John Bisbee: ‘Only Nails, Always Different’ in the Main Gallery

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Gallery exhibit focuses on concept, medium and craft.

One of the primary goals of the Main Gallery at PCA&D is to enrich the curriculum and challenge our students towards excellence in the classroom. We do this by showcasing the artwork of professional artists, known and respected in their fields, providing a rich visual resource for our students. This month we are pleased to present the work of sculptor John Bisbee. Bisbee has been sculpting with nails for the past thirty years; his mantra is “only nails, always different.”

Work by John Bisbee

Work by John Bisbee

Professor Jeremy Waak, who is a sculptor and chair of the Foundation Department, describes how John Bisbee’s work exemplifies some of the core curricular values at PCA&D.

“John Bisbee’s work represents a near perfect example of the unity of concept, medium and craft; a major component of our curricular philosophy at PCA&D. By concentrating on just one material, the nail, Bisbee has been able to develop a thorough understanding of the potential of that humble article well beyond just connecting them together. What could be seen, as a limitation actually becomes a path to limitless opportunities of variation. This idea is underneath almost everything we teach our students, to take what is considered the limits of the task and leverage them into the strengths of the work, the elements that represent the very reason for the work’s success. To understand how to do this takes years of practice, to pull it off, much much longer. John Bisbee has done just that.”

John Bisbee, Only nails, always different” opens this Friday, November 6th. Bisbee will speak about his life’s work at 4 p.m. in the Atrium, followed by a reception in the Main Gallery.

Bisbee received his B.F.A. from Alfred University and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Bisbee’s solo museum exhibitions include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and a mid-career retrospective at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine in 2008. His work is in numerous public and private collections including the Portland Museum of Art, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park and Microsoft Corporation. Bisbee is a recipient of a 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and has also received a Maine State Individual Artist Grant. Bisbee’s work has been reviewed in Art in America, ARTnews, Sculpture Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. He is a Professor at Bowdin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he lives and works.

“Only nails, always different” will remain in the PCA&S Main Gallery through the end of the year.