Two artists with Bowdoin connections are among 30 artists whose works have been chosen for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work. Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga and Michael Zachary ’02 were selected from among 900 applicants for the exhibition, on view through January 5, 2014.
Scanga, a sculptor and printmaker, is perhaps best known for her environmental installations, in which printed and folded paper, often multiplied by hundreds or even thousands of nearly identical elements, conveys the presence of architecture.
For the Biennial, Scanga expands her practice in a new direction, working with Independent Casting in Philadelphia to cast a boat in bronze.
The boat itself is an imagined replica of one of the party boats she regularly saw when she lived on Portland’s Eastern Promenade.
For its debut installation at the PMA, Scanga has situated the boat within a “sea” of printed, cut and folded paper that descends from the walls and swirls around the sculpture’s base.
Rather than viewing the party boat as an object of ridicule or silliness, Scanga perceived that the form of the vessel was beautiful and rich with possibility and imbued it with the heft of bronze.
Zachary brings the uneven and contingent quality of human touch to the conventional process of mechanized image production by merging traditional picture-making modes with digital photographic processes.
His primary medium is drawing, but he uses CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, or black) pens to inscribe imagery that replicates commercial and digital printing processes and appears remarkably photographic, although his works are not strict translations of photographs.
Zachary creates drawings that are distinctly personal, such as this portrait of his friend Dave Olsen. At the same time, he builds up the image with a series of interlocking lines, creating a loose impression of a highly pixelated digital picture derived from impersonal commercial processes.
The subtitle Piece Work is derived from the exhibition’s thematic approach. It is meant to evoke the traditional labor-based notion of artisans and factory workers who are paid “by the piece,” but also to conjure the image in visitors’ minds of “one thing after another,” a seemingly endless repetition of making, passing, and making again.