University of Maine Associate Professor of Art Andrea “Andy” Mauery’s work will be featured as one of 50 pieces in an international exhibition called “CHROMA: Red Issue” in London. The exhibit is the first part of a series by “CHROMA” and contains works that have all been separately created, but are unified by a single color.
Mauery discovered the opportunity during a search for a juried exhibit to submit her work featuring bright red human hair. After submitting two different pieces, CHROMA chose “thin.red.line.portrait.”—a 69-inch line of vibrantly-dyed red human hair.
The exhibition is staged in Safehouse 1, a Victorian-style house in London known for its derelict atmosphere.
Mauery was originally searching for a Boston show focused on the color red. When she came across the London listing, she was excited to find an international event, as she enjoys making connections across the international art community.
Mauery revealed that although there are many projects — both international and local — that she’d enjoy participating in, it can often be risky to commit to too much.
“It’s really easy to say yes to too many things, but it isn’t going to work, I’ve learned,” Mauery said. “Even when it’s something you really support and would like to do, it depends on what else is stacked up at the time.”
While international shows can allow Mauery’s work to receive a higher level of recognition, she sees the importance in local events, too. Mauery is currently involved in an effort to gain funding for a public art project in Veazie.
“That’s not London, but it’s equally important to me,” Mauery said. “It’s sort of figuring out how you want to spend your time.”
Mauery works with bodily mediums, such as human hair, teeth and skulls out of a fascination with the strangeness of the human body that sprouted from Mauery’s experiences playing around in her grandmother’s hair salon as a child.
“We love hair and think it’s really pretty. The minute it’s in the drain or on the floor, we’re like ‘Ah! It’s disgusting!’” Mauery said. “It’s funky. We’re weird. We’re really strange.”
The hair Mauery uses in her work is mainly acquired from beauty supply stores, but has been much more difficult to get recently.
“I blame the Kardashians for the increased demand for extensions,” Mauery joked.
Mauery’s studio — which is located on campus in an area she has requested to remain undisclosed, but refers to as her “secret art-partment,” serves as both a happy place and an area of creation. The walls are adorned with works-in-progress, intricately braided sections of hair, skulls and sketches. She normally works on a number of projects at once.
“I walk in the door and I immediately get happy,” Mauery said. “People think that when you come in, it’s like a bliss of things, and you can immediately start making things. But it’s not like that.”
Mauery explains that although UMaine’s art faculty is extremely active, most of the professors would be showing more if they weren’t also teaching full time. Although teaching requires a serious time commitment, Mauery says that she loves working with the “impressive group of amazing artists” that make up the department.
“There are weeks where I’d love to press a magic button and have ten extra hours in the studio, but I do really love being in the classroom,” Mauery said. “I think if you’re going to teach, you really have to have some clear ideas of what’s important for students to learn.”