University of Maine Museum of Art Winter Exhibition

Brett Day Windham, Sleepwalking Circus, 2010

 

University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor presents four new winter exhibitions that open on January 13. Exhibitions include THE MOMENT: Paintings by Michael De Brito; THE CITY: photography by Lori Nix; I PUT A SPELL ON YOU: installation by Brett Day Windham; and BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE: video and performance by George Terry.Admission is free and the shows run through March 24. Look for a feature story on this exciting winter exhibition to appear in the Bangor Daily News soon. FMI, www.umma.umaine.edu.

 

Sculptor and installation artist Brett Day Windham transforms a UMMA gallery with works that evoke the mythic and magical. In Sleepwalking Circus (pictured) the artist has hand-constructed a red and white carnival tent that serves as an immersive
environment in which to view her stop-motion video. This portrays the artist as alchemist in the theatrical world of the studio. Two freestanding sculptures, Floating Harlequin and Braided Ellegua serve as gatekeepers to the tent. The artist interprets the dramatic and nimble harlequin – a character often depicted throughout the history of art – as a ghostlike form with painted black and white diamond patterns. The mysterious draped form hovers slightly above the floor, an arrow extending through its head. Braided Ellegua is constructed out of colored hair extensions that Windham has meticulously braided and stitched together. The mystifying and playful Ellegua, a deity viewed as a trickster throughout African diasporic
faiths, resonates with the artist. Rosary is a garland-like strand created from objects found by the artist over a three-year period during walks to her various studios. Self-imposed written rules define the process by which she collects the sometimes familiar, sometimes confounding, urban discards.  Brett Day Windham received her BA from Hampshire College and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Contemporary realist painter Michael De Brito creates works, some canvases larger than 6 x 8 feet, that depict moments of everyday life — from beachside gatherings to kitchen scenes. In several pieces, family members and guests are comfortably
situated around a dining table sharing conversation, food and drink. De Brito’s grandmother, a subject of numerous paintings, is the matriarch of the family unit and master of this energetic domestic world. In Novela (pictured), he has sensitively
rendered his grandmother through beautifully varied brushwork. He captures the quiet moment of an individual who has been laboring over household tasks and lovingly preparing food for family and friends. In these paintings the artist provides a
glimpse into his Portuguese heritage. Lavishly rendered traditional food, patterned ceramics and vividly colored decorative objects surround the inhabitants. The casual environments portrayed in De Brito’s paintings induce a sensory, and perhaps
familiar, experience for the viewer. The sounds of layered laughter and conversations of dinner guests are fused with the aromas of sweet bread baking, sizzling meats and other sumptuous dishes.

De Brito received a BFA from the Parson School of Design in New York City and also studied at the New York Academy of Art. He is the recipient of the prestigious Pollack-Krasner Grant. De Brito’s works have been exhibited at the National Portrait
Gallery, London; the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; and the Presidential Museum, Lisbon.

In The City, New York-based photographer Lori Nix depicts deteriorating urban locations that have been abandoned by humans. The stately theater, beauty shop, and public aquarium are gradually being reclaimed by nature. Upon closer inspection of
these seemingly realistic images, the viewer experiences a delightful revelation as the magic of Nix’s creative process is slowly revealed. The artist constructs detailed dioramas filled with an array of miniature objects. Fascinating and complex,
many of the scenes in these photographs take over seven months to complete. To achieve the varying mood and environmental effects in the works, the artist carefully lights the dioramas and then photographs them using a large-format, 8×10 camera. In
the recent work Violin Repair Shop (pictured), Nix has painstakingly sculpted the hand tools, furniture and light fixtures out of wood, extruded foam, polymer clay, plaster, paint and found objects. Every detail of the composition is considered,
including what exists beyond these captivating interiors; the faint details of buildings can be seen through dusty windows, adding to the drama and illusion of deep space.

Nix has exhibited at The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Museum of Arts and Design, NYC; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH. Her works are in many collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Smithsonian Museum of American Art,
Washington, DC; and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Nix was the recipient of 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Grant.

George Terry combines sculpture, video and performance to bring together an assortment of works that reflect the artist’s role as communicator and manipulator of visual symbols. In the photograph Because You’re Mine (pictured), loosely based on a
medieval icon painting, Terry is partially covered with his personal property. The figure maintains composure while struggling to support the physical weight of his many possessions. For Terry, the oppressiveness of these collective inanimate
objects parallels the burden of the internal baggage faced by many. The Contest, a large-scale sculpture created specifically for the UMMA exhibition, consists of two horse heads combined with stylized human legs and classical arches. Terry
investigates the mythological associations derived from depictions of the horse throughout history. “The horse is a symbol of power, mystery and our animalistic drives” and “the wealth of historical/classical depictions of the creature are
undoubtedly inspired out of a reverence for its abilities, power and beauty,” states Terry. The juxtaposition of sculptural elements reflects his interest in history, architecture and symbolism. The exhibit also features a video depicting the artist
engaging in impulsive and unrehearsed movement and sound. A mechanical element randomly disrupts the video signal, further fragmenting the artist’s actions.

George Terry received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Admission to the Museum is FREE in 2012 thanks to Machias Savings Bank in honor of Ted Leonard. For additional information visit www.umma.umaine.edu