Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Art exhibit looks at agression

Krysteana Scribner | The Free Press

Posted on January 25, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By Amanda Melanson.

On Thursday evening, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Glickman Library hosted the opening reception for local artist Cole Caswell. The title: Patterns of Aggression.

USM’s website entry on the exhibit explains, “Cole investigates landscape, place, environment, and geography, through a strata of observation, technology, subjectivity, and his surroundings.”

The reception itself was a more intimate affair, consisting of a small level of attendees for the gathering. Caswell’s materials are varied. The exhibit entry explains that “He uses traditional, historic and digital photographic mediums: GPS, environmental  data sets, augmented sampling procedures, clothing design, and classification to investigate our present state.”

The exhibit featured tintype and inkjet prints. For the less old school art savvy: a tintype is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal that is coated with a lacquer or enamel and used as the support for photographic emulsion, a light-sensitive coating on paper or film that consists of fine grains of silver bromide suspended in a gelatin. This method was primarily used in the 1860s and 1870s.

Inkjet prints, on the other hand, are a modern form of printmaking. Caswell experiments with both in a way that lends to his subject matter, referred to on his website as “investigations.” In the audience on opening night, several guests were there representing the Maine Museum of Photographic Art, with whom USM collaborated with to showcase the exhibit. As for a younger audience, one student, Hans Nielson, an art major, was in attendance for the exhibit.

“The amount of detail in a tintype is something I really like,” he said, “and to hear Caswell talk about his process. The deer beds are my favorite piece.”

The piece in question depicts a small section of open field in which a deer had burrowed out a nest-like shape in the grass in order to hide, something anyone who hunts deer as a hobby would be familiar with seeing.

Caswell also brought along family and friends, who were happy to celebrate the moment with him. Jessica George, a MECA alumni and friend of Caswell’s, joined the gathering in support.

“Caswell has a way of looking at things and making a survey of it. There are lots of different ways to show shape and perspective.” said George.

Several pieces were not exclusively nature but also showcased outside influences such as a satellite or a large tube in a field or a tractor and a piece of inkjet paper, aged over time. Much of the project showed locations in Maine , local areas such as Gorham, and New Hampshire.          

Caswell explained that the investigations he made were about “thinking on exterior influences” but also in full he explained that the point he wants to get across with aggression is not a violent way but “being in my space and asserting myself, when someone comes into your home you greet them and you invite them into your space.”

Caswell offers a unique perspective of aggression as a non-violent form of expression.

The exhibit itself can be found on the 5th floor of the Glickman Library and will be there until May 19th. For more information, please contact the library or visit the USM website.