The County Line Road: photography by Sarah Pfohl in Biblio Gallery

Pines before Mother, 2013A collection of photographs by Sarah Pfohl called The County Line Road is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from July 3 to August 30, 2013. Pfohl is a third-year MFA graduate student in Art Photography at SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In reflecting on her photography, Pfohl says:

Human life relies on the natural resources housed, cultivated, and stewarded in rural areas for survival. This importance is uncomplicated but oftentimes overlooked. To construct a visual representation of the rural as the close interrelationship between plants, land, and humans, I photograph a rural place with a human figure in it and use composition, light/shadow interplay, and scale to visually integrate the ground and figure. Plants play a central role in the images as the human figure places her body to serve as their backdrop, alters her posture and gesture to repeat their shape, or allows her face or body to be fragmented by the surrounding plant structures.

I made these photographs in southern Madison County, New York within the 26-acre tract of rural land my immediate and extended family has lived on since 1960. As the natural resources housed, or purported to be housed, across and within the land draw attention to southern Madison County from outside developers the place–like many rural areas in the United States–has become a contested territory. The construction of the rural as the interrelationship between plants, land, and humans, embedded compositionally and conceptually into this body of work, argues for a thoughtful and accountable process of rural development that anchors decisions regarding land use in the need for the rural all people intrinsically have.

The human figure in these photographs is my Mother. She grew up on a farm, teaches 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science, and has lived in rural New York for 52 years. I choose to photograph my Mother as her interactions with the powerful steadfastness of both the plant-life and land in this place over the course of her life have authored her physical appearance.

Additional photographs from this project can be viewed at http://sarahpfohl.com/the-county-line-road.

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

Recent VPA grad Dana Brabant exhibits works in the Biblio Gallery

Photograph by Dana BrabantA collection of photographs by Dana Brabant, an Art Education major who graduated this May, is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library until June 30, 2013.

In describing her work — a tribute to her sister who passed away — Brabant says, “My work this semester encompasses the themes of life, death and hope. I have used various mediums to communicate these ideas, such as, fabric, performance, cut paper, and installation. A performance which took place in Coyne Gallery on May 6th,  2013 called “Offering Lament” is documented through photographs in this exhibition. Also included are works in cut paper which I call “cut drawings”. Through my work I hope to empathize, evoke empathy and also provide hope and light amidst despair.”

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

Holocaust, Memory, and the Visual Arts

HolocaustStudents in Professor Samuel D. Gruber’s Holocaust, Memory and the Visual Arts class (JSP 300 / ETS 410) have installed a small but compelling exhibition on the fourth floor of Bird Library to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (April 19 – May 8, 1943) and to remember more generally the millions of victims of the Holocaust. The exhibit explicitly pays tribute to the many artists who were imprisoned, enslaved, tortured and murdered in ghettos, concentrations camps and death camps by the Nazi regimes between 1939 and 1945.

As part of class assignment students chose artwork created by victims of the Holocaust – many of whom subsequently were killed – to represent different types of spiritual and creative resistance to the Nazi oppression. The students discovered through the study of the work of imprisoned artists that besides armed uprising, there were many ways in which Jews and other victims confronted and resisted their systematic brutalization and dehumanization.

The display features reproductions of art created by Holocaust victims (mostly Jews) inside camps or in hiding. The paintings and drawings represent different reasons prisoners made art when inspiration was as elusive as hope. Each work is categorized according to themes introduced by art historian Ziva Amishai-Maisels including official art, art as spiritual resistance, art for the affirmation of life, art as witness, and art as catharsis.

We remember these artists as victims as well as witnesses. They produced much of their work in secret, knowing that if caught, they would likely lose their lives. Most of them were murdered, and only a few survived to personally bear witness to their experiences.

Artists remembered include Dinah Gottliebova/Babbit, Bedrich Fritta, Karel Fleischmann, Malvina Schalkova, Felix Nussbaum, Leo Haas, and Henri Pieck.

The exhibition was created by Colleen Bidwill, Ellen Fitzpatrick, Alise Fisher, David Kay, Mattie Kramer, Kaitlyn Martin, under the supervision of Professor Samuel D. Gruber.

Tourist: photography by Jeniva Quinones in Biblio Gallery

quinonesA collection of photographs by Jeniva Quinones called Tourist is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from March 22 to April 22, 2013. Quinones is an Art Photography major in VPA.

In reflecting on her photography, Quinones says, “Until the summer of 2012 I had never been a tourist in a foreign country. Being a New Yorker, born and bred, I was predisposed to an anti-tourist mindset. Studying in Florence showed me what it is like for people consciously leaving their comfort zone to explore the world. I no longer knew the area, the customs, or even the language. I felt lost and overwhelmed everywhere I went. I couldn’t even buy cold medicine without a handwritten note from a faculty member. “Tourist” is a series of self-portrait photomontages made during my semester in Florence, each interrupted in a different fashion to visually express my emotional disconnect from the country I was living in. This exhibition also includes a series of untitled photomontages I made in Florence.”

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

The Armory Show centennial exhibition

Syracuse University Library presents The Armory Show, an informational display celebrating the centennial anniversary of the landmark 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art. The Armory Show opened on February 17th, 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory on East 26th Street in New York City and introduced the American public to European avant-garde painting and sculpture. It became a watershed event in the history of American art. Among the main attractions were: Matisse’s “Blue Nude (Souvenir of Biskra)” and “Red Madras Headdress,” and Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.”

The display, located on the 4th floor of Bird Library, includes descriptions of the controversial exhibition, reproductions of exhibited works, and representative reactions by the public and the press.