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New England Art Featured At UMMA Gallery

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The University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor is displaying the finalists for the I-95 Triennial. In its second installment, a traditional jury show, the I-95 Triennial prides itself on providing a wide representation of New England artists, many of whom are from the Downeast region.

For two months, the main gallery hall is set aside to make room for the finalists - usually a rotating selection from the permanent collections (which includes works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali) as well as featured contemporary artists (including Michael De Brito and Alan Bray). This year out of 113 artists, 34 were chosen for exhibition. The jury this year was composed of Timothy McDowell, professor of art, and George Kinghorn, director and curator.

The works showcased this year are of exceptional quality. Among the different mediums, sculpture and oil painting, there is an impressive array of photography. And true to the placards, the photography especially presents a diverse arrange of approaches to the medium.

The works are incredibly accessible. Rather than aiming at lofty universals, much of the work presented in the I-95 Triennial takes quotidian themes, revealing just as much truth about the human experience. Subjects range from the Bangor Water Works to floral shirt patterns and state fairs. 

Many of the works afford us a glimpse of a world of small spontaneous gestures. In particular, Roberta Baumann’s photography lets us peek through the key hole onto the world as directed by the camera’s eye. Other artists reveal abstractions in very concrete subjects. 

Running concurrently with the I-95 Triennial is Place of Mind, a collaborative project between artist John Bailly and poet Richard Blanco. Mixed-media compositions, they demonstrate “the freestyle, call and response nature of the collaboration.” Another additionally great feature exhibited in the smaller gallery.

The I-95 Triennial and Place of Mind opened to the public April 5 and will close June 8. Once they close on June 8, the UMMA will be setting up for the summer exhibit. So make some time to visit this weekend and witness the great art being made here in our own backyard.

The UMMA gallery is located at 40 Harlow Street in historic Norumbega Hall in downtown Bangor on the banks of the Kenduskeg stream. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission (that’s right, it’s free) this year is provided by a generous donation from Penobscot Financial Advisors. For more information go to www.umma.umaine.edu or call (207) 561-3350.

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