UMaine Museum of Art announces Winter Exhibitions

The University of Maine Museum of Art announces three new exhibitions January 16 – March 21, 2015. Admission to the Museum of Art is FREE in 2015 thanks to the generosity of Penobscot Financial Advisors.

Rachel Hellman

“Drifting Simultaneously” by Rachel Hellmann

Rachel Hellmann’s exhibition Infra/Structure features an assortment of mixed-media works on paper along with a suite of shaped compositions that explore the intersection of painting and sculpture. Long-fascinated with architecture and interior spaces, the artist’s compositions offer an interplay of geometry, light and color. Hellmann meticulously creates her three-dimensional, wall-based works through a process by which various shaped forms crafted from poplar wood are planed, cut, pieced together, glued, clamped and sanded. The painted and drawn bands depict color relationships which range from subtle to bold; the arrangement of these elements is in direct response to the unique qualities of each sculpted form. “Simplified elements, combined with subtle gradations of color, create a play with perception and a vibration between the logical and poetic,” states the artist.

Hellmann’s exploration of “painting as object”, in which the artist has fully considered all surfaces of the forms, invites the viewer to experience the works from multiple perspectives.

Dan Estabrook

“The Clown” by Dan Estabrook

In King & Clown, NYC-based artist Dan Estabrook combines nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographic processes with painting and drawing to produce his uniquely contemporary works. In Brain Surgery—an image in which the artist is also the model—a hovering ovoid form, painted in gouache and a pencil grid, is rendered atop a gum bichromate print, a photographic process developed in the 1850s. Through his uncanny juxtaposition of subjects and the deceptively-aged appearance of his images (acheived through meticulous hand-painting), Estabrook evokes a sense of mystery and nostalgia.

“My images begin by imitating various academic genres of the nineteenth-century, mostly still lifes and figure studies, but ones made strange by my interventions on the surface or by the handmade objects set before the camera.

“Drawing mostly from self-portraits made over a 20 year period, including photographs and sculptures made specifically for this exhibition, the work in King & Clown shows the many ways in which I have constructed and inhabited my own artistic persona.”

“What If They Had Lived” by Barbara Putnam

“What If They Had Lived?” by Barbara Putnam

In their second major exhibition together, Deborah Cornell and Barbara Putnam unite science and art to reveal the interconnected effects of climate change upon the natural world. The artists state: “There is no doubt that climate change is here. How to deal with global warming morally and honestly is a gamble that we now face.”

Cornell’s Games of Chance series juxtaposes images of nature and various gambling devices, reflecting on speculative attitudes and practices toward the environment. Other works examine how nothing exists in isolation, and the repercussions of our actions are more pervasive than people perceive. Putnam’s quilt What If They Had Lived?, as in her other works, addresses the far-reaching impact of humans on the environment. This piece references an actual 2012 event during which the warmest marine temperatures ever recorded caused several species of jellyfish to drift north, reaching the 80th parallel, where they froze on the shore of Svalbard, an archipelago north of Norway.

Deborah Cornell

“Games of Chance: Domino Theory” by Deborah Cornell

This exhibition explores ethical, social and environmental currents that arise from human interaction with the environment, and the concern of observing how our actions have thrown entire ecological systems out of balance.