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Review: Holly Andres at Robert Mann Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

The Fall of Spring Hill

Through March 10, 2012

With lush color and dynamic drama Holly Andres presents the still-framed narrative The Fall of Spring Hill. Andres borrows from personal memory of a childhood event and incorporates identification from the children and the mothers in the story she narrates. The series is a successful succession of moments that fonction both simply as they relate to this story and also as parallel pattern of perhaps more significant events. The rhythm and construction of the frames is so intentioned, so well chosen, so fluid that it too helps to elevate importance and open thought to greater parallel.

The backdrop is a summer church camp- mothers are in the kitchen and the children at play. Little moments are treated with frankness, sincerity, but also spark humor at the 

seemingly banal. The knife inThe Watermelonand the punch and mug inFallseem to underline the simplicity of the day- the clock ticks, the women chat and daydream, the children play, the lunch is about to be served. As the series progresses, however, we realize that object and symbolism have created a sense of foreshadowing- the red punch and shattered coffee mug become crucial signifiers.


From the kitchen we return to the field and a wooden tower where the children have been at play. Time begins to slow. Fragmentation relates to memory, to the pieces we recall wen something bad happens. The two witness frames seem to stop time. Something happened, something bad. We do not see the fall, we do not know the gravity, but the hesitation in the children's eyes is telling. We hear the laughter stop. Heroism is felt in the succeeding frame,The Children Descend Spring Hill. There is a strange emotion to this and the witness frames as we experience the different understandings the children have of the accident. There is tenderness, there is a desire to aide, a sense of urgency to return to the mothers for help. The mothers are then seen marching through the field to take their revenge. Seen as heroic soldiers they are out for blood and heavily armed. The women spare the tower no mercy- they beat with bats and hack with axes until it has toppled. We are given a final frame of the ruines with the youngest of the children siting quietly beside the fallen giant.

There is a humanity to the work, there is a larger drama, there is a playful and a serious lining to the series. The final frames work to inspire reflection on how this pattern of reaction exists in scenarios more grave than the aftermath of an accident at summer camp.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Robert Mann Gallery

Wall Street Journal Review and Interview.

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Artist's Reception: Derek Henderson at McNamara Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

the trees are big and the sky is blue

March 2 – 23, 2012

Reception with the artist:
Friday, March 2
5:30 pm

In his upcoming exhibition the trees are big and the sky is blue Derek Henderson presents images of teenagers captured with a view camera. The teens are all part of the same social group. In a video by Tom Roberton, link below, we see the work in progress. The teens are out camping in the forest, but this seems to be a place they frequent. There are tents, picknick tables, even an old stove stove is put into action. Towels hang on trees, so perhaps there is a swimming hole nearby. The teens have books, guitars, and provisions. There is a lot of what you would expect, a group of youths caught between childhood and adulthood, but the intimacy achieved in the work is quite memorable. At a moment in life when it is natural to struggle with being yourself and being someone else, we are actually quite impressed with the poise of the teens, with their awareness of self, and with our ability to see who they are becoming. Some of the teens are quiet and introspective; Henderson catches them deep in thought and completely unaware of him. Others stare inquisitively into the eye of the lens and look out at us without apology. Their t-shirts and as we can only imagine from the video beer drinking contest do offer some form of posture, but Henderson cuts through the exterior to engage the spirit inside. The frames work alone, but together become more. Henderson has recorded a special moment in the group's youth- this time together in the woods. We forget ourselves, we forget to judge, we remember what it was to be young, and we share an afternoon with them.

For more information on the exhibition please visit McNamara Gallery

Video documentation of the project by Tom Roberton here

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Book signing: Kelli Connell at Kopeikin Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Kelli Connell
Double Life

Exhibition Dates: February 25 - April 14, 2012

Book Signing with Kelli Connell
February 23
5:30 - 7:00 pm

"Perhaps this work is trying to figure out why we rely on categories and labels the way we do" - Kelli Connell

Through duplicity Kelli Connell explores questions of identity, lifestyle options, belief systems, and social constructions. Connell uses scans from several negatives to digitally weave multiple moments together into something that is believable. No different than any other object of truth, the moments may not have occurred exactly but refer to and borrow from personal experience, moments witnessed, or narratives watched on television. They could have happened and in a wider frame somewhere, probably have. It is what is behind the moments depicted that is most important.

Double Lifeasks viewers to question how our self constructed identity is shaped by sexuality and gender roles; how do these constructions affect our intimate relationships. Sensitive topics for some are handled in a way that diffuses friction; the act of using the self to explore personal "rules" encourages viewers to meditate on the process of inner struggle and outward choice. Moments are often intimate, quiet, reflexive, adoring. Feeling more awareness of our own inner selves we leave the work enlightened and with the hope not to merge, but to draw the best qualities from our own inner duplicities and to hope for all to do the same.

Dual exhibition also features the work of J. Bennett Fitts'
8 Dead Palm Trees

For more information on the exhibition please visit Kopeikin Gallery

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Artist's Reception: Michal Ronnen Safdie at Andrea Meslin Gallery

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday Tuesday Thursday

Exhibition Dates: March 1 - April 21, 2012

Opening reception with the artist:
Thursday, March 1st
6:00 – 8:00 pm.

[[4]]In this her second solo show with the Andrea Meslin Gallery Michal Ronnen Safdie presents her latest body of work, Sunday Tuesday Thursday. The title emerges directly from the subject- Orthodox women and children at the beach on the days designated to them. Ronnen Safdie uses her position to bring us access to a cultural world most of us would otherwise never see. The work is touching, intimate, and literally full. Women and children saturate the scenes. It is hard even to find the beach or the water through the sea of people, of women, and the "overwhelming femaleness," remarks scholar, critic, and Harvard Professor Stephen Greenblatt who has an essay in the exhibition's accompanying catalogue.

Beyond the insider look are considerations of the female's role in the larger region. For all of these women we may begin to think of their borader role and voice at a time when their position is being reexamined.

For more information on the exhibition, artist, and accompanying catalogue please visit Andrea Meislin Gallery

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Artist's Reception: Élaine Excoffier at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Series 1996-2011

Exhibition Dates: February 25 – March 24, 2012

Reception for the Artist
Saturday, February 25
2:00 - 5:00 pm

[[5]]Series 1996-2011 represents a survey of Élaine Excoffier's work to date. This broad view allows reflection on the artist's evolution and continued engagement with the history of photography and the portrayal of the female body. It is the link, the tie, the connection between the photographic media and the representation of the female figure that is at the heart of Excoffier's work. Excoffier traces lines on what she sees as tandem developments.

In early work, Rituels (1996) thin, drawn, and often fragmented forms reflect on the idea of model as model woman. Lifelessness cuts perfection and we contemplate the very desire to emulate the "perfect" form. The next series, Dualité (1997), roots Excoffier's interest in photographic history; the figures recall studies of women in motion by Muybridge. This history engaged frames the work as a larger study and interpretation of the female body. The eye is on the female figure, piercing and critical. This work was also made in reaction to the 1935 writings of Claudette de Sèves, Lexique de beauté, which presented the idea of a standard, rules and maintenance of beauty. The duality of the self and projected self, the personal and the societal view, and the struggle to achieve and maintain perfection is achieved by superimpositions of negatives to create a dual image.

Petit lexique de beauté (1999) begins to directly question traditional beauty through overlapping and blurring the female form disolvs. Frustrated, tormented, the figure in these pieces seems to want to break the plane, disappear, escape. In the next two series Obscures (2004) and Obscures (série no. 2) (2006) intangibility is pushed further but this time, perhaps still trapped by the idea of the frame as pedestal, the artist plays with actual vantage and vision. It is as if the female figure, the vision of beauty, the elegant possession has learned to tease control. Tension emerges in frames that lean toward the erotic, the crude, and viewer becomes voyer. The photographic process and history is again engaged through these works by use of the pinhole camera and large format 1914 vintage Kodak Camera. Shape and form appear through the darkness but never completely. Desire mounts as our gaze is incomplete, mysterious, unsatisfied.

Mystery and the sense of drama is also employed in the newest work, Chambres (et autres histoires photographiques)(2011) which has turned somewhat from the figure to highlight objects and invest them with presence. Somehow, even without a form, we feel the sense of one and rich narratives emerge.

This exhibition coincides with the publication of a catalogue of Excoffier's work, Éliane Excoffier: bilan 1996–2008, which was co-published by the Musée régional de Rimouski, the Galerie Simon Blais and the Stephen Bulger Gallery. The catalogue includes an essay by Bernard Lamarche.

For more information on the exhibition, artist, and catalogue please visit the Stephen Bulger Gallery

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