Biennial exhibitions tend toward the conservative, and the experience of this year's CMCA retrospective doesn't wholly manage to dash the trend. While that could be a reflection of the museum's dwindling submission rate — 415 artists submitted for 10 slots, down more than 200 from 2010 and 300 from 2008 — it's more likely a matter of space and curation. Those collected here deserve to be seen on their own terms, but the fact remains that no combination of seventeen artists can provide an accurate cross-section of the state's best contemporary art without severely limiting the definition.

"2012 CMCA BIENNIAL EXHIBITION" | at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 162 Russell Ave, Rockport | Through Dec 2 | 207.236.2875

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