Past Exhibitions - Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions

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A Lot More Inside: Esopus Magazine

February 15 - May 12, 2024

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.

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Playscape: Contemporary Art from the Colby Museum’s Collection

January 17 - April 22, 2024

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.

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Bill Morrison: Cycles & Loops

August 18 - December 31, 2023

At the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, Downtown Waterville

One of the most accomplished experimental filmmakers working today, Bill Morrison finds and redeploys lesser-known and forgotten moments from film history. He is deeply interested in celluloid as a physical, fragile material; the 35mm nitrate film he finds in archives and transfers to video is notorious for its extreme flammability, and tendency to decay. Morrison’s work thus operates between documentary and preservation. Given the predisposition to entropy of his physical sources, the films are a demonstration of faith in what is otherwise feared, and certainly doomed to perish.

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2023 Faculty Biennial

November 9 - December 10, 2023

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.

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Come Closer: Selections from the Collection, 1978–1994

July 8 - November 26, 2023

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.

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Constellations: Forming the Collection, 1973–2023

July 8 - November 26, 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.

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Whistler: Streetscapes, Urban Change

June 3 - October 22, 2023

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.

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Ashley Bryan / Paula Wilson: Take the World into Your Arms

February 17 - July 31, 2023

At the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, Downtown Waterville

This exhibition brings together two extraordinary artists, Ashley Bryan (1923–2022) and Paula Wilson (b. 1975), whose passionate and open embrace of the world unites their multifaceted creative endeavors. Through their art they channel the beauty and spirituality to be found in humanity and nature, using texture, color, and light to convey magical lyricism.

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All in One: Selections from the Alex Katz Foundation Collection

September 20, 2022 - June 11, 2023

In recent decades, Alex Katz has expanded his support of visual artists through the work of the Alex Katz Foundation, which has placed nearly 500 outstanding artworks with the Colby College Museum of Art. This installation of the Katz Foundation Collection explores the idea of visual polyphony. On view are artworks that experiment with opposing formal elements that create unexpected unities; richly material gestures that produce multisensory, bodily experiences; and explorations of dancers and choreography that put patterns of movement into action.

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Time and Tide Flow Wide: The Collection in Context, 1959–1973

September 27, 2022 - June 11, 2023

This exhibition considers the early history of the Colby College Museum of Art, from its founding in 1959 up to 1973, the year the museum opened the Jetté Galleries, the first of five museum expansions. As a vision took shape for this teaching museum, the ambitions of those early years established the focus and direction for the collection.

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