Commerating Loss Through Art in Front of City Hall


Artist Joshua Yurges in Front of His MECA Art Project

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,322)

“The direction for this project came to me through a personal family experience,” said Joshua Yurges,  earlier this week in front of Portland’s city hall where he’d just completed installing a project for college.   “It’s about the passing of loved ones and the passing of your offspring.  It’s about upholding and preserving the memory of that person,” he added.  Someone close to him suffered a miscarriage recently.

Yurges is a second year student at Maine College of Art in the former Porteous store building.  For one of his class assignments, he was instructed to locate a site on city property and  create something specifically for that location.  “I proposed to do something in front of city hall,” he said.  The process included preparing a proposal and submitting it to the city for its approval.   Ted Musgrove was his contact person with the city.

The project, which was erected over the weekend, is representative of young trees in three different colors.  Each tree in the project has a unique meanng for the artist.  The youth of the trees represents the cutting short of life itself and trying to preserve it  – by wrapping them in soft fabric. The blue trees are representive of past loved ones and the green trees represent the past children.  The one red tree memoralizes that one unborn child,” said  Yurges.  Yurges is the father of young twin daughters himself.

When he began work on the project about a month ago he had another direction for it.  The intent was to work with muted color pallettes of winter in Maine and adding an unexpected “pop” of color.  But when the family tragedy arose, the project concept changed and became much more personal for him.

While woodworking is his focus at MECA, Yurges is interested in a variety of disciplines and is exploring different directions within that discipline.  Back in 2001, he rented a farmhouse in Cushing.  As it turned out, it was next to the Bernard Langlais estate.  During that time, he became well acquainted with his internationally famous wood carvings and Langlais became an inspiration for him.

The project is expected to remain in front of city hall for at least several more weeks.  Following that, Jurges has been approached by Corey Daniels of an art gallery by the same name in Wells to reconstruct it there indefinitely.

For more information on Bernard Langlais and his connection to the City of Portland, please visit Post # 1,320, dated 3/22/13 herein.