Amy Stacey Curtis was a math whiz before she became an artist, so it is only natural that she is passionate about numbers, order, patterns, and repetition. In particular, Curtis is passionate about the number 9. That’s how many solo biennials she has planned and each of her biennial exhibitions features nine installations.
Curtis’s solo biennials began in 2000 with Retrospective: Experience at the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston. That inaugural biennial was lightly attended primarily by family and friends. Since that time, Curtis’s solo biennials have become eagerly anticipated events on the Maine art scene. In 2002, she produced Movement at the former Sebago Moc mill in Westbrook. Change was staged at Fort Andross in Brunswick in 2004. Sound took place in Waterville’s Lockwood Mill, and Light was at the Sanford Mill in 2008. Now it’s time for TIME.
TIME will be open for 99 hours between October 9 and 28 in 16,000 square feet of the Pepperell Mill complex in downtown Biddeford. Curtis’s sixth solo biennial, in the words of her website, “explores our interconnectedness through nine large-in-scope interactive installations. The audience becomes part of the installations and the event as a whole, completing Curtis’s process. Many of TIME’s installations require participants’ physical touch or effect while others function through active and purposeful perception. Each installation is accompanied by instructions, an integral part of the experience. Audience is asked to manipulate, maintain, enter, detect, distinguish, recognize–challenged to contemplate time in new ways.”
I wouldn’t want to spoil the timely surprises Amy Stacey Curtis has in store for visitors to her 2010 biennial, but when I visited her in June at her home in rural Lyman she showed me a huge white crocheted blanket, 7 feet x 100 feet, that she had worked on one hour a day for an entire year. Visitors will be invited to unravel the blanket and deposit the yarn in Plexiglas box, effectively undoing a year’s worth of work and negating the time the artist spent creating it.
Another installation will take the form of 99 clear glass hourglasses. The artists will turn over the first one when she opens the exhibition. Visitors will be asked to turn over the others in succession as the show progresses, though Curtis is open to the possibility of the chaos that might ensue if participants don’t follow her directions.
TIME was in part financed by the timed drawings Curtis creates to sell in order to support her biennials. TIME won’t be around long, so mark your calendars. The show will be open 12 to 4 on October 9 and then 12 to 5 every day thereafter until October 28. If TIME were open until 5 on opening day, it would open 100 hours, and I think I mentioned that Amy Stacey Curtis is partial to 9 and multiples thereof. After she completes her ninth solo biennial in 2016, she plans to publish a book documenting all 81 (9 x 9) of her installations.
[TIME, Pepperell Mill, 2 Main St., Biddeford ME]