MAINE ARTS JOURNAL UMVA QUARTERLY
IMPERMANENCE Winter 2016
Jean Noon Icehorse.4.4.2013
UMVA Menbers Submission
Jean Noon Coldedge.1.23.15
“ice contains no future , just the past, sealed away. As if they’re alive, everything in the world is sealed up inside, clear and distinct. Ice can preserve all kinds of things that way--cleanly, clearly. That’s the essence of ice, the role it plays.” ― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman 3
MAINE ARTS JOURNAL Union of Maine Visual Artists QUARTERLY WINTER 2016 IMPERMANENCE
VISUAL ESSAYS 14 Built to Burn by Karen Adrienne 18 King Tide Party by Jan Piribeck 22 Installations by Lihua Lei 26 Permanence and Impermanence by Dorie Klein 29 The Decay of Faces by Tina Guay 32 Balancing Impermanence by Jung Hur 36 Inside Outside Above Below by Aaron T Stephan and Lauren Fensterstock with Chef Masa Miyake 41 Undoing Memory by Amy Stacey Curtis 48 Permanence and Impermanence by Tamar Etingen 50 Street Art by Pigeon 54 Dissolution of Trust by Pat Owen 70 Permanence and Impermanence by Walter Ungerer
UMVA IN THIS ISSUE
From the Editors
From the UMVA Board by Robert Shetterly
USM/UMVA Exhibit Forging Affinities announcement/invitation
Maine Masters Report The Raw Essence of Carlo Pittore by Robert Shetterly and Richard Kane
Artists Rapid Response Team Quarterly Report
UMVA Chapter Reports Portland Area Chapter LA Chapter
Call for Submissions for Spring Issue Neurotica
FEATURES AND ESSAYS Insight/Incite Narratives by Art Educators Time Moving Us, Time Moving Within Us by Stu Kestenbaum
Critics Corner Vita Longa, Ars Brevis: A Culture of Impermanence by Dan Kany
Poetry Introduction by Betsy Sholl Poems by Mimi White Thorn by Betsy Sholl Some Thing by Kathleen Sullivan
Checking In: An Interview with Deanna Witman by Kenny Cole
The Eternity of Ephemera by Jeffrey Ackerman
The Blanchard Weather Report by Todd Watts (Back Cover)
Front Cover: Karen Adrienne, Capricorn Ball
From the Editors: Time is the great leveler. If it weren’t for art, Time would have decimated most traces of culture centuries ago. Art, even in ancient fragments, seems to remain alive when all else around it turns to dust. This issue of the Journal deals with art’s tenuous relationship with time: Ephemera and Permanence. Art preserves traces of all that time obliterates; in objects, ideas and traditions. Time is long, and often dull. Making art opens a door to bigger ideas than time, and passing through that door, past and future converge. Art that is 50,000 years old—the caves at Lascaux and Chauvet, as well as the slightest fragment of an Egyptian portrait in stone, maybe 4000 years old—continues to communicate with the freshness and spirit of much art made today. Throughout this issue of the Journal, in the images and essays about things that stay and go, artists engage with the very physical and enduring—wood, paint, fiber, oil, stones. Other artists focus on the art experience itself and present works formed of fire, food, weather, time and tides, melting/freezing/flowing waters, memory, life and death. As much as it is all temporary, it also reaches deeply into what lasts longest in culture, our common experience. Our issue begins, as civilization began, with fire; the flame itself remains constant yet constantly renews itself. The artworks consumed in flames express, in the words of Karen Adrienne,
“…the simultaneous experience of presence and absence…loss and revival.”
From fire we move to food, also connecting us to our most archaic origins. Jung Hur approaches painting and the culinary arts with both primal simplicity and maximum refinement. Aaron Stephan and Lauren Fensterstock team up with Chef Masa Miyake, to create a contemporary performance piece within the tradition of the theatrical banquet. Street artist, Pigeon, updates the ancient practice of graffiti. The lush installations and performance pieces of Lihua Lei deal with the ephemeral in a very contemporary idiom. Deanna Witman and Tina Guay create works that fade and dissolve over the course of their exhibition. Rob Shetterly speaks of art as the carrier of spirit, values, integrity, imagination. Stu Kestenbaum muses about “The blink of an eye [that] will always be with us.”And Betsy Sholl again gifts us with a thoughtful selection of poems about time passing. The UMVA’s Quarterly Journal is also permanently in the process of becoming. There is a new editorial Board; there are new ideas for what the Journal could be and for what it could be called. There is a new theme for the Spring issue, Neurotica, as well as a related Portland exhibit. (see the description and invitation on page 86 & 87.) And there is a desire to know what you, O Reader and Looker, would like to see in the Journal and what you would like the Union to become. You, too, can be part of the permanent process of becoming! 6
We would like to introduce the Editorial Board: Daniel Kany, the Portland-based art historian, arts writer and musician, is the weekly art critic for the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Portland Press Herald. Dan has been taking a larger role in the Journal with this issue. Jeffrey Ackerman, a new Journal editor, is a painter, sculptor and writer living in Morrill, Maine. Alan Crichton, also a new editor, is an artist with his toes in the clouds and nose to the ground. He is a writer, musician and the founder of Waterfall Arts in Belfast. Natasha Mayers, the painter, still won’t give up the notion that art and artists can change the world. Collaboration just might be the key ingredient. Nora Tryon is taking over the Journal design and layout, continuing to connect your eyes, intellect and spirit. Nora has a foot in the two worlds of art and community. Trying to integrate them, she is at times, suspended in thin air. Anita Clearfield is the editor and artist who has been responsible for the beautiful design and layout of the Journal over the past several issues. She will be stepping down. Thank you so much, Anita. You leave a wonderfully high bar! Even as “the UMVA Quarterly Journal” enters your sight, that name will be replaced by a new one: “the Maine Arts Journal.” This Journal is the only true forum in the state that is by, for and about Maine art and artists. Whatever verdict posterity has on our art activities, making work that addresses the big themes—joy of discovery being the biggest of all—seems to open a door to the timeless. That goal may seem beyond reach, but if an artist perseveres in their wanderings, continues doggedly creating, they just might step out of the next expected footprint, break through the familiar and land on the other side of doubt. That fleeting moment of inspiration might be our most permanent state of being. Art and culture come and go, as impermanent as a moment of joy, as permanent as any notion of heaven. So, open all the doors and windows, get insanely busy, make a sketch of infinity, let the birds live inside! And may a cold, fresh wind blow through your lovely, timeless mind. - Alan Crichton, Jeffrey Ackerman, Daniel Kany, Natasha Mayers, Nora Tryon 7
Insight/Incite Feature by Stu Kestenbaum
Time Moving Us, Time Moving Within Us There was a post and beam barn on route three in Belfast that I would drive past regularly, and another one on route 172 in Blue Hill, and still another on route 15 in Sedgwick. Each year I could watch their decline, the shifting of timbers, the structures moving earthward, as if they might collapse right before me as I drove past. All three are gone now, barns that once held cows and hay, structures that had a use a hundred or more years ago. And the fields that were once cleared around them are now overgrown with second-growth forest or else new houses stand in their place. Everything goes. The barns and the people who built them. The longer you live the more of the world you see vanish. And yet some moments seem to last forever. I would like to think that this can happen in the studio, when we are making work. The time shifts. It’s not a time before or a time after; it’s a time of creating. It’s when we can hear some other voices singing in us, voices that were waiting to be given voice by our voice. Now whether the work we make lasts for a few days, a few years, or a few hundred years, we know that it’s all temporary, as are we. The point is that you have made something and brought it into the world. Musicians and stage actors are always playing impermanence. Visual work may last a little longer, and to fully appreciate it we must be in its presence—stand there before it, or walk around it. Go inside it. I should say be present in its presence. The blink of an eye will always be with us. Paying attention to what’s before our eyes is what can sustain us. 8
Vita Longa, Ars Brevis: A culture of Impermanence by Daniel Kany Culture is a ferment. It’s a living, dynamic thing. It is ever-changing. We have this idea that a painting that looks like it did 500 years ago hasn’t changed; but it is not the same. It was once new and it is now a relic. Artworks may decrease in stature, fade into obscurity, get rescued from obscurity, and some become treasured cultural icons. Much art even from the 1980s is now “dated.” And some art forms, like fashion, design and the decorative arts intentionally enforce the idea that aesthetics are ephemeral. Practitioners in these fields seek to supplant what came before them in order to make a niche for themselves. In a recent issue of the UMVA Journal, I discussed Monet’s role in popularizing the “series” as a basis for a coherent exhibition. This model plays into the idea of a time-specific stylistic grouping that we came to call an artist’s “this-or-that period.” Monet’s haystacks and his Rouen Cathedral series, for example, specifically focused on fleeting moments marked by shifting daylight. We can talk about art made of ephemeral things – like Jung Hur’s food or DM Whitman’s “Melt” photos of snowy peaks that are left out to be faded by sunlight during the course of an exhibition, but impermanence is the very basis of the idea of art exhibitions. As a weekly art critic, the impermanence of exhibitions has a very direct effect on what I write about. I generally only write about shows I have seen that the readers will also be able to see. That means I don’t even consider writing about a show on view less than two weeks. Moreover, we generally expect that artists’ solo gallery shows feature yet-unseen new works. So, while the art may be crafted to endure, the public only gets to see it as a glimpse. Works intended to be churned in an intentionally short fashion cycle are very different from temporary site-specific installations or time-limited gallery exhibitions. Yet all of these support our varied notions of cultural dynamics and zeitgeist.
Culture is about both “here versus there” and “now versus then.” It puts one eye to the future while keeping the other on the past because we never stop inquiring about who we are. If culture is a ferment, then it is ever-changing. And while culture may be continuous, its specific contents are impermanent. As life goes on, culture is like the bread crumbs we use to blaze our trail. Maybe our classical forebears had it wrong, or at least incomplete, when they said Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (Art is long, life is short.) I think it is equally true when reversed: Ars Brevis, Vita Longa. Life endures and we bring art with us. Culture isn’t just the books we read or the art we hang on the walls, after all, it is who we are. A painting, for example, may not change very much over the years or even centuries; but you can be sure that its audience will.
Artists at UMVA Printathon at the Portland Public Library during Americans Who Tell the Truth exhibit of works by Robert Shetterly, 2011
FROM UMVA BOARD: I remember when I first heard of the UMVA back in the 1980s, I thought, “Artists ...in a union? You’ve got to be kidding! Artists are loners, marching to their own drums. We’re suspicious of joiners. Unions were all stereotypes --- proletarians, blue collar workers, grease monkeys. People who picket in Detroit and go on strike in Appalachia, shoot pool in the union hall to wait out the bosses. And what do they know about art anyway! The only art they like is a picture of a naked woman swooning over a Dodge Ram. Artists are more refined than that. We like to swoon over pictures of naked women in the Metropolitan.” At the time I was thinking this way, I was living off the grid with my little family, very poor, digging clams and dumping sardine cans on a conveyor belt in a fish factory, teaching myself to draw by kerosene light at night. I couldn’t even see the contradictions between the way I was living and my own thinking. I went to a couple of UMVA meetings & my world expanded. Artists were talking about art in ways I hadn’t imagined in my isolation. I felt at once liberated and challenged. And when I retreated to hide in my studio between meetings, I was a smarter loner. Alone but less isolated. I was questioning the intent and method of what I was doing. My work was a conversation with other artists. I also learned how much of the life I took for granted depended on the men & women I imagined in overalls. Any struggle for a decent society enlightened by justice was my struggle, too. About this same time I remember reading some cultural philosophers who were saying that the religions of the world were slipping into eclipse, and it would be artists who would take the place of religion in society. Artists would need to carry the burden of spirituality. Such a notion was both heady and frightening. What a responsibility! The idea wasn’t so much that God was dead, but that religions, in order to gain political, social and economic power, had compromised the prophetic intent of their own doctrines, or, you might say, compromised their relationship with God. To broaden the base, they’d diluted the message, mimicked the corporations whose money they sought. Artists, the thinking went, who tend to be marginalized, operate on the edges of society and haven’t sold their souls to the status quo, will pursue the big questions -- what is truth? what is morality? what is beauty? what is justice? how do we get in touch with the spirit? what is the sublime? These were some of the very questions that were being talked about at UMVA meetings and are being talked about now in the UMVA Journal. It is probably a presumptuous mistake to presume that the role of art and artists is in any way akin to religion. Or should be. The burden of art, though, is every bit as important and heavy as what is asked of religion. Artists are asked to carry on the inquiry of what makes a culture of value. What are the highest and best thoughts and feelings that our species can produce? And to what extent can we live by them? What are the spiritual ramifications of how we have chosen to live today? And, of course, part of our calling is to entertain with as much imagination and fun as we can muster. But, open any newspaper, watch any news program or visit any internet news site and there is overwhelming proof of what violent, mean, stupid creatures we can be and are. What sector of our culture is presenting an alternative model? There are a variety of alternatives models, but it is uniquely the obligation of art to help give people permission to think differently, to authenticate vision through the insight of art. Our role is to both hold up an honest mirror and present an honest vision of transformation -- what could be reflected in that mirror. We believe that the UMVA is one of the few places where such inquiry takes place and its journal is one of the most honest & best meeting places for serious dialogue about art and the obligation of art in culture. So I ask now, “Artists ... in a union?” Absolutely. My life depends on it. The perfect place to be a loner in great company. Robert Shetterly, UMVA President 11
USM|UMVA: Forging Affinities
Jan 28-March 6 Art Gallery, Gorham Opening January 28, 5-7 pm, snow date March 4, 5-7 pm, artist talks 6-7 pm
The University of Southern Maine Art Faculty and the Union of Maine Visual Artists have been dialoguing, inspiring, and collaborating with each other for an exhibition that promises to delight and surprise viewers. Applying the human
body and archeology as metaphors for exploring the concept Inside/Out, Michael Shaughnessy, Nora Tryon, Anita Clearfield, and Geoffrey Leighton will collaborate using video projection, mixed media and found objects to create a site-specific â€œexcavation.â€? Meiosis, by Jennifer McDermott and Justin Levesque, utilizes data bending to re-encode image data as a response to issues surrounding surrogacy, DNA, family and technology. David Schneider and Stephen Walsh are making a large painting in the spirit of the Surrealist Exquisite Corpse, using only an agreed upon subject of a head and five common meeting points with no further communication.
Lin Lisberger and Grace DeGennaro will display two collaborative prints. James Flahaven and David Estey will present their own paintings alongside several collaborative pieces. Several pairs of artists are developing individual works while making studio visits and engaging in a mutual selection process. Jan Piribeck will produce two new prints for the show taking cues from Jim Kelly’s work; both are interested in urban landscapes and fusing digital and analog processes. Rich Wilson and Tracy Ginn will be featuring drawings and paintings exploring figurative narration. Raphael Diluzio and George Burk are making en plein air (outdoor) landscape paintings. Prints by Damir Porobic and drawings by Rachael Eastman in a dramatically contrasting scale as well as mixed media pieces by Susan Colburn-Motta and encaustic works by Anne Bernard will be displayed. Previously made books by Rebecca Goodale, Bessie Smith Moulton, and Bonnie Faulkner will also be on view. The exhibit theme was conceived by USM Director of Exhibition and Programs Carolyn Eyler and developed with UMVA member and USM Art Alumna Nora Tryon. The organizers state: “It’s been a rewarding process for the USM Art Department and the Union of Maine Visual Artists to collaborate on fulfilling our common mission of fostering art experimentation and dialogue in Maine.”
Built to Burn It was 1987 and I had just moved to Maine. The arduous task of sorting, packing and unpacking my life influenced my decision to create artworks that were more like lifeâ€”impermanent. I decided to make work that had a fixed timespan and transformational potential. I began building life- size straw effigies. The intention was to create a spirited figure that would have a presence in both straw and fire. I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see the fire figures dancing in the night. The figures had a wooden armature and many layers of straw packed tightly, then bound with baling twine. The first seven figures, created over 5 months were called â€œFire Spiritsâ€? and appeared in Portland at the annual Maine Festival. I remember that there was a fire engine not far from the installation site and that I was trembling as the figures were set aflame.
The power of dancing fire was both mesmerizing and transformative in its physicality and in its fleeting gesture of simultaneous giving and loss.
Karen Adrienne, First Figure
Those first Fire Spirits inspired other burnable works created over the next 27 years. They took me to India to study transformative rituals of both fire and water, to Ireland to build a figure for Celtic New Year, and most frequently to build work for a festival in Skowhegan called the Capricorn Ball.
I created the burnable figures for 10 of the 20 years that Gust and Jan Stringos celebrated winter with this annual event. Other Maine artists invited to create burnable sculptures included: Lihua Lei, Roy Slamm, Wally Warren, Barbara Sullivan, Milt Christianson, Lolly Phoenix, Valerie Ortelt, Barbara Sullivan, Rich Entel, and jointly Paul and Frank Lebrun.
Karen Adrienne 14
Karen Adrienne, Capricorn Ball
The ephemeral experience of the burnable figures is unlike any other art experience I have created, with its immediate and constant reconfiguration of image, the ritual shared in community, and the simultaneous experience of presence and absence with loss and revival. These brief yet focused experiences addressed so many paradoxes of life. These are held vividly in my core. It is a pleasure to share some of the residual images of these ephemeral visions. 15
Karen Adrienne, Capricorn Ball
Karen Adrienne, Capricorn Ball
Note: 5th photograph in this series appears on the front cover
Dorie Klein Permanence/Impermanence “Snow Bed” was a site-specific installation created in my backyard as a memorial to my mother. By arranging branches, leaves, rocks and snow, I re-created the childhood feelings of security that being watched-over by her instilled in me. The days before it melted gave me solace when I would look out the window imagining her there. The winter weather provided enough time to add an oak leaf bedspread---it later blew away, carrying mum’s spirit with it. “Mixed Hardwood Forest” was inspired by the personal and public grief over the loss of trees that give us strength in so many ways. Wanton forest clear-cutting inspired me to rebuild symbolically a small section of the forest and to re-establish some bio-diversity.
The creation of “Snow Bed” and “Mixed Hardwood Forest” were acts of empowerment. For purposes of categorization, some have asked if the art was in the sculpture or in the photograph, or was the photograph simply documentation? It is all art to me. Obviously, the snow melted and the trees fell down and both returned to nature. The photographs may survive a few decades. It is not important that they outlive me. For me, the question is not just to ask about the mortality/morality of artworks, but to consider seriously the use of all the resources we consume and their permanent mark. Only time can tell what was useful, and for whom, when we go.
Dorie Klein Snow Bed 1998 color photograph printed on aluminum 16”x16”
Dorie Klein, Mixed Hardwood Forest, 1998, color photograph printed on paper, 16â€?x16â€?
Tina Guay The Decay of Faces
Dissolving Message in a Bottle The image placed in bottle is not timeless; but temporary. The portrait represents a detachment of past, present and future. The water interacts with the image, slowly tearing the ink off of the transparency. Through this transition abstracted flakes collect amongst the bottom of the bottles acting as reminders of what once was intact and now is no longer with us. The way the image evolves over time confines the viewer to appreciate it while it is there and the beauty in the cycle of it breaking down. Tina Guay 31
Kathy Weinberg Nature Morte
Nature Morte, or found collage with viscera On a morning walk, in the depths of the winter woods, I came across a bright red morsel of fresh kill; placed by chance next to pine needles, bark duff and lichen to form a still life in the snow. There were no tracks leading to, or away, so it must have fallen from the sky. It appeared to be a piece of liver, and I immediately thought of Prometheus â€” as myths are both born and reenacted at moments like this. The shock of discovering something so tender laid out like an offering, on ice, was not unlike the experience of fine dining, where exquisite foods are presented for viewing then consumption, often in a single bite. All these dainties melt away, leaving at first a desire and anticipation for the next thrill, and then slowly fading into memories, eventually returning into dreams.
I wrote 99 memories in my life from earliest to most recent, with the intention of drawing them, 50 “benign” memories, and 49 difficult memories. It took a morning to write my 49 difficult memories and 2 months to write the 50 not-that-bad-to-good. Finding benign memories was excavation, digging into a time, a place, a room, objects,furniture,wallpaper… Next, I would translate each memory into a sans-punctuation, 90-character array, imprinting one letter at a time. Then, I would trace over the ink with graphite, pressing the memory more firmly into the forefront of my brain. My intention before drawing each bad memory, this same way, was to first randomize its letters. But, I realized, I didn’t want to impress my bad memories into paper, at all. I wanted, instead, to do something akin to letting them go. Undoing Memory /Amy Stacey Curtis
For undoing II, 1 of 9 interactive installations at MEMORY, my 9th and final solo biennial in Maineâ€™s abandoned mill spaces, I will stencil each of my 49, randomized bad memories on a 54-foot, white pedestal, 4,410 letters. Each participant erases 9 letters of his or her choice. Once all letters are erased, the installation is complete. These are process shots of making a 54-foot guide in my studio, to stencil my bad memories in the mill. On my IPad is the number sequence used to randomize the 90 letters for each traumatic memory. On the last page is 1 of 50 benign memories drawn. To see/read more visit www.amystaceycurtis.com. For notification regarding my last solo biennial, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to mount this 9th biennial in the same town that hosted the 1st, Lewiston.
The Japanese form of Tanka with its 31 syllables perfectly catches the experience of beauty and of time passing. The brevity of the form often captures an intimate moment or insight. Like the sonnet, the tanka has a turn partway through. Mimi White, who lives in New Hampshire, and on an island in a lake in Norway, Maine, writes with subtle grace. The poems are arranged by season in her collection, The World Disguised as This One (published by Deerbrook Editions). I’ve selected five, the first three set in winter, the fourth in spring and the last in autumn. Betsy Sholl
Poems by Mimi White We follow deer tracks from the woods to the field then pause where the sun shines through not knowing ours from theirs When I resist December’s fierce clarity a sparrow pecks in dirt reminding me to feed this hunger I have for less How many years have we walked the cow road long after the cows have left— there is always something after where we used to be I wanted the boat but the tide tugged harder one day I will drift in a wooden vessel beyond where I can hear voices Long after we are gone leaves will turn crimson a thousand miles north of where our farmhouse stood its cellar hole flooded with the sea
Berri Kramer, Berri Kramer,”BN #2” (detail), 2015. 6” x 8”. Encaustic
Over and over, insistent, that voice a thorn tearing open the air,
In my poem I was trying to hold in my mind both the impossibly old remnants of other cultures and the brevity of one bird—as it turns out a green-throated warbler—as it calls again and again, that tension between our sense of antiquity and the momentary. Betsy Sholl
here, in County Clare, above these barrows filled with the bones of ancient humans— clearly, the bird’s wanting itself known, if not by us, by one of its kind. And what kind of bone carvers, rock-hauling holders of smoldering moss are buried in these mounds, namers mouthing their own rich word rumble under the birds calling through morning-wet fields, across this tarnished gleam of sea in fog? Naming won’t make the bird come — leaf bird, glint wing. Twigs jiggle where it flits shrub by shrub, into deepening green. Was there such a thing as play back then? Did children hide among trees, keen-eyed, calling, find me, find me, giggling as they ran? Find isn’t know. They were mirror-less, except for water just before they dipped their tongues to lap. How could we possibly understand that? Or this little bird calling, wanting an answer. Where is it? Before they were bones in the ground those humans must have lived with their babies, their thick brows, guttural tongues and tools, as though we'd never exist, as though the birds singing in the trees would never diminish. Who can grasp diminish?
In Kathleen Sullivan’s poem, snow and snowman, the idea of our whole life’s work and the phenomenon of dreaming all come together as she explores our need to make and the inevitability of what we make dissolving, even as we renew our making. Betsy Sholl Some Thing (Kathleen Sullivan, December 2014) First the starry flakes, then the deep wet sea of snow, then my gloved hands rolling sea-snow into two frozen globes, then hoisting one atop the other. I round out shoulders, smooth his crumpled face, give him arms torn from a lilac tree, a parsnip nose and a name. Sam, I call him Sam. But come morning, his head is toppled over and melting, his crabapple eyes staring up at me from the dirt. It’s like my whole life, forming something into some thing dear to me, but come break of day, it’s gone. I wake— bits of this and that cry or sing, scratch, shudder, flywheelfeathers & cracked seed, moss & milkweed spore, spiraled brown mollusks, shards of blue willowware slimed in gray marine clay, glacial memories yawn & stretch under this moment—my tiny eyeless splotch of breath & heartbeat, my now of what & how, my some thing, maybe plaid, & my right hand forming these words & sea-snow rolled again & again.
Permanence and Impermanence For over thirty years the In Spite of Life Players presented an annual Fourth of July play. The play was an elaborate political satire, which was months in the making. At some point we built stretched canvas flats, many of which were two sided. These flats have been used for decades. Each year they are primed with white paint and the new set is painted.
It is an exercise in detachment to annually paint over your work and create something new and entirely different.
Sometimes, there is the new work on one side and something from years earlier on the backside. This can create an odd and interesting collage back stage. In the “Reuse/Recycle” image there are sections from the 2008 “The Olympics of Love”, the 2009 “Monopoly Roulette”, and the 2011 “Tales of Desperation and Da Nile” on the backside of the 2012 (the last play) set.
Tamar Etingen, Backstage
Tamar Etingen, Monopoly Roulette, Total set, 2009
Tamar Etingen, Open for Business; Revolution
Dissolution of Trust Living in the west of Ireland, if you can depend on anything here at all, it will be the weather. You can be sure it will rain. As I live on a peninsula as well, there will be a gale blowing. Trust me on this. Trust is conceptual. I use the idea of trust in a variety of identifiable symbols, altering or dissolving to show the tentative, fragile nature of the word. The recent economic downturn here left a lot of unanswered questions. I began to look at things with a wary eye.
Who or what to trust …institutions, organizations, politicians (!), people…and the weather, would the wind and the rain wash it all away and leave a bright clear morning? On one such rainy day I was painting symbols in acrylic on butcher paper listening to the slates rattling on the roof and decided to run outside and pin the paper to the clothesline and watch the effect of the weather on them. I then began to photograph them at intervals over the next couple of hours. The effect was humorous. Trust dissolved and disintegrated before my eyes! As the old adage goes… “Trust arrives on foot, but leaves on horseback”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKqs-KNaiPA
Pat Owen 55
Checking In by Kenny Cole
An interview with Deanna Witman on Permanence and Impermanence
Deanna Witman, Melt N35 20 E138, Salted-paper photograph, from satellite imagery; 11.5” H x 21.5”W
Kenny: You’ve recently created an installation of photographs titled “Melt” that dissolve over time. Is this the first time that you have created art that is impermanent? Do those photos get discarded? Deanna: This is not the first time that I have created something that is ephemeral in nature. I have worked with anthotypes (photographs printed with plant materials as the “emulsion”) quite a bit. I have not yet decided what I will do with the physical paper after the images have faded. Maybe I’ll keep them? Kenny: How has this made you feel as a creative person who might normally make more permanent creations? Was there a degree of anxiety, regret? Or are you interested in pursuing more impermanent art making again as a result of your experience with Melt? Deanna: This project formed for me with the idea of the images fading over time. I never considered it any other way. This was the way it had to be. No anxiety, no regret - in that way it was very liberating. I’m not sure in what mode I will be working after Melt, but I feel totally open to whatever it will be.
Deanna Witman, Melt N50 W122 57, Salted-paper photograph, from satellite imagery; 11.5” H x 21.5”W
Kenny: What motivates you to make art that might be impermanent? Does it grow out of your aesthetic or are there outside social/political influences that direct you towards this mode? Deanna: For Melt, there were definitely many considerations, first and foremost that the idea should come across, that there could be potential for a longer engagement with the viewer over a period of time. I love the aesthetic implications, too.
The social and political avenues can’t be avoided, however I do feel that it is a softer punch because the images are “beautiful”.
Deanna Witman, Melt N51 W116, Salted-paper photograph, from satellite imagery; 11.5” H x 21.5”W
Melt N51 W117, Salted-paper photograph, from satellite imagery; 11.5” H x 21.5”W
Kenny: Do you consider “craft” to be an important aspect of your art and art making process? Would there be a conflict with making well-crafted art and making art that is impermanent? How do you feel about well-crafted art that is impermanent? Deanna:
Craft is important to me in my overall process. I do not see a conflict between making something that is well crafted and something that is ephemeral. Just because something will not last does not mean that it should not be well constructed, at least for this project. However, I could see a time when craft could fall to the side and the impermanence becomes more dominant.
Melt N45 E06, Salted-paper photograph, from satellite imagery; 11.5â€? H x 21.5â€?W
Kenny: What are your thoughts on permanence in terms of art objects? Deanna:
I think I can only comment on permanence and the objects I create, in that after I have made something and it feels complete, I am freely able to let it go. I want to move on to the next process, the next making. In terms of art today, more specifically photography and the propensity for so much to exist in the ether of the web, I do think it is an issue that we are grappling with.
The Eternity of Ephemera As a child I listened to my near-blind grandmother recite, from memory, long passages from Shelley and other romantic poets—poems she had learned as a student in public school. She also played Chopin, not well, on piano keys that she could barely see. Her bitterness toward her condition (she was not a stoic) was temporarily relieved in these moments; torture for me and bliss for her. The blindness that isolated her was relieved by accessing this cultural memory that connected her to a collective experience, and her need for this was as natural as physical hunger. When so much else was gone, art remained as recollection divorced from the physical objects that typically transmit these ideas. Objects of art may endure, but we experience them in time, in ephemeral moments of rapture, boredom or indifference. Before writing, poems and music were passed down through generations by the recitation or performance of one artist to the mimetic abilities of another. We still read the works of Homer, once only preserved by the oral tradition of bards. Homer’s works survived until that technological breakthrough—the written word—relieved human memory of the burden to preserve culture.
Artworks outlive their creators, not because of their materials, but because of the ideas they embody—by their ability to transcend the moment and speak to that part of the human soul that endures. There are many ancient sculptures where some tool marks are still visible; the paint may be completely gone, limbs, noses, other extremities missing, but those tool marks remain. Looking at such marks we can imagine the hand that held the tool and the mind, the life that was attached to it. Such pieces do not feel remote to me, but very close. The common platitudes about how rapidly our world is changing are refuted by our ability to connect with past artworks and their creators. We follow the paths of chisel marks and brushstrokes, like walking upon worn pavements others have travelled on for centuries. These paths lead us through the artistic process, one that has much in common with the way artists work today. No artwork will survive, in any media, if it does not speak beyond the temporal, if it does not at least hint at eternity. After I completed my first stone carving, (Apollo I: named for the god and the space mission) a friend remarked; “they’re not going to throw that out when you’re dead.” I was pleased by that strange compliment, though I had not thought much about the life of my artworks beyond my own life until that moment. Now such thoughts are with me all the time—the idea of speaking to those who have not been born as well as my contemporaries. No art media is permanent, though the degrees of impermanence may be measured by days or centuries. The most resilient materials will be of no use if the future is indifferent or even antagonistic toward an artwork. Most bronzes from antiquity were melted down to make weapons. War rivals art as the most durable product of culture, and rivals neglect as the greatest destroyer of art. We have recently witnessed the revival of the iconoclastic habit of destroying statues and temples. The Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, carved from a solid mountain, the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, works that took generations to create, were destroyed in days. Such acts are a monument to nihilism. (or the cultural power of art to threaten those with a competing, often fragile, ideology) 60
In our own culture there is a milder form of iconoclastic antagonism to the art of the past, accompanied by a cultural amnesia. Art that tends toward the ephemeral—temporary installations, performance art, fabrications using fragile materials—can still engage in ideas that transcend the present and such works might influence the future, even if they do not survive. These pieces will persist in memory, legend and may be recorded in some manner for posterity. Yet so many ephemeral expressions fail to outlive their moment, and this trend suggests a loss of faith in the future, loss of faith in creating a culture that outlasts us, something we might call a civilization. Fear of environmental, economic and social catastrophe is coupled with a sense that the inhabitants of tomorrow will be as narcissistic, caught up in their present, as so many are today. Or perhaps the digital world will infiltrate our minds and render our descendants unrecognizable to us. A loud chorus, perhaps a vocal minority, tells us that this uncertain future offers little hope and much to fear. Was it ever different?
Jeffrey Ackerman, Apollo I, Limestone, 10 ½ inches high, 1996
Art culture today is saturated with works that are not intended to speak to beyond the present, perhaps made by artists who cannot understand the language of the past. Because of, or in spite of our efforts, many works will survive—whether continuously preserved in museums, or forgotten and re-discovered. They will tell our story to posterity. I hope that when future archaeologists dig up the remains of Waldo County, Maine—after the future wars, plagues and environmental disasters of our dystopian dreams—that among the numerous, indestructible plastic artifacts, they find my stone sculpture. I hope they think about the hand that guided the chisel, the mind that guided that hand and the life of that mind—a life that suffered pleasures and pains, tragedies, triumphs and setbacks, but nevertheless endured. I hope that they understand and appreciate the story it tells of our civilization and perhaps forgive us for our stupidity. Art is what remains. It becomes a trans-temporal ambassador, an apology to the future for the mistakes of the present. Achaeans, I forgive you your senseless war with Troy. Thank you for Homer.
Jeffrey Ackerman 61
Berri Kramer Permanence: Impermanence
What allows some snippets of thin paper, embellished with hand drawn marks from a sepia-filled fountain pen, to survive over 150 years? My “Bank Note Series” was inspired by a discarded stack at the local flea market. Used as a foundation, a ground, in my encaustic work, they become “permanent”. They are layered with an impression from the blade of a local weed that only survived for a few short summer weeks.
Berri Kramer, BN #1, 2015. 6” x8”. Encaustic
Berri Kramer, BN #3, 2015. 6” x 8”. Encaustic
Berri Kramer, BN #4, 2015. 6” x 8”. Encaustic
Jim Kelly, NYC, 2014, Mixed Media, 30”x45”
Jim Kelly, Sense Of An Ending, 2014, Mixed Media, 30â€?x45â€?
Time insinuates itself into all art; from its physical surfaces to its deepest aesthetic reservoirs. While decay infects everything, art struggles against mortality, creating a stasis, however fleeting. 65
Kay Carter Permanence/Impermanence – Two words which conjure many images. I have been thinking about these in my artwork for some time… What reflects permanence; is there really anything which is permanent? Each image is about place, about cycles of living, and, in their own way, about birth and death. Each is whole as it stands, and incomplete at the same time. Each challenges the idea of permanence. How permanent are the rock masses of Schoodic Peninsula? To what rhythm do they roll and change? Will the magma intruding into granite of the one make room for weeds over time? This fall, on a warm and sunny mid November day, I went to Schoodic to paint. I took all my oil painting gear. As I left home, I imagined the changing light of autumn reflected on turbulent waters and solid rocks. No one was at the end of the Peninsula when I arrived. Walking around in the sun, feeling warm within and warmed from without, I looked. Unexpectedly what called to me were weeds growing thru rock cleavages. They were dry but alive, opportunistic in their rock beds. Again I asked myself… what is permanent? What is impermanent? As I look back at paintings from last Spring and summer, I find the same questions, explored thru a variety of mediums, places, and images. Each is about long history… from where have we come? What is offered to us? What will our children’s children know of time past and present? Does it matter? My answer for now is that it does matter. As I come to understand impermanence, that even the rocks change over time, that our grandest accomplishments are neither grand nor enduring, then I am freed up to celebrate possibilities and change.
Kay Carter, Intrusion
Kay Carter, Birch tree
Kay Carter, The Roamer
Impermanence gives us license to explore, to risk, to create. It gives us hope. May we all revel in the impermanence of our lives and our world.
Daniel Paulding Permanence/Impermanence Still life as a subject is a metaphor on the struggle between permanence and impermanence. In “Vanitas”, I paint fruit; they rot. I paint flowers; they wither. I paint a human skull; we are bludgeoned with our own mortality. In “Strawberries”, while I paint, these beautiful berries turn into liquefied, putrid mold. While I scrape the remains off the table, I am left to ponder the wastefulness of not eating the berries; only now, they are truly permanent.
Daniel Paulding, Vanitas, 2015, Oil on Panel, 12”X16”
Daniel Paulding, Strawberries, 2015, Oil on Panel. 8”X10”
Ruth Sylmor Street Art and Graffiti: its organic life cycle Painting in the streets of Paris, most of which is illegally made on porous walls, and was, in the beginning, completely subversive, has long been part of the city’s architecture. By nature vibrant and vocal, Street Art is made to be ephemeral and fleeting. It’s about impermanence and change. Subject to the audience and the elements, it grows, changes, and eventually disappears. NEMO’s stencilled wall mural, 2004, is integral to the urban landscape and bound by its environment. The 2013 image captures the effects of nature’s rhythms, the natural weathering. The only thing that’s permanent is impermanence.
Ruth Sylmor, 2004, Paris, 13eme, rue Pirandello, Silver Print, 14x11”
Ruth Sylmor, 2013, Paris, 13eme, rue Pirandello, Silver Print, 14x11”
Permanence and Impermanence At my age, (80 years) and with every new ache in my body, the realization of my mortality is reinforced. I will not live forever. I am impermanent, and temporary. Years ago that thought was not even a distant cloud in my sky. When I was a child during World War II, every student at my school was given a round name-tag the size of a one-dollar coin. It was made of plastic material and had my name and address embossed on it. One could wear it as a bracelet but I wore mine around my neck with a string. There were air raid drills at school. Our classroom teachers knew what to do and quickly ushered us to makeshift bomb shelters. In the event of an attack, the casualties would be identified by the “dog tags.” After the war I went to art school in NYC (Pratt, Columbia). I was encouraged by my teachers to use good quality materials for creating my work and it became a conviction for me. Then filmmaking became my medium for expression and exploration, and I annexed that axiom to filmmaking—I purchased only the best film, and had it processed at only the best laboratories. I began to frequent museums such as MoMA, the Frick and the Met, as well as the numerous art galleries in the city along 57th Street. I looked at pictures of the Parthenon, the Sistine Chapel, and the cave paintings at Lascaux. Their antiquity did not matter to me as I didn’t notice my own age at that time. I vaguely believed I would become a recognized artist at some point in the future and any collector of my work would be as confident in the material quality as they would be in the aesthetic value. I thought good, professional quality art needed to be lasting. It was unfathomable for me to consider selling anything of mine that would disintegrate within a century. One hundred years was my benchmark: anything less and my integrity as an artist would be at risk. Otherwise, my thoughts of the future never projected more than twenty-five years, and there were no thoughts of immortality then. The desire for permanence, and to create art that is permanent, was then an idea entrenched in me. As I left art school and the realm of the art student, I moved into the world of the professional artist. Any success was followed with desire for more success. Then there were disappointments, but as with success, rejection was brief. It was followed by desire again. This cycle continued for a long time. During all these ups and downs, there were long periods while I was working in what I would describe as simple consciousness—no thinking. Was there anything better, or more important, than this simple consciousness with no thinking and being able to work? This was a hard lesson to learn—it was not apparent when things were going well, and it was particularly difficult to absorb when nothing was going well. A quality within me began to make itself apparent during my twenties. My ego was striving for validation, approval, and appreciation. I must admit that it exists within me today, but it is subdued. I know, until extinguished, it will want permanence for me and for my work, to be revered as an artist, and then immortality, the ability to exist forever. But what folly is that, squandering my life in search of a mirage of unknown substance instead of using my time to create and produce my work?
Buddhism states impermanence is an essential characteristic of human beings. We are constantly in flux though we may not perceive it. Only with insight do we grasp this. When we fail to see the true nature of things, our views become clouded, we are distracted by illusions and deceptions. Years ago I embarked on the spiritual path to understanding this true nature of existence, a path we all take in some form. Today I am at the place where only the present is important. That is because only the present exists. Permanence has disappeared for me. I admit the work I create, I create for everyone, though not everyone may like it. The spirit in my work comes from me. It comes from me living and interacting with the world outside now, today. I believe it has relevance if it is created in the spirit of honesty, concern for humanity, and the rejection of materialistic values. The spirit of the work comes from me, but begins in the world.
Walter Ungerer / noCOM / film / 9:45 minutes; https://vimeo.com/77718733 If video link does not work please copy and paste the address into your browser.
Walter Ungerer / Kingsbury Beach / 1999 / film / 6:21 minutes; https://vimeo.com/29061587 If video link does not work please copy and paste the address into your browser.
Walter Ungerer / The Window / 1997 / film / 4 minutes; http://www.darkhorsefilms.org/?pagename=filmsdvds
Walter Ungerer / Parva Sed Apta Mihi / 2012 / film / 17:13 minutes https://vimeo.com/38588136 If video link does not work please copy and paste the address into your browser.
The Raw Essence of Carlo Pittore a new film by Richard Kane and Rob Shetterly The Raw Essence of Carlo Pittore premiered as part of the Maine Short Film Festival 2016 on December 11, 2015 at The Strand Theater in Rockland. It will continue to tour to nine more of Maine’s art cinemas through April 28, 2016. Check the schedule here: www.mainefilm.org It’s now released as a short (8:36), but some day, with sufficient funding, it will be full length. This is one of our films in the Maine Masters series that has been on the back burner for years. But it is also one that is close to our hearts and one we know will be amongst the very best of all our films. Our hope is that releasing it as a short will generate enough interest to raise the funds to finish it. If you have interest in helping please contact us at email@example.com Carlo Pittore, Self Portrait, oil on linen, 1980, 18x24
As many Maine artists know, Carlo Pittore (b. Charles Stanley, 1943-2005) was one of the founders of the Union of Maine Visual Artists and as Carlo’s friend, the poet Bob Holman, says in the film, “he led a merry band of artists” in the 70s living in the yurts of Bowdoinham. Much of the live action footage of Pittore was shot in 2000 by student and lifelong friend Matt Ruskin. He captured Carlo at the pinnacle of his powers, as a painter and teacher of the Carlo Pittore Academy of Art. We see him dancing about his studio to deafening Italian opera while painting and posing naked models. His immense persona as well as his vulnerability are very much a part of this portrait. His exuberance for life and art was as infectious as his standards were demanding. According to Jonathan Katz, curator and founder of the Harvey Milk Institute, “The key word about the work is Eros… and what I love about the work is that … it transcends the narrow confines of what society determines is conventionally beautiful. … there really is a love of plentitude and flesh.” Katz suggests that Carlo changed the way we define beauty in figurative art. According to painter and friend Abby Shahn: “They weren’t nudes, they were naked people and I really loved them for that. They had the kind of rawness that real people had.” Carlos painting is often compared with the works of Lucian Freud and Alice Neel, sharing a similar rawness and beauty. Carlo was an exuberant risk taker. Art, friendship, community, love --- they were all the same for him. All or nothing. It remains to be seen how history will judge his art, but his passion for the journey will rarely be matched. Carlo was one of life's greatest masters. Check out the trailer to the Maine Short Film Festival: https://youtu.be/z0p5mJc3KxA If video link does not work please copy and paste the address into your browser.
Carlo Pittore, Tweaked, 1999, oil on linen, 30” x 36” Carlo Pittore, Immortal, 2000, oil on linen, 36” x 72”
Carlo Pittore, LaBuffonera, 1983, oil on linen, 8’ x 17,’ 75
Permanence is not possible is it? But what does this mean to an artist? Are we creating pieces that we hope will outlast us? Go on to children and grandchildren? End up in the basement of a provincial museum? Unlike a garden that dies in season, our art works live on. They can be things of delight, or they can be a heavy burden. Stories leap to mind. Most recently, a woman called me this fall and told me she had 2 paintings of my mother’s. (My mother Ibbie Holmquist died in 1993.) One is a still life of feverfew and nasturtiums in a lustreware goblet. The flowers are dead, the goblet is broken, and the shards thrown on the beach. This little painting is a record, a memory, of a summer garden some fifty years ago. Maybe that is what is meant by permanence in art. This same woman had five paintings by my Aunt. My aunt’s son had thrown these paintings out when she died. The dump attendant salvaged them and passed them on to the woman, knowing she collected art. I retrieved the paintings for my aunt’s grandson who loved her and was so happy to have these paintings. Art is civilization. We think of the destruction of art as an act of war, of hate. But to consider the creation of a work of art as immortality is a fool’s dream.
I think the chance to make something that is at least a thing of beauty and at the most a new idea for its audience is something between the ephemeral and the permanent. Brita Holmquist
Ibbie Holmquist, oil on Masonite, 8.5” W x 10”H
The Artists Rapid Response Team News: This past quarter ARRT! members supported local 350Maine.org activists with banners and placards for events coinciding with the Paris Climate Summit; provided banners for the Preble Street Resource Center; Survivorâ€™s Speak; The Maine Council of Churches, local immigrants and Immigrant Rights groups.
UMVA Portland Area Chapter Report Some higlights from the Fall schedule: There was a great turnout at the CTN Gallery, 516 Congress Street for the opening of the Green Show, 150 people came on First Friday. The first annual Holiday Sale was succesful and there is hope to grow this event in future years
November Critique: Bob Riemann passed around a series of photos which was critiqued by the group and was followed by a good discussion about photography, abstraction, mixed perspectives. Exhibitions at CTN Gallery also included the Wade/Kelly Exhibit in October
Upcoming shows being planned: January- Salazar The Mexico Years opens January 1, 2016 February- Red Show being planned, stay tuned. March - Art/Work in collaboration with the Southern Maine Workers Center there was much excitement about this idea at the December meeting. April- Neurotica- to coincide with the Maine Arts Journal Spring Quarterly Issue. Stay tuned. for details . Jane Page Conway, encaustic painting
May exhibit possibility: Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an intergenerational art program for people with dementia. Look for the signage in the CTN Gallery window. Hours will be added to the design at left proposed by Dorette Amell and approved at the December meeting. The USM/UMVA exhibit â€œForging Affinitiesâ€? will open January 28 at the Art Gallery on the USM Gorham Campus. See details on page 12.
SALAZAR : MEXICO YEARS For details and updates check the:
UMVA Portland Area Chapter Facebook page! Please support the Maine Arts Journal and the UMVA, CLICK to become a UMVA member or donate to the Journal.
UMVA-LA Chapter Happenings We had the pleasure of having Charlot Edwige join us for a discussion of Art and Community, building a community of artists to further our resources and outreach. It was an incredibly inspiring conversation to have! Currently many of the UMVA-LA members are also working with L/A Arts on the cultural plan for Lewiston â€“ Auburn. So this was perfect timing to have Charlot as a guest, her enthusiasm, creativity, and experience was most helpful! Festival of Art & Lights November 28th we partnered with the Lewiston Downtown Association, their Holiday Celebration Committee, and the Auburn Business Association, to create an amazing day long Festival of Art and Lights, leading up to the Parade of Lights that L/A has every year for their tree & menorah lighting ceremonies. By meeting with local officials the chapter members got the date of the parade changed to a Saturday, which worked out to be Shop Small Saturday. What better way to create an artists' community than to showcase local artwork in venues all over the cities, helping the Buy Local culture! We had a window-decorating contest among local businesses with the victor winning bragging rights and a trophy. This encouraged many businesses to get into the holiday spirit. We also had the first ever Youth Arts Celebration, showcasing works of students in the 8th grade art classes at Lewiston Middle school and students from Wicked Illustrations! Engaging with youth in our community is important to the chapter members and will continue to be part of our mission. UMVA-LA Artist Development Group:
The UMVA-LA Artist Development Group is a peer-based artist collective whose purpose is to further each artist-participantâ€™s creative practice and intellectual understanding. It will take place the 2nd Wednesday each month through May, and the first meeting will be on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. The group will serve as a catalyst for making new work, forming new discoveries about the world through art-making, and becoming better able to communicate these developments with others.
Meetings will begin as monthly evening get-togethers. Each participant will have a chance to show work that’s new to the group for feedback or discussion, whether through unique individual explorations or as responses to creation-based prompts shared each month. Individual artist-participants will lead the response discussions about their art, meaning each conversation can be as organic or structured as the artist needs. This group is for any creative types who live or work in the Lewiston- Auburn area and want to develop their art-making and conceptual understanding over several months. Since the group is likely to be modest in size, the group’s livelihood will depend on members attending as consistently as possible. To learn more or join the group, contact artist and coordinator Tyson Pease (firstname.lastname@example.org). Upcoming UMVA-LA Happenings
“For the Love of Art” will be our next community event, Scheduled for Saturday February 13th, from 4-7pm, we will have local artists on display throughout the community, highlighting our love for this community and this community’s love for art. We encourage people to come and purchase art and be part of a romantic evening on the town. We hope to engage with local businesses and have many opportunities for people to create an evening of art and romance. Submissions for the juried show will be due by Jan 15th, 3 pieces per artist. There will be no submission fee, but there is a 20% commission from sales to the exhibit venue. The three categories are Lust, Passion, Companionship. FMI email UMVAlewistonauburn@gmail.com The aspect of permanence that we are embarking on as an entity is to create sustainable art and artisan events. We will continue to engage the community in local art, continue to engage the artists with community. Our hopes are, to coin the phrase that Charlot used, “To create a Wu Tang Clan of Artists, to further our outreach and support of one another, a community of artists!” Keep an eye out for our facebook fanpage UMVALewistonAuburn as well as twitter, instagram, and Tumblir. Grayling Cunningham UMVA-LA Chapter
Guidelines for Submissions: Neurotica
Maine Art Journal; Spring 2016
Neurosis: from the Greek neuron (nerve) and –osis (diseased or abnormal). Neurosis can hardly be considered abnormal in the modern world—it has even been removed from the manual of psychiatric disorders. Most of us fall somewhere on the neurotic spectrum, and share one or more of the traits found on (neurotically compiled) lists of neurotic symptoms. Anxiety and depression are the most common and general symptoms. Many of the more specific attributes describe symptoms of that contagious, incurable illness called art: vacillation between low sense of self-worth and overconfidence, impulsive and compulsive acts, unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts, obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, perfectionism, isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc. Many artists take their neurosis on consciously in their art and others are taken over by it. Both result in works that can be described as Neurotica. A dictionary definition of Neurotica might read: Neurotica (nu-rŏ-tĭ’-ka) noun: The content, processes or imagery of an artist’s work that wells from her/his personal psychological processes including, but not limited to: obsessions, appetites, desires, libido, anxieties, taboos, sexuality, quirks, psychic anomalies, neurological idiosyncrasies and intentional markers of individual personality. This art can take the form of the obsessive projects of conceptualist, perfectionist process art or psychically charged subject matter of realist painters. For the Spring 2016 issue of the Maine Arts Journal, we invite artists to submit examples of Neurotica in their own work, or even in the work of a fellow artist you know personally (with their permission of course). Do you embrace this term or reluctantly admit it applies to your work? Does this play into the cliché of the mad artists? Or are artists the ones willing to admit they are a bit mad in a society that is batshit crazy? We invite UMVA members to submit up to 4 images, examples of Neurotica, for the Spring, 2016 issue. You may also include a written essay, statement, self-analysis or confession, to accompany the work, of 150 words or less. Send submissions to email@example.com by March 1 deadline and include “Neurotica” in the subject line. (If you submit multiple images, we will choose what fits publication – we may edit your work if it exceeds 150 words.) Priority may need to be given to artists who have not submitted to recent Journals. Please submit images as high-resolution jpgs; the format should be at least 1000 pixels on the shortest side and 150-300 dpi. Please label work with artist, title, year, medium and dimensions. Also feel free to submit other ideas of art or content you’d like to see in the journal or send us proposals for essays, visual essays, articles and interviews. We would also welcome any feedback. Please send your ideas, proposals or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. 86
Maine Arts Journal and the UMVA Portland Area Chapter will be collaborating on an exhibition; Neurotica.
The opening of this exhibition is planned to coincide with the launch of the MAJ Spring Quarterly Issue on April 1, 2016. A catalogue for the Portland exhibit will be included in that issue. The MAJ will send out email updates to subscribers with details as they develop. The UMVA Portland Area Chapter will discuss and plan during their monthly meetings at the CTN Gallery at 516 Congress Street, Portland. Information will also be available on their Facebook page. CLICK HERE to JOIN the UMVA support the UMVA and the Maine Arts Journal
CLICK HERE to SUBSCRIBE to the Maine Arts Journal
Click on the images of back issues of the Journal below to check them out. We are working to establish a more user friendly way to print out issues, for now, you can use the pdfâ€™s from these archives to order from peecho website.
Spring 2015 In Defense of Painting
Summer 2015 A Sense of Place
Fall 2015 Working In Series
Summer 2014 Art You Do/Donâ€™t Show
Fall 2014 Then and Now
Winter 2015 Interview/Innerview
Published on Dec 30, 2015
A Union of Maine Visual Artists publication. An art journal by artists for artists featuring the words and images of Maine artists.