Life is about balance. Far from being static, balance is achieved through dynamic processes. Balance involves circulation, exchange, regulation, and negotiation, it also involves diversity and creativity. Balance is also fundamentally fragile and its disruption can have effects both positive—think about pearls, the result of an uninvited particle (in fact, it’s referred to as an irritant!)—and negative, threatening ecosystems and living organisms. Similarly in art, a composition can be too balanced while an imbalanced composition comes alive in its dynamism.

MAJ SummerCalder copy

Alexander Calder with mobile at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2 October 1969 (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

How does equilibrium and imbalance play out in your work? How does it formally affect composition, color scheme, or style?

How do you use such formal elements to impact your viewer’s experience and perhaps even their mood? What is their emotional impact? Does balance induce serenity and imbalance anxiety?

Thematically, in what ways does balance and imbalance find their expression in your work?

Do those concepts underscore a reflection about inequality or mental health? (One may think about how we seek “balance” and “stability” and suffer from mood swings).

Does your work address the environmental imbalance brought by environmental issues such as climate change and global warming?

In terms of one’s life, how do you address the “balancing act” between one’s artistic career and the demands of daily life?

Do moments of disruption—i.e., of imbalance—foster creativity or do they have a paralyzing effect, reducing your creativity to stasis?

MAJ SummerPiet Mondrian 1942 Broadway Boogie Woogie copy

Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 in. (127 x 127 cm), 1942–43, Museum of Modern Art, New York (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

MAJ SummerGeorges Seurat 1891 Le Cirque The Circus oil on canvas 185 x 152 cm Musee dOrsay copy

Georges Seurat, Le Cirque, oil on canvas, 72.8 x 59.8 in. (185 x 152 cm), 1890–91, Musée d’Orsay, Paris (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

MAJ SummerFreres Limbourg Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry chute des anges rebelles Google Art Project copy

Limbourg Brothers, Fall of the Rebel Angels from the Très Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry, tempera on vellum, 11.4 x 9.2 in. (29 x 21 cm), 1411–16, Musée Condé, Chantilly (photo: Wikimedia Commons).



Message from the UMVA Portland chapter:

We have an exciting opportunity to team up with the Maine Arts Journal whose upcoming theme is In Balance/Imbalance. This is an unjuried members’ show. Your work will be shown live at the UMVA gallery and published in the Maine Arts Journal summer issue. UMVA members are invited to reflect and expand on the theme through original artwork. We look forward to seeing your submissions for In Balance/Imbalance! Submissions are due 1 June.

The Maine Arts Journal summer issue is also a collaboration with the L.C.Bates Museum summer exhibition, which will focus on the theme of In Balance/Imbalance in nature.

MAJ SummerMichelangelo Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden 00 copy

Michelangelo, The Fall and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, fresco, 110.2 in. x 18.7 ft (280 x 570 cm), Sistine chapel (photo: Wikimedia Commons).



(Note that our usual member submissions feature is different for this summer issue):

  1. Please send one JPEG or png image approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.
  2. Label your image: last name_title.
  3. Include a brief statement in Word Document (200 words—or less!—on how your piece speaks to the theme of In Balance/Imbalance).
  4. Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
  5. At the end of the information list the price of the piece or NFS.
  6. In the email subject line, put: UMVA/MAJ In Balance/Imbalance

Please check to make sure you have included all information as listed above.

Send to both (must be sent to both in order to be included in MAJ and the members’ show):

Submission date: 1 June 2023.

Important dates for UMVA show:

  • Drop off: Saturday 1 July, 1–3 pm: all work must be unpacked and ready to hang.
  • Reception and formal opening: Friday 7 July 4–8 pm during first Friday walk. Any goodies would be appreciated. Reminder will be sent out.
  • Take Down/Pick Up: Sunday 30 July 2–4 pm.

Gallery hours: Friday 4–8 PM, Saturday 1–4 pm, and Sunday 2–5 pm. Please consider gallery sitting. A sign up sheet will be sent out in the future.

All work for the gallery can be no wider than 36 in.

Sculptures must have their own stands.

For any questions, contact


Image at top: Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, basalt rock, salt crystals, earth, water, 15 x 1600 ft., Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah, 1970 (photo: Netherzone via Wikimedia Commons).