currents7: Elizabeth Atterbury

January 27, 2015 - June 7, 2015

Upper Jetté Galleries

For some time now artist Elizabeth Atterbury has been testing the authority and autonomy of the photographic image; she exploits its twin capacities for frankness and withholding. Indeed, many of her recent photographic prints could not be more explicitly incoherent. How far can one peel representation away from the thing it depicts without detaching it altogether? Frequently drawn to pliable but precarious materials such as paper and sand, Atterbury constructs ephemeral tableaus specifically for the purpose of recording and, in so doing, transfiguring them. For the seventh installment of the Museum’s currents series, this Portland-based artist extends her analysis of the photogenic properties of objects in new two- and three-dimensional work, creating a site-specific installation. If Atterbury’s photographs pose questions about the limits of pictorial literacy, her objects further fray distinctions between artifact, prop, model, and sculpture. Within the museum setting, these indistinctions antagonize traditional habits of museological display, documentation, and reproduction.

Elizabeth Atterbury has participated in group exhibitions at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, and KANSAS and Bodega in New York. She has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Document in Chicago, and kijidome in Boston. In the Middle, An Oasis, a monograph of her work, was published by Bodega Press in 2013. Atterbury holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She lives and works in Portland, ME.

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Exhibition review: Abraham Adams, “Three Cups Fragrance” at BODEGA, NYCArtforum, December 2014


Banner Image: Rake, 2014, Silver gelatin print, 11 x 14 inches, Image courtesy of the artist

Terry Winters: Printed Matters

February 12, 2015 - May 10, 2015

Lower Jetté Galleries

Terry Winters made his first print in 1982 and, to date, he has created more than 110 editions, including numerous multi-sheet portfolios, working with innovative fine art presses internationally. This exhibition considers Winters’s use of the printed image as a resource for experimentation, invention, and collaboration. He views prints as equal to paintings and drawings and avoids applying a hierarchy to his various modes of working. Yet the print medium is nonetheless of special significance to an artist who has long looked to the universe of printed matter for inspiration and who consistently applies ideas generated through the printmaking process to his practice as a whole. With an emphasis on recent editions, the exhibition includes the print portfolio In Blue and a closely related painting of the same title, marking the first time that they have been exhibited together. Also featured are Winters’s most recent editions, Clocks and Clouds and Atmospheres, as well as his Notebook collages, hybrid works that combine found imagery and drawing in ways that resonate with the layered compositions of his prints.

A concurrent exhibition, Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections, is drawn from the Special Collections at Colby College and is inspired by Winters’s interest in Porter’s visionary “founds,” artworks and poems gleaned from newspaper circulars, mailers, and advertisements.

Terry Winters: Printed Matters is organized in conjunction with Terry Winters Prints: 1999–2014, an exhibition at the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München to which the Colby Museum is the primary lender. A related catalogue, which includes complete descriptions of Winters’s editions since 1999, is available through Prestel. In 2002, the Colby Museum became a repository for Winters’s complete printed works. View additional information on this collection.

Related Programming

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Exhibition review: Exhibition of prints from 1999 to 2014 by Terry Winters opens at Pinakothek der Moderne, artdaily.org, December 2014


Banner Image: Terry Winters, Clocks and Clouds/1, 2013. Four color lithograph on Rives BFK paper, 36 x 46 in. Courtesy Gemini G.E.L. New York and Los Angeles, Gift of the artist, 2014.025

Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections

February 12, 2015 - May 10, 2015

Lower Jetté Galleries

A Colby College alumnus and Maine native, Bern Porter (1911–2004) began his career as a scientific researcher, but his most enduring source of creative inspiration was American mass culture after World War II. Trained in physics, Porter worked on the development of the cathode-ray tube and subsequently joined the Manhattan Project, the American research team charged with assembling the first atomic bomb. Disillusioned by the great destruction wrought by this unleashed force and motivated to make art out of the printed matter (newspaper circulars, magazine advertisements, and sweepstakes mailers) that arrived in his mailbox, or that he discovered in trashcans, Porter walked away from applied science to dedicate his life to the creation of “founds,” visual poems constructed out of cut, pasted, and torn papers. One of these works displays the appropriated phrase “Listen to this page,” capturing Porter’s indefatigable ability to ascertain the marvelous in the mundane.

Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Terry Winters: Printed Matters, Listen to this page. Works by Bern Porter from Colby College Special Collections includes a selection of the original collages that the artist published in the irreverent compilations The Book of Do’s and Here Come’s Everybody’s Don’t Book. It also features several of Porter’s uniquely prescient artist’s books, one of which, 468B (1966), consists of bound computer printouts of codes that he provocatively suggested could be deciphered for their “psycho-visual” potential. Porter composed two other books, both dated 1961 and titled Aphasia (or the loss of ability to understand or express speech), from bound newsprint whose textual and visual densities presaged the content overload that is now commonly associated with Internet culture. The artist’s book Scandinavian Summer and a travel scrapbook represent Porter’s lifelong fascination with international travel, much of it aboard cruise ships. Additional publications and a selection of the artist’s writings are also available for visitors to peruse.

Initiated following Winters’s inclusion of Porter’s work in the group exhibition Roving Signs in 2013, Listen to this page highlights the extensive holdings of Porter’s papers and related works by the Special Collections at Colby College. For information on this collection, go to The Bern Porter Collection of Contemporary Letters, housed in Colby’s Special Collections. Other collections of Porter materials can be found at Bowdoin College, The Museum of Modern Art, and UCLA. In addition, Mark Melnicove, poet, writer, and literary executor of the Porter Estate, maintains a comprehensive and evolving website dedicated to Porter’s life, art, and collaborations. Special events organized in conjunction with the exhibition include a noontime talk on March 31, a found poetry workshop on March 14, and a Community Day celebration on April 11.

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Banner Image: Bern Porter, Untitled from Here Comes Everybody's Don't Book, 1984, Collage on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in. The Bern Porter Collection, Colby College Special Collections

Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

July 11, 2015 - October 18, 2015

The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz

The 1950s saw American artist Alex Katz (b. 1927) take up and master painting directly from nature, lay claim to Abstract Expressionism’s size and scale on behalf of figurative painting, and innovate with collages and cutouts. It was a decade in which he looked to the portraiture of Édouard Manet for lessons in the relationship between figure and ground, and the one in which he met Ada, his most enduring model. Given the overwhelming popularity of painterly abstraction, this was also a period when he destroyed hundreds of canvases, and those that survived had little to no audience. This major exhibition will introduce audiences to an overlooked body of work and consider it within the context of the aesthetic commitments of the decade. Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s features sixty-five paintings, cutouts, and collages, including many on loan from the artist and major public and private collections.

Details about the exhibition tour coming soon.


Banner Image: Alez Katz, Jack’s Fancy Fruit and Veg., 1951-1952, Oil on masonite, 36 in. x 16 in., Gift of the artist, 1995.091

Whistler in the World: The Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler at the Colby College Museum of Art

September 15, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Lunder Wing, Southeast Gallery

In his “Ten O’Clock Lecture” in 1885, the American James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) presented himself as an artist set apart from the public, bearing no relation to the historical moment he lived in. However, the myth of artistic independence that Whistler developed was but one part of a complex and highly significant relationship he had with the world around him. As a painter, printmaker, designer, traveller, and performer, Whistler engaged with a variety of places, people, and ideas that stretched from the United States to London, Venice, and Japan. Drawn entirely from the renowned Lunder Collection, this comprehensive exhibition will place nearly one hundred featured art works, including the finest examples of his prints, into a dynamic international and cosmopolitan context. The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue will explore how his art and identity were impacted and shaped by the encounters he had as he traversed the global art worlds of the nineteenth century.

Related Publications

Artist feature: Ann Landi, Whistler: The Original Art StarArtnews, December 2014


Banner Image: James McNeill Whistler, Chelsea in Ice, 1864, Oil on canvas, 17 3/4 x 24 in., The Lunder Collection, 2013.293

Aesthetic Harmonies: Whistler in Context

September 17, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Lower Jetté Galleries

Aesthetic Harmonies explores the many artistic, social, and historical contexts in which we can situate the artist James McNeill Whistler. Drawing from the museum’s rich collections of European, American, and Asian art, the exhibition reexamines Whistler’s relationship to the Etching Revival in Britain, French Realism, American Impressionism, and transatlantic Aestheticism. It also places the artist’s experiments with color, form, beauty, and nature in dialogue with early American modernism, mid-twentieth-century abstraction, and contemporary art. Aesthetic Harmonies thus constructs a history of modern art through Whistler’s diverse practices, philosophies, and influences. This exhibition is curated by Associate Professor of Art Tanya Sheehan and the students in AR497 (Fall 2014); Maria Bowe ’15, Catherine Maguire ’15, Caroline Pelham ’17, Francesca Soriano ’16, Veronica Vesnaver ’15, and Marina Wells ’15.


Banner Image: Edward Steichen, Moonlight on the Narrows, 1905, Oil on canvas, The Lunder Collection, 2013.268