November 25, 2012

Art Review: A bold feminist statement at UNE


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Work by Diana Cherbuliez in the UNE exhibit.

Courtesy photos

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Ling-Wen Tsai’s “Sitting Quietly.”

Additional Photos Below



WHEN: Through Dec. 16

HOURS: 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday to Sunday; 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Art Gallery at University of New England, 716 Stevens Ave., Portland


INFO: 221-4499;

Ling-Wen Tsai's "Sitting Quietly" is a circle of stools, each with a pair of sound-blocking earphones. Oriented to the center by a drop light, this is a great piece. It brilliantly distills the notion of communal silence. Taking off the headphones is one of the few revolutionary moments of "Vanguard."

I was most impressed, however, with Diana Cherbuliez's neurotically intense hair sculptures. One is a rope of her own hair (leftovers from three and a half years of brushing) long enough to hang herself that she has thrown over a nicely crafted wall gippet.

Another is a triple-mirrored box in which a quarter hemi-sphere of Cherbuliez's intricate braids is mirrored to appear as a complete sphere. In terms of process, concept, impact and potential, the hair pieces are fantastic.

If you enjoy conceptually subtle installations or want to see edgy Maine women artists, you should visit "Vanguard." However, if you get frustrated by intentionally evasive installations, you aren't likely to enjoy it.

"Vanguard" takes on an important and worthy subject; it just doesn't do enough to help new viewers appreciate the work.

But while it's a troubled first step, "Vanguard" is ambitious enough to interest me in what's next.

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:


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Additional Photos

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Work by Julie Poitras Santos.

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Part of Amy Stacey Curtis’ sprawling installation.

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Detail of a work by Diana Cherbuliez.

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