UMaine Museum of Art opens Spring Exhibitions

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“Rock Bottom,” by David Hilliard, 2008, C-print, Museum Collection

The University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor will open three new Spring Exhibitions today, April 4. “Looking Back Six Years” features the best of recent Museum photographic acquisitions. “Jay Kelly: Works from 2007-2014” is a timely exhibit of the artists’ captivating sculptures and drawings. “Amy Beeler: Passion and Adornment” shows the artist’s fascination with botanical forms using the lost-wax technique.

Looking Back Six Years – Part One: Selected New Acquisitions
In a series of exhibitions throughout 2014, UMMA is celebrating the ongoing development of the permanent collection. Looking Back Six Years-Part One features a selection of new acquisitions since 2008 that underscores the significant role photography plays in the Museum’s collection. This exhibition focuses on contemporary photographic practice by an array of nationally recognized artists. Images of people are prominent in the exhibition, from David Hilliard’s thought provoking colored triptych, Rock Bottom, to John Goodman’s testosterone-charged gelatin silver print, The Schlitz Boys. Photographs by Dominic Chavez, made in Sierra Leone and Malawi, and Alejandro Cartagena’s powerful series The Car Poolers convey strong social messages. Images of New York City, a well-established, dynamic subset of UMMA’s photographic holdings, are further enhanced by the addition of works of Ilya Askinazi, Todd Watts, Lynn Saville, Vincent Serbin and Esteban Pastorino

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“Untitled #66 (2007), #65 (2007), #104 by Jay Kelly 2008

Jay Kelly: Works from 2007-2014
Jay Kelly presents a selection of 27 sculptures and 10 drawings created from 2007 to 2014. Kelly’s intimate sculptures, the tallest of which measures 26 inches, exhibit elaborately worked surfaces that range from the refined to those that appear to be weathered and aged. The artist often painstakingly combines varied materials such as metal, wood, gesso, Hydrocal, Japanese paper and acrylic paint to render this dynamic assortment of abstract forms. A number of the works are constructed solely from nickel silver to which the artist applies a chemical coating to render the darkened and irregular surfaces. While small in size, each unique and meticulously handmade work has a commanding presence and delightfully idiosyncratic posture. Equally captivating are the artist’s 5 x 5 inch drawings on transparent vellum, which appear to glow. Each drawing includes the artist’s blurred gestural marks, a selective pallet of muted tones, and seemingly scrawled notations which often appear to hover in space.

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“Your Entitlement II,” by  Amy Beeler 2014

Amy Beeler: Passion and Adornment
Featuring 21 works, Amy Beeler’s first solo museum exhibition explores the intersection of jewelry and sculpture in pieces rooted in her long-standing fascination with botanical forms. Using the lost-wax technique, Beeler has cast in silver an array of seed pods including milkweed, sweetgum, lotus, gumnut and datura. The organic, spiky forms are combined with hand-forged elements to create stunning, yet perhaps menacing, necklaces and boldly exaggerated rings. While at first glance these ornately designed creations are unmistakably elegant, wearing some would prove challenging, even to the most adventurous fashionista. These selected works use silver primarily as a medium. Yet in some the artist has also inventively incorporated freshwater and Tahitian pearls, Pyrex glass, 14k gold, jasper and even human hair. The Zillman Gallery is the setting for Beeler’s works, most of which were created in the past year.

UMMA’s Spring Exhibitions will open to the public on April 4 and run through June 7, 2014. Admission is free in 2014 thanks to the generosity of Penobscot Financial Advisors. The Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., brings innovative contemporary art exhibitions to the region and presents approximately 12 original exhibitions each year. For more information visit umma.umaine.edu.

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