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Due to predicted weather conditions, “The Myths” Opening Reception Is Rescheduled to 4-6 p.m., Thursday, March 8

The University of Southern Maine Art Gallery in Gorham will display a photography exhibit, “The Myths,” from Friday, March 2 through Wednesday, April 4. Curated by Director of VoxPhotographs Heather Frederick, the exhibit consists of 36 pieces encompassing a range of innovative and historic techniques by seven New England photographers: Sharon Arnold, Bev Conway, Jesseca Ferguson, Cig Harvey, Rose Marasco, Abigail Wellman, and Amy Wilton. An opening reception from 4-6 p.m., Thursday, March 1 will begin with a panel discussion from 4:15-5:30 p.m. on the evolving role of women as photographers and subjects. Panelists include Portland Museum of Art Senior Curator Susan Danly, who will provide opening remarks; “The Myths” exhibit curator Heather Frederick; USM Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies Rebecca Lockridge; USM Distinguished Professor Rose Marasco; and exhibiting artist Cig Harvey. The snow date for the opening reception and discussion is 4-6 p.m., Thursday, March 8. 

Exhibit curator Heather Frederick, director of VoxPhotographs located in Portland and Belfast, Maine, states, "These artists have combined their personal histories, true or fabricated, with perceived social demands of the present times." With bold photographic interpretations of what was, what is, or what might have been, these New England-based photographers collectively guarantee a journey that invites us to add our own experiences and perceptions into the mix. “The Myths” was exhibited last fall at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. 

Three of the exhibiting artists have connections to USM. USM Distinguished Professor Rose Marasco, will display four works in which she filled her private living spaces with projected images of glamorous iconic females portrayed by the media as the ideal standard. These works are from Marasco's “Interior” series, recently on view at the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, Texas. USM alumna Abigail Wellman '01 of Limerick, Maine was featured as Color Magazine's May 2011 Silver, Bronze, and Merit Award winner. Wellman's intensely colored images underscore the freedom of her female subjects. USM Artist-in-Residence Jesseca Ferguson resides in Boston but is spending much of the spring semester making work in her on-campus USM studio, teaching a class, and informally engaging with USM faculty, staff and students. Ferguson's pinhole photographs and collaged photo objects portray the female figure and other familiar objects with the odd clarity of dreams or memory.

New Hampshire based Bev Conway adds a touch of the poetic with photographs of contemporary men and women using anthotype, a historic photographic process using flower petals first developed in the 1840s. Conway has adapted this process by dying paper with onion juice, then placing the negative image onto the dried paper, then letting the sun fade the paper not protected by dark areas of the negative. When on view, the works are often shielded from fading by a dark cloth, an apt metaphor for the fragility of the human spirit.

Sharon Arnold from Bass Harbor, Maine, creates photographic narratives of central female figures in period accessories placed in disruptive environments filled with whirling cards, dice, roses, and other symbolic imagery. The work by Amy Wilton of Hope, Maine and Cig Harvey of Camden, Maine reinterpret traditional myths of gender roles in domestic life by presenting the large questions of social theatre and women's place on that stage. 

The exhibit and events are free and open to the public. The USM Art Gallery is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Closed for spring break, Sunday, March 25-Monday, April 2. For more information, contact Carolyn Eyler, director of exhibitions and programs, at University of Southern Maine Art Gallery, 207-780-5008.

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Cig Harvey, "The Pale Yellow Cadillac, Sadie, 2010, Portland, Maine" 
Chromogenic print, 28" x28"

Rose Marasco, “Interior #3” 
Digital pigment print, 2008, 43 1/5" x35"