By Kristen Hill Contributing Writer
UMF Art faculty are working together to show the art they create outside of the classroom in a show called “Rough Drafts”, which will display their different perspectives about the contemporary world.
Artists in the show include professors Ann Bartges, Tom Jessen, Dawn Nye, Elizabeth Olbert, Jesse Potts, Katrazyna Randall and Barbara Sullivan. A variety of paintings, drawings and sculptures are currently on display in the Emery Community Arts Center as well as the UMF Art Gallery.
Elizabeth Olbert created a piece called “The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Bird to Man.” She says the piece is “a play on Friedrich Engles’ The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man, an important Marxist text from 1876.”
Olbert uses a surrealist technique called soufflage where paint is blown to reveal an image. Rather than using paint, Olbert decided to use coffee on the piece. “You know me, I love coffee, it had to be a part of my piece,” Olbert said. She will be displaying three drawings that include this technique.
The inspiration for this piece came from fellow artist and professor Katrazyna Randall. “I have been talking with Kate about nature and design for probably two years now,” Olbert said.
Randall’s piece uses a surrealist perspective on consumerism and its effect on our environment. The piece is made with dull, everyday objects to represent flora and fauna, creating an emphasis on the impact we have on our environment and how a lot of nature is becoming a thing of the past. Randall’s love for painting landscapes and nature shows how nature has become unimportant and is losing meaning to many people. In Randall’s view, nature has to be nurtured and the piece shows neglect along with the rise in consumerism and plastic.
Jesse Potts, another member of the Art faculty, combines sculpture and photos in his installation. Potts built the piece inside the gallery, which entailed a lot of labor. Power tools, hammers and many other building supplies were used. Not only were these tools used to put the piece together, they are included as a part of the sculpture.
Potts wanted to emphasize different perspectives on what home means to people. Potts’ piece is created in a way such that people from different backgrounds can connect to the piece and think about what home means to them.
Barbara Sullivan gained inspiration for a series of portraits when President Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” Sullivan used oil paints to create portraits of more than fifty Maine women who are “strong and nasty women.” Sullivan knows all of the women personally and wanted to portray how powerful they are, as well as their commitment to their art and writing.
All of the artists in this show create art regularly and each installment will add a different feel to the show. Olbert said, “The artists for this show are well chosen. It is a very eclectic group so there will be a wide variety of pieces. At such a small school you would expect people to be fairly similar, but we are lucky to have such a unique group of artists.”
Many students only know their teachers through what is taught in their classes. This exhibition provides students an opportunity to see their teacher’s abilities in a different light.
The show is located in both the Emery Community Art Center and the UMF art gallery and is open until March 9. It is free and open to the public throughout this time.