IS IT REALLY? ‘Untitled dishrag,’ ink, graphite, correction fluid on paper, by Carly Glovinski, 2010, 16 by 9 by 6.5 inches, at June Fitzpatrick in July.
It was a year when the best shows weren't often the most memorable, and the most memorable weren't often the best. Although the PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART's Biennial drew a decidedly lukewarm response from former Phoenix art critic Annie Larmon and me last spring, it included impressive individual works from artists with stunning solo shows elsewhere. Carly Glovinski's trompe l'oeil entries confounded museumgoers in April, but left them awestruck in July with her "Decoy" installation of illusory objects and drawings at the JUNE FITZPATRICK GALLERY.
Don Voisine pulled a similar trick at ICON, where his painting exhibit of hard-edged black masses prompted our own Ken Greenleaf to call him "an artist of depth and accomplishment" and summon both carnal and Kantian metaphors — no small feat. One of my favorite shows came in Wells, where Biennalist Alisha Gould offered carefully perforated gold-leaf planes and diaphanous netting to temper Sean O'Brien's electrifying work on geo-physical reflection. In a year where it sometimes felt artists were getting too comfortable exploring the mundane, Gould and O'Brien's "Tropos" brought the COREY DANIELS GALLERY into the bright lights.
As it so often can be, the most memorable shows are also the hardest to define. Megan O'Connell's and Iain Kerr's shows at the intrepid GALLERY 37-A were among the most intellectually rigorous in the state; O'Connell's lured me into quoting Virginia Woolf at-length, while Kerr coaxed a Deleuzean Cliffsnotes out of Annie Larmon. SPACE GALLERY continued its brilliance as the foremost non-commercial gallery in greater Portland. The vexing and provocative video art in the international Project 35 exhibit showed a boldness few local gallery owners exhibit. I was also impressed by "Polyhedra," a low-profile, process-based group show of textural, wall-hung geometricities which proved a contemporary art house needn't be all pizazz.
AUCOCISCO's roster of exhibits held its typically diverse structure, alternating thematic group offerings of up-and-comers with heavyweight solo and dual shows. The Fensterstock/Bisbee combo last month was a knockout — rivaling Astrid Bowlby's early-'11 USM show in sheer black density — and Richard Brown Lethem's summer show offered a lovely narrative glimpse into the post-expressionist's late career.
The MAINE DRAWING PROJECT made headlines all year long (the "draw the line" pun just wouldn't go away), but perhaps fewer than half of the roughly 40 exhibits offered compelling works. One exception was BOWDOIN's surprisingly arresting R. Crumb exhibit — where the comic artist re-encoded the Book of Genesis in his trademark gaunt and harrowing lines. Another was BATES COLLEGE's fantastic "Emerging Dis/Order," which brought the normally disparate trio of Alison Hildreth, Amy Stacey Curtis, and Andrea Sulzer into rousing concert. June Fitzpatrick did more than her share supporting the series, curating twelve unofficial "Drawing the Line" shows at her MECA-adjoining gallery alone. In addition to the Glovinski show cited above, the fall exhibit collecting Noa Warren's graph paper networks and Greg Parker's heavy gessoed canvases were incredible gestures toward the evolution of linework.
: Museum And Gallery
, Bates College, Portland Museum of Art, SPACE Gallery, More