Story posted May 03, 2010
Spaeth's domain is one of those stumble-upon places at Bowdoin.
She works at the Language Media Center, a branch of the Library tucked into the basement of Sills Hall—a place of intensive, but specialized, film and language study. There, she helps people access the College's extensive film and language collection, catalogs books and collections, and creates archives of taped events for institutional record.
It's not her only hidden treasure. Spaeth '86 has a life outside the College that many people don't know about: She is an artist. And for the third consecutive show, Spaeth's work has been selected for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art's Biennial Exhibition (CMCA).
The juried biennial is one of the state's most visible platforms for prominent, and promising, Maine artists. Other artists from among the Bowdoin community who will be included in the 2010 CMCA Biennial, May 29-July 17, include Associate Professor of Art Jim Mullen and Cassie Jones '01. Jones is showing her work on the heels of a successful solo exhibition in New York's RedFlagg Gallery.
Spaeth has been creating artwork since she was 18, and earned a B.F.A. in painting from the Maine College of Art nearly a decade after graduating from Bowdoin with a double major in art history/visual art.
"I knew art is what I would do, but I've always had to work to support myself," said Spaeth, who worked in museums and fine art libraries before taking up her post in the Language Media Center in 2002. Her academic year schedule allows her to fully concentrate on her studio work during the summer.
"At Bowdoin, as a staff member, I have what I consider a parallel intellectual environment," she says. "It's a fantastic library and a College which is evolving in ways this alum genuinely appreciates. I am enriched by the collegial atmosphere and my schedule allows me to take care of myself as a person, a parent and an artist."
The two works in the CMCA Biennial are part of Spaeth's Arc and Wedge series.
The minimalist paintings on horizontal wood panels are shaped, in part, by Spaeth's immersion in Buddhist studies. Their chromatic simplicity embodies a kind of stillness that invites the viewer to consider the shadings of what's present and what is absent.
"I'm very interested in the time it takes to observe a piece of work," reflects Spaeth. "One can get a quick structural read, but you can also spend some time noticing them through the day. I'm interested in working on painting in the environment and how they respond to the available light."
The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is located at 162 Russell Avenue, Rockport, Me. For more information, call: 207-236-2875.
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