January 26, 2021

Gary Ambrose Sculpture Lecture Series

Maine College of Art & Design

Top left to right: Hrafnhildur Arnardottir / Shoplifter. Photo: Rio Gandara. Kori Newkirk. Photo: Sharon Suh. Dr. Paul Farber. Courtesy Monument Lab. Courtesy International Sculpture Center, Sculpture magazine. Bottom right: The Ground (detail), 2017. © Michael Jones McKean. Middle: Courtesy Gary Ambrose. Left: Janine Antoni, I touch your listening​, 2019. © Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts. Photo: Christopher Burke.

The Gary Ambrose Sculpture Lecture Series is supported by a generous gift from Dr. Edward M. Friedman ’08 and Carole J. Friedman. The series is established in honor of Sculpture Professor Emeritus Gary Ambrose, who has been an integral part of MECA’s evolution for over 30 years and who helped define and advance the Sculpture Major at MECA with great care, skill, and dedication.

The series is free and open to the public via Zoom on Monday evenings at 5pm.
Zoom link / ID: 851 2148 1527

February 8: Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardottir
Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir is one of Iceland’s leading contemporary artists, based in New York. Working with both synthetic and natural hair, her sculptures, wall murals and site-specific installations explore themes of vanity, self-image, fashion, beauty and popular myth. For Shoplifter hair is the ultimate thread that grows from our body. Hair is an original, creative fiber, a way for people to distinguish themselves as individuals, and often an art form. Humor plays a large role in her life and work, sometimes subtly, but at other times taking over. Shoplifter represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and her installation Chromo Sapiens opened at the Icelandic Pavilion in May 2019 in Venice, Italy.

March 1: Kori Newkirk
Kori Newkirk creates artwork using a poetic combination of images and objects to address issues of place, economy and politics. Born in the Bronx, raised in Cortland, New York, and based in Los Angeles, Newkirk is known for the tension he creates between the narrative weight of his materials (such as pomade, pony beads, newspaper clippings) and larger strategies of formal abstraction. Newkirk's practice opens up a dynamic conceptual space where science, history, memories and socio-economic truths freely collide with artistic practice and visual pleasure. As such his materials and technical strategies are often an uninhibited combination of the traditional and unusual. Newkirk was the subject of a ten-year survey exhibition entitled K_o_r_i_ _N_e_w_k_i_r_k_ _1_9_9_7_–2_0_0_7_ _at the Studio Museum in Harlem, which traveled to the Pasadena Museum of California Art. In 2006 Newkirk was included in the Whitney Biennial as well as the Dakar Biennale. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

March 8: Monument Lab—Dr. Paul Farber
This lecture is co-presented with the Portland Society for Architecture, Maine Section of BSLA, and AIA Maine

Paul M. Farber is Director of Monument Lab. He also serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania. Farber's research and curatorial projects explore transnational urban history, cultural memory, and creative approaches to civic engagement. Farber is author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall. He is also co-editor with Ken Lum of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2019), a public art and history handbook designed to generate new critical ways of thinking about and building monuments. He also currently serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design.

Farber’s Monument Lab is the inaugural grantee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Monuments Project,” a 250 million USD initiative aims to “transform the way our country’s histories are told in public spaces, including Monument Lab’s National Monument Audit and the opening of research field offices throughout the country. Farber was included on Dell's inaugural #Inspire 100 list, a group of "world changers" who use technology to empower social change. Farber earned a PhD and MA in American Culture from the University of Michigan and a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

March 15: Johannah Hutchinson, Executive Director of the International Sculpture Center (ISC)
Johannah Hutchinson brings an arts background and over 25 years of business and non-profit sector experience to her role as the Executive Director of the International Sculpture Center (ISC). Hutchison joined the ISC in 2004 and set to bringing the organization into an environment of increased stability to be able to support the sculpture community. Hutchison forges alliances with working sculptors, students, and diverse arts organizations to increase community and engage artists and arts professionals in a dialogue to advance the art form and grow the ISC’s alliances with other arts organizations, forge strategic partnerships, and expand the support system for sculptors internationally. Johannah is a connector, collaborator and community leader dedicated to expanding the network for anyone interested in sculpture.

March 22: Michael Jones McKean
Michael Jones McKean’s (b. Micronesia, lives/works US and France) work explores the nature of objects in relation to folklore, technology, anthropology, and mysticism. His work engages an interest in deep time, timescales and their collapse, in the process decentering anthropocentric registrations of events, distances and meaning. Through his working process he challenges stable definitions such as real and replica, natural and synthetic, past and future, employing media as diverse as ancient meteorites, primitive textiles, of the moment technologies, raw clay, psychotropic medicines, and prismatic rainbows. Michael Jones McKean is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship. McKean’s work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. McKean has taught in VCU’s Sculpture + Extended Media Department since 2006.

April 8: Gary Ambrose, lecture on Sculpture and Color: Logical, Poetic and Contradictory
Ambrose is a Professor Emeritus at Maine College of Art and hold a BFA in Sculpture and BA in Psychology from The University of New Hampshire, where he studied color theory with John Jagel, a minimalist painter who had directly studied with Joseph Albers at Yale University. Those color studies created an experiential learning environment that is part of his life and practice today. Maine has provided opportunities for Gary to discover a more direct connection between observation, form selection, and intellectual content that is fresh and immediate. Ambrose work has been included in exhibitions at Bowdoin College, The College of The Atlantic, The University of New Hampshire, The Farsnworth Museum, and The International Sculpture Center in Hamilton, New Jersey. Ambrose is a recipient of a NYNEX Grant for Excellence in Teaching.

April 19: Janine Antoni
Janine Antoni is a visual artist who was born in Freeport, Bahamas in 1964. She received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is known for her unusual processes. Her body is both her tool for making and the source from which her meaning arises. Antoni’s early work transformed materials like chocolate and soap and used everyday activities like bathing, eating, and sleeping as sculptural processes. She carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality speaks directly to the viewer’s body.

Antoni has been featured in numerous international biennials including documenta14, the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, the Johannesburg Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, the Kwangju Biennial, the Prospect.1 Biennial in New Orleans and the SITE Santa Fe Biennial. Antoni is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1998), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award (2011), Creative Capital Grant (2012), and Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2014). Her most recent major exhibition, I am fertile ground, was presented at The Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn, NY in 2019. Antoni currently resides in New York and is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco.

For more information, please contact Joshua Reiman, Associate Professor of the MFA in Studio Art + Sculpture Program Chair. jreiman [​at​]

Maine College of Art Sculpture Faculty
Ling-Wen Tsai, Professor of Sculpture + MFA in Studio Art + Foundations
Joshua Reiman, Associate Professor of the MFA in Studio Art + Sculpture, Program Chair
Benjamin Spalding, Visiting Assistant Professor in Foundations + Sculpture
Brian Smith, Adjunct Professor in Foundations & Sculpture Program Technician
Gary Ambrose, Professor Emeritus
John Ventimiglia, Professor Emeritus

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