The works of two Bowdoin professors will be exhibited at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) in Rockport beginning May 19. The show, which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the CMCA, will feature Professor of Art Mark Wethli and Lecturer in Art John Bisbee, along with three other Maine artists.
The artists included in the show were selected for their progressive approach to their work and innovative styles. According to the CMCA's website, "the five honorees demonstrate a willingness to continually challenge themselves, to experiment, and to push past boundaries," contributing to the "expansion of contemporary art in Maine."
Wethli's work includes a series of striking abstract paintings on found wood. He said that though his paintings are non-objective, they are meant to evoke quotidian devices and doodads ranging from hand-painted signs, to musical instruments, to fragments of typography, and explore the objects' relationship with broader questions in his work.
Each object "is meant to reflect the ebb and flow of perfection and imperfection, permanence and impermanence, sophistication and naveté," Wethli wrote in an email to the Orient. "My aim is to create an object whose nuances open a contemplative space for the viewer, ranging from the vernacular to the sublime, the concrete to the ephemeral, and from the made to the found."
Wethli's paintings will be shown alongside Bisbee's despite the different approaches they take to their work.
"For the past 25 years, I have been working on modules made out of nails," he said. "Right now I am working on a new one that I am welding together and I have no idea what its meaning is yet. I will know when it is finished in 12 days."
Perhaps because Bisbee has used the same media for such a sustained period of time, his sculptures are incredibly diverse, signifying a love of experimentation and a deep engagement with his practice.
Wethli's work has attained a cosmopolitan status and is exhibited worldwide. Several of his paintings are currently on view at the artist-run ParisCONCRET gallery in France. The three-person show in which they appear, "Talking to the paint horse," closes tomorrow after a three-week run.
The CMCA's "60th Anniversary Honors Exhibition" will be on display through July 8.