New Members Greeted the New Year in Portland
New UMVA members, Nathan Meyer of Brunswick and Nancy Grice of Harpswell, filled the space with color and drama in January. In his exhibition, Black Fawn: A Photographic Folktale, Nathan described Black Fawn as “a foray into photographic storytelling ‘in media res’.” The images evoke themes of urban folklore and Native American myths. Meyer presents his interpretation of a modern Wendigo (a spirit or creature often depicted as an emaciated amalgam of deer and human). Some of his works utilize old analog film cameras to produce double exposures that capture two scenes and imprint them upon one another, while other pieces use a modern digital camera. The scenes therein contain themes of transformation, magical realism, “memento mori,” and hunting for survival in a hostile world. Nancy Grice hung paintings in Taking Up Spaces. Her images of spheres and other elements suggest planetary or celestial objects, but could also be subatomic particles. Her paintings utilize transparent layers of glazes and metallic pigments, strongly influenced by the dramatic light of the Maine landscape.
Maria Paz Lundin, formerly from Chile, is also new to UMVA. She and veteran member Norajean Ferris faced frigid temperatures in February and still had a great turnout to view their independent colorful exhibits. Hierophanies by Lundin explores the idea of how humanity relates to spirituality in its most symbolic nature. Etymologically, the word itself comes from the Greek hiero, “sacred,” and phainein, “to show.” The paintings respond deeply to the philosophy of art that encompasses wholeness. Hence, the objective of Hierophanies is not mere representation itself, but rather transformation.” This Energy of Mine by Ferris explores the elements of the human psyche: “there are no boundaries for emotions, intention, discipline, or technique in creative expression, and that art, in itself, connects all facets of humanity to the ever-changing constellations of the creative universe.”
The March exhibit, Bodies of Work, featuring art by Haley Linnet, Aidan Fraser, Quinn Evans, and Natalie Nelson, aimed to expand the canon in which femme-presenting bodies have been under or misrepresented in art. This group of women and gender nonconforming artists presented work that explores the lived experiences of bodies that are femme-presenting, fat, or nonbinary. The exhibition incorporated Linnet’s lifesize sculpture Tampon Insertion, which was accompanied by both written and recorded accounts of nineteen people’s experiences with menstruation, spanning generations, genders, and races. Ceramicist Aidan Fraser’s work focuses on femme bodies and aims to highlight “the often unmentionable—scars, nipples and pubic hairs” in 24k gold luster and encourages body acceptance. Quinn Evans’s work honors the beauty of her subjects through a lens that is honest about the exhaustion that can come from navigating life in a gendered hierarchy. Her passion for figurative work is rooted in the desire to foster empathy and restorative dialogues. Photographer Natalie Nelson showcased photographs that further challenge the idealized femme body by insisting through her images that “one size doesn’t fit all.” Bodies of Work subverts norms that disconnect us from self-love and our bodies. This group of artists holds the identities of white, cisgender, nonbinary, queer, straight, middle class, working class, and able-bodied, and are creating artwork from these limited lenses.
April 2023 Members’ Exhibition
The UMVA semi-annual Members’ Exhibit is opening at the gallery 3 April through 28 April.
For more information, please visit: http://www.theumva.org
Submitted by Joanne Tarlin
Image at top: Kimberley Harding, Four Elements, to be seen in April.
You must log in to post a comment.