Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Gustavo Aguilar is an experimental performer/composer/improviser, whose interdisciplinary approach to art making integrates present-composed (improvised) and past-composed (fully notated) elements with the use of new technologies and an active research interest in cultural/critical studies. As an art practitioner whose work has been called "beautiful, introspective and passionate," "thought-provoking and thoroughly fresh" Gustavo’s awareness and engagement with new and innovative forms of art operate and encompass a wide range of traditions and media that help him to blur the boundaries betwixt composer/performer and between music, art, and theatre. A Brownsville, Texas native, Gustavo has performed at major festivals throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and has given lectures and master classes at universities and symposia across the United States and abroad.
Ann Bartges earned her MFA from the Stamps School of Art & Design at University of Michigan in 2014, and her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics School of Art & Design at Alfred University in 2005. In her work, Bartges combines video projections, photography and live performance to investigate the disorienting merge of physical and simulated human presence in everyday life. Subtle narratives within her performances and installations explore relationships between memory, photography, representation, communication and the separation between self and image. Bartges' work has been exhibited in the United States, Denmark, Germany and Australia. She has been a resident artist at the Institut fur Alles Mogliche, Berlin (DE); Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris (FR); Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center, Skaelskor (DK); Threewalls, Chicago; and the Vermont Studio Center.
Jayne Decker teaches Contemporary American Theatre, Commedia dell'arte and Social and Political Theatre. An award-winning playwright and director, Jayne often chooses plays with a strong social and political context. One of her scripts, Cracked Shells, a play about domestic violence, was comissioned by Franklin County's Peace in our Families and was featured at the 2009 Maine Women's Studies Conference. Three of her latest plays, Songbird, Good Medicine and Bridge, a play dedicated to the memory of Charlie Howard, were developed in workshop productions at UMF. Her production of Bruce Graham's Coyote on a Fence was a finalist for the Moss Hart Memorial Award at the New England Theatre Conference in 2012.
Sarah fell in love with holography as a medium for art as an undergraduate at Lake Forest College. At UT Austin she explored kabuki-inspired 18th-century Japanese courtesan prints for her MA thesis, then returned to holography for her doctoral dissertation. Because there was a wonderful Japanese film series featuring Ozu and other Japanese greats at Hogg Auditorium across those years--starring Austin's local community of adorable Mexican Freetail bats flapping across the screen at critically interesting and emotionally charged moments--she became interested in the phenomenology of cinematic experience and other aspects of film theory, leading her back to the strange place of the viewer in different forms of holography and contemporary art. Sarah wants her students to explore connections across disciplines and interests. No bats required, though there are scholarly Little Brown bats on the 4th floor of Merrill happy to collaborate!
Professor Nye has worked as a graphic designer but has also maintained a studio art practice for the last 20 years. She has exhibited and screened her work in the United States as well as in Europe. She is most interested with telling stories of conflicting human desires, best intentions, beauty and futility. She uses humor, pathos and the history of image to connect to ideas that cannot be accurately described with words. She is influenced by graphic design, film, animation, music, literature and the history of art--but also by the people she meets, the neighborhoods she has lived in and the headlines she reads.
Steven Pane’s career as a pianist and conductor emerges out of his life-long interest in the interdisciplinary study and performance of music. At UMF his work often involves collaborations such as the Celestial Emporium with poet Jeff Thompson and artist Dawn Nye; Intertextualiy, Bakhtin, and Ives's Concord Sonata with Tiane Donahue; or Bach's Goldberg Variations and Stories with author Pat O'Donnell. Most recently, Pane gave the American premier of Ana-Maria Avram's Musique pour Mallarme, at Harvard and UMF in 2010, and shares Avram and her partner Iancu Dumitrescu's interest in phenomenology and music. Dr. Pane has performed at universities and in major halls throughout the country including the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Aaron Davis Hall in New York City, Davies Hall in San Francisco, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jesse Potts was born in Harrisburg, PA, but has also called NY, MT, VT, VA, MI and ME home. His sculpture and installations combine constructed and found objects, printed image, video, light, performance and sound. Kinetic and interactive components within the work link time-based functions to action and outcome. The work itself exists as the residual matter of a meditation on the relationship between time, sensory perception, culture and mortality. Jesse has been an artist in residence at the I-A-M residency, Berlin, Germany, The European Ceramic Work Centre, s’-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France. He has received grants from The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Vermont Arts council, The Kansas City Artist Coalition and VCU School of the Arts. His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and reviewed by Hyperallergic and the New York Times.