The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Daniel Minter

The 2018 PMA Biennial Spotlight: Daniel Minter

"I don’t want to say that Daniel’s is my favorite piece in the biennial,"  2018 PMA Biennial guest curator Nat May told the Portland Press Herald, "but I am so pleased it is centered in the show, and it warrants being at the center of the conversation of what the show is all about."

It is impossible to visit the 2018 PMA Biennial and not be struck by one of the centerpieces, Daniel Minter's A Distant Holla. Minter debuted the installation in 2016 at the Portland Abyssinian Meeting House, and its appearance in the 2018 PMA Biennial introduces the incredible work to a wider audience. The dramatic and colorful assemblage—which includes painting, carving, collage, and more—ties together themes and the story of the African-American experience in America with broader traditions within the African diaspora and Minter's personal experiences.

It tells a story so rich that viewers can get lost in it, even as they draw their own narratives and associations from the imagery. Found objects such as bottles, locks, and seashells adorn one section to the right, while spikes, hammers, and brooms hang from the center. A painting of a jar and barbed wire against a lush, impressionistic backdrop appears elsewhere. Carved figures stare directly at the viewers in one section, while a painted figure holds floating birds near her bosom in another. Above it all is a crest-shaped shelf holding rows of tin cans, some of which contain small, carved figures. It is the kind of work you can spend hours in, reading it like a book or simply savoring its aesthetics.

It's a deeply accomplished work by a local artist with a vast and impressive body of work. In addition to his teaching work at Maine College of Art and cofounding the Portland Freedom Trail (a self-guided tour of local sites that were pertinent to the abolitionist movement and underground railroad), Minter has exhibited widely throughout the country, and has illustrated 11 children's books—most notably Ellen's Broom, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor (and is available in the PMA Store).

This Friday, March 16, visitors can hear from Minter himself with a special noontime artist talk. We invite you to come explore his work, explore the 2018 PMA Biennial, and learn more about Minter's fascinating artistic practice from the artist himself.

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March 15, 2018
Brand Manager

Robert is a native of Winslow, Maine, and a graduate of Boston’s Emerson College. After spending years as a screenwriter in New York City and an arts journalist in Santa Fe, he moved back to Maine to raise a family in 2008. He currently lives in Portland’s Back Cove with his wife, who owns a business up the street from the PMA, and two young sons.