UMVA Gallery Focuses on Women

  • May 22, 2023

News Release – for immediate release

Contact: Ann Tracy – 207.233.5230 or


Diverse Work Featured “In the Making” at UMVA Portland Gallery


In The Making is an exhibit that includes nine woman from Maine with diverse backgrounds and outlooks who work in a great variety of media. The collection of work in this exhibition creates a conversation about their different experiences and amplifies their voices. The exhibit runs from June 2 to June 29 2023 at the UMVA Portland Gallery, inside the Portland Media Center, 516 Congress St., Portland. An artist’s reception is set for Friday, June 2 from 5 to 8 pm at the gallery. It is free and open to the public.

Artists in the show are Cynthia Ahlstrin, Kimberly Bentley, Kaela Brennan, Kimberly Crichton, Lesley MacVane, Anne Strout, Christine Sullivan, Ann Tracy and Joyce Ellen Weinstein. An artists’ talk roundtable is scheduled for Saturday, June 10th at 2:30 pm. Gallery hours with artist docents are scheduled for Fridays from 5 to 8 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm.

Ahlstrin began to notice the amount of gratuitous violence perpetrated against female characters within each novel that she used pages from as source material for her art. Each piece invites the viewer to read selected sentences or word phrases illuminating this troubling pattern.

The essences of nature that Brennan connects with most are typically reflective of her work. She believes connecting with nature is the key to finding an understanding of the female spirit and the power that comes with that, that is so often misinterpreted or feared.

Bentley leans into Craft with her protest series and the feminist history of using Craft as a “radical protest movement”. The wide open mouths, screaming in despair and anger come from photographs of women protesting after Roe versus Wade was overturned and the confirmed placement of Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Crichton’s work reflects the power of literal STEM science, as Western science (just now catching up with ancient Indigenous ways of understanding) shows trees and plants actively, intentionally caring for other living beings through their actions that benefit not just for themselves, but improves the whole entire ecosystem around them, creating climate action and healing in this time of climate emergency.

The mother-daughter relationship is a complicated one that MacVane’s work addresses. During her pregnancy with her first child, after reading Nancy Friday’s “My Mother Myself”, a book about daughters accepting their identity as being separate from that of their mothers’, I prayed that my baby would be born a son!

Strout honors women with her work. It recognizes the dazzling accomplishments of the Jugglers and the Hoopsters. You know who you are; women who are balancing job, children, relationships, housework, food prep, finances, yard work, car maintenance…

A sense of “not knowing” comes into Sullivan’s art work, in efforts to let meaning emerge from materials, rather than beginning with a narrative, but also in honoring the urgency of Divine Feminine energy.

Tracy’s work deals with women who are thwarted by societal constructs of the past, and the current war against women, (Domestic Considerations series) who long to forge identities based on their minds and not their gender. She also concerns her work with the environmental issues surrounding art-making. “Mother Universe” is from her Small Universe series based on abstract photos of a low tech way to prevent the detritus of plastic and oil from paint brushes from polluting ground water.

Making art is her life’s work according to Weinstein. Her self-portraits, portraits of others and even a painting about going to an “opening” all focus on the life of an artist. Her self-portraits are a personal examination of self; body language, color, activity. She has been making art since she could hold a pencil. It gives her life purpose and it's a physical and mental need or compulsion.




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Ann Tracy

8 pine brae lane
rockport  ME  04856