Camden Conference tie-in

Hessler/Blanco ‘Boundaries’ at CMCA

Feb 10, 2018
Photo by: Jacob Hessler Jacob Hessler’s “Dreaming of a Wall” is a 2017 photograph on aluminum.

Rockland — The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 21 Winter St., will present the exhibition “Boundaries | Richard Blanco and Jacob Bond Hessler” Saturday, Feb. 17, through May 27.

The exhibition opens in conjunction with the 2018 Camden Conference, with free admission for Camden Conference passholders throughout the weekend. A public reception for the artists will be held Sunday, Feb. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m., with a reading by poet Richard Blanco at 1:30 p.m.

“Boundaries” is a recent collaborative project between Obama presidential inaugural poet Blanco and contemporary landscape photographer Jacob Bond Hessler. Blanco’s poems and Hessler’s photographs together investigate the visible and invisible boundaries of race, gender, class and ethnicity, among others. They challenge the physical, imagined, and psychological dividing lines — both historic and current — that shadow America and perpetuate an us versus them mindset by inciting irrational fears, hate and prejudice.

In contrast to the current narrowing definition of an America with very clear-cut boundaries, Blanco and Hessler cross and erase borders. As artists, they tear down barriers to understanding by pushing boundaries and exposing them for what they truly are —fabrications for the sake of manifesting power and oppression, pitted against our hopes of indeed becoming a boundary-less nation in a boundary-less world.

"Our nation’s original motto: e pluribus unum — out of many, one — is charged with the utopian ideal that no single narrative is more important than another, and that America could and ought to someday be a nation where all narratives converge into one. In other words, a place where boundaries dissolve,” Blanco has written.

Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history, the youngest, first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve in such a role. He was born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, and the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. In 2015, the Academy of American Poets named him its first Education Ambassador. Blanco lives in Bethel.

Hessler is a fine art photographer specializing in the contemporary landscape. He is a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, Calif.; and holds an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. He lives in Camden and is represented by Dowling Walsh Gallery of Rockland.

A limited edition fine press book published by Two Ponds Press of Camden accompanies the exhibition. Current hours at CMCA are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. (closed federal holidays). Admission is $8; $6 for those older than 65 and students with ID; and free for children younger than 18 and for CMCA members.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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