Monday, February 18th, 2019

UMVA Art Exhibit opens on Gorham Campus

Nathan Baril

Posted on February 01, 2016 in Arts & Culture, Community
By USM Free Press

By Anora Morton

Many of us dread partner projects. The thought of unevenly split responsibilities, difficulty communicating and clashing ideas is enough to induce a slight panic out in most and an end result just short of a disaster. This is far from the case at the USM UMVA: Forging Affinites gallery at the Gorham campus Art Gallery. In a well attended reception this past Thursday evening, members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA) and USM Art Faculty exhibited collaborative pieces, each a testament to the better outcome of working together on a group project.

A project founded by USMs director of exhibitions and programs Carolyn Eyler and USM alumnus and UMVA member Nora Troyn, collaboration meant something different to each project. James Flahaven, a professor of Art at USM and David Estey, a UMVA Member, were both apprehensive

“I knew Estey’s work, so I contacted him and I asked him about doing this collaboration, and he said ‘You know, I really don’t like to collaborate’ and in that conversation I said ‘You know what, I really don’t like to collaborate either’ and my internal dialogue said ‘This is the perfect guy to collaborate with.’” Flahaven recounted.

Thier collaboration came into being with the swapping of unfinished work, each artist producing a finished pieces from the others beginnings. On the far right, a solo piece belonging to Estey, and the far left a solo piece of Flahavan’s, and the four in the middle the product of their swap.

For Tracy Ginn, another member of UMVA and Richard Wilson, professor of Art at USM, collaboration came from existing work, and how they could create a collection that was complementary.  “Humor, people, odd situations, both of us (are) sort of photographic right now” Ginn explained. Each artist chose six pieces of the others, creating a row of twelve pieces of situations that allow delightful interpretation.

David Schneider, professor of Art at USM, and Stephen Walsh, USM alumni, exhibited a Surrealist Exquisite Corpse, a technique where two artists collaborate with only an agreed upon subject (a head in this case), five common meeting points and no viewing of the other half of the piece until it was hung up in the gallery.

“As I was working, the mechanism of this corpse allows anything to happen, so I had this freedom to do whatever I wanted,” Walsh commented.

Jan Piribeck, professor of art at USM, and James Kelly, a UMVA member, worked with each other to create a cohesive companion collaboration out of existing work. This companionship is expressed with Kelly’s urban scene call, juxtaposed next to Piribeck’s scroll piece of the Blue Danube Waltz piano roll,
“The background was a of a strip map, in the Osher Map Library collection, of an actual survey of the Blue Danube river,” Piribeck explained.

The USM UMVA: Forging Affinites gallery will be at the Gorham campus Art Gallery until March 6th (Closed between February 15th and 19th for winter break) between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and 12pm and 4pm Friday through Sunday. The gallery is open to the public, with a suggested two dollar donation, so stop in and witness the true power of well matched collaboration, and take some inspiration with you for your next group project.


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