FARMINGTON — University of Maine at Farmington is proud to present “Horizon: Poetics of the Post-Heroic Landscape,” a UMF Art Gallery exhibit of original works by Jennilie Brewster and Honour Mack. The show will open with an artist presentation at 4 p.m., followed by a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 19. The gallery events are free and open to the public. The exhibit will run through Dec. 15.

The works of Brewster and Mack offer insight into the ways in which contemporary world views, driven by the threat of climate change and our need to prevent further damage to our fragile planet, have transformed the idea of “landscape” in the visual arts. The exhibition presents the works as complex formal inventions and as statements of philosophy. They embody an evolving sense of social consciousness and its relationship to nature — a relationship in which “nature” is less permanent, less majestic and more poignantly vulnerable than ever before.

Brewster’s vast and glutted installations are composed entirely of refuse, avalanches of trash and detritus that coalesce into strangely powerful “landscapes,” sometimes large enough to dwarf the viewer. And yet, for all their looming splendor, they quickly come apart before our very eyes, revealing themselves to be artful constructions of rejected and useless materials – -the very stuff we produce and discard at a staggering rate.

Mack’s diminutive and elegant paintings — small enough to fit between the pages of a book — are as spare a suggestion of “landscape” as one could imagine. Referencing both Hudson River School coloration and the straightforward minimalism of high Modernism, these tiny paintings are resonant in their modesty and lyrical in their admission that the world no longer has room for the grand gesture, or for the wasteful notion of the artist as hero.

Elizabeth Olbert, director of the UMF Art Gallery, says UMF students will be involved at every level of the visionary exhibit’s installation. “Students get to get their hands dirty and collaborate on the curatorial process from the ground up,” said Olbert. “It’s a great learning process as they see the installation go from white gallery walls to the artist’s unique vision. It really humanizes art for the students, and besides that, it’s a lot of fun.”

Brewster’s work has been shown in galleries across the country. She has been a visiting artist at the University of Nevada, Reno and Keene State College and a resident at the UCROSS Foundation in Wyoming and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Nebraska. She received her Master of Fine Art from Bard College.

Mack has exhibited her work extensively throughout New England and across the country. She has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Colony and at Chautauqua Institution in New York and a visiting artist at colleges on both the east and west coast. She is currently a professor of painting and drawing at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. She received her MFA
from Yale University School of Art.

The gallery is located at 246 Maine St., Farmington. It is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, during the UMF academic year and by appointment. For more information, or to make special arrangements, please call 207-778-7002, or email Elizabeth Olbert, director of the UMF Art Gallery, at [email protected]

Photo Credit: Submitted photo

Photo Caption: All Along the Line, 2009, by Jennilie Brewster

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