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What an honor to be included in the 2016 Biennial Faculty Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art! The catalog’s cover (designed by Nicole Holmes ’14) is a detail from Treppenhaus, an oil painting by Hilary Irons.

Guest Curator Sage Lewis writes “Artists have a deep and often private relationship with their subject matter before it becomes public. It develops and changes over time as life experience, research, and inspiration comingle with the handling of materials, the recording of images, and the reading of texts. As I was selecting work for the 2016 Faculty Exhibition, I saw evidence of that private relationship unfolded as a generous offering to the viewer. “Bounty” is the word that came to mind.”

Sage visited my studio in April on a rotten rainy day, when I pulled from my messy studio piles of research materials: photos I took of models, photos I found of John Muir, and pages upon pages of sketches. I had submitted illustrations from John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall, for the call for submissions to the Biennial. This non-fiction picture book required a certain historical correctness, consultations with the John Muir Center in California, and many revisions. You can read some of the backstory HERE.

I showed her the shed out back where I staged photos of my neighbor, posing as Muir. Evidence of these elements are on display in the exhibit, including several of the props I drew upon for reference.

At the opening reception, there was a fantastic turnout of 1400 viewers streaming through. It was gratifying to talk about my process and discover mutual Muir fans.

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But best of all was being in the company of my fellow faculty. Hilary Iron’s detailed nature settings were perfect partners hanging nearby.

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Gan Xu’s landscape paintings are sumptuous pleasures. He has taught art history courses at MECA for over 24 years. His return to painting in 2015 became an escape from the suffocation he felt politically and environmentally when visiting China.

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Kate Green’s photographs are still images captured from videos of fireworks. They also could be deep space, the universe revealed. Divine.

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Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

In the middle of the gallery Julie Poitras Santos‘ installation, O time your pyramids became performance on the night of the reception.

I urge you to duck behind the black curtain and watch Joshua Reiman‘s hypnotic film Panoramique de L’immateriel, a journey along the Seine in search of gold. Mesmerizing.

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Nearby hang large prints by Program Chair of Photography, Justin Kirchoff. Vistas of overgrown interchanges near Interstate 95 are moody invitations to ramble.

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

The narrow hall joining the front and back galleries is lined with the darkly blooming work of Gail Spaien, whose focus on botanical still lifes is spectacularly gorgeous.

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Photography by Kyle Dubay courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art

Nearby is the work of Lucy Breslin, so delicious I want to eat it.

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The front gallery is filled with the prolific ponderings of my beloved colleague in the Department of Illustration, Michael Connor. Good, and Not Perfect represents his long-standing affair with pen and ink, panel divisions from his wealth of comic endeavors, and cryptic absurdity.

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Department of Illustration Program Chair Mary Anne Lloyd was on hand to document this rarest of moments: two illustration faculty in the ICA!

Photograph by Mary Anne Lloyd

Photograph by Mary Anne Lloyd

I am humbled beyond measure to be in this Biennial with such esteemed colleagues. Many thanks to Director of Exhibition and Special Projects Erin Hutton ’98 and Guest Curator Sage Lewis ’04 whose wisdom and insight brought together such a seamless and thoughtful exhibit.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Great blog post Jamie! It was a great show and I will go back again to see the movie I missed and to have another “look”. Lovely to see your process for John Muir and the art of your fellow colleagues. Great show!

  2. Congratulations, Jamie!
    Spectacular exhibit and one where everyone was surrounded by talent.
    Just wonderful to see the ‘props’ and hear of your journey in creating the art for John Muir.

  3. I wish I could see it in person. So glad they gave you the space to show your process. Excellent for students!

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