Campus News

Bowdoin Artists Featured in Portland Biennial

Story posted March 24, 2005

Courtney Brecht's "Me Apetece Ese Labio," 2004, oil and oilstick on canvas, 48x36 inches.

Four Bowdoin alumni and one recent staff member are among the 62 artists whose work has been selected for the 2005 Portland Museum of Art Biennial.

Courtney Brecht '00 (currently a visual arts technician at Bowdoin), Kyle Durrie '02, Cassie Jones '01, Nicole Stiffle '04, and Leah Gauthier (a past IT staff member) will be featured in the exhibition that runs April 7 through June 5, 2005. In addition, Stiffle will participate in a Gallery Talk with other Biennial artists at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 24.

Another Bowdoin alumna, Cecily Upton '03, served as the 2005 Biennial Coordinator, overseeing the entire process. Upton administered the nearly 1,000 submissions, facilitated the judging process, and served as a liaison with the 62 Biennial artists. (Learn more about studying art at Bowdoin by visiting the Visual Arts and Art History Web sites.)

Kyle Durrie's "Untitled (Panorama)," 2004, was installed at SPACE Gallery, Portland. A unique, site-specific installation was created for the 2005 Biennial. Acrylic on wall.

The Portland Museum of Art Biennial, presented in alternate years, highlights 93 works by both emerging and established artists associated with the state of Maine. Though paintings predominate the exhibition, a range of media is represented, including video, site-specific work, installations, photography, and sculpture.

This past summer, a record 948 artists submitted more than 3,696 slides and 24 videos to be considered by a panel of three jurors: John Cheim, owner of Cheim and Read Gallery in New York; Yvonne Jacquette, nationally recognized artist; and Judith Tannenbaum, curator of contemporary art at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design.

As a series, the Biennial exhibitions create a visual record of Maine's evolving contemporary art scene and testify to the profound influence that the landscape, traditions, and people of Maine continue to have on living artists. The Biennial encourages a dialogue between the history and future of Maine art on a local, regional, and national level.

Leah Gauthier's "Tear," 2005, was installed at Bowdoin's David Saul Smith Union. A unique, site-specific installation titled "Mesh," 2005, was created for the Biennial. Pine needles in wall.

Maine has nurtured artists for centuries, and its influence reaches far beyond its borders. Although the majority of Biennial artists are residents, a number are part-time residents or recent graduates of the state's many prestigious art programs. This blending of influences and experiences enriches Maine's artistic community and helps to define its art scene as one that benefits from a diversity of traditions, both established and new.

The Biennial reveals a confluence of broad interests and influences not tied to any one genre or subject. Courtney Brecht's work addresses gender issues; Nicole Stiffle's realist charcoal portraits are a balance to Cassie Jones' more fantastical work; line and form are expressed in a minimalist mural painted by Kyle Durrie.

Cassie Jones's "Figure 33A," 2004, alkyd on acrylite, 24x32 inches.

A full-color catalogue has been published in conjunction with the exhibition and will be available in the Museum Store.

The Portland Museum of Art is located at Seven Congress Square in downtown Portland, Maine, and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Museum is open Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Museum admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with I.D., $2 for youth 6 to 17, and under 6 are free. The Museum is free on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call (207) 775-6148 or visit

Nicole Stiffle's "Emma," 2003, charcoal pencil on paper, 23x29 inches.

The 2005 Portland Museum of Art Biennial is made possible by the William E. and Helen E. Thon Endowment Fund with additional generous support from Gorham Savings Bank. Media support is provided by The Portland Phoenix and 92.1 WFNX.

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