The Union of Maine Visual Artists present "MONSTERS!"

  • September 25, 2016

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"MONSTERS!" is an invitational group show that will be held at the CTN galleries at 516 Congress Street in Portland. The opening reception is held during the First Friday Art Walk on October 7th and the show will be up until the 30th.


"Halloween is coming and we are in the thick of the election season. Monsters are afoot.


Monsters are standing front and center. They are lurking at the peripheries. They are always amongst us. We welcome many, laugh at some and fear others.


They are our creators, destroyers, protectors, tormentors and toys. The masks of leaders can disguise beasts, though beasts can be true messengers. They stand at our boundaries, express our dualities, haunt our dreams, feed our anxieties, embody our insecurities, desires and deformities.


Monsters are our dragons both good and bad, our demons new and old, our covert deviants, our morbid fascinations, our myths, politics, religions -- both real and imagined. Monsters can be hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, meltdowns, incoming comets. They are viruses, ticks, cancers, disease, plagues. They can be ideas: hidebound radicalisms, ideologies, dogmas. They can be our deadly sins: avarice, bigotry or cruelty.


For artists, monsters can be our muses. Sometimes, they are part of us. Sometimes, they are us.


From the well-intentioned sophistication of our exploits in genetics can come life saving food growable in desolate places or extinctions and dangerous mutations. The good can go bad. Medicines become poison. Defensive tools become weapons. Light can become darkness.


Art plays an important role in helping us see, be strong enough to ask the tough questions, and move us to act. Art helps us reflect on who we are, where we are going, and what we are doing as members of society, captains of culture, curators of a planet.


Art can be the moral vessel we sail to challenge selfish institutions. Art can help us turn our shapeless fears into poignant questions.


Art opens our hearts to courage and compassion, and it slips into people’s souls to change them. Monsters can be our spirit guides, our familiars, our totems. Fear, after all, can bring us together for the right reasons. It can help us find the heroic in ourselves. It can be humbling, and with humility, we can more easily laugh at ourselves. Monsters remind us that we are both the good guys and the bad guys.


We thank all the artists who submitted their art on this theme." -Daniel Kany


"We’d like to see some truly unsettling images that challenge status quos and quids. That leave the viewer awakened as if from a bad dream, with acid stomach, an eye that won't uncross. 


We'd like viewers and artists to throw down the mess. The brutal mess where we currently live. Little or no light-hearted “little bad monsters” to titter about while eating, but all out insane nightmares that churn your gorge, that make you choke.


That is where we are today! Let us see it!


We would also like to see a spread devoted to election art. Typically, this might be in the satirical cartoon mode, but political art could also be savage in another way - a subterfuge of conventional expectations, with "monsters" in the guise of Uncle Sam, perhaps with snaking striped Plastic Man arms, whose fingers make hackneyed, hypocritical mudras of peace. Like headless monsters in black suits and ties, faceless beasts who could care less about the lives they crush. Real, live monsters who live in Augusta, Washington, Albany, Hackensack. And just down the road… Political monsters in the mode of Goya, Daumier, Grosz, Beckmann, that are not only satirical but chilling in their reality. 


Though Godzilla and the Black Lagoon and the Blob and the Game of Thrones or the Hogwarts dragons are totally fair game for our Monsters issue, our initial thought was not so much the frisson of Halloween as the real bloodthirst threat of 9/11 or Bashir Al Assad, ISIS, or Vlad Putin, DJTrump, Ted Cruz, the neo-nazis, the random shooters, the NRA.  Our real down-to-earth, daily threats to existence. Political, social, religious…"  -Alan Crichton


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516 Congress Street
Portland  ME  04101