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USM Alumna Astrid Bowlby Installation to Open January 24 in Gorham

Astrid Bowlby at work in USM Art Gallery

Astrid Bowlby, USM’s current Artist-in-Residence, is currently working on “EVERYTHING,” a drawing installation that will open to the public in USM’s Gorham campus Art Gallery on Thursday, January 24 and run through Wednesday, March 6. The installation reception will take place from 2-4 p.m., Saturday, February 2 (snow date: 2-4 p.m., Saturday, February 9), and will feature a gallery talk by the artist at 3 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public. Art Gallery hours are noon-4 p.m., Tuesdays-Sundays, but closes for winter break Monday-Sunday, February 18-24.

Bowlby also will present a free public lecture at 1 p.m., Friday, February 1 (snow date: 1 p.m., February 8) in Burnham Lounge, Robie Andrews Hall on the Gorham campus.

This participatory installation invites visitors to stroll through unfurled rolls of paper filled with black ink drawings of paper clips, chewed gum, balloons, flowers, and everything else visitors request Bowlby to draw. She will be in the gallery on Sundays from noon-4 p.m., and by chance or appointment, fulfilling written requests for drawings that visitors leave in a fishbowl.

For over a decade, Bowlby has steadily gained recognition for her room-sized fantasy landscapes composed of thousands of hand-cut, simplified ink drawings on paper. This exhibition as part of USM’s Artist-in-Residence program, a program designed to foster artistic experimentation, represents several significant shifts for the artist.

This is the first time Bowlby has incorporated her presence as part of her exhibit; has designed an exhibition to evolve throughout its duration; and is drawing upon the suggestions from others. This latter development, already begun with gallery interns developing lists of objects to be drawn, has necessitated different approaches to creating imagery other than from her familiar mental stockpile. The incorporation of other sources such as actual things and web pictures will still carry Bowlby's signature black squiggly lines that hover between recognizable content and bold pattern.

Originally from Maine, Bowlby received her B.F.A. from USM and her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where she is currently a visiting critic and represented by Gallery Joe. Bowlby has shown extensively in Maine, including Portland Museum of Art, as well as around the country and abroad. Recent exhibitions include “VOLTA,” Basel, Switzerland; “Vacationland,” Bogart Salon, Brooklyn, NY; and “Calm, Cool, Collected,” Danese, New York, N.Y. Bowlby is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and numerous other awards. Her work is included in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library, among others.