Most Emotionally Stirring Matt Blackwell’s “Crossing Over,” a life-sized, found-material sculpture depicting a figure aboard a canoe. Given its own room in the far corner of the McLellan House, Blackwell’s sculpture utilizes scrap metal, tin, and found objects in homage to Maine friends recently deceased. Poetically, the basin of the canoe is littered with ephemeral materials both readymade and sculpted, and the figure’s frayed, rusted matter is a touchingly multivalent symbol of decay, both of mortality and of bygone eras. Blackwell’s piece gestures equally toward personal and cultural history, and I can think of little more gratifying than living in the Maine woods making metal sculptures for dead friends.
Most Humbling Jason Rogenes’s “Stargazer,” a large, wall-mounted assemblage of Styrofoam packing inserts of varying size and shape, backlit by bright white lights. Set near the entrance to the McLellan House, the piece plays on consumerism by using the negative image of commercial products, and teases a weird transcendental glow out of what is essentially trash.
Most Want in My Home Kate Beck’s “Modern Structure,” a series of 100 graphite-on-paper drawings mounted on wood panels in 10-by-10 formation on the wall. I don’t think I’d be able to mount these on all four walls of my living room, let alone one, but they look absolutely perfect here. For each frame, Beck makes innumerable horizontal graphite lines separated by microscopic distances, creating constantly shifting gradients of white and black. It’s simple and stunning, obsessive yet peaceful, and harmonious without any pattern.
Most Want to See More Garrick Imanati’s “The Last Spike Was Lead Not Golden,” a stylistically hazy graphite drawing made from a transfer image of a figure driving a spike into the connection of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad in Utah, 1869. The photograph is staged, and Imanati’s drawing intriguingly spans the mediums of performance, photography, and drawing to connect the past with present.