Opening Friday, Sept. 13, and showing through Saturday, Dec. 14, are the exhibitions “Redefining The Multiple: 13 Japanese Printmakers” and “Selections from Berenice Abbott’s ‘Portrait of Maine.’ “

Hideki Kimura, whose work is represented in the print show and who co-curated it with Sam Yates, director of the University of Tennessee’s Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture, where the show originated, will discuss the exhibition at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the museum. A reception will follow.

The Abbott images were published in her 1968 book “A Portrait of Maine,” and the original photographs in “Selections” were acquired for the Bates museum’s permanent collection from 2005 to 2007.

The exhibitions mark the reopening of the Bates College Museum of Art following a summer spent installing a new, state-of-the-art LED lighting system designed to both reduce the museum’s environmental footprint and improve the museum viewing experience for visitors.

The museum is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 7 p.m. Wednesdays during the academic year. For more information, call 207-786-6158.

Redefining the Multiple

The adventurous printmakers in “Redefining The Multiple” expand traditional concepts of what printmaking is and what form a print or multiple may take.

They explore a wide array of imagery and forms through contemporary and historic techniques and media.

“The 13 featured printmakers could more accurately be described as artists who make multiples — that is, images or objects like Nobuaki Onishi’s cast-resin shovel, capable of being reproduced time and again,” wrote Heather Joyner Spica in a February 2012 issue of the Metro Pulse in Knoxville, Tenn. Viewers “should be seriously awed by at least some of what’s presented.”

Media represented in the show include etching, aquatint, monotype, screen printing, photographic processes, woodcut, three-dimensional work in felt, cast resin and video.

For example, Kimura, professor of art at Kyoto (Japan) City University of Arts, creates monotypes that investigate translucence and opacity by squeegeeing acrylic onto glass, notes Bates museum director Dan Mills.

“Marie Yoshiki creates delicate-low relief objects by printing countless layers of silkscreen ink until the ink itself becomes a distinct physical form,” Mills said. “Saori Miyake experiments with photograms and emulsion to create gelatin silver prints that address the experience of young girls growing up in contemporary Japan.”

Also showing in “Redefining the Multiple” are Junji Amano, Kouseki Ono, Koichi Kiyono, Shuji Chiaki, Toshinao Yoshioka, Shunsuke Kano, Naruki Oshima, Nobauki Onishi, Shoji Miyamoto and Arata Nojima.

Selections from Berenice Abbott’s ‘Portrait of Maine’

“The museum acquired the Abbott images because they are a terrific piece of a document of Maine by one of America’s foremost 20th-century photographers,” said museum curator William Low. “They also complement our collection with its core of works by Marsden Hartley and his Modernist contemporaries.”

Abbott (1898-1991) is well-known for her portraits of artists and intellectuals in Paris in the 1920s, her iconic photographs of New York City from the 1930s and her pioneering scientific photography of the 1940s and ’50s.

Among her projects was the documentation, in the early 1950s, of the entire length of U.S. Route 1, spanning some 2,370 miles from Key West, Fla., to Fort Kent, Maine. This adventure introduced Abbott to Maine, a state that so captivated her that she moved to the small town of Monson in the 1960s.

Abbott went on to create a significant body of work documenting life in her new home state. “A Portrait of Maine,” on which she collaborated with writer, artist and friend Chenoweth Hall, was her final book and comprises photographs from across the state in Abbott’s signature documentary style.

While “Portrait” was organized into themes of nature, work, play and towns, the Bates exhibition focuses on work, specifically logging in the mid-1960s, as the industry was entering a major period of change driven by technological advances and environmental concerns.

In particular, the practice of using rivers to transport timber was entering its final years as Abbott was making these images. While lumbering remains an important part of Maine’s economy, nowadays “it’s hard for us to imagine the scale of the drives that moved logs by river to the mills and ports, a practice that ended in 1976,” said Low.


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