UNE Campus Center to exhibit astronomical works by Maine artist Frances Babb

Image of a painting/sculpture hybrid by Frances Babb depicting the surface of Mars
Frances Babb. “Blue Dot Crater Mars.” Oil and paste sculpture. 2019 (detail).

A series of painting and sculptural works by Maine-based artist Frances Babb will be on display at the University of New England’s Campus Center in Biddeford from Feb. 7 to 27.

The show, “Crazed by Mars,” is a series of pieces inspired by the continuing exploration of the Red Planet. In this series, Babb endeavors to bring that sense of physical closeness to life.

Babb’s current work explores the use of texture and color to elicit a tactile sensibility and confrontational experience for both the artist and the viewing audience. Her eclectic art education orbits around several fine art disciplines including painting, dance, and theater. As a professional member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, she contributes to the ongoing collection of Mars-based art and is a devoted amateur astronomer.

Using pastes, clay, and paints, Babb says the surface of the foreign world became concrete, both during the creation process and in the viewing of the final pieces. To paraphrase the artist, “Crazed by Mars” takes fragments of Mars’ surface and concretely frames them, examining how, through their certainty and clarity, even more questions arise.

“The planet Mars has always been an emblem for fantasy, discovery, and unrecognized possibilities,” Babb said of her exhibit’s influence. “Today, it has gone from an elusive distant physicality to a place one feels they can touch or even place themselves within. This is aided by the impressive visual data being provided by NASA today following their 21 successful missions to the surface.”

"Blue Dot Crater Mars."