'devolve' exhibit

Artist Andy Mauery’s “devolve” exhibit features crowns made of human hair stitched together with thread, with drawings of endangered and rare species in New England. The cascading piece pictured at left was inspired by the plight of right whales.

PORTSMOUTH — Artist Andy Mauery says her exhibition “devolve” is an emotional call to action on the behalf of endangered species.

The University of Maine associate art professor says she has created an ode to non-human species that people can’t seem to stop from destroying.

“I’ve been very worried about our environment. I don’t need the news to stir this up in me,” Mauery said in a recent interview with NHWeekend. “We have all of this information on how to not destroy these species, but we don’t do that.”

Mauery’s work is on display at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth starting this Friday. One of its most unique features is her incorporation of human hair.

“I picked hair because we all have it, and we have this attraction/repulse to it,” Mauery explained.

Mauery’s paternal grandmother had a beauty shop in her home and she realized from a young age that hair was a powerfully shared experience. Mauery says she is drawn to working with items that can be very personal. Her “crowning glories” in “devolve” are some of the first pieces she created. They are wearable crowns made of human hair stitched together with thread, featuring simple drawings of endangered and rare species in New England.

Visitors may also be drawn to the “North Atlantic right whales: cast the net” piece, which will cascade from the gallery’s 25-foot ceiling. It is a columnar fiber work dedicated to saving the endangered right whales.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales remaining.

Mauery, who lives in Veazie, Maine, doesn’t contend that saving non-human species is a simple equation, but thinks “we need to think about and address extinction on many levels.

There will be a free artist opening reception for “devolve” on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

The free exhibit is open through Nov. 11, at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St.

For more information, www.3Sarts.org.