Art (48)

Past Transgressions — ICA's 'Confabulations of Millennia' screws with age-old obsessions

Confabulations of Millenia explores the tensions stirred up when contemporary artists utilize visual techniques and motifs from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Curated by the artist Richard Saja, whose Historically Inaccurate series is also featured, the 19 artists in the exhibition all engage with established materials and styles — such as French toile, Rococo porcelain, or classical portraiture — while making fiercely current work. In this process of bending the old to say something…

"There'll Always Be Graffiti" — Portland photographer Nick Gervin makes historic documentation in new book 'The Lines Don't Lie'

This week, Portland photographer Nicholas Gervin releases The Lines Don’t Lie, a sprawling and comprehensive 190-page photography book documenting a generation of Northeastern freight train graffiti art. Inspired by Subway Art, the influential 1984 book by photographer Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant documenting New York City subway graffiti in the ‘70s and ‘80s, The Lines Don’t Lie is a sui generis piece of New England art documentation. Three-and-a-half years in the making, Gervin's photos in…

All that and then some — The work of Barkley Hendricks at the Bowdoin Museum of Art

Whenever I go to see a show by a black artist in a primarily white institution I find myself questioning whether I will be distracted by a white gaze and curatorial context. Will I resist an idea of blackness because I perceive that it has been selected for me by a non-black gatekeeper imbued with the white power to decide which blacks are elevated to the canons of art history? I don’t know the skin…

Print's Not Dead! — The tactile ecstasies of the New England Art Book Fair

This weekend, the second annual New England Art Book Fair embalms SPACE Gallery with a parade of imaginative print works, subterranean obsessions, sociopolitical samizdat, and next-level art works. Launched by Portland artists Samantha Haedrich, Adam Stockman, Jimmy Viera, Andrew Scripter, and Pilar Nadal, fans of tactile art will have two days to poke around, from Friday night's art walk and all day Saturday, exploring art books that "explore the convergence of publishing, art, identity, and storytelling."…

Art in the Elements: Surface First Tilts West coaxes visitors to an uninhabited island

It started like any art opening: A small crowd gathered outside, many of them holding coffee due to the early hour, standing and mingling. Some were artists themselves, others were more the outdoorsy-type wearing Patagonia jackets and sports sandals. They laughed and talked while waiting for the doors to open. But the doors didn’t open. Instead, the Elizabeth Grace, a water taxi, pulled up to the Portland Yacht Services dock, and the laughing, talking, and…

Clits Reigning Men — 'WILD FAMILY' creates a world at Border Patrol

You wanna know about Border Patrol? I'll tell you about Border Patrol. Elizabeth Spavento came here a year or two ago to head the visual art programming at SPACE Gallery. She and her partner, Border Patrol co-director and artist Jared Haug, came from the other Portland or somewhere like that, but they also brought a connection to a larger art world that our Portland is missing. Not to say that the artists here aren't amazing…

The Work of Unraveling — Michel Droge's Powerful 'Hiraeth' at the Frank Brockman Gallery

Since she first appeared as a student in MECA’s Graduate Studies painting program, I’ve been a huge fan of Michel Droge’s work. Her thick, hazy, metallic-seeming paintings held both darkness and light as well as anyone in the state (not named Dozier Bell). But “Hiraeth,” her short-stay exhibition of cyanotypes and embossings, Droge takes a left turn into a different medium and intention. In an artist statement, Droge defines “hiraeth,” a Welsh term, as “a…

Remembering How to Draw at the Bowdoin Museum of Art

Using words alone, it is difficult to capture the historical arc and import of “Why Draw? 500 years of Drawings and Watercolors,” a summer exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The show spans the centuries from the Renaissance to the the present day, with something for every taste.   The first room contains the Old Masters, small works on dark papers in brown ink and red chalk. The kind of things that an…

A Show of Support — Able Baker's 'Selvedge' Sees Painting Through a Totally Different Grain

In a show that feels both formally radical and historically reverent, Selvedge — on view now at Able Baker Contemporary — grapples with the practice of painting through a new lens. The nine women’s works shown in this exhibition — including Portland painter and muralist Tessa Greene O’Brien, who began curating it last November — share in their effort to sublimate the process of painting through methods and practices associated with textile-making. This allows an…

Art & Nomenclature — A Room Full of White Dudes at Speedwell Projects

With Speedwell Projects’ current exhibition The Loved Ones, photographs by Smith Galtney of Maine and Matthew Papa of New York City, I wondered whether I could write an objective review. Smith is a friend and I love his work. But not every relationship is perfect and some of the issues I have with ours offered perspective. For this review, I decided to let go of objectivity. Speedwell Projects is a new gallery on outer Forest…
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