FARMINGTON — The UMF Art Gallery will start the academic year with two overlapping exhibits by local artists Tom Jessen and Nelda Warkentin. Exhibits will be on display at the UMF Art Gallery on the University of Maine at Farmington campus and are free and open to the public, according to a UMF news release.

Jessen, a Maine minimalist artist, brings new work to the gallery with an exhibition of meticulously worked panel drawings. At first appearing simple and straightforward, Jessen’s work draws viewers into increasing complexity as they explore the surfaces, discovering the artist’s process as well as surprising spatial illusions. Even though this work is mostly not site-specific, it engages the idiosyncratic architectural geometry of the gallery in subtly playful ways.

The “Tom Jessen: Drawings” exhibit is on display Sept. 10 through Oct. 11, with an opening reception set for 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10.

Warkentin, a quilter/fiber artist, creates abstracted nature-based paintings on silk that defy easy description. While the artist usually refers to herself as a quilter, her process of rich layering and stitching, expressionist color and brushwork, as well as her intense, almost cubist approach to space and form places the work well within the tradition of modernist painting.

This exhibition of Warkentin’s vibrant paintings overlaps with Jessen’s cooler minimalist drawings, inviting conversation about process, color, form and space.

The “Nelda Warkentin: Paintings” exhibit will be on display Sept. 24 through Oct. 11, with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24.

As a complement to the joint exhibition, the two artists will join in an artist’s talk, “In Conversation: Nelda Warkentin and Tom Jessen,” at the Warkentin opening reception at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24.

This UMF Art Gallery exhibition is sponsored by the Department of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry. The gallery is at 246 Main St. Gallery hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and by appointment. For more information, contact Sarah Maline at [email protected] or 778-1062.

More about the UMF Art Gallery

The UMF Art Gallery is dedicated to bringing contemporary art and artists to campus and the regional community. In its focus on innovative and challenging new work, the gallery reinforces the academic vision of the university and the Department of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry in celebrating art as a powerful agent of community and cultural identity. The gallery develops interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students and community and works with local schools to integrate art into their curricula.

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