In the center of the back room, printmakers Elizabeth Jabar and Colleen Kinsella tout "Future Mothers," an enormous tent-like structure swathed in dyed fabric bearing lithographed patterns and a vocabulary of screenprinted folk art images. Sheltered altar-like within it, a small table displays bound paper bearing the same. By some measure it's fantastic — the two artists mesh seamlessly, giving rich detail to a deeply feminine space of otherness and cultural indeterminacy — yet something feels off. Maybe the quiet strength of the hut is undone by the busyness of the illustrations? Or maybe the images themselves, hooded Bedouin women in alternatingly prostrate and statuesque poses, are so copiously applied that the world they might conjure seems ornate and weirdly synthetic. Jabar and Kinsella are expert and relentless makers, but "Future Mothers" obviously contains a higher aim. The structure is in place. They might have mapped out the blueprint, but they haven't yet built the house.

This ICA show contains large and meaningful ideas. The holidays have a way of narrowing our focus; leave it to MECA to remind us there's a world of things to consider.

"THE WORLD OVER" | mixed-media faculty show | Through Dec 22 | at ICA at MECA, 522 Congress St, Portland | | 207.879.5742

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Colleen Kinsella, The Atlantic, Jeffrey Clancy
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