Farnsworth Launches Momentum,: New Series Provides First Solo Museum Exhibitions

Emilie Stark-Menneg in her studio

In 2024, the Farnsworth will launch Momentum—a new exhibition series dedicated to the next generation of artists with long-standing connections to Maine. Momentum will promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of art, artists, and ideas from Maine. The series will feature an artist’s first solo museum show—with Brunswick-based painter Emilie Stark-Menneg (born 1984) as the inaugural artist. An exhibition of new paintings by the artist will open at the Farnsworth on February 17, 2024 with an opening event on the 16th.

“This new and exciting series actually doubles down on what the Farnsworth has always been about,” commented Farnsworth Director Christopher J. Brownawell. “Since our founding in 1948, the Museum has launched the careers of many important American artists with ties to Maine, by mounting their first solo museum shows. In 1968, we presented Jamie Wyeth’s first exhibition, for example, and now we are giving other artists the same opportunity to boost their careers.” 

Each year, the Museum will provide an artist with their first solo museum exhibition, acquire an artwork for the permanent collection, and publish a scholarly catalog. In this way, the Farnsworth will further its mission of celebrating Maine’s role in American art by providing opportunities for contemporary artists in Maine.

“Emilie is at a critical point in her artistic practice,” said Farnsworth Chief Curator Jaime DeSimone. “She has been nurturing her figurative paintings for over a decade and credits her community in Maine as support and inspiration. It is our hope Momentum will cement her career as one of the foremost painters coming out of Maine’s rich legacy.”

For the 2024 Momentum exhibition, Stark-Menneg will create a new body of work inspired by the story of the unicorn, visible in The Unicorn Tapestries at the MET Cloisters and The Lady and the Unicorn at Musée de Cluny. Woven around 1500, these tapestries celebrate a world of wonders with the mythical unicorn at its very center. Stark-Menneg draws inspiration from this source in which her supernatural unicorns inhabit a fantastical world that transcends art history as we witness them through states of metamorphosis.

The exhibition will open with a member reception and community celebration at the Farnsworth on Friday, February 16, 2023. Members will be welcomed into the Museum at 5 pm, for a preview of the exhibition and a chance to meet the artist in the galleries.

Named by the Boston Globe as one of the finest small museums in the country, the Farnsworth Art Museum offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists. It is open year-round as the only museum dedicated solely to American and Maine-inspired art. Through its remarkable collection of more than 15,000 works, inventive exhibitions, wide-ranging intellectual resources, and energetic educational programming, visitors from around the world gain a deep appreciation of the ongoing story of Maine’s role in American art. More information about the museum may be found at www.farnsworthmuseum.org.

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