FARMINGTON — Sculptor Samantha Jones’ compelling new exhibition, “Vital Traces,” opens the UMF Art Gallery’s fall 2021 season. The exhibit runs from Sept. 14 to Oct. 28 on the University of Maine at Farmington campus.

There will be a public reception under a tent outside from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23, with a performance by Samantha Taylor ’20 and a Q&A with the artist at 5:30 p.m. Attendees are required to wear face coverings inside the gallery. Participants can register on site on the day of the event or by emailing Sarah Maline at

Vital Traces examines our unique human moment as we anticipate losses of great magnitude–environmental, social, cultural and personal. Jones identifies the struggle of humans today to define their relationship to the world as an experience of wavering grief, a perpetual sense of indeterminacy, of loss that is not yet lost. There is both tragedy and beauty in this moment, and a strong impulse for humans to create responses that go beyond the rational.

Jones’ deeply sympathetic exploration of personal and universal materials–from soap formed of breast milk and an extravagant collection of costume jewelry left behind after the death of a woman larger-than-life to abstract compositions of delicately blown glass, gold leaf and encaustic suggesting the beginnings of life itself–invite the viewer to reflect on their own experience of our profoundly complex time of perpetual transition.

Jones completed her MFA in fibers and materials studies at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in Philadelphia. She is currently completing her dissertation, “Wild Care: Resonance, Emergence and Excess”a study of autopoiesis and ekstasis in the human impulse to create, in the PhD program at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Jones is an assistant professor of art at the University of Maine.

The UMF Art Gallery is dedicated to bringing contemporary art to the campus and regional communities. The gallery is located at 246 Main Street, behind the Admissions Office. Gallery hours are Tuesdays-Sundays 12-4 p.m., and by appointment. Please contact Maline at or 207-778-1062 for more information or to make an appointment.