‘WEDDING PARTY’ By Madeleine de Sinéty, at the Portland Museum of Art September 24 through December 18.
The fall months of 2011 have much to share for contemporary art lovers. Expanding on the year's most prominent theme, the Maine Drawing Project wraps up a fine year of line-based exhibits at various locales around the state, including Reese Inman's fantastic "Burn Drawings" at the CENTER FOR MAINE CONTEMPORARY ART in Rockport. Inman's take on the theme is slightly less conventional than most: she creates her drawings by removing lines and layers — not adding them — "burning" through her canvases and digital prints to create images of stripped layers and edited content, as if internally frayed or corroded. Inman's show is ultramodern and thoughtful, offering new perspectives on the modern mechanisms of digital editing and remixing that the drawing form normally cannot access, but see it soon: It's only up until September 25.
While the Maine Drawing Project's schedule has kept to institutions and large galleries, several smaller galleries have offered terrific satellite shows. JUNE FITZPATRICK's showrooms have exhibited line-based works all year. Visit 112 High St. to see fine work by Emily Nelligan, the reclusive Cranberry Island draughtswoman doing atmospheric nightscapes, or the Fitzpatrick Gallery at MECA to see work by sculptor Robin Mandel, eco-printmaker Susan Groce, abstracted charcoal drawings by Ken Greenleaf, and the singular young Portlander Kimberly Convery.
It may be the year of the drawing, but as 2011 draws to a close, several key photography shows are cropping up. The PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART prepares "Madeleine de Sinéty: Photographs," a retrospective of lurid, visceral images found by the Rangeley photographer from her travels in agricultural communities in rural Maine, Uganda, and her home country of France (opening September 24 and running through December 18). Among other notable career retrospectives is "Fotografias de Mexico," a selection of images of cultural Mexican life from the 80-year career of Manuel Alvarez Bravo (at BATES COLLEGE through October 29), and the BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART show from a Detroit photographer who explored the details of mid-century urban environment and artifact, titled "After Atget: Todd Webb Photographs New York and Paris," opening October 28. At other institutions, photography exhibits take a turn toward the tech-savvy ("Mobile You," a submission-based multimedia exhibit on the theme of "Daytripping" at the SALT INSTITUTE FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES, opening in early October), the traumatic (UNE—PORTLAND's "Faces of War," photographs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by the noted photo-essayist Gerald Robinov), and the futuristic ("We Are the Camera," a showcase of advanced digital photography at Camden's Maine Media Gallery through September 30).
While the first chapter of the "Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection" of contemporary art at the PMA shows drawings and painterly works by influential artists Will Barnet and Richard Tuttle, the second chapter, opening November 4, should be even more provocative and interesting, showing postminimalist structures and conceptual works by American heavyweights Sol Lewitt, Pat Steir, and Lynda Benglis.