February 25, 2018
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UMaine Museum of Art announces summer exhibitions

BANGOR — The University of Maine Museum of Art will open three new exhibitions along with a special selection from the museum’s permanent collection, titled “Young Curators: Lightscapes.” The exhibition will be on display through Sept. 21. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free in 2013 thanks to the generosity of Penobscot Financial Advisors.

Exhibits on display are:

“Joanne Freeman: Three Chords”

Folk-rocker Bob Dylan’s lyrics “All I’ve got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth” reflect the spirit and pared-down approach to art-making embraced by New York City-based Joanne Freeman. In “Three Chords,” Freeman exhibits a new series of oil paintings that pay homage to the formalist abstraction of Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, and also offer a distinct contrast to the reductive nature and purity inherent in early modernist ideals. Curving and looping bands of cool red, Mediterranean blue and vivid yellow intersect and overlap in a vibratory dance. Freeman’s compositions are simple and direct. The forms that inhabit these canvases (several of which are elegantly shaped) create dynamic interactions — the hard-edged thickened lines quiver, rotate, stretch and sag. Lines flatten as if they have been pulled taut and ground the composition as they hug the edge of the picture plane.

Freeman describes her process as “a controlled approach to mark making” and often employs sign maker’s tape to mask out various areas before applying successive layers of oil.  While the artist’s lines appear to be whimsical gestures they are in fact hard-edged creations. Close inspection of the curvy and slumped lines often reveal thin transparent passages of paint, the colors burnished and blotted to create varied effects.

Freeman received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in Studio Art from New York University.  Her works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Lohin Geduld Gallery, New York City; Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York City; Marc Jancou Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland; The Painting Center, NYC; and the Queens Museum.


“Rachelle Agundes and Sean Downey: Travel in my Borrowed Lives”

Taken from Donald Everett Axinn’s poem of the same name, UMMA presents “Travel in My Borrowed Lives,” a two-person exhibition of recent paintings by Rachelle Agundes and Sean Downey. Both artists hail from the West Coast and are affected by its unique terrain. In this exhibition, the Pacific Northwest landscape becomes the backdrop for both artists’ re-imagining of scenes extracted from memories and fiction. Agundes and Downey’s works suggest that the environment becomes “inextricably fused with memories and references to time and place.”

Agundes’ paintings explore the distortion of memory through the steady passage of time. Remembrances are filtered through emotional residue and layers of newer experiences supplant moments once considered paramount. The compositions are constructed by collaging accumulated memories of spaces and subjects — rendered images of departed pets and locations in national parks in Northern California are juxtaposed with houseplants and handmade sculptural models. These fictional spaces shift between interior and exterior and are infused with subconscious information processed in the territory of our dreams.

Downey constructs imagined West Coast archetypes and archetypal scenarios in his large-scale paintings. He fuses aspects of fictional characters and real “types” from both the late 1870s and the late 1970s. In Downey’s enigmatic narratives, passionate hippie causes give way to burnout malaise and back-to-the-land self-sufficiency leads to survivalist seclusion. People wronged by outsiders, by the land, by forces of nature and revenge find their way into the compositions. The artist creates a visual mash-up of figures, settings and scenarios whose references jump back and forth in time. Downey’s recollections of growing up in the Pacific Northwest are commingled with our own collective memories of old movies, historical moments and nostalgic scenes from vintage photographs.

Rachelle Agundes received a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame de Namur University in California and master’s degree in painting from Boston University. She lives and works in New York City.

Sean Downey received a bachelor’s degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and a master’s degree in painting from Boston University. He lives and works in Boston and teaches at Brandeis University.


“Emily Trenholm: Monhegan — A New Perspective”

During a five-week artist residency on Monhegan Island Emily Trenholm walked the same island paths trekked by scores of other painters, including Rockwell Kent and Edward Hopper. While these acclaimed artists have been inspirational, Trenholm aspired to offer a fresh vision of the dramatic rock and surf captured by so many. Her plein air paintings portray the eternal energy of this dynamic landscape. The artist’s bold palette, skillful manipulation of oil paint, and ability to capture the ebb and flow of nature, has resulted in a beautiful array of works that attest to the uniqueness of this historic island.

This exhibition offers a prolonged contemplation of carefully chosen locations, the majority of which are on the east side of the island. Trenholm explored one particular place over several days in multiple paintings as she sought to absorb the essence of the environment and “paint my perception of an exact moment in time.” Her loose and varied brushstrokes reveal nature’s colorful exuberance in landscapes that, at times, dissolve into abstraction. She explains that “the chasing of light brings an abstract quality” to the works. Monhegan’s frequently changing environmental conditions create painting challenges that result in revisions — compositional elements shift and colors fluctuate. It is this search that has imbued Trenholm’s paintings with abundant vitality and has produced a fresh contemporary glimpse of one of Maine’s most treasured artist destinations.

Trenholm received a bachelor’s degree in painting from University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in painting from Boston University, where she studied with celebrated painter John Walker. Her works have been shown at Rose Contemporary, Portland;; Bromfield Gallery, Boston; Bowery Gallery, New York City. This summer Trenholm will exhibit works at the George Marshall Store Gallery in York.

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