In July, Maine artist Anna Hepler constructed a monumental installation inside the Portland Museum of Art
s Great Hall. Made from a nest-like mesh of salvaged and sewn sheet plastic, this installation entitled The Great Haul is part of an exhibition of Heplers work that continues on the Museums fourth floor. Anna Hepler: Makeshift, on view July 24 through October 17, 2010, also includes 20 prints and a related inflatable sculpture. This is Heplers first solo exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art, and is the first in a new series of exhibitions called Circa that explores compelling aspects of contemporary art in the state of Maine.
The Great Haul installation takes advantage of the architectural eccentricities of the Museums expansive entry space. Layers of latticed plastic hang from the clerestory, 22 feet above the floor, and extend downward nearly to the ground, drawing attention to the geometric volume of the space and the effects of outdoor light on the translucency of plastic.
On the Museums fourth floor, Hepler will exhibit a second installation made from re-purposed plastic along with a series of cyanotypes (blue prints) and drypoint prints. These prints combine photographic and traditional print-making techniques with imagery that relates to her three-dimensional installations. Like her sculptural pieces, the forms pictured in these prints are semi-transparent and defined by light.
Hepler has lived in Maine for eight years and exhibited widely throughout the country. She has taught at Maine College of Art in Portland and at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. She recently completed large-scale installations at Open Satellite in Bellevue, Washington, Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, and at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport. She also has solo shows planned for 2010 at the Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York and at Icon Contemporary Art in Brunswick, Maine.
The Museum plans to showcase two Circa exhibitions per year featuring the work of living artists from Maine and beyond, in both group and solo formats. Also in the Circa 2010 series is False Documents and Other Illusions, on view October 30 through January 2, 2011. This exhibition explores the myriad of ways in which contemporary artists approach the practice of trompe loeil or to fool the eye through a high degree of realism. It runs in conjunction with John Haberle: American Master of Illusion, an exhibition of traditional 19th-century trompe loeil paintings on view September 18 through December 12, 2010.
Circa is a series of exhibitions featuring the work of living artists from Maine and beyond.