meca in may

Posted by on May 31, 2009 in Maine College of Art | 2 comments

The spring semester at MECA came to it’s perennially manic culmination. Even though I didn’t teach this past semester, I participated in a critique panel, a workshop for incoming students, and reviews, keeping half an eye on things. It’s a frantic time for students, finishing projects, papers, flipping out. It’s a feast for viewers. The halls are alive with fresh work. I’m partial to wordplay, and this piece by Regis Biron says the most about being creative.

And I applaud direct methods, like this graphic mural by Drew Romeo.

Students are adept at playing with cliche and parody. It’s a natural side effect of too many art history lectures. This painting by senior Mary Blaxland is a funny mash-up of cartoon and art icon.

Senior Michelle Testa exhibited a cunning take on gender branding in product design.

Senior Brendan Croasdale created a splashy wall of silk-screened posters. Ninjas meet vixens. Could be the next brand.

I’m drawn to anything that plays with the vision metaphor, like this buckle.

And how about this belt? Artists get too often cast as cerebral, when in fact we are hands-on workers. We pack many, many tools in our skill set, forging new ideas with any material you can imagine.

The MFA thesis exhibit is up now at the ICA gallery, always a must-see. I found this installation like an uncomfortable visit to anxiety. Darkened, with bottles and clear bags of fluid, it was saying something, not sure what. Water resources? Pollution? Viral samples? I like art that is non-direct, too. The artist, Reenie Charriere, explained later, “I live in Oakland, California where pollution is out of control, and I have researched the accumulation of plastic in the Gyre Current in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up in New England I also have enjoyed the pristine, quaint beauty that doesn’t necessarily exist everywhere.
By the way, the water was a collection of water from the Casco Bay as well as an estuary in Cape Elizabeth.”

Her thesis, called dis-place or THAT can be seen on LULU.
She has a current piece at Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA.

Another installation hulked squarely in the middle of Portland’s most spacious gallery. A dwelling made of stacked trunks, it conjured conflicting notions about travel and home. Titled “Themselves has been a gathering” by Tina Zagyva, it’s an odd parallel to the installation currently at the PMA biennial, the “Hermit House” by Ethan Hayes-Chute. Both have constructed elaborate spaces meant to engage the viewer and Zagyva’s felt more perplexing and less an obvious homage to something else like Hayes-Chute’s piece.

The biennial and MECA’s MFA program share the installation craze, definitely.

Island neighbor Jessica George has an impressive installation of paintings, photographs, and crates in a mapped arrangement of content and form.

Each painting is a glistening surface of masked topography. Every one a marvel.

Last week the illustration department welcomed a new colleague, Rob Sullivan. Here he is with his recent show, Minumentals, at Art House.

Welcome to the world of MECA, with it’s ever-fluid body of creators. Congratulations, class of 2009!

2 Comments

  1. Jamie – thank you again for your open armed welcome and for the documentary photo, (hee hee).

    Did you see the review of the show in the paper today? If not, I posted a link to it on the blog. I’m pretty happy about it!

    (BTW – I officially “follow” your blog now)

  2. Yes, I saw the review. Good going! No small feat to get a nod from Mr. Isaacson. Welcome to my blog!

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