USM Art Galleries Gorham and Portland

Past Exhibits

Gina Adams- Its Honor is Here Pledged- Broken Treaty Quilts

August 29- December 9, 2016

 Although she is half Euro-American, Gina Adams’ art is primarily inspired by and deeply committed to the memory of her White Earth Ojibwa grandfather. The Native North American history of forced assimilation, along with the intimate process of making, drives her project of making quilts excerpting broken treaties from each of the US states. Seven quilts are featured here, including a Maine quilt referencing broken Wabanaki land claims treaties.     ItsHonorIsHerePledged Quilts

Gina Adams’ cross-media, hybrid artwork is exhibited extensively throughout the US and Europe and resides in many public and private collections. The internationally renowned art critic Lucy Lippard wrote the introduction for Adam's artwork in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Exhibition Its Honor Is Here Pledged.   This 2015 exhibition gave Adams’ Broken Treaty Quilts prominent recognition in the contemporary art world. She is currently a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow, a resident at Santa Fe Artist Institute Residency, and Faculty in Visual Arts at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.




George Longfish- Indian on Indian

October 6- December 9, 2016

Artist, educator, writer, and curator George Longfish (Seneca/Tuscarora) has been instrumental in shaping the field of contemporary Native American art for over forty years. After receiving his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1972, Longfish served as Professor in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis from 1973 to 2003. He was also Director of the Carl N. Gorman Museum from 1974 to 1996, where he helped to start the careers of Linda Lomahaftewa, James Luna, Edgar Heap of Birds, and others. He retired to South Berwick, Maine in 2004.

George Longfish discusses his work with students


Whether it is his overlay of the modern and the traditional, his skewing of past and present iconic images, or his employment of text, Longfish’s art draws on a sense of honor that allows truth to be pulled from all directions and the spirit to emerge from within the work in a way that heals the very wound it addresses. This exhibition shows the broad scope of Longfish’s career through the display of painting, prints, and other media from previous decades as well as new work. It also features several works from Longfish’s collection by younger artists he has mentored such as Gina Adams and Duane Slick. The gallery has commissioned a video interview of Longfish by one of his former students, filmmaker Asata Radcliffe. Sponsored in part by the The Warren Memorial Foundation Visiting Artist Series and the USM Gorham Cultural Affairs Committee of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.







USM | UMVA Forging Affinities

January 28 - March 6, 2016

 The University of Southern Maine Art Faculty and the Union of Maine Visual Artists teamed up to dialogue, inspire, and collaborate with each other-    

  Painting by David Schneider and Stephen Walsh       

James Flahaven/David Estey; Damir Porobic/Rachael Eastman; David Schneider/Stephen Walsh; Michael Shaughnessy/Nora Tryon/Anita Clearfield/Geoffrey Leighton; Lin Lisberger/Grace Degennaro; Rebecca Goodale/Bessie Smith Moulton/Bonnie Faulkner; Rich Wilson/Tracy Ginn; Raphael Diluzio/George Burk; Jen McDermott/Justin Levesque; Jan Piribeck/Jim Kelly; and Susan Colburn-Motta/Anne Bernard- resulting in work in a variety of media. 






Natasha Mayers- Pay Attention! It's Independence Day!

January 18 - March 24, 2016





Picturing Maine- The Way Life Was?

September 17- December 11, 2015





Todd Webb- Historian with a Camera

August 31- December 9, 2015






Constructing Identity

February 23 - May 1, 2015

Traci Molloy is a Brooklyn-based artist and social activist. 

This exhibition presents Molloy's individual and collaborative mixed media works. Her residency project features collaborations with USM students and youth from the Center for Grieving Children's Multicultural Program. 







Sculpture of fisherman ready for the beachFaculty and Alumni Invitational

January 22 - March 1, 2015

Presenting work by art faculty and alumni with whom they have each selected to exhibit. 











Poster with photos of exhibit pieces

Opposing Gestures

September 23 - December 10, 2014

Opposing Gestures is a dual site exhibition that portrays Alshaibi and Farbrook's  shared view that politics are a macrocosm of individual motion and that the expression of one person can be symbolic of society.

While political components ebb and flow throughout the theme of the exhibition, it also takes on broader subjects and erxistential questions, all depicted through individual human expression, and often integrating the viewer into the experience.






Transitions: Juried Alumni Exhibition

January 13 - March 28, 2014

Juror Virginia Sassman Rose has selected 23 paintings, drawings and prints by seven USM Art alumni from a call for submissions. Exhibiting alumni include: Nora Tryon '89, Kathi Smith '03, Jody Desjardins '03, Ellen Hodgkin '07, Michael Connor '01, Lis Janes '07. Rose is founder of the Rose Contemporary, a gallery in downtown Portland, and an art history instructor at Southern Maine Community College.




views of room from floor levelPersian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran

September 17 - December 8, 2013                            

 “Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran” includes nearly 60 photographs and two videos at the USM Art Gallery in Gorham and the Area Gallery on the USM campus in Portland. The exhibition represents the first broad survey of Iranian photography to travel to the United States, said Robert Silberman, a visiting scholar at USM from the University of Minnesota.

It was organized by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of Minnesota, and has been touring the U.S. for several years.

“Iran is a very complex society,” said Silberman, who wrote the catalog essay for the exhibition. “These photographers help reveal it.”

The images capture street scenes, family life and lifestyles, and demonstrate the sophistication and courage of the 20 artists whose work is represented, said Reza Jalali, who was born in Iran and coordinates the USM Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

-Bob Keyes, Portland Press Herald, September 30, 2013



Astrid Bowlby

Everything: Astrid Bowlby, Visiting Artist-in-Residence

January 24 - March 6, 2013

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 participatory installation invited visitors to stroll through unfurled rolls of paper filled with black ink drawings of anything visitors requested Bowlby to draw.

Zuihitsu: Look Only at the Waves 

October 24 - Decmber 9, 2012

The exhibit by smudge studio includes USM art students and features a 20 foot long wall drawing and polaroid images of Casco Bay. smudge is a Brooklyn-based collaboration between Jamie Kruse, an artist, designer and independent scholar, and Elizabeth Ellsworth, an artist and Professor of Media Studies at the New School, New York. smudge states that their work "meets sites and moments where the geologic and the human converge. We creatively respond to the complex of forces we encounter there: 
the natural, built, historic, social, strategic and the imagined."  

 While on the USM campus for a week in October as visiting artists, smudge will visit with art education and digital art classes and conduct a workshop on a Casco Bay Lines mail boat tour with art students.  Students will create material for the exhibit and "use the Portland mail boat tour as a means for locating ourselves physically in the midst of forces (natural, social, economic, temporal)." The Japanese term Zuihitsu encompasses non-linear modes such as "letting the brush lead."  The root of the word is the character "Zui," meaning: "at the mercy (of the waves)." smudge will invite students "to develop ways to both sense and 'signal' or creatively respond to 'the mercy of the waves'—the swerves in perspective, perception, understanding, sensation, attraction, imagination—that take place when we are enroute." Works of graphic design and photographs from other smudge projects will also be on display. 



unique wood block printVerge : New Work by Andrea Sulzer

September 4 - October 16, 2012

This exhibit, which includes both 2 and 3 dimensional works on paper, presents a new dialogue in Sulzer's ongoing exploration of the fragmented nature of space.

Sulzer, based in Brunswick, shows extensively in Maine; her drawings have also been shown in NewYork City, Germany, Japan, the UK and China. 







Calder - Balloons

Sampler - The USM Teaching Collection

September 27 - December 09, 2012

Works on view included prints by Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, Romare Bearden, Katherine Porter, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist and Alexander Calder(left); paintings by Wiliam Zorach, Marguerite Robichaux, USM alumni including and Alan Bray and Eric Hopkins; and innovative works in a range of media by Artists-in-Residence such as Deborah Aschheim.






MythsThe Myths

March 2, 2012 - April 14, 2012

Eight New England photographers consider how the roles of women have evolved since Eve’s “fall from grace.” Participating artists include Sharon Arnold, Bev Conway, Jesseca Ferguson, Cig Harvey, Rose Marasco, Abigail Wellman, and Amy Wilton. Curated by Heather Frederick of VoxPhotographs.




egaging insectsEngaging Insects - Artists and Scientists

September 22 - November, 10 2011

Subjects of scientific observation, sources of artistic inspiration, media for art, and unwitting collaborators – the works in this exhibition display some of the myriad ways in which artists and scientists work with insects.  From clockwork figures and embalming to genetic analysis, from scientific illustration to video manipulation, common insects are not only visually fascinating, they also raise provocative questions about our relation to the world around us. Curated by Kim Grant and Carolyn Eyler.






Turtle Television IslandTurtle/Television Island

September 24-November 10, 2010

Living on opposite shores of this continent natives call Turtle Island, James Luna, a member of the Puyoukitchum (Luiseño) tribe based in La Jolla, California, and ssipsis, a Penobscot from Maine, make art challenging notions of contemporary identity. On display are Wabanaki birch bark artifacts and Ssipsis’s objects that revive and innovate on this tradition; Luna’s photographic pairings of himself in evocative relation with ancestors and masks, video utilizing innovative storytelling formats, and objects creating humorous commentary.






February 26- April 4, 2010

SIMPARCH, an artist collective that creates experiential installations, will explore ancient iconography and sacred architecture through contemporary methods and materials.





Honour Mack HorizonHORIZON Poetics of the Post-Heroic Landscape 

September 24-November 8, 2009 

The juxtaposition of Jennilie Brewster's strangely powerful avalanches of trash and Honour Mack's elegant, diminutive paintings offer insight into the ways in which contemporary worldviews have transformed the idea of landscape





Michelle ForsythCanopy: Michelle Forsyth, Visiting Artist-in-Residence

February 24 - April 8, 2009

Favoring the formal elegance of pattern and the visceral qualities of the handmade, Forsyth's work is a reflection on the onslaught of images of suffering in contemporary life.




WorldviewsWorldviews and Molas

September 9 –November 9, 2008

The forty-five ceramic, jade, and stone artifacts in this exhibit, produced by Mayan scribes and artisans during the classic period, contain a wealth of information about Mayan ideology including religion, beliefs, and cosmic concerns. On loan from the William P. Palmer III Collection, Hudson Museum, The University of Maine.


Gideon BokAnalog: Gideon Bok, Visiting Artist-in-Residence

February 26-April 6, 2008

Gideon Bok's paintings become a dense visual tracing of the objects, pace, light, and people that inhabit the space he uses. This exhibit will feature a number of Bok's paintings and will also serve as a studio site and subject for the artist. Bok, a Maine-based painter, is represented by galleries in New York and Boston and his work can be found in numerous public and private collections.