Nickelson’s ‘Cosmos’ at PhoPa

Jun 14, 2018
Photo by: Jim Nickelson Jim Nickelson’s “Terra Incognita #2” is a 2018, archival pigment photographic print.

Portland — PhoPa Gallery and Maine Media have opened “Cosmos,” an exhibition featuring photographs by Jim Nickelson of Camden, to run through July 28 at PhoPa, 132 Washington Ave. There will be an opening reception Thursday, June 14, from 5 to 7 p.m.; and an artist talk Wednesday, June 27, at 5:30 p.m.

Developed from three separate projects, the images in “Cosmos” explore the way that humankind grapples with the unknown, particularly as it pertains to science and cosmology. Nickelson’s photographs are inspired by Earth’s natural rhythms and cycles, but also by the human understanding and cultural implications of these patterns. He uses photography to examine how we as humans seek to impose order on what we experience; how we explain our role in the universe via story or myth; and simply, how we try to understand the workings of the universe itself.

The photographs comprising “Cosmos” include pieces from: Adventures in Celestial Mechanics, which centers upon the full moon and the way various cultures relate to its cycles through naming conventions; Harmony of the Spheres, built from abstracted celestial objects and inspired by the idea, dominant for 2,000 years among thinkers ranging from Pythagoras to Aristotle to Plato to Kepler, that objects spin in the night sky to create celestial music in harmonious relationship with each other, the natural world and the human soul; and Terra Incognita, an exploration of imagined landscapes or worlds created using photographs of our own natural world as raw materials. Terra Incognita includes Cosmographia, Codex Natura & East of the Sun, West of the Moon, each with a distinct vision of imagined landscapes.

Nickelson works as a fine art photographer, custom digital printer and teacher; and is the author of “Fine Art Inkjet Printing,” published by Rocky Nook in 2017. Before committing himself to the photographic life, he pursued the classic artistic career path of NASA engineer and corporate attorney. He has received numerous awards including being honored as Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park, Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona and the Baer Art Center in Iceland; and has exhibited widely.

PhoPa Gallery is collaboration among photographer Jon Edwards, independent curator Bruce Brown and Maine Media Workshops + College of Rockport. PhoPa maintains a focus on Maine related works and emerging artists, and divides its schedule between showcasing works by MMW+C students, alumni and faculty; and exhibitions organized by Brown and Edwards. A percentage of all sales at PhoPa Gallery are donated to MMW+C, a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization.

Gallery hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to PhoPa is free and open to the public.

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

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