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Hamilton, Cowan featured

UMaine Museum of Art opens winter shows

Jan 10, 2017
Photo by: Brenton Hamilton Brenton Hamilton’s “Little Mask Face” is a 2015 multiple gum bichromate.

Bangor — The University of Maine Museum of Art, located downtown at 40 Harlow St., will open three new featured exhibitions Friday, Jan. 13. UMMA brings modern and contemporary art exhibitions to the region, presenting approximately 12 original exhibitions each year.

Midcoast artists are featured in two of the three shows: Brenton Hamilton, chairman of the Professional Certificate Program in Photography at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport; and Rockland native Jared Cowan, who teaches at the city’s high school and runs downtown gallery Asymmetrick Arts. The third show features the work of Massachusetts artist Siobhan McBride.

“Brenton Hamilton: 20 Years”

Maine-based photographer Hamilton employs unconventional approaches to photographic techniques and materials to achieve his layered, dreamlike visions. This exhibition surveys Hamilton’s long career creating images using 19th-century handmade photographic processes.

Serving as inspirations for Hamilton’s compositions are his ongoing studies of cultural history, sciences, early medicine, minerals and oceanology. Often working with collage and using liquid photographic emulsions as paint, Hamilton pushes the traditional boundaries of photography, offering a fresh interpretation of the medium. A wide range of historic processes including cyanotype, black glass ambrotype, tintype and gum bichromate — as well as an astonishing hybrid of media — offers a bridge between the antique and the postmodern. The exhibition also includes 18th-century sculpted heads and objects that provide a glimpse of the unique source material often depicted within the artist’s compositions.

Hamilton received his MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

“Jared Cowan: The Life of David”

Midcoast Maine-based sculptor, video and installation artist Cowan presents a new series of works that explore the monumental events in the life of Emilio David Mazzeo (1920-1997). In 1948, Mazzeo, a marathon cross-country runner born and raised in Rockland, was the fourth American to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon and a member of the United States Olympic Team at the Summer Olympic Games in London.

The cast bronze works, video components and interactive construction in this exhibition are inspired by the oral retelling of Mazzeo’s life through family and friends. Later in life, Mazzeo experienced a catastrophic loss of his legs. This life-altering event is reflected in the bronze forms the artist has cast from the actual prosthetic legs of his subject.

Through these glimpses of Mazzeo’s life story, Cowan conveys a message of perseverance over tragedy. The artist suggests that the “folkloric acquisition of materials speaks to the legend building that occurs while passing on information, and marks an end point in the thematic gradient that spans past and present works.”

Cowan received his BA in Studio Art in 2001 from the University of Maine.

“Siobhan McBride: Four Hour Fortune Cookie”

McBride works primarily in gouache on paper to render places and scenes that are imbued with incongruities, memories and psychological tension. The depicted scenes are “descriptions of awkward experiences, passages from books and film fragments, things caught in the corner of my eye, and an attempt to conjure slippery memories.”

McBride creates works that are steeped in mystery — images that hover between the humorous and the eerie. Bold light amplifies an array of realistically rendered objects and environments and in doing so, accentuates the unsettling nature of things obscured within shadows. When viewed from a distance, McBride’s constructed images crystalize; but up-close, the surface is a complex abstract accumulation of colored shapes. McBride received her MFA in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania.

Admission to the University of Maine Museum of Art is free in 2017, thanks to the generosity of Deighan Wealth Advisors. UMMA is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The winter exhibitions will run through May 6. For more information, visit umma.umaine.edu.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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