Fourth Annual Juried Spotlight Members’ Exhibition
A different kind of juried member exhibition… Featuring work from Members: Bill Gore, Hannah Latham, Diana Cheren Nygren, Sue Palmer Stone, Susan Swirsley & Carrie Usmar.
One of three annual member exhibitions, this Spotlight series was conceived as a way to present ideas that carry across a group of images and to shine a light our members. This juried exhibition provides the selected members the opportunity to present a larger selection of images. As a viewer I hope you enjoy this expanded look at the members featured and the different ways they assembled a selection of images to present an idea beyond a single frame.
I’m happy to have the opportunity to present the work of our members and celebrate their ability, commitment and the time invested to realize these ongoing projects. Consider how the series of images alters your perception of the single image… Sequence, editing and storytelling across a series of images are all elements beyond the capture process that I encourage you all to explore and constantly re-examine. Join us on Zoom, August 1st for a review and discussion with Emily Belz, preregistration is required.
A special thank you to all the members who submitted projects for consideration and to all our members for their ongoing support.
– David DeMelim,
RI Center for Photographic Arts
From the Juror: Emily Belz
Jurying the Spotlight Member Exhibition at RICPA was a fascinating dive into the topics and techniques of RICPA members, as well as a look at what is happening in contemporary photography right now. Indeed, when making selections for this exhibit, I found myself drawn to bring together artists employing a range of perspectives on contemporary photographic thinking. The work selected ranges from traditional gelatin silver prints to digital “printmaking” to images encased in unique hand painted wooden frames, as well as lots of engaging waypoints in between.
I always look forward to the opportunity to showcase more than one image from an artist. In a spotlight (or portfolio) exhibition, I look for consistency in a submission, where each image adds to the depth or dimensionality of a project; a strong visual voice from the artist; and a relationship between the form and content of the work in question. Each of the artists who are part of this exhibit impressed me with the rigor of their approach, and the overall quality of their submission.
Selecting artists for an exhibit inevitably means leaving out others. This is typically a challenging process, and one that leaves a lot of worthy images waiting for another exhibit or opportunity to be seen. I want to thank every member who submitted work for consideration for this exhibit. It was an honor to review your images and to select the six artists presented here: Diana Cheren Nygren; Bill Gore; Hannah Latham; Sue Palmer Stone; Susan Swirsley; and Carrie Usmar.
Emily will be giving a virtual gallery talk/project review, live on Zoom August 1st at 7:00pm Eastern time.
Preregistration is required and the talk will be recorded for future presentation.
About the Juror: Emily Belz
Emily Belz is an independent photographer and educator based in Lincoln, MA. Her photographs focus on domestic still lifes, telling stories through the traces, objects, and slants of light that have been left behind. Belz has exhibited her photographs widely in both solo and group exhibitions. She is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston.
Belz holds a BA in photography and art history from Hampshire College (1997); an MA in community-based art education from the Rhode Island School of Design (2009); and an MFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art (2017). She teaches classes and workshops at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA) and the deCordova Museum (Lincoln, MA), and is on the faculty at Lasell University (Newton, MA). Belz works privately with artists as a mentor and specializes in reviewing and sequencing portfolios.
With 20+ years in the art world, Belz brings this experience to her role as a juror for photography competitions, and as a reviewer for regional portfolio reviews. She enjoys curating exhibitions in collaboration with emerging artists in the Boston area.
Fourth Annual Juried Spotlight Members’ Exhibition
Gallery Night Providence Reception: July 20th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Reception and Awards with Emily Belz: July 27th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Exhibition: Thursday, July 20th thru Friday, August 11th
Zoom with Emily: Tuesday, August 1st 7:00pm
This exhibition features a selection of work from members: Bill Gore, Hannah Latham, Diana Cheren Nygren, Sue Palmer Stone, Susan Swirsley, Carrie Usmar
Artist Statement: Life Could Be A Dream
Land bears constant witness and reveals itself as an endless stream of images. But the conscious mind is selective, and memory illusive. My Life Could Be a Dream series works in the realm of perception and illusion and explores our mental processes of combining new and remembered visual inputs while we create our own realities.
These photographic works are assemblages of images that are drawn from my camera. My processes use digital imagery to go beyond the camera and deconstruct images into 0’s and 1’s and mix them into a digital bardo where the present and the past are compressed into the moment. While the means is digital, I see the outcome as physical prints that combine abstract elements of color and form together with literal narrative.
I am drawn to the possibilities of digital imagery as an artistic avenue into questions about the conscious mind and the formation of belief. I search for models and metaphors in ordinary subjects as I explore my own fragile and aging relationship with our uniquely American culture.
– Bill Gore
Bill Gore seemed always to have a connection to science, the environment, and photography. He studied chemistry, received a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, and went on to work as a researcher in pharmaceuticals and imaging science. Bill studied photography with Sandi Haber Fifield. Two of his books were in PHOTOBOOKS 2015 and 2016 at the Griffin Museum. Recent handmade artist books include “Chez Pierre Has MOVED”2018 and “Dimensions” 2022. His current work received Juror’s Choice Award at VCP, First Place at RICPA, and Best in Show at RAC and was featured in Digits, A Parallel Universe at the Griffin Lafayette.
Artist Statement: Bring Me a Dream
Bring Me A Dream, is a collaborative semi-documentary series investigating inter-generational memories in a family carrying the Alzheimer’s gene. When the eldest generation moves on, where do those histories go? What does it mean for a familial line to experience a disease that steals their memory and isolates them from everything and everyone they once knew?
Through lens-based media, I look ahead to the frightening future we must face while simultaneously glancing backward at what once was for multiple generations. People, objects, music, and locations reference childhood memories that are forever out of reach. Using the family archive, I attempt to name these histories from my mind and Grandma’s fading one. This inter-generational mapping unearths additional investigations on whiteness, class, and the meaning of heritage in a family with deep New England roots. Primarily using a digital camera and the vertical frame, I capture this period in our lives as a keepsake for my family and a call to action for others experiencing the same tragedy. Images from this series document the caretaker’s essential role, the routine’s burden, and the lasting effects on loved ones. With more questions than answers, I wonder what the future holds and if this disease will live with us for generations.
“Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen
Give him two lips like roses and clover
Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over Sandman, I’m so alone
Don’t have nobody to call my own
Please turn on your magic beam
Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.”
(Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes, referencing the title of the series)
– Hannah Latham
Hannah Latham’s passion has always been photography. She learned about the darkroom at the age of twelve and has been captivated by the tactile process of creating photographs ever since. Before graduating with honors from Rhode Island School of Design in 2021, she received the Paul Krot Memorial Scholarship and attended RISD’s European Honors Program in Rome, Italy. She has been freelancing since high school to help pay for college and has gained experience earning a living while building her portfolio.
The daughter of two teachers, Hannah finds the most inspiration from the educators in her life. Chris Vivier, Henry Horenstein, Brenton Hamilton, Odette England, Thad Russell, Steve B. Smith, and many others leave a lasting impression on her drive to create. After college, Aline Smithson and Cheryle St. Onge became great connections through her Lenscratch series Memory/Loss.
Today, she helps teach photography classes at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA. This fall, she will have a solo exhibition in their Foster Gallery showcasing her series Bring Me A Dream spanning from 2019 to today. Inspired by her grandmother’s experience with Alzheimer’s, this body of work focuses on her paternal grandparents’ decline, the role of caregiving, and the grief that follows.
After self-publishing her plant-based cookbook in 2022, Hannah’s work has included a more sustainable look at the world, incorporating themes of memory and patriotism with our ever-changing environment. Next, she plans to attend a few artist residency programs abroad, highlighting the role of sustainable living with aging.
Diana Cheren Nygren
Artist Statement: Mother Earth
Nevertheless she persisted
A city girl and skeptic to my core, I feel an overwhelming sense of awe in the face of a desert spread before me or the expanse of the ocean. Within these magnificent landscapes, humanity seems small and insignificant. Geologic eras are etched into layers of rock and our time on earth seems short in contrast. So far there have been thirty-seven epochs in the history of this planet. Humans have been on Earth for less than two of these, though our impact on the shape of the planet has been tremendously outsized. What will the next epoch look like?
I have mounted scenes of human habitation behind acrylic, plastic walls that we imagine can safely separate the things we do from having an impact on the natural world. I have then affixed these scenes onto and within sweeping landscapes. I am presenting this work without glass. The constructed world behind the acrylic is literally protected, while the landscapes remain exposed and vulnerable. A continuity of line and color between these two parts of the work hints at their interconnectedness. I use the desert southwest of the United States as a stand-in for what the majority of the land on our planet might look like as it continues to be shaped by rising temperatures, drought, and fires. Ultimately, I present these multi-layered images in hand-painted wooden frames, alluding to the next chapter in the planet’s history. As the image pushes beyond its edges, the story continues to evolve.
In spite of human activity, the Earth continues to transform and reinvent itself. The Earth is not coming to an end. Its inhabitants cannot escape its permanence, and the power it has to shape their existence. The question remains, as nature reinvents itself, can we adapt with it? Will we be part of that next chapter?
— Diana Cheren Nygren
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the way people relate to each other and to their physical environment, be it urban, rural, or natural. She uses the ability of photography to give concrete form to ideas, in order to envision family, future, and possibility. Diana’s photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor.
Diana was trained as an art historian with a focus on modern and contemporary art, and the relationship of artistic production to its socio-political context. Her emphasis on careful composition in her photographic work, as well as her subject matter, reflects this training. Her work as a photographer is the culmination of a life-long investment in the power of art and visual culture to shape and influence social change.
Facebook: @Diana Cheren Nygren Photography
Sue Palmer Stone
Artist Statement: Embodiment – Salvaging a Self
Sitting at the juncture of photography and sculpture, this series represents a salvage operation: I retrieve something of value, and find personal metaphor in detritus and man-made cast-offs that would otherwise be lost or abandoned. It’s an effort to generate coherence and harmony in a dissonant, precarious world, rendered more so as I contend with an autoimmune condition that has threatened my mobility.
Hunting for things to capture in neglected, beat-up spaces, I often haul items to new sites or back to my studio to work with sculpturally and again photographically. Sometimes photographing them where I find them is enough, sometimes I have a slight hand in modeling or adjusting.
Studio sculptures communicate obliquely and directly with what draws my attention in the outside world. Subjects are vulnerable and alone –– trying to stand tall, already collapsed, or somewhere in between. They embody what I was going through, at a time when I didn’t know if I would lose the use of my limbs.
I delight in making and connecting images that speak to each other through shape, color, line, texture, gesture, attitude and atmosphere, often playing with scale to emphasize or distort these relationships. While the objects themselves may carry a sense of loss, loneliness and abandonment, these connections feel playful and uplifting to me.
– Sue Palmer Stone
A Connecticut native, Stone earned her B.A. from Colby College and moved to New York to work in advertising and marketing. While raising a family, she studied photography at Silvermine Art School, and participated in the photography workshops of Sandi Haber Fifield in CT and NYC.
Stone’s photography often incorporates found objects, sculptural components, and the themes of imperfection, impermanence and human frailty. Her practice that includes driving around Connecticut, or various travel destinations, trawling for things to capture in neglected or beat-up spaces that most would rather not bother to explore. From these, she often hauls items to different sites or back to her studio to work with them sculpturally and again photographically.
Artist Statement : “America is my country and Paris is my hometown.”
For the past several years I have traveled to Paris, staying in the same place and making black and white images. I’m attracted to the quiet spaces, looking for light, fashion, shapes, irony, shadows and reflections. I make a connection with the city and its people by playing with the idea of time and place. You may know where I’m photographing even though you don’t see iconic places. But you don’t know when I’m photographing. Is it the 20th century or the 21st century? Does time matter in a timeless city?
– Susan Swirsley
I am a visual artist who uses historical and contemporary processes to translate digital, film and camera-less images onto paper and other surfaces, finding freedom and creativity through experimentation, structure and limitations. My work is process driven and I create physical objects including books, notecards and large or small prints. When shooting with a camera I don’t crop so I have to compose in camera. I like shooting with film because it limits the number of photographs I can make and forces me to be selective. My b&w work leans representational and often is city street scenes. I look for quiet moments. When shooting film I slow down and recall each shot due to the time spent composing, framing, metering and manually focusing. With each potential image I question whether what I see is worthy of being photographed. I enjoy the solitude of the darkroom, coaxing out hidden details and putting together the puzzle pieces necessary to make an excellent print.
My color digital work has been representational historically, but the past few years I’ve shifted to making abstract images, both constructed and found. Using a macro lens I find abstractions in street scenes, paper and sculptural images. Often I rotate images to further abstract my photos. My goal is to make the viewer question what they are seeing and simultaneously see something unique driven by their experiences and visual constructs.
In the Fall’23 I will be entering the Boston University Print, Media and Photography MFA program. I look forward to the rigor of an academic program to take my work to the next level.
Artist Statement: Resume of A Stay At Home Mom
One in five American parents stay home after having children and mothers are roughly four times as likely to be the stay-at-home-parent. I created “Resume of A Stay-At-Home-Mom”, a series of images, to dispel the stereotypes and show the depth of the stay-at-home-mother role, forcing people to re-evaluate their assumptions about stay-at-home mothers. The images display ordinary moments that capture the solitude and sacrifice stay-at-home mothers experience and catalogue the myriad of skills used daily.
When the time comes to figure out what’s next and re-enter the work force, one study from American Sociological Review says stay-at-home mothers are half as likely to get a job interview than unemployed mothers. Employers said they viewed stay-at-home parents as less reliable, less deserving and less committed to work than unemployed parents.
Mothers who do find a job after a gap are often penalized. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, women who spend three years or more out of the workforce lose 37% of their earning power.
I chose to put my camera on a tripod and use interval shooting to capture candid self-portraits with my children to show a realistic view of my experience as a stay-at-home mom unlike the curated views we see on social media. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mother for over 10 years and never felt like it was enough. I was always ashamed when asked “what do you do?”. I’d share about my hobbies and volunteer roles but leave out my primary role of taking care of my children. The process of editing the images and choosing a title that corresponds to a skill on a resume changed my opinion of the role and made me feel seen.
– Carrie Usmar
Carrie Usmar is an artist, writer, and mother living in rural Rhode Island with her husband and four children. She spends her days negotiating with her toddler and tween, managing schedules and logistics, volunteering for school fundraisers and is always “on call”. Living in day-to-day isolation from her peers and raising kids in a never enough culture has made her value the beauty of being real and the art of slowing down. Her narrative work is devoted to exposing shame, being vulnerable, and building connection. She uses a documentary practice to address the stigmas of domestic motherhood.
Usmar received a BFA from the University of Rhode Island with a focus in photography and filmmaking. She has exhibited in group exhibitions at Rhode Island Center For Photographic Arts, Newport Art Museum and The Curated Fridge as well as online exhibitions on The Luupe, L.A. Photo Curator, and Lenscratch. She also received best series in the Women Seen By Women category of the 18th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards and best series in the Culture and Daily Life category in the 18th Pollux Awards. She is also a top 200 finalist for 2022 Critical Mass.
The RI Center for Photographic Arts, RICPA 118 N. Main St. Providence, RI 02903
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.
RICPA exists to create a diverse and supportive community for individuals interested in learning or working in the Photographic Arts. We strive to provide an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas in an open and cooperative space. Members should share a passion for creating, appreciating, or learning about all forms of photo-based media. We work to provide a platform for artistic expression, that fosters dialogue and drives innovation in the photographic arts.
We are member supported, the first step to membership is registration – https://www.riphotocenter.org/registration Details on membership options can be found at https://www.riphotocenter.org/membership-info
The Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is a member of Gallery Night Providence https://www.gallerynight.org
Questions: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org To learn about other RICPA exhibits and programs, visit https://www.riphotocenter.org