Three pieces + three places

Local standouts on view and for sale
By IAN PAIGE  |  December 5, 2007
BRANCHING OUT: "Offering," by Gary
Ambrose, grafted beech and maple, Maine
shale, and pigment; November 2007.

The Maine College of Art Faculty Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art is teeming with offerings from instructors from every department. The resulting melange is informal and benevolent, teachers teaching by example. A perusal of the entire show is worth your time if for nothing else than as a reminder of the varied artistic approaches MECA offers its students. Three pieces in particular should serve as sufficient lures to pull you through the door.

GARY AMBROSE’s “Offering” protrudes from a bed of shale. A slender, smooth, small maple tree stands upright, sanded down intuitively to reveal a human grace. In the implied movement, you can discern something like a dancer posing for the camera. Ambrose cuts the tree short, shaving off branches to achieve a totemic effect. Only one branch is left, stretching out into a multiplicity of finger-like branches. This personification is reinforced by the artist dyeing the branch indigo such that those reaching fingers begin to look uncannily like human veins.

LING-WEN TSAI AND NATHAN KOLOSKO are at it again with another video and sound presentation from their “Water & Wind” series. “Bottle” invites us to follow a green plastic bottle as it nearly achieves bobbing across the close-up frame of the camera. It floats along a gently undulating body of water amidst pelting raindrops, two steps forward, then one step back. The soundtrack of singing bowls and chimes are felt more than heard and the audio and visual combine for a unity conducive to meditation.

MARGO HALVERSON mixes in a stand-alone lesson among her photographs and collaborative design pieces. A small monitor presents a five-minute video that has all the expository feel of a lecture. “I want to start with a question,” narrates the artist as she takes us through a slideshow of images and presents a hypothesis out of autobiographical material. Halverson invites us to consider personal geography and how we interpret place in our creative processes. “Do we each embody a place we insert into our work again and again?” she asks while offering a suggestion of place as a cognitive result of repetition gone unnoticed, frozen moments and glances. Once a teacher, always a teacher, and the lesson is gladly accepted.

No excuses to not buy local
In contrast to the vampiric commercialism that an American Christmas often promotes, Portland artists tend to band together for celebratory bazaars to sell their wares. Combining music, good people, and a sip of holiday punch sure beats going to the mall. Here are three ways to find unique and creative gifts without leaving the peninsula.

SNOWBALL AT FIELD | 74 India St | Dec 7, 4-9 pm
Proprietors Colin Sullivan-Stevens and Freiderike Hamann promise that this year's Snowball event will have the atmosphere of buying a Christmas tree from a roadside stand. Plop a few marshmallows in your cocoa and check out their porcelain snowballs, lanterns, and film projections while shopping for limited-edition printwork, drawings, paintings, wood-fired pottery, jewelry, and papergoods.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Visual Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, Cultural Institutions and Parks,  More more >
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