From Balthus' Studio to Alaska: Bowdoin Art Profs at Work

Story posted February 09, 2011

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Post Mortem, Amer Kobaslija, 2010-2011, oil on panel, 51 x 43 inches.

Amer Kobaslija's studio paintings are dizzying. They depict artists' studios -- often his own -- from wide-angled, undulating perspectives. As if the viewer were crouched in the corner of the ceiling or along a yawning wall.

The visiting assistant professor of art has been developing the work since he came to Bowdoin in 2008. This month, the series is garnering widespread attention with an exhibition of paintings at the George Adams Gallery in New York City, The Road to Rossiniere: Paintings of Balthus' Studio. The series of landscapes and studio interiors detail the experience of the small Alpine village where the reclusive artist Balthus (1908-2001) spent his last years.

Kobaslija spent three years repeatedly visiting Rossinière, Switzerland, before being granted permission from the government to enter Balthus' studio. Kobaslija is the first person allowed to document the studio, which has remained untouched since his death. Kobaslija eventually befriended Balthus' widow and daughter and was able to paint views from the family's chalet as well.

The paintings range from 12 x 15-inch canvasses to 6 x 8-foot wood panels. The exhibition is on display Feb. 11-March 26, 2011, with an artist's reception Feb. 11, 6-8 p.m.

Kobaslija is not alone in showing his work in February. Four other Bowdoin visual arts faculty members also have solo exhibitions at galleries and museums around the country:

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Detail from Nestor Armando Gil's installation, Posuelocation (Vessels) at Coleman Burke Gallery, Brunswick, Me.

Sculptor John Bisbee, Bowdoin lecturer in art, created a site-specific sculptural installation for the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. John Bisbee: Old and New Nails features two, large wall reliefs composed of metal nails and spikes that are meant to evoke stained glass windows. It runs through March 6, 2011.

Nestor Armando Gil, a Bowdoin Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow, is opening a thought-provoking installation at Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011. Posuelocation (Vessels) is a conflation of the Spanish word posuelo (bowl) and the English word "location." Gil references the 500-year anniversary of Baracoa, Cuba's oldest Spanish settlement, with a multimedia installation suggesting an epic journey on the high seas. The installation includes 500 steel bowls of salt, videos, and projections.

Associate Professor of Art James Mullen has a solo exhibition of paintings at the Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery at Providence College in Providence, RI, through Feb. 18, 2011. The exhibition revolves around the meanings of the word "compass" and includes four panorama paintings from the four corners of North America -- Maine, South Carolina, Arizona and Alaska. Mullen has additional works in exhibitions at University of New Hampshire Museum of Art and Illinois Institute of Art.

Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga has an installation at the St. Louis Craft Alliance called Breathe. Inspired by her visits to cathedrals in Spain, Scanga created a room filled with a hanging, honeycomb of saffron-colored paper, which creates a canopied or arching effect. Read review.

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Dino-Teepees, AZ, James Mullen, 2011, 12 x 36 inches, archival ink on canvas.

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