Biddeford Art Gallery presents 'Of and About the Road: The Automobile in History, Society, and the Environment'

Watercolor painting of a car zooming down a road at night
Philip Brou, “August 25, 2022.” Watercolor on paper, 10x5.625", 2022.

The University of New England Art Gallery at the Ketchum Library in Biddeford is pleased to present “Of and About the Road: The Automobile in History, Society, and the Environment,” opening Friday, Jan. 13.

Co-curated with multimedia assemblage artist Dan Dowd, the exhibit will look at the automobile as a source of creative energy for artists, as well as its historical and ongoing role in society and in the environment.

Inspired by the legacy and culture of SAAB, Dowd has assembled a group of artists whose work presents an expanded view of how we see and relate to cars in our lives. Artists featured in the exhibit include Philip Brou, Jamie Chan, Jarid del Deo, Dan Dowd, John Fireman, Abdi Nor Iftin, and Randy Regier.

“Cars have always been more than just transportation to me,” explained Dowd. “As a child, I would ride in the backseat of our station wagon with my brother and sister, and we would try to identify every car that we passed.”

Dowd described his particular affinity for SAAB vehicles, with fond memories of looking at them with his grandfather and brother during the ’60s and ’70s, and later working as an employee at a SAAB dealership.

With SAAB as a starting point, the exhibit expands upon this fascination with cars, including work that plumbs the imagery of the vehicle and related infrastructure in sculpture, film, assemblage, drawing, and painting.

“I've been driving SAAB vehicles solely since 1991, and I am intrigued by and fascinated with the loyalty SAAB drivers have and the community these cars create,” Dowd remarked.

“Of and About the Road” will be open Jan. 13 to April 7 at the Jack S. Ketchum Library on UNE’s Biddeford Campus. The library is located at 11 Hills Beach Road, Biddeford, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at the gallery on Friday, Jan. 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Gallery Director Hilary Irons at

Masks are optional indoors on UNE’s campuses. For UNE’s latest COVID-19 protocols, visit the UNE Onward website. Philip Brou would like to thank Maine College of Art & Design for supporting this work through the Hildreth Fund for Faculty Development.