The University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) opens three new exhibitions in June. “Niho Koruzu: Inter/Dimension,” “Anna Hepler: Blind Spot,” and “With Ties to Maine: Selections from the Permanent Collection” are open to the public on Friday, June 19 and run through Saturday, Sept. 19. Admission to UMMA, located at 40 Harlow Street in downtown Bangor, is free in 2015 thanks to the generosity of Penobscot Financial Advisors.
Color and energy radiate from within the Zillman Gallery this summer in “Inter/Dimension.” The exhibition features works by Japanese-born artist Niho Kozuru, whose brightly tinted constructions are created from translucent cast rubber. Many of Kozuru’s forms are inspired by New England turned-wood architectural elements such as finials and balusters as well as industrial machine parts. Once cast by the artist in rich hues, the individual elements are reconfigured and stacked onto metal rods to form an array of pedestal and floor-based sculptures. When light interacts with the colored gelatinous forms, the sculptures take on an alluring glow. Also on display is a new selection of whimsical wall-based compositions that are an extension of the artist’s three-dimensional works. Vividly colored, playful forms—bright orange, yellow and red—combine in a pulsating dance that brings to mind the dynamism of improvisational jazz.
Kozuru, who is based in Boston, has exhibited her sculptures in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. She is a fifth-generation artist in a family of renowned Japanese ceramists.
“Blind Spot” features an array of new sculptures and two-dimensional works by one of Maine’s most innovative contemporary artists. Anna Hepler explores forms in conflict or embrace through a series of heavily patterned large-scale woodcuts and soft sculptures inspired by collages made from National Geographic magazines. The artist also highlights the clarity and simplicity of primary forms in large and small wire sculptures, recent ceramic work, and forms crocheted from plastic bags. As Hepler states, “At the center of our vision we have a blind spot, and from the periphery the world is perceived in flashes and blurry moments. I am interested in how our mind fills the gaps.” At the heart of Hepler’s process is her uninhibited exploration of materials and sources that possess creative potential. The range of work in this show will excite the inquisitive nature of those who, like the artist, are willing to take a series of boundless leaps.
Hepler’s works are in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Tate Gallery, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Portland Museum of Art, among others.
In celebration of the University of Maine’s 150th Anniversary, the Museum of Art is pleased to present “With Ties to Maine.” The exhibition features works from the permanent collection by artists who have contributed to Maine’s rich and diverse artistic history. Many of these artists spent significant time in Maine and were inspired by its natural beauty and unique sense of place.
“Throughout history Maine has lured many artists with its picturesque landscapes, quiet pace and lack of outside distractions—ultimately these factors create an environment of reflection that propels creative practice.” states UMMA Director George Kinghorn. Featured in the exhibition are works by John Marin, Andrew Wyeth, Alex Katz, Berenice Abbott, Neil Welliver, among others. With Ties to Maine also highlights the University’s history of art collecting and celebrates the generosity of individuals who have donated works to the collection since its inception. Showcased are early gifts including Wyeth watercolors donated by Adeline and Caroline Wing in 1948 and a Marin watercolor given by Norma and John C. Marin, Jr. in 1957.
UMMA, which is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., brings modern and contemporary art exhibitions to the region and presents approximately 12 original exhibitions each year. For more information, visit www.umma.umaine.edu