(Image “August” by Michael Shaughnessy)

An opening for Michael Shaughnessy’s work titled :3.2.7 will be held on Friday, September 20 from 5-7 pm at The Leonard R. Craig Gallery in the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts (UCCPA) at 42 Depot Street in Unity, Maine.  Admission to the event is free and refreshments will be available. The exhibition at will feature a site-specific construction on display outside of and within the gallery, and runs September 20 through November 1.

Shaughnessy has been an artist for 30 years and his work is primarily made from common hay. He has held exhibitions and installations in museums, contemporary art centers and universities across the country, including such places as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Massachusetts. In 2011, Shaughnessy received the William E. and Helen E. Thon Jurors’ Prize at the Portland Museum of Art Biennial.

Shaughnessy states: “Each work an artist creates is a relic of the individual and culture that produced it. These works are reflective of not only the artist’s expressive intent but of the larger cultural ethics, aspirations and identities out of which it comes. The artist is both reflective and anticipatory of how those things are changing and evolving. The work in the Leonard Crag Gallery, entitled 3.2.7, is a response to the changing culture and ethic relative to our place on the earth by a response to Richard Serra’s piece 4.5.6 at the Colby Museum of Art in nearby Waterville. By the material nature, the institutional context, the economies they represent and the process by which they are made there is a distinct contrast. In that much is said and reflected. Each speaks for its time, its location and how we are evolving relative to our common ground.”

Shaughnessy was raised in Kansas City and lives in Portland, Maine, and is a long-term environmental and political activist. He is active with the Sierra Club, and was a founding board member and is currently the president of the Friends of the Presumpscot River.  He has held elected office and worked as an active participant of numerous political and social change causes. Since 1987 Shaughnessy has taught drawing, design and sculpture at the University of Southern Maine.  He is entrepreneurial-minded and a constant inventor and in 2001, he developed the first national program combining art and entrepreneurial studies.

In 2012 Shaughnessy set out on a 10-week journey, taking a large hay ball for a cross-country ride on a small car to meet America. The project was titled “Wonderment: The Hay Ball’s Journey Across America”.  First exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art, the ball of hay was a fixture in Portland, Maine, and during its travels across America became a combination of performance art, sculpture and public art laced with humor and social interaction. Shaughnessy is currently writing about the adventure and the people he met along the way.

For more information, please contact Ben Potter, Professor of Art/Curator of the Leonard R. Craig Gallery at 207-948-9239 or bpotter@unity.edu.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including: its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its groundbreaking “green” innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and for being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education. Unity College has repeatedly received superior placement in the Washington Monthly magazine annual college rankings, including being named among the top baccalaureate colleges in 2013.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

Friday, September 13, 2013