On Friday, the University of Maine Department of Art held an opening reception in the Lord Hall Gallery for “ThinkMake,” an art exhibition featuring the work of 15 graduating UMaine studio art majors.
The show presented works in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, digital and interactive artwork.
The gallery show was designed to give graduating studio art majors an opportunity for firsthand experience with arranging an exhibit.
The students were involved in every aspect of the setup, from preparing artwork and installing their collections to writing artist’s statements and marketing the show to the public.
The Lord Hall gallery was packed full with students, faculty and other members of the local community. Attendees strolled through the gallery and had flooded into the lobby, which was turned into a reception area for the evening.
Many student artists lingered around their collections as attendees perused their work, eyeing each piece carefully.
A popular exhibit at the opening reception was the artist trading-card vending machine, featuring the work of Iris Stanley. For 50 cents, attendees could purchase a trading card featuring one of eight designs from Stanley’s “Celestial Bodies” series.
“I don’t usually have actual meanings behind my artwork; I just really like fun things,” Stanley said. “I really got hooked on the idea of trading cards because I’m a geek.”
The series was inspired by composer Gustav Holst’s seven-movement orchestral suite, “The Planets.” Each card is a playful depiction of characters titled “Mercury,” “Venus,” “Mars,” “Jupiter,” “Saturn,” “Uranus,” “Neptune” and “Pluto.”
Stanley found the used vending machine on Craigslist and was inspired to combine her artwork with it to create an interactive element for the exhibit.
Artist trading cards are about the size of a standard baseball card and are made using a number of methods including dry, wet and paper media. They are collected, traded between artists and exchanged between collectors.
Stanley hopes to create a number of collections for future exhibits and hopes to install more vending machines in new locations.
Another collection featured the work of Stephanie Dziezyk, whose series of pencil drawings depict the seemingly lifelike anatomy of fictional creatures.
Dziezyk referenced the anatomy of several animals, including humans, she used to create the detailed skeletal and muscular structure of the dragons featured in her collection.
When asked about the setup process for the show Dziezyk responded, “I pretty much had my hand held through it, because I had never done it before.”
Dziezyk went on to say that she feels the knowledge gained from the experience of arranging a show will be valuable to her in her future career.
“I’m hoping to go into scientific illustration after this,” Dziezyk said, “but if not, I’m still going to be doing things like this, as well as commission work for pet portraits and fantasy drawing.”
Jadrien Cousens’ exhibit featured a striking series of eight photos entitled “Aftermath.” Cousens used Photoshop to manipulate and re-imagine downtown Bangor as the site of an apocalyptic catastrophe.
Within each photograph, the historic buildings of the city crumble and burn. Windows are shattered and streets are destroyed within the shockingly realistic photos.
The exhibit also features the work of Linette Mailhot, Emily Kalar, Glenn Swanson, Katherine McPhail, Quinn Ramini, Cody Oliver, Leigh Osgood, Caroline Robe, Olivia Dunton, Abbie Allen, Erin Larson Gray and Victoria Fiske.
The exhibit will be on display in the Lord Hall Gallery until Jan. 25. Entrance to the gallery is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about the “ThinkMake” exhibit, contact the University of Maine Department of Art at 207-581-3245.