Marks and Tracks
Welcome Words – Véronique Plesch, Professor, Colby College
Welcome to Marks and Tracks, the L.C. Bates 2021 Summer Exhibition! As has been the tradition for now over a decade, the show is curated by two Colby College students. Taking our cue from the focus of the museum’s collections, we have invited artists to submit works on a theme that engages with the natural world; for instance, by exploring how the landscape has been marked by geological processes or by human presence, the ground by its inhabitants (both human and animal), and animate beings and inanimate things by time. This theme also offers an occasion for artists to reflect on their artistic practice and the ways in which they engage with their chosen materials, leaving marks that record their creative activity.
Although sadly once again virtual, this year’s show is the occasion for an exciting collaboration with the Maine Arts Journal, the official publication of the Union of Maine Visual Artists (UMVA). In synchrony with the show, MAJ’s summer issue is dedicated to Marks and Tracks and includes among its featured artists some of the exhibition’s participants. The issue offers the opportunity to many more visual artists (and poets as well), to engage with our theme. MAJ’s summer issue also includes a review of this exhibition by noted art writer Carl Little. We are delighted to be partnering with a publication that fulfills such a crucial role for the arts in the state of Maine.
Viewing the Exhibition
To view each artist’s submission alongside their statement, click on the names of the artists listed below. To return to to the gallery, click the “return to gallery” button at the bottom of the page. To view all of the works in the exhibition, scroll down below the list of artists.
To navigate the gallery, click on the images to view a larger image. Navigate between works in the gallery by clicking the arrow buttons on the right and left sides of the images. To close the gallery and return to this page, click the small X button in the upper right corner of the screen.
Marks and Tracks
Millions of years ago, the glacier left marks on the stone ledge. Trees’ core bear reminders of their growth over the years. As they move through the landscape, animals and humans (their feet or their vehicles) leave tracks on the snow and on the mud, traces of their movement. Habitations and objects display marks that are witnesses of their use and history. Our bodies too are marked by life, with scars and wrinkles, or with the voluntary mark of a tattoo. Records of an activity and perhaps more fundamentally of existence, tracks and marks are at the core of art-making, as artists too leave marks with their brushes and chisels.
List of Artists
Zoom recording of the virtual opening that took place on 8 May 2021, with remarks by Véronique Plesch, Deborah Staber, Carissa Yang, Whitney White, Alan Bray, Jeff Epstein, Natasha Mayers, and Karen Adrienne.
2021 Exhibition Curators
Whitney White ’21
Whitney White is a senior at Colby College majoring in Art History and Global Studies with a concentration in International Relations. She plans to spend time abroad teaching English before continuing her studies in the fields of Art History and Heritage Studies. While Whitney is most interested in the relationship between art and memory in twentieth-century Europe, working on the Marks and Tracks exhibition was a great opportunity to gain valuable curatorial experience and discover the work of contemporary Maine artists.
Carissa Yang ’21
Carissa Yang is a senior at Colby College where she will graduate with a degree in Psychology: Neuroscience and a Chemistry minor. She is interested in pursuing a public interest career in the legal field and advocating for underrepresented communities. An avid lover of the arts, Carissa has been a member and chair of the student advisory board for the Center for the Arts and Humanities at Colby for the past four years, and works to integrate the arts and sciences together in an interdisciplinary way. With previous experience in curatorial research at the Colby Museum of Art and marketing at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the chance to work as a curator for Marks and Tracks with the L.C. Bates Museum was an unparalleled opportunity to explore the deep relationship that artists have with nature, Maine, and the process of art-making.
Véronique Plesch is Professor of Art History at Colby College. She is the author of books and articles in several languages and on subjects that range from medieval and Renaissance art to religious theater, and from early modern graffiti to contemporary art. She was President of the International Association of Word and Image Studies from 2008 to 2017 and is currently one of the editors of the Maine Arts Journal: Union of Maine Visual Arts Quarterly. Whenever possible, she tries to collaborate with the L.C. Bates Museum, supervising the summer exhibition’s student curators and sponsoring internships. In 2020, she taught a course on the museum.