A preview of the 2016 CMCA Biennial
In 1978 the Center for Maine Contemporary Art held its first juried exhibition open to artists working in all media who have strong connections to Maine. The competition was the only one of its kind until the Portland Museum of Art introduced its Biennial in 1998. Since then, the CMCA and PMA have presented biennials in alternating years. From November 4 to January 24, the spotlight will be on the CMCA, where all 5,500 square feet of display space in the museum’s landmark new building in Rockland will be dedicated to the exhibition.
Jurors Christine Berry, director of Berry Campbell Gallery in New York City, and John Yau, noted writer, poet, and art critic for Hyperallergic, reviewed the portfolios of 780 artists—a process that “took much longer than I anticipated because of the quality level of the applicants,” says Berry— and selected 25 winners. To be in contention, works must have been completed within the past two years.
Berry and Campbell chose a mix of emerging and established artists and works made with a range of materials and techniques, from pixilated egg-shaped motifs by Kate Russo that appear to leap forward, recede, swarm, and flash depending on their color combinations to a paper orb installation by Sarah Bouchard that conjures a sculptural cloud—or the most exuberant balloon bouquet you’ve ever seen. In Cole Caswell’s tintype, innumerable grays radiate from an ever-so-amorphous glowing moon, and in Lynn Duryea’s enigmatic terra-cotta sculpture charms and confounds with its allusions to functionality, factories, and tools.
“I think the CMCA will do much to change the culture of the state, and the Biennial is one of the ways it will do this, as it brings together as well as celebrates members of the Maine arts community,” says Yau. On the following pages, MH+D presents a preview of the show.
Phoebe Adams (Phippsburg), Sachiko Akiyama (Skowhegan), Marcia Annenberg (Boothbay Harbor), Steven Baines (Portland), MJ Blanchette (Kittery Point), Sarah Bouchard (Arundel), Philip Brou (South Portland), Emily Brown (Montville), Cole Caswell (Peaks Island), Scott Davis (Rockland), Morris David Dorenfeld (Spruce Head), Lynn Duryea (Deer Isle and South Portland), Carly Glovinski (Berwick), Tonee Harbert (Portland), Richard Iammarino (Rockland), Kayla Mohammadi (Walpole), Ann H. Mohnkern (Yarmouth and Phippsburg), Paul Oberst (Freedom), Kate Russo (Portland), Claire Seidl (Rangeley), Gail Skudera (Lewiston), Richard Van Buren (Eastport), George Wardlaw (Portland), Kathy Weinberg (Morrill), Andrew White (Union)