Spring Exhibitions Showcase Works by Bowdoin Art Faculty

Story posted April 28, 2006

It is not uncommon for several members of Bowdoin's visual arts faculty to have concurrent exhibitions. This May, however, one can trace the bloom of spring up the Eastern seaboard with their works. Four Bowdoin professors - John Bisbee, Meghan Brady, Anna Hepler, and Mark Wethli - are presenting artwork in various exhibitions from New York to Massachusetts to Maine.

Hepler drawing
Anna Hepler, "Homage to Ucello #4, 2005, Plexiglas and ink, 10 x 11 inches.

Beginning April 29th, Visiting Assistant Professor Anna Hepler will be one of a dozen artists featured in The 2006 DeCordova Annual Exhibition an invitational show in Lincoln, Massachusetts, that focuses on leading artists from the six New England states.

Hepler, who is the only artist in the show representing Maine, works in a range of media, including drawing, sculpture and installation. Her work involves small, repetitive marks that coalesce into large forms referencing interconnected systems, organic shapes, and even fireworks.

"I find fleeting moments of suspended geometry euphoric," says Hepler. "Fireworks, for example, create a momentary three-dimensional sphere of exploded light that quickly disintegrates into chaos. Dandelion whorls, though rooted, form an ephemeral and temporary perfect sphere. In recent drawings and sculptures, I strive to portray the awesome fragility of these moments."

The show runs April 29 through August 20, 2006, with an exhibition opening Thursday, May 4, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Lecturer John Bisbee will be presenting a solo exhibition of new sculptures at
Plane Space Gallery
in New York City, which runs from May 6 through June 11. It is his third exhibition at the gallery, which was established by Bowdoin alumni Bryson Brodie '00 and Chad McDermott '00.

Bisbee sculpture
John Bisbee, "Helio," 2006, one-ton of 12-inch spikes (stacked), diameter 84 x 9 inches.

In keeping with previous exhibitions at the gallery, Bisbee will present one-ton pieces comprising 12-inch spikes. Two of these new works deviate from their predecessors, however, in that they are not welded together but meticulously stacked. He also has created two smaller autonomous pieces consisting exclusively of weld, and a large wall piece fusing the 12-inch spikes together by means of weld.

A 64-page catalog, "John Bisbee: Ten Tons," which surveys the one-ton sculptures the artist has made to date, accompanies the show. The exhibition opening is May 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Visiting Assistant Professor Meghan Brady and Mark Wethli, Bowdoin's A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art, will present concurrent exhibitions of new work on paper at Icon Contemporary Art in Brunswick, May 13 through June 10, 2006.

Brady etching
Meghan Brady, "No. 5," 2006, four-plate color etching, 12 x 12 inches.

Brady will exhibit new color etchings and mixed-media paintings with collage. Her works, which are non-representational, include elements reminiscent of folk art or traditional women's crafts. The seeming familiarity of the patterns is countered by an idiosyncratic charge, as if each work were trying to tell a personal story.

Wethli's latest work - marking his fifth exhibition at Icon - continues his investigation into color, pattern, and geometric design. Inspired by Tantric art, early American folk art, quilts, and fabric design from a variety of cultures and periods, the works on paper also evoke a sense of architectural form and space related to his earlier work.

Wethli paintingMark Wethli, "Untitled," 2006, acrylic on paper, 16 x 11.5 inches.

"Since I began delving into a more abstracted language, I have been working with single motifs - a striped painting, or a grid, or circles. These are the first works where I'm putting those elements together to explore the interplay or tension of the movement between them," notes Wethli, who early on developed a national reputation as a representational painter of domestic interior spaces.

Wethli describes the works at the Icon show, most of which are folio sized, as "almost like book pages, along the lines of Persian miniature painting. I want these to feel as if they've had some use in the world, that they are rooted in peoples' experience or memory."

The exhibition opening is Saturday, May 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. Icon Contemporary Art is located at 19 Mason Street, Brunswick.

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