The Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s 2012 Biennial Exhibition will open Saturday, Sept. 29 with an artists’ reception from 4 to 6 p.m. The reception is open to the public.

The exhibition includes work by 17 artists, chosen by CMCA director Suzette McAvoy and independent curator Daphne Anderson Deeds; they selected 10 artists from the 415 artists who submitted work and invited seven others to participate. The jurors’ vision for the biennial was to present a balance of concepts, volume, color and texture for the exhibition as a whole. McAvoy and Deeds said the creativity and level of quality they saw in the art submitted were exceptional and spoke to the vitality of the state’s contemporary art scene.

The 10 selected artists are Kenny Cole, Monroe; Grace DeGennaro, Yarmouth; Lynda Litchfield, Cape Elizabeth; Robin Mandel, Cushing; James Marshall, Brunswick; Jonathan Mess, Jefferson; Benjamin Potter, Belfast; Kate Russo, Rockland; Aaron Stephan, Portland; and Erik Weisenburger, South Portland. The seven invited artists are Tom Butler, Rockland; Luc Demers, Portland; Lauren Fensterstock, Portland; Cassie Jones, Brunswick; Lisa Kellner, Rangeley and Hanover, Va.; David Stess, Cherryfield and New York City; and Kitty Wales, Vinalhaven.

The 2012 Biennial Exhibition will run through Dec. 2. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 162 Russell Ave., is a nonprofit organization advancing contemporary art in Maine through exhibitions and educational programs. Exhibition galleries are open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

The 2012 Biennial Exhibition artists

Tom Butler was born in the United Kingdom and now resides in Rockland with his wife, Kate Russo. He attended Southampton University and Chelsea College of Art and Design, and receiving his master’s degree in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. His work is widely exhibited in the U.S. and the U.K., most recently shown at Charlie Dutton Gallery, Victoria House and Charlie Smith in London; and at CMCA. He has won several prizes in the U.K. and was invited to the Elsewhere Collective Residency this coming year in Greensboro, N.C. Butler is art director at The Community Schools of Camden and Opportunity Farm.

Kenny Cole is a politically and socially active artist residing in Monroe. He has twice won awards from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Community Foundation, Artists Space Grant and the Ford Foundation. He has been teaching “Branching Out” at Waterfall Arts in Belfast for several years, before which he taught in New York City and throughout Maine. His work has been exhibited in countless solo and group exhibitions. This year, his work was shown at the Perimeter Gallery in Belfast, the Leonard R. Craig Gallery at Unity College, Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, Åarhus Gallery in Belfast, the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and SlopLand Effluence Express. Cole works in different media including works on canvas and gouache and ink works on paper.

Grace DeGenarro studied at the Sir John Cass School of Art in London, Skidmore College in New York and Columbia University in New York. She has taught often throughout her career including at the Maine College of Art and Bowdoin and Bates colleges. Her work is in many collections throughout the country including Goldman Sachs, the Heckscher Museum, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has won several awards by the Hudson River Museum, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Maine Arts Commission and the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland. DeGennaro lives in Yarmouth and works in her studio in Fort Andross in Brunswick.

Luc Demers is a photographer who resides in Portland. He studied at the University of Southern Maine and received his master’s degree at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He has shown extensively throughout his career in solo, feature and group exhibitions. Most recently, Demers exhibited in group exhibitions at Rose Contemporary in Portland; and at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, Alaska. Last year he had solo exhibitions at the University of Maine at Augusta; Harlow Gallery in Hallowell; and the Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland, Va.

Lauren Fensterstock is a woman of many talents. Throughout her career she has been an artist, editor, director, educator, critic, curator and author. She has published numerous writings, catalogs and monographs. She has an extensive curatorial background, as well as several years of experience teaching throughout Maine, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She served as director of the Hay Gallery in Portland; associate editor of Arts Guide Portland; Maine state editor at Art New England; and interim director at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art; and she remains the academic director of MFA in studio arts at the Maine College of Art. She has received several awards and honors and her work is in the collections of Tiffany & Co internationally, as well as at the University of Maine Museum of Art, the Ogunquit Museum of Art and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Her work is exhibited throughout the nation and was most recently shown in Ireland, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Texas, and Maine — all in the last year.

Cassie Jones lives in Brunswick. She received her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College. Her art has been shown in solo exhibitions at Space Gallery in Portland and Coleman Burke Gallery in New York, as well as in group exhibitions at Art Chicago, Gallery 808 in Boston, the Portland Museum of Art, Fountain NY, CMCA and others. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center and the MacDowell Colony. She is represented by Aucocisco Galleries in Portland and Coleman Burke Gallery in New York.

Lisa Kellner has been coming to Maine for several years, spending her time in Rangeley. She attended Boston University, the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Art Institute of Boston, where she received her master’s degree. She is a founding member of G.O.A.T., a collaborative group of artists whose name stands for Group of Artists Talking. She completed several residencies including at Jon Imber Studios in Stonington; and at Accademia Caerite in Rome, Italy. Her work has been widely exhibited and was recently on view at Bravin Lee Programs in New York City.

Lynda Litchfield resides in Cape Elizabeth and is represented by June Fitzpatrick Gallery in Portland, as well as by McGowan Fine Art in Concord, N.H. She is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston. Her work has appeared in many shows at CMCA and at the Portland Museum of Art. She also has shown across the country, from the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Cain Schulte Gallery in San Francisco.

Robin Mandel of Cushing is an artist working in sculpture, installation, and photography. His recent exhibition venues include the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass.; Real Art Ways in Hartford, Conn.; and the Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Reading, Pa. He also has exhibited in Portland, Boston, New York, Montreal, Venice, and Barcelona. He has received grants from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the St. Botolph Club Foundation in Boston; and residencies at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado, the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. His teaching credits include the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Colby College in Waterville, where he was a visiting assistant professor of art in 2007-2008.

James Marshall, a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C., and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, is an accomplished sculptor, painter and photographer residing in Brunswick. Marshall’s work is in the permanent collection of the Portland Museum of Art, as well as in several private collections in Maine, New York, London and Washington, D.C. He has published several photography books and exhibited throughout the East Coast. Most recently, he had a show at Addison & Woolley in Portland.

Jonathan Mess of Jefferson, an artist and an educator, has made his mark throughout the United States. He studied at the University of Toledo, Ohio; the University of Montana, Missoula; Ashland University in Ohio; and at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He has been teaching for more than a decade in Maine, New York and Massachusetts. He has received several grants and awards including a Maine Arts Commission for site-specific installation for Maine’s Creative Economy Conference at the Bates Mill in Lewiston; and he completed two residencies and workshops earlier in his career. His work is in private and public collections throughout the country, and most recently he has had exhibitions at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia and the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.

Benjamin Potter of Belfast studied fine art and biology at Williams College before receiving his MFA in Painting and Drawing from California College of the Arts. Since 2006, Potter has been working at Unity College in Unity, where he serves as professor of art and director of the Leonard Craig Gallery. Prior to teaching at Unity College, he taught at numerous colleges and universities in Vermont and Wisconsin. He has received several grants and fellowships, including the Good Idea Grant by the Maine Arts Commission in 2010. Potter’s work has been shown across the country. Most recently, he exhibited at June Fitzpatrick Gallery in Portland; Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif.; Samson Projects in Boston; and the Åarhaus Gallery and Waterfall Arts Gallery in Belfast.

Kate Russo, an international artist, is a resident of Rockland but has spent much of her time in the United Kingdom. She attended Colby College in Waterville, then received her master of fine art degree from the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Since then, she has received many awards from the United Kingdom, as well as from Colby College. She exhibits across the two nations and has most recently exhibited her works at Susan Maasch Fine Art in Portland; and at the University of Maine, Farmington.

Aaron Stephan of Portland is an artist, performer and educator; a two-time recipient of the Good Idea Grant by the Maine Arts Commission; and recipient of a Yaddo Artist Residency and the Zorach Fellowship at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He studied abroad in Amsterdam before attending SUNY Purchase College and the Maine College of Art in Portland. He has received several commissions from schools throughout the country, including in Maine. He has shown from coast to coast; most recently he had a solo exhibition at Aucocisco Gallery in Portland; and group exhibitions at Sienna Gallery in Massachusetts and Pace Galleries at Fryeburg Academy. Stephan was recently featured in an article in the Boston Globe and is a studio instructor at the Maine College of Art.

David Stess of Cherryfield and New York City spends much of his time in Maine. His photography is featured in permanent collections of the Farnsworth Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, the University of Maine at Machias, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He has been featured in several different magazines including Maine Home +Design and Yankee. His works have been exhibited throughout the state, most recently at Jean B. Chalmers Gallery at Lincoln Street Center for Arts & Education in Rockland; the University of New England in Portland; and at CMCA. His work has also been included in several Biennial exhibitions at the Portland Museum of Art.

Kitty Wales of Vinalhaven is a graduate of Boston University in sculpture and art education and also holds a master’s of fine art degree from the University of Arizona. Wales is recognized in Massachusetts for her “Pine Sharks” at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass. She also has work in the permanent collections of the Duxbury Art Complex Museum, the New England Bio Lab in Beverly, Auburn Park in Cambridge, the Meditech Corporation and many more. Represented by the New Era Gallery on Vinalhaven, her work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and in Paris. She has been a professor of sculpture and drawing at colleges and universities throughout New England and currently teaches sculpture at Boston University.

Erik Weisenburger of South Portland attended the Parsons School of Design in Paris and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and earned his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work is in several collections in Wisconsin including the Madison Art Center, the Racine Art Museum and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Weisenburger has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the country including the Perimeter Gallery in Chicago, in 2011; the Betty Rhymer Gallery at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his alma mater; and at CMCA.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or