Sam Van Aken, 01:15:39:22, 2005, Multimedia installation, Dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

In Colby’s second annual emerging artist exhibition, currents2, installation artist and University of Maine Professor of Art Sam Van Aken creates a multimedia installation exploring his personal and artistic engagement with the 1977 Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The exhibition will be on view at the Colby College Museum of Art from November 20 through February 12, 2006.

Van Aken takes on the identity of Richard Dreyfuss’s Close Encounters character, Roy Neary. He grows sideburns, gains weight, drives a Buick station wagon, and retraces Neary’s pilgrimage to Devil’s Tower. As part of a two-year project, Van Aken recreates scenes and builds sculptural “sets” from the movie.

Mining our media-saturated culture for his subject matter, Van Aken’s art is often staged in the gap between the fictions that we perceive through the media and the reality that we experience. The project takes up issues of selfhood and appropriation, authenticity and imitation, documentary and fiction.

The museum will play host to three related events, all free and open to the public. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, November 20, at 2 p.m. in the museum lobby. On Tuesday, November 29, at 5 p.m., Van Aken will present an artist’s talk in room 154 of the Bixler Art and Music Center. On Friday, December 2, at 8 p.m. in Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Center, the museum will show the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. Download a high resolution image at: