William Wegman | Reel to Real Opens June 10 at CMCA

William Wegman, Materialism, 1975, pencil, chalk and ink on paper, 12 x 9 in.

William Wegman, Materialism, 1975, pencil, chalk and ink on paper, 12 x 9 in.

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) announces the opening of the exhibition William Wegman: Reel to Real on Saturday, June 10. The exhibition features selections from the artist’s early videos and drawings and is on view through October 22, 2017.

An important pioneer in video art, William Wegman created a series of short videos between 1970 and 1978, which are now considered classics in the field. He began experimenting with the new medium in earnest in 1970, while living in Southern California, where he taught for a year at California State College, Long Beach. Working concurrently with other early West Coast video artists as Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari, Wegman perfected a deadpan humor and absurdist logic in his videos that came to define much of the West Coast conceptual art of this period.

It was in Long Beach that Wegman acquired his first Weimaraner, Man Ray, who became an active participant in the early videos and an iconic presence in the artist’s career. “My background is in painting,” says Wegman, “but in school in the sixties, like many artists of that time, I believed that painting was dead. I began to work in collaboration with other artists in the creation of performance and installation works. Soon after, I started making video and photographic works and in the process became fascinated with the media itself. Before long I was setting things up just for the camera. In 1970, I got a dog and he turned out to be very interested in video and photography as well.”

William Wegman, Spelling Lesson, 1973-1974, video, 0:49

William Wegman, Spelling Lesson, 1973-1974, video, 0:49

Born in 1943, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, William Wegman is one of the best-known and most highly regarded artists of his generation. He received a BA from the Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana. With homes and studios in both New York and Rangeley, Maine, he continues to make videos, to take photographs and to make paintings and drawings.

A public reception celebrating CMCA’s summer exhibitions will be held on Saturday, June 24, from 5 to 8pm. William Wegman, accompanied by his Weimaraners, will discuss his work as part of CMCA’s Tuesday Talk series on July 25 at 5:30pm at The Strand Theatre, Main Street, Rockland, with a reception following at CMCA. Tickets for the talk will be available online starting July 1 at www.rocklandstrand.com.

CMCA is a contemporary arts institution presenting year-round exhibitions, engaging events, and educational programs for all ages. Location: 21 Winter Street, Rockland, Maine. Hours: June through October, Monday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday, 12 to 5pm; November through May, Wednesday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm; Sunday, 12 to 5 pm; closed Federal holidays. Admission $8; Seniors (65+) and students with ID $6; children under 18 free; CMCA members free. For more information, call 207.701.5005 or visit cmcanow.org

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