The University of Maine’s Lord Hall Gallery opened its new exhibition “Faculty 2022” on Feb. 11. This year’s faculty feature art exhibit includes work by five accredited artists and professors. The gallery is showcasing the artwork of Ellen Roberts, James Linehan, Ed Nadeau, Greg Ondo and the late Owen F. Smith, from Feb. 11 to March 18.
Susan Smith, the curator of this exhibition and director of the Intermedia Program at UMaine chose which artists were to be featured.
“The exhibit shows work of featured faculty who choose their own work — typically works done since the last faculty show — and each academic year about half of the art faculty show work. So, it is rotated each year,” Smith said.
Walking into the gallery, viewers are greeted with Roberts’ piece “Lake Stone Rhythm” on the right. The most striking of her series is displayed for this year’s exhibit. Her layered intaglio monotypes utilize materials found in nature, and are the subjects of the pieces. The use of vibrant watercolors contrasts the edges of the geodes, tree bark and a singular nail that are showcased on the paper.
The preview to Linehan’s work can be seen on the left after Roberts’. The seven panel oil and acrylic canvases were the preview to the largest installment in the gallery. Linehan’s “Yes I Can,” which was sixteen framed pictures across and six acrylic paintings down, held a wide variety of scenes, portraits, animals, landscapes and lots of clowns. They ranged from something of an early 1900s triumph aesthetic, religious glory to again, sad clowns. It was a shock to learn that these pieces were not free-handed by the acclaimed artist, but actually a collection of paint-by-number pieces.
“James Linehan has been collecting paint-by-number pieces since the start of the pandemic. Their commonality is the fact that they are all paint-by-numbers, not done by him. They show us a view of Americana in their themes of small town, four seasons, objects, places and people held dear,” Smith said.
Notable artwork also done by Linehan includes “House on Fire,” which was the second largest installment in this exhibition, which was made up of more than 25 canvases in various sizes. The fiery oranges paired with a neon palette gave the piece its name.
Moving further into the gallery you can find work by Nadeau. His “Last Ditch Effort” piece captures a Mac-truck overturned on a snow laden road with car debris, legs and a police car in the corner of the page that tugs at the heartstrings.
Ondo, who also has been featured in the Lord Hall Gallery in the past, submitted two untitled stained glass pieces for this spring’s exhibition. One was hanging in a window with direct sunlight, the other propped up on a twelve-panel metal frame.
In the center of the gallery, you can find Groce’s work with graphite and acrylics on paper and mylar. The mixed media piece creates an amazing sort of optical illusion that holds an entire story scrawled across the canvas, broken up by maps and body parts that intentionally show through the mylar if you take a closer look, or a step back. Out of all the installments at the faculty feature exhibit at the Lord Hall Gallery, her piece “Orientation” was the most captivating due to all the elements involved.
Down the hall there was a series of props that made up the Owen Smith portion.
“His work focused on artist multiples and fluxus kits. The work in the show spans 2005 to 2020, and includes items that werte works in progress and ephemera from his studio,” Smith said.
Smith worked with Owen’s wife to curate this part of the exhibit. Along with his legacy, he left behind a statement piece of three plastic guns, each with a different definition left up to interpretation. Titled “Fun, Fear, Fallacy,” it was accompanied by an airplane safety graphic, and beside that, a memento of scissors that were confiscated after 9/11.
For more information on “Faculty 2022” and previous exhibitions, visit https://umaine.edu/art/lord-hall-gallery-page/.