WATERVILLE — Life and death, the nature of public selfhood and acts of seeing and expression are among themes explored in the exhibitions to be on view at the Colby College Museum of Art this spring and summer at 5600 Mayflower Hill.

The breadth of the works featured in the museum’s upcoming exhibitions advance its mission to inspire connections between art and people and to advocate for the value of art and artists in engaging with today’s most vital questions.

“Our spring exhibitions are inspired by the vision of the artists and our collection. Each functions at a different register of emotion. Each asks us to reflect on the power of art to help us see ourselves in relation to our world, and to experience physically, to sense, as a means of understanding,” said Jacqueline Terrassa, director of the museum, according to a news release from the museum.

A clip from the video “Cloudscape” by Lorna Simpson. Submitted photo

Lorna Simpson’s 7-minute video, “Cloudscape,” is the centerpiece of The Poetics of Atmosphere: Lorna Simpson’s Cloudscape and Other Works from the Collection on view Feb. 3 through April 17.

Artists have long been preoccupied with the sky, evoking the interplay of corporeality and transcendence through depictions of the atmosphere. In that tradition, Simpson’s work examines the ways that identity, specifically Black identity, is formed, perceived and experienced.

“Cloudscape” features the artist Terry Adkins, whistling as he is slowly engulfed in clouds. His seeming ability to fade evokes the ways that race and gender inform a person’s capacity, or lack thereof, to determine their desired level of public visibility.


“Untitled,” Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Submitted photo

Act of Sight: The Tsiaras Family Photography Collection, on view Feb. 10 through Aug. 14, will showcase more than 150 works by 100 photographers, revealing the breadth and depth of the Tsiaras Family Photography Collection, a gift of 500 photographs from Dr. William Tsiaras and Nancy Meyer Tsiaras, Colby alumni from the class of 1968.

The photographs in the collection capture moments of the human experience and people’s relationship to the social environment and the natural world. Works in the exhibition date from the 1880s to the present. Aspects of the installation will highlight the collection’s particular strengths in American photography of the 20th century as well as connections between images, examining formal, conceptual, and thematic relationships across photography’s many histories.

Works by primarily American photographers Ansel Adams, Clarence White, Edward Steichen, Roy DeCarava, Berenice Abbott and Edward Weston complement powerful documentary images from nearly every photographer of the Depression-era Farm Security Administration, including Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White and Arthur Rothstein as well as key figures from the Photo League and Magnum, important photographic collaboratives.

Additional areas of focus include portraiture, photographic abstraction, scientific imagery, and street photography, as well as a section dedicated to photographers who picture human-altered landscape.

The exhibition will also give special consideration to the photographs of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, who were patients and friends of Dr. Tsiaras, and will feature works by Dr. Tsiaras’s brothers, Alexander and Phillip Tsiaras, illuminating this and other aspects of a collection that was informed by an artistic family and close friendships.

“Enter the Center,” Sarah Cain. Submitted photo

Sarah Cain: hand in hand, on view March 31 through Dec. 11, will present a major new painting created on site and covering furniture and the full expanse of the Colby Museum’s William D. Adams Gallery floor; an additional group of works by the Los Angeles-based artist will also be featured as part of the installation.


Cain frequently composes at the scale of architecture and seeks out new territories for abstract art. With wit, irreverence and a vibrant palette informed by California sunshine, she works against the grain of a tradition- and history-bound medium to envision what a painting can be and how it can be encountered. In a space that functions as the gateway to the Colby Museum galleries, Cain’s exhibit will be immersive and reorienting, manifesting the synergy of togetherness — a whole greater than the sum of its parts — through diverse but unified imagery.

Andrew Wyeth, “John Olson’s Funeral.” Submitted photo

Andrew Wyeth: Life and Death, on view June 2 through Oct. 16, offers the first public presentation of a recently rediscovered series of drawings in which the artist imagined his own funeral. The exhibition connects these sketches, now known as the Funeral Group, to Wyeth’s decades-long engagement with death as an artistic subject, his personal relationships with the models depicted, and his expressive and exploratory use of drawing.

Wyeth made the Funeral Group drawings in the early 1990s, depicting his friends, neighbors and wife Betsy, surrounding a coffin at the base of Kuerner’s Hill in Chadds Ford, Penn., a site the artist long associated with death. In addition to introducing these never-before-exhibited works, the exhibition also places Wyeth in rare conversation with by other artists who also used self-portraiture to confront the mortality, including the artist’s contemporaries Andy Warhol and George Tooker, as well as later generation artists David Wojnarowicz, Janaina Tschäpe, and Mario Moore.

For museum hours and more information, visit colby.edu or email museum@colby.edu.

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