Exhibitions Archive - Exhibitions
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Eastman Johnson and Maine

This exhibition celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of one of the most significant painters of the nineteenth century. The first solo presentation of native Mainer Eastman Johnson’s work in his home state, it unites the artist’s paintings of domestic scenes, barn interiors, woodcutters, and the annual rite of maple sugaring, which collectively illuminate agrarian life in the years during and after the Civil War.

2024 Senior Exhibition

Seniors studying studio art have spent all year working on capstone projects in disciplines that include printmaking, photography, painting, and sculpture. This show serves as the culmination of their studies. An exhibition catalogue containing images, artists’ statements, and analyses of works in the show written by students in AR356 will also be available.

Playscape: Contemporary Art from the Colby Museum’s Collection

Inspired by the 2023–25 Colby College Center for the Arts and Humanities theme of play, and sourced from the Colby Museum’s collection, this exhibition invites you to consider the role of play in contemporary art. Games and art have elements in common: both depend on rituals, practices, and rules, whether passed down through generations or conceived on the spot.

Martha Diamond: Deep Time

Martha Diamond is among the most perceptive painters of the last five decades. Her work’s formal concision and painterly bravado reflect an inner dialogue with generations of abstract artists, and the results are exceptional: an inimitable handling of gesture and space that reimagines the landscape tradition while deftly sliding between abstraction and representation. Comprised of paintings, works on paper, and monotypes, this focused survey of Diamond’s career proposes “deep time” as a new way of understanding her contribution to American painting.

A Lot More Inside: Esopus Magazine

Published for fifteen years, from 2003 to 2018, and documented in a comprehensive archive held by the Colby College Libraries Special Collections, the celebrated alternative arts magazine Esopus remains “a thing of lavish, eccentric beauty.” A Lot More Inside: Esopus Magazine presents archival materials and original artworks associated with the abundant publication. It includes audio and video artifacts, photographs of studio visits and press runs, handwritten notes and diagrams, email exchanges, issue mockups, printers’ proofs, and artists’ notes, offering a behind-the-scenes vantagepoint on an innovative magazine committed to providing an unfiltered, unmediated (ad-free) experience of pure creative expression.

2023 Faculty Biennial

The 2023 Faculty Biennial features works in a diverse range of media explored by art department faculty members Bevin Engman, Gary Green, Amanda Lilleston, Audrey Shakespear, and Takahiro Suzuki.

The World Outside: Louise Nevelson at Midcentury

One of the first exhibitions to explore Louise Nevelson’s sculptures and works on paper in dialogue with their historical moment, The World Outside: Louise Nevelson at Midcentury illuminates the artist’s multidimensional command of form and attunement to postwar culture in the United States. It features more than sixty defining artworks by Nevelson, including wall works, installations, drawings, and prints.

Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change

This exhibition features works by artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) focused upon urban sites undergoing rapid transformation during the Victorian era. Despite the artist’s aversion to overtly narrative or political themes, his city subjects reveal a long-term engagement with social and economic forces. Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change invites us to consider the multivalent implication of paintings, drawings, and prints that silently witnessed the struggles of the working poor, at the same time romanticizing poverty for a rising middle-class art market.

Come Closer: Selections from the Collection, 1978–1994

Come Closer: Selections from the Collection, 1978–1994 presents artworks from the Colby Museum’s collection that explore the relationship between the personal and the political. During this period, artists reflected upon urgent current events and social issues such as gender equality, racial justice, technological advancements, sexual freedom, and the AIDS crisis. The featured artists confronted these monumental and explosive issues with tenderness and intimacy while also formally experimenting and pushing the boundaries of their mediums.

Constellations: Forming the Collection, 1973–2023

Constellations: Forming the Collection, 1973–2023 celebrates a group of significant milestones for the Colby Museum and explores three thematic, overlapping strengths of its holdings: art by self-taught practitioners, portraiture, and art that connects the natural and the spiritual worlds. It offers a window into how museum collections are formed, particularly through the participation of patrons and artists.