UMaine Museum of Art announces Fall Exhibitions

Darren Emenau, “Wellsford II”

The University of Maine Museum of Art, located at 40 Harlow Street in downtown Bangor, opens four new exhibitions in September. Included are Second Nature: Shelley Reed, Olio: Darren Emenau, So Real: Selections from the Museum Collection, and Animalistic: Selections from the Museum Collection. UMMA is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and brings modern and contemporary art to the region, presenting approximately 12 original exhibitions each year. UMMA’s fall shows open to the public on September 14 and run through December 29, 2018. Admission to the Museum of Art is free in 2018 thanks to the generosity of Deighan Wealth Advisors.
OLIO: DARREN EMENAU
September 14 – December 29, 2018Darren Emenau’s creations emerge through unharnessed and playful explorations of form and materials. As the title suggests, showcased in Olio is a miscellaneous collection of hand-made ceramic objects ranging from irregularly-shaped vessels to wall-oriented pieces. The works featured are the culmination of a fertile period of experimentation resulting in innovative leaps for the artist. New forms were developed, dramatic shifts in scale employed, and new objects conceived within the context of contemporary installation. Among the new creations are vessels of varying sizes that resemble exaggerated clubs. The stretched and slender tubes are grounded by rounded bases and, when arranged in a row, the stance of each exerts a quirky, unique confidence. Also featured is an installation in which Emenau has stripped away all references to the utilitarian. These arranged works incorporate dozens of organic forms that evoke globular organisms or otherworldly rocks. When viewed en masse the objects are like unearthed fragments from unknown terrain.Emenau’s lush surfaces are imbued with nature’s essence. Their simple elegance seems effortless and disguises the technical skill required for creating such elemental forms. Developed through intense experimentation, Emenau’s glazes are remarkable for their color saturation. Hues range from acidic yellow-green to intense blue tones, and from mossy green to pale peach-pink. As a result of his glaze application, and transformation in the kiln, the raised cracked textures bring to mind lichen, bark or the parched, cracked earth. Through these invented forms, Emenau affirms that rustic can also be delicate.Admission to the Museum of Art is FREE in 2018 thanks to the generosity of Deighan Wealth Advisors.

Shelley Reed, “Rooster and Turkey”

SECOND NATURE: SHELLEY REED
September 14 – December 29, 2018Shelley Reed’s meticulously rendered subjects, derived from the paintings of old masters, are shrouded in beauty—but within the opulence there’s a glimmer of turmoil and peril. Reed’s paintings highlight essential dualities and are imbued with profound messages related to fragility, power and life’s uncertainties. Using black and white oil paint, Reed has stripped color of its symbolic and seductive potential, while shifting the viewer’s focus to the subtle details of the scene. The artist adds, “In this age of radical visual bombardment, maybe it takes a bit of toning down and an element of quiet and stillness to call attention to the message.”A focal point of Second Nature is the monumental work Bird that spans ten by fifteen feet. Multiple sheets of painted paper make up the image of a huge crane that hangs upside-down with a bent leg and majestic, outstretched wings. Reed poses questions for the viewer: what incident has led to this graceful creature’s treacherous state? Was this hazard caused by humans? The bird’s open eye leads the viewer to question its demise. Moral messages and lessons may be found in the historic paintings that inform these contemporary interpretations. In Bird Concert, an unlikely congregation of bird species, in all shapes and sizes, creates a disconcerting narrative. It’s as if a perilous act has forced these fowl to occupy this compressed space. Surveying the menagerie of agitated birds, it seems that the loudest screech by the biggest bird overshadows the song of others. In light of the nation’s current divisive political climate, Reed’s composition reveals a timely message. The birds are stand-ins for a chorus of humans—the individual voice drowned out by a cacophony of clamoring and opposing rants. The hand of man undoubtedly plays a fundamental role in all this animal theater. In the exhibition, Reed has included two dramatic paintings of men as a reminder that we are both members and encroachers in the natural world.

 

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