Archive for museum

Farnsworth Presents First Ai Weiwei Exhibition in Maine

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Farnsworth Art Museum Presents Ai Weiwei’s

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold

Beginning on Saturday, March 24, 2018, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine will present a special exhibition of sculptural works by Chinese dissident-artist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957). Ai’s gilded bronze Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold series will be on display in the museum’s Rothschild Gallery through December 30, 2018. This will be the first presentation of the internationally-known artist’s works in Maine, and the first New England showing of his gilded Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads.

Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze series—his first work of monumental public art—drew worldwide attention in spring 2011 when the artist was detained by Chinese authorities a month before the work debuted in New York City. Held incommunicado for eighty-one days, Ai Weiwei was released after an international protest campaign was mounted by museums, artists, and concerned citizens. Upon his release he was put under house arrest and forbidden to travel outside Beijing until July 2015.

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A lively re-envisioning of the twelve animals of the ancient Chinese zodiac, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads dates back to a dark episode with respect to China’s relationship with the West. During the Second Opium War in 1860, the famed Yuanming Yuan (or Garden of Perfect Brightness) was destroyed and looted by British and French troops. An imperial retreat built a century earlier during the Qing Dynasty (1636 – 1912), the Yuanming Yuan featured an ornate, European-style section with grand fountains, gardens, and palaces. At its center was a splendid zodiac water-clock fountain with spouting bronze-headed figures representing the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The 12 animals marked the hours of the day. The entire complex was ransacked long ago, but in recent years the seven bronze zodiac heads that survive have become fraught symbols of the cultural achievements of the Qing era, the nation’s period of humiliation by the West. The original zodiac heads represent a powerful topic for contemporary China’s relationship with its own history. Seizing on the rich and contradictory symbolism of the heads, Ai Weiwei’s re-interpretation of this work is a powerful statement about the “fake” in relation to the “real.”

Ai’s exquisitely designed and fabricated golden Zodiac Heads are featured in this exhibit, the first presentation of the internationally known artist’s works in Maine. The Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze and Gold series have been exhibited at over 40 international venues and counting since the official launch of this body of work in 2011. The Zodiac Heads have been seen by millions of people worldwide, making it one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.

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Ai is recognized around the world as a creative force and cultural commentator, and he continues to redefine the role of both artist and activist. Ai was born in Beijing in 1957, to the renowned poet and intellectual Ai Qing. When his father was denounced in 1959 during the Anti-Rightist Movement, the family was sent to a labor camp in rural Xinjiang Province where Ai spent the next 16 years. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the family returned to Beijing and Ai then studied at the Beijing Film Academy in 1978 before moving to the United States in 1981. After living in New York’s East Village for a decade, he returned to China in 1993 and helped establish the Beijing East Village contemporary art scene. In 2011, after a period of escalating conflict with Chinese authorities, Ai was arrested for purported tax evasion. In recent years Ai Weiwei has been living in Berlin, Germany.

Ai Weiwei’s recent major solo exhibitions include those held at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2009); the Tate Modern, London (2010); the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2012); the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015); and the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy (2016). He has received numerous awards and honors, notably Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award (2015) and the Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the Year (2016). His recent documentary Human Flow, which calls attention to the current refugee crisis, has received worldwide attention and his current New York City exhibition of city-wide public art titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is currently on display through February 11, 2018.

The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s ongoing role in American art. It offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists, with 20,000 square feet of gallery space and over 15,000 works in the collection. The Farnsworth has one of the largest public collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, while its Wyeth Center features works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The National Register-listed Farnsworth Homestead; the Olson House, a National Historic Landmark; and Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists complete the museum complex.

Please visit www.farnsworthmuseum.org for more information on current exhibitions, programs and events.

UMaine Museum of Art announces Winter Exhibitions

 
The University of Maine Museum of Art, located at 40 Harlow Street in downtown Bangor, opens new exhibitions in January. 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 winter shows open to the public on January 12 and run through May 5, 2018. Admission to the Museum of Art is free in 2018 thanks to the generosity of Deighan Wealth Advisors.
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Poogy Bjerklie, “On the Marsh”

 
NOWHERE IN PARTICULAR: POOGY BJERKLIE
January 12 – May 5, 2018

Nowhere in Particular features a series of paintings by New York City-based artist Poogy Bjerklie. The artist’s work is influenced by memories of growing up in Hallowell, Maine and summering on Richardson Lake. The works depict references to bodies of water, but not the typical coastal scenes that some may associate with Maine. Instead, Bjerklie’s images focus on the somber morning and grey evening light that is characteristic of the inland portion of the state. She uses oil paint on square wood panels, utilizing the rough surfaces of the wood to reinforce the atmospheric quality of the landscape scene. Bjerklie’s images seem to be viewed through a hazy lens. Details dissolve into diffused brushstrokes, conveying the notion of remembrance and longing, as if the images are a reflection of the past.

Bjerklie’s paintings recall romantic art with its emphasis on mood and shadow. Nineteenth and twentieth century American artists such as Albert Pinkham Ryder, Ralph Blakelock, and George Inness, are particularly influential to the artist’s work. Bjerklie also cites the museum-like displays of antique shops in her hometown of Hallowell as a prominent source of her stylistic approach to painting. The artist states that her images “act as memories of a place to escape to.” Her use of small, square picture planes creates intimate spaces resulting in a dialog between mark-making, memories, and place. Viewed from afar the images suggest dreamlike landscapes of remembered places, nostalgic, and just out of reach.

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Caleb Charland, “Attempting to paddle straight to the Moon”

SHADOWS OF EARTH: CALEB CHARLAND
January 12 – May 5, 2018

Shadows of Earth features recent bodies of work by Maine-based photographer Caleb Charland. The artist is known for his inventive handling of materials that expands traditional notions of the photographic medium. Charland’s creative process is rooted in scientific inquiry—he often employs multi-layered steps and experiments designed to yield these alluring images. The artist states, “Each piece I make begins as a question of visual possibilities and develops in tandem with the laws of nature, often yielding unexpected results measurable only through photographic processes. Energy vibrates in that space between our perceptions of the world and the potential the mind senses for our interventions within the world.”

In several of the works, Charland’s utilizes the movement of his body in the creation of the images. With camera lens pointed at the night sky in a long exposure, the artist’s breathing is recorded as streaks of stars and planets. In another image, a spherical full moon takes on the form of a luminous tangle of light. The image captures Charland’s steady movements while paddling a canoe on a calm lake at night. In other works, the photographer’s desire to “more deeply understand the mechanisms of nature” is reflected in a grid depicting a variety of leaf species. The compositions are created by using half of the image as a paper negative, revealing the tonal opposite of the other half of the leaf. Through his photographs Charland encourages an introspective contemplation of the natural world, while also exploring the materiality of the photographic medium.

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Craig Taylor, “The Inverse Ascent”

THE ELASTIC CACHE: CRAIG TAYLOR
January 12 – May 5, 2018

The Elastic Cache features oil paintings, intaglio prints, and works on paper by Brooklyn, New York-based artist Craig Taylor. The forms in Taylor’s compositions invite multiple associations. Some paintings resemble abstracted portrait busts or barnacle covered stones placed on crude plinths. Others may appear to be the weathered bark of trees or microscopic views of medical abnormalities. Taylor’s irregularly shaped forms are covered with thick slabs of manipulated paint and horizontal marks of varying sizes. The precariously balanced, yet detailed shapes are prominently placed in a shallow ambiguous space. In some of the works there is an uncanny, almost humorous gesture that is further magnified by Taylor’s palette that ranges from saturated reds to monochrome mixtures.

Craig Taylor received his MFA from Yale University and is an Associate Professor of Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Admission to the Museum of Art is FREE in 2018 thanks to the generosity of Deighan Wealth Advisors.

CMCA Opening weekend events

CMCA

Sunday, June 26
Members and Supporters preview reception, 11am-1pm
Open to CMCA Members, Business Supporters, and all Donors to the Capital Campaign | Reservations required | RSVP here

Ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony, 1-2pm

Public opening, 2-5pm
Jonathan Borofsky Human Structures | Alex Katz Small Paintings | Rollin Leonard Vernal Pond
Free admission

Camden National Bank | Public event sponsor

Opening weekend celebrations dedicated to the memory of Judith Daniels.