Portland, Maine) The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) will present Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted, the first major museum exhibition of the work of American-Iraqi artist and Maine College of Art graduate Ahmed Alsoudani. The exhibition features 20 of the artist’s tumultuous and innovative paintings, which reflect on the horrors of war with a unique artistic voice. Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted will be on view through December 8, 2013, in the PMA’s celebrated Third Floor Gallery for Contemporary Art.
“Challenging the viewer with nuanced art historical arguments and blatantly difficult, abject, and grotesque imagery, Alsoudani does what few artists can do: he successfully translates the complexity of contemporary politics into meaningful painting,” said PMA Director Mark H.C. Bessire.
Through his personal experience as a child and adolescent in war-torn Iraq, Alsoudani developed a keen sensitivity to the effects of war, violence, terror, and political unrest on a global scale. His paintings reflect his experiences as well as the mediated nature of war in our time. “I’m not just commenting on Iraq but on an experience that becomes universal,” Ahmed Alsoudani said, referring to Untitled, 2007, a loose, nearly abstract rendering of the moment the infamous statue of Saddam Hussein fell in Baghdad in 2002. His splintered compositions, and the overwhelming and sometimes harrowing scenes represented in a bright, near-primary palette, address the uneasy balance in our culture between scenes of disaster and objects of beauty. Alsoudani cites historical figures Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and George Grosz, as well as more contemporary painters Philip Guston and Francis Bacon as major influences. Like his predecessors, he seeks to create works that depart from the glorification of violence and the heroism of warfare. Instead, his large-scale paintings offer graphic, often disturbing imagery that includes disembodied hands or all-seeing bulging eyes juxtaposed with random mechanical parts and other recognizable but misplaced imagery.
Ahmed Alsoudani was born in Baghdad in 1975 and grew up under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He left Iraq as a teenager and lived in Syria before immigrating to the United States in the late 1990s. He studied in Maine at the Maine College of Art (BFA, 2005), and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2006), and graduated with a MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art (2008). In 2011, his work was featured in the Iraq Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, in the exhibition The World Belongs to You, and at The Francois Pinault Foundation at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice. His other major international exhibitions include: La Route de la Soie at Tri Postal in Lille, France (2010); Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East at the Saatchi Gallery in London (2009); as well as shows at the National Gallery of Saskatchewan, Canora, Canada (2007) and the Gwangju Museum of Art, Korea (2007). He lives and works in New York.
The exhibition is co-organized and co-curated by Mark H.C. Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art and Dr. Sara Cochran, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition was on view in Phoenix from March 13 through July 17, 2013. A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and is available in the PMA Store for $19.99.
This exhibition was co-organized by Phoenix Art Museum and the Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Generously supported by Louise Bessire in memory of Henry E. Bessire and Sabre Yachts & Back Cove Yachts. Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted is also sponsored in honor of the Maine College of Art by: Patricia and Cyrus Hagge, Chris and Betsy Hunt, Horace and Alison Hildreth, and Candace Karu. Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Corporate Sponsors: The Bear Bookshop, Marlboro, VT and The VIA Agency.
MECA Community Featured in 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piecework
This fall the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is featuring 30 artists selected from nearly 900 applicants for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work. Ten of the artists are MECA alumni and two are faculty.
Kate Beck '96 (Attended), Harpswell, ME Matt Blackwell '77, Brooklyn, NY Allison Cooke Brown '01, Yarmouth, ME Alina Gallo MFA '08, Portland, ME Bryan Graf, Portland, ME, Assistant Professor of Photography Julie Gray MFA '12, Saco, ME Adriane Herman, Portland, ME Associate Professor of Printmaking Alison Hildreth '76, Portland, ME Joe Kievitt '93, Portland, ME Sage Lewis '04, Columbus, OH Justin Richel '02, Rangeley, ME Aaron Williams '94, Ridgewood, NY
Selection of the artwork for Piece Work followed a new process this year. The jury process was conducted internally by Jessica May, the PMA’s first Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art. The goal of the exhibition is to explore one very strong, deep thread of contemporary practice that has relevance both regionally and nationally. Many of the artists in Piece Work live in Maine for all or part of the year; for others, the state has been an important part of their biography or artistic practice.
On view October 3, 2013 through January 5, 2014, the Biennial will feature more than 70 works, ranging in media from painting and drawing to photography and video.
Groundbreaking Bluestocking Film Series Brings Award-Winners to MECA
Astronauts? Check. Zombies and lesbians? Check. WWII resistance fighters? Check. Teenage girls on the prowl, a grandmother with an unconventional diet, and a businesswoman on an obstacle course to work? Yes. The Fall 2013 Bluestocking Film Series has that.
Returning to MECA's Osher Hall on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:00 p.m., the biannual film event has a whole new lineup of award-winning Bechdel-tested short films by talented women directors for Portland’s cinema lovers.
With the help of an international judging panel, the six films were carefully curated by founder-organizer Kate Kaminski, chosen specifically to prove that films about women can tackle difficult subject matter and be powerful and cutting-edge.
This fall will also mark a first in Bluestocking’s 2-year history: audience members will vote their favorite film in two categories and two lucky filmmakers will walk away with cash prizes. Kyna Morgan of Her Film Project (a global project to support women filmmakers) will sponsor the bigger of the two prizes. The Bluestocking also awards a $100 gift each season to a female New Media student at MECA. “Our goal is to support in any way we can those women who choose to compete in such a male-dominated field.”
The screening event will take place in Osher Hall at MECA at 7:00 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.) on Saturday, October 19. All tickets are $5 if purchased in advance via Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets are $7 if purchased at the door the evening of the screening. Some of the featured filmmakers will also be on-hand for a post-screening Q&A.
For more information, contact Kate Kaminski, founder/organizer. Watch trailers for past and upcoming events: bluestockingfilms.com
Contact: Kate Kaminski, Organizer |firstname.lastname@example.org | 207.772.1326
MECA ANNOUNCES FALL 2013 LECTURE SERIES
MECA ANNOUNCES FALL ‘13 LECTURE SERIES
Visiting Artist Lecture Series Brings Dynamic Range of Thought Leaders, Creative Entrepreneurs, and Professional Artists to Downtown Portland
Portland, Maine ~ MECA’s Visiting Artist and Guest Lecturer Series invites professional artists, educators, curators, thought leaders, and creative entrepreneurs to present on topics of interest and importance to the Greater Portland community and beyond. All lectures in this series are free and open to the public. Hosted in MECA’s Porteous Building (522 Congress Street), seating is limited. Visit meca.edu/lectures or call 800.699.1509 for more information.
Portland artist Jenny McGee Dougherty is the Associate Director at SPACE Gallery in Portland. Her work is inspired by the marks and impressions on local spaces, such as municipal scuffs, weathering, shadows, and patterns. “It all becomes part of our collective landscape that is often taken as a whole, rather than a collection of parts, a history,” she says.
2. Thursday, September 19, 2013 // Andrew Baldwin // Osher Hall, 12pm
Andrew Baldwin is a printmaker, educator and a leader in nontoxic contemporary print methods who developed and produced an innovative and versatile etching ground called Baldwins Ink Ground (B.I.G.), to reduce some of the more hazardous processes in printmaking. He has also initiated a ground-breaking Audio Visual Database of fine art techniques and is the director and founder of Trefeglwys Print Studio in Wales.
3. ThursdaySeptember 26, 2013 // Dao Chau Hai and Nguyen Ngoc Lam // Osher Hall, 12pm //Visiting Artists in Residence from Vietnam //
MECA artists-in-residence Dao Chau Hai and Nguyen Ngoc Lam, from Hanoi, Vietnam, will work together to create “The Tree Man,” a large scale site-specific installation made of natural materials in MECA’s Green Space on the corner of Casco and Shepley Streets, from September 16 to October 14, a project sponsored by the Indochina Arts Partnership and MECA’s Artist at Work initiative. MECA alumnus David Thomas '68 started the Indochina Arts Partnership 25 years ago as a cultural exchange program.
Shirah’s paintings convey the complexity of perceived time and their surfaces are “textured from layers of working and editing, utilizing abstraction, color theory, and formal decision making as a means to describe the immensity of experience.” Her influences include Yantra, abstract Tantric Art, and Indian miniature paintings.
5. Thursday October 10 // Gina Adams ’02 // ICA at MECA, 12pm //Alumni Biennial Gallery Talk //
Gina Adams recently completed her MFA from the University of Kansas, where she focused on Visual Art, Curatorial Practice, and Critical Theory. Her cross-media, hybrid studio work includes sculpture, ceramics, painting, printmaking, and drawing and has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States.
6. Tuesday, October 8, 2013 // Emily Luce // Osher Hall, 12pm
Artist, designer and researcher Emily Luce is president of the board of directors at DesignInquiry, a nonprofit organization that furthers the interdisciplinary discourse of design. Recent projects include The Cardiff/Miller House, a 128 square-foot inhabitable replica of an infamous art house in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and Drawing the Canada-Wide Science Fair, an in-situ, live-broadcast drawing practice involving sixteen artists and over 400 high school science fair participants. Her topics include domesticity in the art world, sustainable architecture, and “the pleasure of tiny.”
Catherine Kernan is a painter, teacher, printmaker, the co-founder and partner of Mixit Print Studio in Somerville, MA, and the director of Maud Morgan Arts, an arts center in Cambridge, MA. She says, “Working at the interface between printmaking and painting, I use large scale woodblocks in unorthodox ways as a transfer tool to build images layer by layer in a painterly process of controlled accident.” Sponsored by Peregrine Press.
8. Wednesday, November 6, 2013 // Elizabeth Hand // Osher Hall, 7pm
Visionary award-winning American novelist Elizabeth Hand as a longstanding interest in outsider artists, which are the subjects of much of her short fiction as well as her most recent novels, the forthcoming psychological thriller Generation Loss, about an emotionally damaged proto-punk photographer, and 2004’s Mortal Love, inspired by the life and work of the schizophrenic Victorian fairy painter Richard Dadd. Her personal experiences of inexplicable transcendence and random human violence have shaped nearly all her fiction.
9. Thursday, November 7, 2013// Matt Hutton // Osher Hall, 12pm
Associate Professor and Chair of Woodworking & Furniture Design Matt Hutton earned his BFA in woodworking and furniture design at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, and an MFA from San Diego State University. he has also studied woodworking in England and Japan and over the past decade has been instrumental in establishing MECA’s woodworking and furniture design program. He operates STUDIO 24b in Portland.
10. Thursday, November 14, 2013 // Gary Stephan // Osher Hall, 12pm
New York based painter Gary Stephan’s work has been collected by The Guggenheim Museum of Art, The Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art. Noted American art critic Peter Schjedahl once wrote that Gary Stephan’s work “provides timely grist to the timeless mill of the soul.” Exhibiting since the late 1960s, Stephan traffics in an idiosyncratic abstraction that is free from declarative statements as to what the painting should be, what it should mean, or what it expresses. Instead, his pieces vacillate, suggest, and undermine.
Painter Angela Warren grew up surrounded by woods, music, and art. Drawing and singing at a young age has currently influenced her to make abstract paintings and sound installations that embody tonalities of color and pitch. Her research in synesthesia reveals how sight and sound intersect to form perception. Angela received her BFA from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and graduated with an MFA from Maine College of Art.
For more information, please visit meca.edu/lectures or call 207.775.3052.
MECA Alum's Style and Product Photography Feature Real World Models
LK Weiss ('11) is a photographer and designer whose work challenges mainstream conceptions of beauty. She owns multiple businesses, including branding and design company The Portland Designer. But it was Weiss' Jack Tar 207 that recently caught th attention of the international site, the Huffington Post. Her work often represents people from Maine's Queer community, and it is her bravery and acceptance of non-traditional beauty that coach and writer Mary Gorham Malia emphasizes in the article.
"The people that show up in Jack Tar 207 shoots aren't strictly queer, they do shoot straight folk too, but LK notes they are intentionally leveraging the stunning style of the queer community in the Portland area. With a mission to use non-traditional models they are attracting a wide variety of clients who love what they create and the visual voice it creates for their products and brands," Malia wrote.
Maine College of Art and The Portland Public Library will present the special exhibition Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons. The exhibition features 50 works by the legendary author and illustrator, accompanied by 50 statements from celebrities, authors, and noted personalities on the influence of Sendak’s work, all in celebration the 50th anniversary of his universally revered book, Where the Wild Things Are.
The exhibition includes 50 original works from Where the Wild Things Are in a variety of mediums including sketches, illustrations, and works on paper, and showcases highlights from Sendak’s career and the diverse art forms in which he was renowned. Many of the works are from private collections and friends of the artist, offering a survey of his range as an artist and author.
From children’s literature, animated films, and textbooks to Broadway and opera, Sendak garnered worldwide acclaim for his genius and insight. Among the contributing commentators to the exhibition are playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, comedian Stephan Colbert, artist Robert Crumb, director Spike Jonze, President Barack Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor/director Tom Hanks, and author Lemony Snicket.
MECA Alum Cultivates Community through Art
Hannah Merchant, a Portland resident and 2013 graduate of the Maine College of Art (MECA), developed artistic projects to support Cultivating Community’s mission over the four years of her undergraduate career as she pursued MECA’s new minor in public engagement, as well as a major in woodworking and furniture design. Cultivating Community is a Portland-based nonprofit that works to end hunger, promote sustainability and empower community members.
Merchant worked in some of our farming spaces while also taking pictures of young people in the organization's youth leadership programs. She found that “growing and making food with the youth, eating it, and documenting the act with photography was a powerful experience that really stayed with me.” As a result, Hannah created Cultivating Community’s summer 2012 Recipe Book, and is developing a new, expanded version for 2013.
For her Public Engagement capstone, she designed the Mobile Farm Stand that is revving up our food access work starting in summer 2013, providing a tricycle-powered, movable venue for the distribution and sale of locally-sourced, organically grown produce to people who need it. The mobile farm stand will be launched this summer.
Professor Matt Hutton to show work in upcoming exhibit
"Silhouette", 2013 Maple
Photo: Jay York
Professor Matt Hutton's fine-art furniture work has been selected to be part of the upcoming show, "Fearless Furniture," the first juried exhibition of its kind at the Indiana State Museum Fine Arts.
Matt Hutton is an Associate Professor in woodworking at MECA, and studied woodworking and furniture design at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. His work is among the thirty benches, tables, chairs, clocks and more will be featured in this expansive range of designs by 21 juried and three invited artists.
The Indiana State Museum is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It is Indiana’s museum for science, art and culture. The show is open to the public, with an opening on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at the Indiana State Museum.
For more about the Indiana State Museum, click here.
Five Alumni Selected to show work
Five MECA alumni will show their work at the Shaw Jewelry gallery in Northeast Harbor, Maine; located near Acadia National Park. The five working artists from Maine College of Art will demonstrate Maine's artistic legacy in a variety of compelling styles and techniques.
The featured artists are: Connie Hayes Margaret Lawrence Mark Marchesi Holly Ready Justin Richel
The show will run from August 15- September 11, with an opening reception on August 15 from 5-7pm.
SHAW JEWELRY 126 Main Street Northeast Harbor, Maine 207.276.5000 Open daily until 6:30pm
ASHERAH CINNAMON, MECA ALUM, TO SHOW WORK AT THE MAINE JEWISH MUSEUM
Artist Asherah Cinnamon, (BFA '08) exhibits new work at the Maine Jewish Museum. Nancy Davidson curated Cinnamon’s new show entitled Celebration, Tradition and Change. This exhibition will run from Friday July 5th, 2013 to Thursday August 29th, 2013. The opening reception with the artist will be held at the Maine Jewish Museum at 267 Congress Street in Portland, ME on Tuesday July 9th 5-8pm.
Asherah Cinnamon is an international award winning, contemporary sculptor, installation/ performance artist, and creative educator. Her work explores avenues of healing, both personal and planetary. Asherah's parents were survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. Their ability to take great joy in life and to overcome that experience was an inspiration for her. Graduate of the Maine College of Art (BFA), Boston University (MSW), Cambridge University (Graduate Diploma), and the University of Wisconsin (BA), she has made her home in Maine for over 30 years.
Cinnamon’s creative practice explores the power of human interaction as a means to build community, seek justice (tzedek), and heal the world (tikkun olam). Celebration, Tradition and Change is an exhibition deeply rooted in Jewish Feminism. Cinnamon is inspired by almost six thousand years of cultural philosophy and ritual. The sculptures and works in this exhibition are references to concepts and objects used in these traditions. Each piece holds meaning, memory, and ethical solutions beyond any single culture or religion. Ritual, whether celebratory or mournful, helps us connect to each other across differences.
Celebration, Tradition and Change is on display from July 5th to August 29th at the Maine Jewish Museum at Etz Chaim Synagogue Monday- Friday 10am-7pm or by appointment. For more information, contact Curator Nancy Davidson at TootzDavidson@yahoo.com or (207) 239 4774.
MECA Family Weekend
MECA parents, families, friends and Alumni are invited to join us on campus for MECA Family Weekend October 11-13, 2013.
Registration and schedule information will be posted in the early fall.
Please contact Anna Schwartz, Director of Student Engagement, with any questions:207.699.5034 or email@example.com.