May 29, 2011

Art Review: MECA students deftly open door to new horizons


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Rachel Herrick’s “The Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies,” a multimedia installation at the Maine College of Art. The self-deprecatory piece plays off the “Back to Nature” exhibits at the Maine State Museum in Augusta.

Photo courtesy Rachel Herrick

click image to enlarge

This image is from Molly McIntyre’s “Christmas Present,” a stop-motion animation with narration by the artist about spending the holiday with her boyfriend’s family.

Courtesy photo


WHAT: 2011 MFA Thesis Exhibition

WHERE: Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, 522 Congress St., Portland

WHEN: Through June 12

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday; Thursdays until 7 p.m.; first Fridays until 8 p.m.


INFO: 699-5029;

Like Herrick's, McIntyre's self-deprecation is brilliantly deft. Over the video's Rudolph-like paper deer in a paper forest, McIntyre speaks. Her voice is that of a tiny, even squeaky, adolescent girl, but her identity is a normal young woman whose honest and genuine speech betrays a sort of abrupt but sweet emotional immaturity. McIntyre's deceptively savvy narrative is captivating and charming.

Another favorite is Sarah Bouchard's "White Cube," a brilliant meditation on structuralism and the creation of architectonic spaces using modular repetition pretending to be minimalist sculpture. I also liked Sarah Obuchowski's hand-felted and handmade yurt, inside which is a mini-tundra complete with a sculptural rabbit and fox-hunting narrative.

And I hope people won't accidentally miss the MP3-narrated walk around Portland created by Tamara Reynolds. It's a terrific piece that doesn't skimp on production quality or experiential detail.

However unusual or challenging the 2011 MECA MFA show, your experience or opinion as a viewer cannot be denied. If it doesn't sound like your typical idea of fun with art, this is a great chance to expand your horizons. Bring the family, an open mind and enjoy yourself -- this is really good.

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


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