“An idea comes from the brain, previous experiences, and you sift through them,” said University of Maine graduate student Allison Melton. “And that’s how we came up with the idea of clutter.”
The exhibition “Clutter: A Creative Exploration of Junk and Stuff” will be on display from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at 29 Broad St. in Bangor. For one night, 10 young artists will come together to express their personal definitions of the word “clutter” as they relate to the creative process.
The artwork ranges in media: paint, sculpture, performance, digital and audio. The artists — nine new media students and one communications student from the University of Maine in Orono — organized the exhibition in place of an in-class final project for a creative concept development course taught by Melton.
“In class, we’ve talked a lot about stereotypes and what people think artists are,” Melton said. “We’re creating this show as professionals.”
One way art is created is by sifting through the memories cluttering our minds to find ideas that can be joined together in new, meaningful ways. Jordan Moody plans to display a cluster of framed photographs, reminiscent of the type of display you might see in a home. Her images illustrate the feelings of “loss” and “longing.”
“I’ve been building off a lot of ideas I’ve had previously, and this class has helped me develop projects that wouldn’t have gone any further otherwise,” Moody said. “I think it’ll be really neat because everyone’s doing something completely different. There are a bunch of different media being utilized and a lot of different ideas.”
New media major Joe Rice, of Bangor, is interested in programming, game design and digital art. With his background in computers in mind, he decided to play with the idea of “vulnerability.”
“My project is an investigation, some sort of look into thoughts and stigmas of privacy, especially when it comes to digital privacy,” Rice said.
A laptop is a personal thing, akin to a diary, with photos, videos, logged conversations, documents and a history of every site you’ve visited on the World Wide Web.
“I spend a lot of my time on the computer doing all kinds of things,” he said. “I read a lot there and do a lot of research.”
For the duration of the exhibition, a continuous-feed dot matrix printer will print his unedited Internet history from the past two to three months. The typically private information will spill out onto the wooden floor of the exhibition space.
“What I’m trying to say with it is that there’s no need to hide what you really do,” he said. “Everybody goes to every site there is out there. There’s no reason that it needs to be swept under the rug or be taboo or anything like that.”
He predicts to have between 500-700 pages of Internet history for his piece, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” which he thinks will continue printing for the entire exhibition. He’s hoping that people will pick up the printed history and interact with his piece.
“It’s interesting how people react when you open up your private life to them,” he said. “When I open myself up and make myself vulnerable, I guess I kind of share a connection with people when I do things like that.”
Though the other artwork doesn’t deal directly with privacy, it reveals aspects of the artists — what they find important or meaningful. Ian McGinley will display his belief in green practices and his interest in music with his jazz and hip-hop EP made of recycled music and wrapped in recycling packaging. And while Meghan Strout is a new media student, the exhibition will allow her to showcase her love of studio art with her 4-foot tall acrylic painting of vanity and greed.
Brittany Dow plans to use her body as art. Though Dow attends numerous rock concerts with her musician friends and helps with the setup, she has never had the opportunity to be the one on stage. That’s why she will appear at the exhibition as her alter ego, Rickey Lee the rock star, to sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m.
“As opposed to a standard theme throughout, it’s just a hodgepodge of art pieces,” Rice said. “I’ll be there to answer questions, and I’m pretty sure every artist with a piece will be there too.”
The owners of 29 Broad St., Bill and Lisa Chaplain, lent Melton the small space — formerly a hair studio — for the exhibition. The Chaplains have lent the space to artists and musicians in the past.
“What’s neat about a small city like this is that, if you want to, you can take an empty storefront and ask the owners if you can use it,” said Melton. “It’s a great opportunity to get the community involved.”
The exhibition will be open one night only because they hope to attract a big crowd for an energy-filled event. Because the track lighting isn’t ideal for an exhibition, the artists will bring lamps and other furniture to display their artwork, adding to the clutter. They aim to transform the room into a living space, full of creative and engaging projects.
The free exhibition is in collaboration with the University of Maine New Media Department. Refreshments will be served and local musicians will be performing electronic music compositions throughout the night. For information, e-mail Allison Melton at Allison.Melton@maine.edu. View Rickey Lee’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Rickey-Lee/179988305346956. Her blog will launch soon at rickeyleeeelyekcir.tumblr.com.