HONORING ONE OF MAINE’S NATIVE SONS
Geri Vistein and Anne Zill have co-curated “Coyote Connections,” a group show featuring over 30 artists from Maine. Through paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs and sculptures, the subject of the coyote is invoked and presented in an exciting visual array, from the realistic to the spiritual, the figurative to the imaginative, the reverent to the evocative, the coyote and its relationship to the landscape and the people of Maine takes shape. It is a densely hung show, with something for everyone to experience.
Vistein and Zill joined forces to mount this show, and chose the coyote, as opposed to the crocodile, polar bear or tarantula, because the coyote lives in Maine. Many artists in Maine have had experiences with the animal that informed their process of creating new work for this show. Furthermore, the subject of the coyote is a bridge between the art audiences who frequent the UNE art gallery and state residents who have also encountered the animal. The curators’ shared vision was to focus on this local carnivore, and to investigate the coyote through the lens of art. Their fervent hope is to bring awareness to the need for co-existence with this creature in the Maine ecosystem, and to demonstrate the power of art in bridging art and science in their community.
Vistein is a conservation biologist whose website, “Coyote Lives in Maine,” was created “to educate our people and our leaders about coyote, and to create a place for dialogue so we can learn from each other.” Her life’s work has been devoted to science and the study of carnivores across the United States. Zill, director of the University of New England Art Gallery, has curated shows nationally and internationally for over 20 years. Their collaboration brings art and science together in a new and exciting way. For example, they asked each artist to write a reflection on their artwork in the show instead of the standard artist statement. These short pieces of prose are powerful bridges between the art, the viewer and the artist.