Some Reliable Truths About Chairs


UMVA Gallery

516 Congress Street, Portland, ME.

October 5 - November 3, 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, October 5, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Free and Open to the Public

Chairs have the ability to convey meaning. They are defined in relation to their function and the human form. They have purpose. They position us and secure us. They have the ability to signify status and self expression. They are a sum of parts (legs, back, seat) and can intimate the human form. They are honest, as are the works of art presented here. They are singular and universal. They are celebrated here in the form of art for their absolute truth.

Some Reliable Truths About Chairs was conceived by artist and independent curator Janice L  Moore who followed her own chair obsession. She saw an opportunity to create this juried exhibit and include the viewpoints of many Maine artists. Robyn Holman, retired art curator for the Atrium Art Gallery at USM's Lewiston Campus served as a guest juror with Moore for this exhibit which reflects a diversity of artistic perspective on a seemingly simple subject. Most artists have used a chair as subject at one time, and some have built entire bodies of work around them. The range and depth in the exhibition illustrates that what seems simple rarely is.

From October 5 - November 3, 2018, the UMVA Gallery presented this exhibition of paintings, photographs, prints, and sculpture by 29 Maine artists including:  

Mark Barnette, Dave Berrang, Stephanie Berry, Andrew Chulyk, Jonathan Crowe, Matt Demers, Harold Garde, John P. Gardiner, Gregg Harper, Pamela Hetherly, Rabee Kiwan, Lesley MacVane, Natasha Mayers, Allison McKeen, Janice L. Moore, Keri Moskowitz, Jean Noon, Lauren O’Neal, Duane Paluska, Alison Rector, John Ripton, Celeste Roberge, Claire Seidl, Greg Shattenberg, Anne Strout, Barbara Sullivan, Ann Tracy, Dave Wade & Mark Wethli

Curator Statement

Some Reliable Truths About Chairs evolved from a simple premise: This is an exhibit I wanted to see and one that I could make happen. Being a member of the Union of Maine Visual Artists allows independent curators like me the opportunity and the space to pursue our ideas around art.

There is something straightforward and honest about a chair. There is also something very human about them. They can feel like stand ins for portraiture: arms, legs, back, seat. They have purpose and function. Most artists have used a chair as subject at one time, and some of us have built entire bodies of work around them. 

I have always depended on art to be a reliable truth. It’s essential now maybe more than ever that we celebrate what is real about us. 

The UMVA is an egalitarian nonprofit organization that’s been in existence since 1975. It’s open to all Maine artists and art lovers. The Portland chapter meets monthly at this site. 

Robyn Holman, retired art curator, Atrium Art Gallery at USM's Lewiston Campus, served as a guest juror with me for this exhibit. Special thanks to her for her ongoing mentorship, as well as Carl Little, Dan Kany, Robyn, and Rob Shetterly, for their chair art and artist recommendations; to Keri Moskowitz for helping me stay upright and pointed in the right direction with my art practice; to Dave Wade for photographing this and almost every other Maine art event; to Nanci Kahn and Ted Arnold for their assistance hanging the exhibit; to the Portland Media Center for allowing a space where the UMVA Gallery can live; and to all UMVA members who spend their time and energy in pursuit of an honest endeavor. I am grateful to all of you for your shared passion and to my family especially who help me realize my own creative obsessions

Janice L. Moore

Independent Curator for Some Reliable Truths About Chairs


Copyright © 2019 Janice L. Moore