News & Events

Reed Gallery presents By the Numbers by Owen Smith

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Reed Art Gallery is proud to present By the Numbers: Multiplicity, Meaning and Art by Dr. Owen F. Smith, Correll Professor of New Media at the University of Maine, from Tuesday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. The public is invited to view the exhibition throughout the show’s run and attend the Gallery Reception on Friday, Feb. 5 from 5-7 p.m., which is being held in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk. Smith will conduct an Artist Talk during the reception at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Smith is an artist, art historian, curator, writer and teacher who is interested in exploring the cultural gap between art and life. Smith is notably one of the art field’s leading scholars in the Fluxus movement—an art movement that emerged in the late 1950s by Lithuanian born artist George Maciunas.

“We are very pleased to host an artist, scholar, and educator of Smith’s stature on this campus,” Reed Gallery Director Heather Sincavage said. “In the shifting attitudes of what we value in our culture, I am interested in how Smith identifies and determines the system of values.”

The Fluxus movement advocates that art should be accessible to the masses and available for any one person to be a participant. Art is to connect people together and blur the boundary between art and life.

“Smith embodies the Fluxus ideology and will present an exhibition that is a contemporary analyzation of ourselves,” Sincavage said.

Prominent Fluxus artists are Yoko Ono, John Cage, Nam June Paik, Alison Knowles, Dick Higgins, and Allan Kaprow. Fluxus is the movement where “chance operation” was embraced and Performance Art born.

Smith has a lengthy list of accomplishments. He received his Ph.D. from University of Washington in 1991. Since then, he has received numerous awards: The University of Maine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award in 2010, the Maine Innovative Industries Initiative, MTAF Award (totaling $3.69 million) in 2009. He is the author of the prominent Fluxus book, Fluxus, The History of an Attitude and editor/essayist to many journals and exhibition catalogs.

Smith considers himself an intermedia artist. He writes, “As an intermedial artist I believe that the exploration of materials and processes of an ephemeral nature are an important and vital form of creative activity. The variety of forms in which I work are significant for me in their very nature, for they are both concrete and ephemeral. In this seeming contradiction these forms are critical for they operate as a creative conceptual form/forum and simultaneously act as a form that seeks to demystify the traditional art object and established art practices.”

He asks himself these three questions, central to the practitioners of Fluxus: “What is the relationship between the artist and the audience?, What are the materials of art?, and What are the process of manipulation/creation available to the artist?” The public is encouraged to view the Reed Gallery exhibit and see Smith’s resolution of these questions in By the Numbers: Multiplicity, Meaning and Art.

All are invited to come out to First Friday Art Walk on Feb. 5 and attend this free event. Light refreshments will be served. Please follow gallery happenings on the Reed Gallery Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ReedArtGallery.

The Reed Fine Art Gallery is newly located in the Center for Innovative Learning. Please note the gallery has newly expanded hours and is open Monday through Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The gallery is closed during University holidays. For more information about this event, please contact Sincavage at heather.sincavage@maine.edu.