PORTLAND — Local artists Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi and Judith Schneider, members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists Gallery, opened their show at the Portland Media Center, 516 Congress Street, Portland on Friday. The show runs September 6 through September 28, with Opening First Friday, September 6, from 5 – 8 p.m. Following that, hours will be: Monday: Noon – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday-Sunday: 1  – 4 p.m.

Visible Discourse is an exhibition that celebrates Maine’s natural and diverse environment; the wildlife, woodlands, lakes and ocean that draw visitors to Maine from around the globe. This exhibition is a collaborative installation by four artists living in Oxford County: Diana Arcadipone, Don Best, Nikki Millonzi, and Judith Schneider. Four distinct voices visually explore their surroundings and collectively celebrate the beauty of Maine.

These artists share works inspired by the magic and collective energies of the Oxford Hills, an area with a rich visual and performing arts culture. One well known artist claims the local art springs from “something in the water.” The juxtaposition of this work celebrates the beauty of Maine and offers a poetic contrast and respite from the historic vitality of urban Portland. Through this presentation of work, the artists hope to advocate for the need to preserve the natural beauty that exists throughout Maine as well as help the viewer perceive new ways to “make sense of things”.

Judy Schneider

Nikki Millonzi

 

Diana Arcadipone

Don Best

Diana Arcadipone creates artworks on and of paper. Her passion for making art with natural materials and mixed media emerged from an early devotion to traditional craft techniques such as papermaking, book arts, basketry, and textiles. Trained as a painter and printmaker, Arcadipone’s work is informed by primitive art, folk art, traveling, and the natural world; it is the intersection of these influences that defines her work.

Don Best works mainly in wood. He carves, paints, assembles, burns, and hand colors his work, which often uses animals as its subject and theme. Much of Best’s recent work has been reliefs, which give him the opportunity to use his drawing, painting, and sculpture skills to create engaging narratives. Shadow boxes become stages for his carved animals. Best’s work has a playful quality that makes it accessible to people of all ages.

For Nikki Millonzi, nature, the arts and the world around her all help her to make sense of things. She loves and cherishes the natural world so political activism is important to her. This year Nikki felt an increasing need to express the interconnectedness of life on this planet. Using newspaper and ink, her installation We Are All In This Together helps us resonate with this underlying unity.

Judy Schneider investigates place and memory through the physical properties of landscape. By collecting and analyzing nature – dissecting it by color, form and line and then reassembling it, she finds meaning. Scale, density and layering are important. How the images find their natural edge and how memories form present a nice duality. She is in pursuit of what is physically present, woven with memory, dreams and how the energy of “place” is conveyed.

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