The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is celebrating Women’s History month and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment with an invitational exhibition featuring five women discovered through their entries in our previous open calls. For our fourth annual spotlight on women working behind the camera, we have assembled photographers at all career stages from high school to late career professional to present a snapshot of current practice.
The exhibition features: Grace Marie Dewitt, Deb Ehrens, Molly Lamb, Zena Tadmoury & Jess Voas The exhibition is presented in tandem with Visual Conversations, a collaborative project featuring seven women exploring what can happen when artists work together in the Focus Gallery
Exhibition Extended: Thursday, March 19th, thru Friday, October 9th, 2020
Public viewing: Due to COVID-19 by appointment, email email@example.com
We invite you to enjoy an interactive virtual walkthrough, available 24/7
About: Grace Marie DeWitt
I use photography, videography, and drawing to redistribute agency and importance to discarded objects and materials. All of the objects I work with are the aftermath, detritus, and artifacts left over from unknowable actions and experiences. By documenting these objects, I attempt to recognize and connect to the past and future of that thing. I sympathize with materials as a way of piecing together my own ideas about existence, mortality, endurance, worship, perceptivity, vulnerability, emotional memory, worth, inevitability, interconnectedness, and humility.
I am moved by the residual kinship that humans share with the materials around them. After evolving from common matter, we now witness a geological epoch in which damage to this earth is irreversible. In a circumstance that forecasts demise for both living and nonliving things equally, I am compelled to believe that the connection of all things makes sense. I work in pursuit of a visual language for this interconnectivity: one which elevates materials beyond their relation to humans.
In the same way that a human’s experiences shape their personal mythology, how might the environments and interactions that an object experiences build a material mythology——a narrative of both life and death?
Artist Statement: soft bodies + crunch collapse
The softbodies print series is named after Rosi Braidotti’s use of the term “bodies”––to describe objects and matter as vessels that withhold a certain perceptive energy, though unconscious and existing differently than animate things––and “soft,” a term used colloquially and sometimes derogatorily to acknowledge a person’s sensitive or highly emotional nature. In this series, I re-present images of disposable and discarded materials (often printed onto other, different or similar disposable materials) as an empathetic tool. The materials’ inevitable vulnerability, the way that their surfaces reveal their histories, is painful. I force the viewer to serve as witness to aftermath, and deprive her from knowing circumstance. In these pieces, both futile and frustrating, the only thing that is left is the “what.” There is never a “how,” or a “why.”
About: Deb Ehrens
Deb Ehrens uses her camera to create contemplative and painterly imagery. She learned the basics of black and white photography as an adjunct to her early career as a journalist, and more recently has studied with Harold Ross, Dan Burkholder, Alison Shaw, Ron Wilson, and taken classes at RISD and Maine Media College. An on-going mentorship with painter Deborah Quinn-Munson has been instrumental in developing her artistic eye.
Deb lives in Dartmouth, MA and is a Juried Artist Member of the Cape Cod Art Center, Exhibiting Member of the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts and Elected Member of the Art League of Rhode Island.
Artist Statement: Close To Home
Several years ago, I climbed up a ladder in the Art Room of the New Bedford Public Library so I could peer down at the restoration in progress of Alfred Bierstadt’s massive painting Mount Sir Donald. It was impressive, but what stole my heart that day was a small painting on the far wall by another New Bedford painter, Charles Henry Gifford. Sunlight from a large side window made Coastal Scene with a Gundalow glow with an ethereal quality. I was captivated by the play of light on the surface and inspired by these New Bedford artists to find my own way to convey the timeless and luminous quality of the landscape that is my home. Looking beyond the imprint of the modern world on the Southcoast landscape, I began to imagine what these painters might have seen.
Gifford, Bierstsadt, and the Luminist and Hudson River School painters of that era conveyed the sublime quality of light with glazing, varnishing and fiercely guarded secret recipes. In Close to Home, I create a sense of atmosphere by applying age-old hand gilding techniques, wax and varnish to digitally created photographs printed on translucent vellum. The slow and exacting process gives me a sense of kinship with the artistry and craftsmanship of those who have come before me.
About: Molly Lamb
My photographs are a contemplation of my family history and how it permeates my being, my experiences, and my perspectives. This work has evolved into four series of photographs, each coupled with poems: Ghost Stepping, Let it Go, Take Care of Your Sister, and Before the Trees. Each series is a separate chapter in this ongoing narrative about the geography of loss, family history, and family future.
Molly Lamb holds an MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BA in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited nationally, most recently at Rick Wester Fine Art, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Danforth Art Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Photographic Resource Center. In 2016, she was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50 and in 2015, she was named one of Photo District News’ 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch as well as one of LensCulture’s 50 Emerging Talents.
Artist Statement: Take Care of Your Sister
My first recollection of inheriting the belongings of someone in my family is when I was five years old. Consistently, throughout the years since, I have inherited the belongings of most of my family. This history permeates my experiences and perspectives, and it also now ends with my life. When I pass away, all that I hold dear – my stories, my belongings, and those of my family – will dissolve into a world that does not speak the language of our nuances.
My contemplation of this history has evolved into four separate chapters of photographs, each coupled with poems: Ghost Stepping, Let it Go, Take Care of Your Sister, and Before the Trees.
Take Care of Your Sister is a meditation on the emotional resonance of loss, family history, and family future through the land –
a landscape that is grounded in reality yet also distorted through time and displacement. It meanders through memories in the Mississippi Delta where my father grew up and where my brother and I spent time with our grandparents when we were very young.
When my father was a child there, he was asked to take care of his younger sister.
When I was a child, the last words my father said to my brother were, “Take care of your sister.”
Moths circling and circling
uneasy yellow light
in speckled black
below the stars
and cicada silence.
Strong wind on the bridge –
dirt in the air, in my hair,
in the shades of darkness
where the light laps against
the water’s whirling
where they caught
when they were young.
That is not cotton.
He is not him.
where there is no rain.
clings to my skin
its way into my bones.
Ghosts in my eye
under the shroud cry
leave me here no more.
About: Zéna Tadmoury
Zéna Tadmoury graduated Moses Brown high school in 2019 and is currently attending Parsons in Paris. She is pursuing a major in art and business. Zéna’s body of work is eclectic varying from self portraits to her travels abroad. Her portraits centralize on female identity and feminist ideals.
Artist Statement: Self Discovery
The central idea of my project is women emerging from the mold created by society and the patriarchy, in which all the boundaries have been drawn by men. My concentration is on a series of self portraits intended to track the timeline of a woman who is weak in the shadow cast by men but develops independence by finding strength through self discovery.
About: Jess Voas
Jess was raised in Auburn, Massachusetts where she first experimented with art and expression, utilizing all mediums at her disposal. She graduated in 2014 from Fitchburg State University with a dual-bachelors degree in photography and literature. Studying photography under Peter Laytin, she acquired significant darkroom and analogue experience that holds a primitive influence in her work.
Following graduation, she completed an internship at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village CO, where she assisted workshops for a number of contemporary photographers in digital mediums, bookmaking, WordPress, as well as wet plate collodion printing.
From 2014-2019, she worked as an Imaging Specialist at a nationally renowned publication.
Jess is a current graduate student at Lesley University, obtaining her Masters degree in Photography and Integrated Media. Her personal work has been exhibited in various group exhibitions, and can be found in a number of private collections throughout the U.S. She is the proud founder of the Boston based photography group Photo Lounge (https://photoloungeofboston.wordpress.com), creating space and community for local photographers of all backgrounds.
Her most recent work (https://jessvoas.com/images/) explores her recent losses paralleled with her grandmothers loss of vision, revealing instances of temporality in life.
Artist Statement: I just wanted to call and say I love you
My photographs explore the physical and emotional space I find myself in while living with my 91 year old sightless grandmother. Sixty years apart, we are paralleled by the residue of our experiences, mine emotional, hers physical. We act as a refuge for one another, a temporary sanctuary in the world that lies beyond our home. While living with her, I received a letter in the mail indicative of the life I’ve left behind, a letter that challenges and disrupts this sanctuary. I am caught between the past and the future: as I rebuild my life, my grandmother is a glimpse into my own future, which is genetically inevitable. These photographs represent the acceptance of these challenges, the beauty of our relationship, while always keeping in mind the temporal nature in which we exist.
The Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, 118 N. Main St. Providence, RI
Located in the heart of Providence, RICPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, education, publication, and mutual support.
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