Archive for the “Exhibition Reviews” Category

By Kaleigh Rusgrove, PRC Intern

Paolo Ventura, “Behind the Walls 2,” photograph; Courtesy of the Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston

(Work from Ventura’s series Behind the Walls was recently featured at the Barbara Krakow Gallery in Boston (September 10 – October 9, 2014). Behind the Walls is also the subject and title of a book published by Aperture. Ventura is currently showing his series The Infinite City at Atlas Gallery in London.)

Viewing Paolo Ventura’s first Boston show, Behind the Walls, is much like getting lost in a great story. It is easy to find yourself standing in front of the prints and imaging that the wall may open up and you might join Ventura in this mystifying created world. Standing in the small side room of the Barbara Krakow gallery, I found myself enthralled by these images of a place that seemed familiar and unknown all at once. Ventura’s work is inspiring on many levels, not only because of his gift as a visual narrator but also because of his incredible attention to detail. In Behind the Walls, Ventura has truly mastered his craft in creating miniatures and false realities.

Italian native Paolo Ventura began his career in the 1990’s after studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Ventura worked in Italy as a fashion photographer for many years before deciding to move to New York City. It was there that Ventura began making miniatures, staging dolls inside of them, and photographing the created sets. In his first series (War Souvenir, Winter Stories, The Automaton), Ventura worked primarily with dolls as subjects. Now skilled in his practice, Ventura has entered into his own world and is the main character in his newest story, Behind the Walls.

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By Kati Blair Kotrc, Ed.M.
Director of Education, Communications, and Development
VSA Massachusetts

Inclusion is an imperative for the health of all cultural organizations. Not only do the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state regulations legally mandate including people with disabilities, it also makes good business sense. 11% of the population in Massachusetts are people with disabilities, 13% are over 65 and experiencing the loss of vision, hearing and mobility associated with aging. Add to that the family and friends that they travel with and you have a sizable potential audience. Furthermore, whatever is done to address the particular needs of an individual or group typically improves the experience for everyone. Who hasn’t rolled a suitcase over a curb cut intended to provide access to the sidewalk for someone using a wheelchair? Similarly, once a large print guide is created it often becomes more popular than the standard print version because everyone can use it easily. Any organization that isn’t deliberately designing for access and inclusion is likely coming up short.

By providing audio descriptions of visual information, organizations create access points for visitors who are blind or have low vision, but can also deepen the engagement of sighted visitors. See for yourself by listening to or reading the descriptions of Gordon Sasaki’s NY Portraits featuring New York artists, musicians, writers, dancers and actors with disabilities.

Diana – Actor/Model. Audio description text: This close up is a head and shoulders shot of an attractive woman, appearing to be in her 30’s. Her dark full hair, looking slightly wind blown, hangs to her bare shoulders. She pulls up her right eyebrow with the middle finger of her right hand. Her left arm, which appears to have been amputated just below the elbow, reaches up to frame the left side of her face. The end of this arm, skin folded in to form a vertical crease, pulls up the eyebrow above her left eye. Her lips, with a light tone and shine to them, are parted to reveal the tips of her upper teeth, and curl up at each end. Her jaw lines descend gracefully to her small round chin. The photo is cropped just below her neck with no indication of clothing. Out of focus patterned curtains form the background.

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Zach Hoffman, Associate Curator/PRC Spring 2013 Intern

Unconventional Inventions: Innovative, Unusual, and Alternative Approaches to Photography, previously on display at Endicott College’s Carol Grillo Gallery in the Walter J Manninen Center for the Arts as a Photographic Resource Center satellite exhibit, showcases artists working outside the mainstream who integrate creativity with ingenuity to push the boundaries of the photographic medium. After almost four months of dedication and hard work as the Associate Curator, I am pleased to share with you the struggles and successes I encountered as I worked to make this “unconventional” exhibition a reality.

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By Zach Hoffman, Spring 2013 PRC Intern

On display at the Koppelman Gallery at Tufts University until April 21, Night Hunter by Stacey Steers takes the viewer into the dark and hopeless environment of Victorian life. By blending hand-made video, 3-D sculpture, and collages, she not only deepens the impact of the video but also creates several new access points into the work giving the viewer room to explore the conceptual and technical aspects.

When I entered the space the first thing I noticed was the dark and despondent dollhouse. Each room of the house was well crafted and displayed a typical Victorian style lost in a psychedelic nightmare. Integrated into each room, solid-state video screens played out select clips from the video playing on the far wall. After viewing each room I became more and more interested in the video and was able to place what I saw on the screen into the setting of the house. The dialog between the two made the experience even more pertinent, as I was able to understand the work conceptually and to place the character in a physical realm.

http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/images/2012steers1v2.jpg

Stacey Steers, Night Hunter House, 2012, mixed media, music and sound by Larry Polansky. Image from Hood Museum of Art.

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By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When it comes to imagination, there are no limits to how far our minds can take us. I recently had the exciting opportunity to observe an exhibit by Lynn Goldsmith at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester. This body of work, entitled The Looking Glass, highlights the psychological relationship between what we see and what we imagine while exploring the issue of identity.   Taking on the role of various make believe characters, Goldsmith places herself in her images to represent her numerous fictional identities. A new adventure awaits the viewer as they jump from one photograph to the next. In other exhibits by contemporary photographers, I have found there to be a lack of imagination and creativity. Goldsmith, however has broken this barrier, exposing what lies in the deepest and most private corners of her imagination. But in portraying numerous fictional characters, is Goldsmith attempting to represent what is in her own head, or perhaps what lies deep in the minds of us all? We all have dreams, fantasies, and worlds that we travel to when reality becomes too much to bear. Is it possible that we can identify with any of Goldsmith’s multiple figures of her imagination?

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This review of The Space in Between was written during the exhibition’s run at the PRC Gallery (November 15, 2012 – January 19, 2013). The show has now moved to a second venue at the Atlantic Wharf Gallery  downtown as a PRC satellite exhibit. We invite you to visit The Space in Between to experience its new configuration this spring. This satellite exhibition will be on view from January 28 – March 22, 2013. The Atlantic Wharf Gallery at 290 Congress St. is open every day from 7 am – 10 pm.

 

By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When we think of places like shops and houses, we expect there will also be people to fill them. So what happens when three different photographers decide to challenge this idea? In the most recent exhibit on display at the Photographic Resource Center, photographers Stefanie Klavens, Lynn Saville, and Daniel Feldman showcase work that explores the idea of empty spaces where humans are present without being physically pictured. Through the use of architecturally-focused photography, they have depicted manmade locations that would normally be buzzing with people, but are captured completely empty. Yet, the viewer can sense a human presence just out of reach. Where did everybody go? Why is this location void of the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life?

In her body of work entitled How We Live, Stefanie Klavens has selected spots that would normally be filled with people, but strangely, are completely barren and desolate.These locations range from a bar in Reno to an elegant restaurant and even an abandoned apartment that seem to have been caught in a post-apocalyptic state. Weren’t places like these built so that people could come together and socialize?  Where is the usual crowd? Upon closer inspection, signs of a human presence beings to emerge. Holiday decorations line the walls of an empty bar, while white graffiti stands out against the brick wall of an abandoned building. Vibrant yellow sunflowers and pink Gerber daisies give life to a seemingly empty flower store while cars surround a hotel pool without any swimmers. While these images lack any human beings, they serve as a clear representation of how we as a society live. In a way, they serve as portraits exhibiting the unique lifestyles of people in this day and age. In her artist statement, Klavens states that these “intimate, frozen moments become pieces in a jigsaw puzzle that reflects our culture and how we choose to go about our lives.”

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By Meredith Hoobler, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

Walking down the hallway leading to the Ori Gersht: History Repeating exhibition, I hear unidentifiable sounds, looming, heavy sounds that immediately envelop me. Directly ahead is a grey wall that displays one of Gersht’s many prints. I am immediately drawn into the photograph depicting an explosion, Blow Up. The suspenseful work depicts flower petals and fragments of glass being blown in every direction, looking as though they will scratch the print itself. Distracted by this violent and vivid image, I walk up to what appears to be a painting. I hear a shot and whip my head around, immediately disoriented and confused as to why I hear gunshots in the Museum of Fine Arts. What I think is a photograph has just started to move; the screen depicts a previously hanging pomegranate that is now splattering its contents all over the floor, the objects sprawled below like blood dripping from a wound. It swings like a pendulum gushing its juices on everything in its path.

Continuing through the rest of the show, I experience many mixed emotions. It is apparent that the works were arranged for aesthetic impact, but I only focus on their subtle undertones.  I inspect the visual aspects of the work that accompany the written descriptions and feel a complicated combination of emotions: I am inspired, horrified, impressed, and confounded.  On my first visit, expecting to spend only a half hour in the exhibition, I stay an absurd three hours in the two-room gallery viewing the two-dimensional works and three digital productions.

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Rania Matar
Girls in Between: Portraits of Identity
PRC Gallery, 832 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Nancy Grace Horton: Being 13
PRC Members’ Gallery, 832 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

September 6- November 3, 2012

Review by Jessica Ladd, PRC Intern, Fall 2012

Adolescence is often one of the most difficult and frustrating periods that we encounter in our lives. After living carefree for most of our lives, we are suddenly thrust into a roller coaster of a world where we have to make difficult choices. It is also a time when we begin to discover who we are and the type of person we want to become. In their recent work, Rania Matar and Nancy Grace Horton have documented this metamorphic period through photography. They focus on young women who are bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood. Each of the girls featured in the photographs of this exhibit have some kind of story to tell, and it is through their portraits that we are able to visually connect with them.

Rania Matar
Shannon, Boston 2010
From the Series, A Girl and her Room

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Silver, Salt, and Sunlight: Early Photography in Britain and France
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
February 7 – August 12, 2012

Review by Meredith Hoobler, PRC Intern, Spring 2012

As one leaves the bright, white, well-lit Contemporary wing at the MFA, one stumble through pairs of glass doors into an entirely new atmosphere. One’s mood instantly relaxes and the drama of the gallery becomes noticeable. The wall directly ahead depicts a landscape scene with the title of the exhibition, Silver, Salt, and Sunlight: Early Photography in Britain and France. Immediately, the curator explains the connection in the gallery between the photographs and daguerreotypes, hung based on their construction during the same time period.

The featured images depict humans, landscapes, and images of everyday life. These images don’t necessarily portray any kind of hidden message, but simply inform the viewers about happenings in Europe during the 1800s. When installing and planning the exhibition, it seems the curator intended to coax the viewers into appreciating the historical significance tied to art. This philosophy is evident by the way the curators did not group the images by subject matter, but rather based on their significance during the time period in which they were created. Of course visitors come to critically assess the works, but the placement and subject matters are not the main focus of the criticism. The works on the wall are significant not because they are mere photographs, but because they are among the first photographs created in these areas of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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By Stephanie Robb, PRC Intern, Fall 2011

Flipping through my old family albums last month, I saw the picture of my little sister on her first day home after she was adopted, the horrific things my mother made me do to my hair in the ‘80s: an awful perm, a mullet (yes, a mullet) during my First Communion, and orange Pippi Longstocking braids (okay, that one was my choice). Also, there was a sweet family photo taken during my grandmother’s last trip to our house in Toronto at Christmastime 1980. Each of these photographs is framed in a white border, the year and the people in it labeled in my mother’s scrawl. Each one of these prints was shaken, flapping back and forth in the air, the white edge held tightly between the fingers of an excited photographer, a child, me. For each one of those special moments, at least two of us stood around the photo ogling as it developed before our eyes. It wasn’t like watching the pot – the pictures emerged quickly, and it was awesome.

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