From Jan. 21 to Aug. 7, the Zillman Art Museum (ZAM) in Bangor is showcasing a wide variety of art media from photographs to oil paintings and etchings. Featured artists in the exhibition include Amy Stein, Thomas Cornell, Gene A. Felice and Kimathi Moore, as well as selections from the museum collection. With a range of different art styles on display, there are pieces for everyone to enjoy in this show.
Stein’s artwork consists of photographs that bring awareness to current environmental concerns. Themes in her art include simple settings in the open outdoors or a friendly suburb, which are actually barriers between what is human and nature, and not in a positive way.
“The ‘Domesticated: Amy Stein’ exhibition sheds light on environmental issues, particularly the destruction of animal habitat as a result of encroachment to build houses and commercial uses,” George Kinghorn, ZAM’s director and curator, said. “At first glance, Stein’s photographs may trick the viewer, but things are not as they seem. The animals in each of the images may look a bit threatening, but they are all taxidermy. Stein has employed these taxidermy animals, to create these thought-provoking narratives in her photographs.”
Stein is based in Los Angeles, and many of her pieces are based on real stories that took place around Matamoras, Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2008.
Cornell’s work includes oil paints, etches, drawings and more. Many of his works are inspired by mythology, with a special interest in the Greek god Dionysus.
“The ‘Thomas Cornell: A Vision Accomplished’ exhibition is a must-see for art students,” Kinghorn said. “Cornell was such a skilled artist who created paintings that had bold, expressive brushstrokes and also created prints that were incredibly detailed and realistically rendered, as seen in his Michelangelo portrait. It’s wonderful for students to see an artist who was confident in working in a variety of media and to view the artist’s absolute commitment to his subjects.”
Cornell was an art professor at Bowdoin College and spent many of his years in Maine. His pieces on exhibition at ZAM spans his vast practice across 48 years.
Felice and Moore took a different approach to their art at ZAM as opposed to traditional mediums. “Living Windows” is an immersive media installation, consisting of 3D-printed sculptures, video projection mapping and immersive sound design all enclosed in a dark room to create an experience that appeals to all your senses. This installation explores the forms and functions of micro and macro algae to inspire the form of digital storytelling. Following through the depths of aquatic ecosystems in California, Maine and North Carolina, viewers can expect to explore rivers and watersheds over time as they flow into the Earth’s oceans.
One final exhibit that can be found among the diverse artwork at ZAM is the “Pop Art and Influence” showcase that features selections from the museum’s collection. Early pop art figures such as Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are featured in this gallery, along with works from newer artists such as Alisa Henriquez, Hannah Cole and Jim Darling.
All of these pieces continue to inspire public viewers, as ZAM has been successful in continuing its exhibition throughout the pandemic.
“Museums, like other cultural organizations, have encountered challenges during the pandemic, but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to continue to curate quality exhibitions for our citizens,” Kinghorn said. “The museum has successfully implemented safety guidelines and visitors have enjoyed touring the galleries, even with the reduced numbers that are required. The primary challenge has been a few delays in our exhibition schedule [although] our featured artists have been flexible and a delight to work with.”
In addition to staying open to the public amidst the pandemic, the ZAM has exciting news regarding overall growth and exhibition expansion.
“The Zillman Art Museum is embarking on an exciting period of growth,” Kinghorn said. “Construction has recently begun on five new galleries on the second floor of the 40 Harlow Street building. When ZAM’s expansion is complete, the Museum will increase its public gallery spaces by 42%.”
Currently, ZAM is now open to the public by reservation as strict guidelines for the pandemic have lessened. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information regarding ZAM’s galleries, artists and events, visit https://zam.umaine.edu/, or view their Facebook at @ZAMatUMaine and Instagram at @zillmanartmuseum.