New Ideas (and Old Trash) at This Year’s CMCA Biennial

Now in its twenty-third year, the exhibition is new executive director and chief curator Timothy Peterson's first.

Big Box, by Mariah Reading
Mariah Reading’s pieces, like Big Box, include paintings on found trash and landscape photos of those works. Photo courtesy of Mariah Reading.
By Will Grunewald
From our March 2023 issue

Granted, the Biennial at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art has always been about showcasing what’s new, but the state’s longest-running juried exhibition is especially brand spanking this time around. It’s the first Biennial under executive director and chief curator Timothy Peterson, and new selection criteria gave preference to artists who didn’t play a part in the prior Biennial. Of 432 applicants, 35 Maine-based or Maine-connected artists were selected by independent jurors, and only one of those appeared in the 2020 Biennial (this year’s show, which opened in January, teetered into triennial territory after the pandemic pushed back exhibition schedules).

As ever, the Biennial is a multimedia affair, with works ranging from painting to film to textile, but a distinct emphasis on sculpture and installation grew out of the submission pool and selection process this year, featuring quite a bit of recycled and repurposed material, like used wooden furniture and discarded commercial fishing gear. Even what’s old can be new again. 

Through May 7. 21 Winter St., Rockland. 207-701-5005.