Before there was the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts there was NetWorks Rhode Island.
The NetWorks Rhode Island Photography Exhibition… a showcase exhibition of fourteen Rhode Island based photographers is the exhibition that should be hanging in the gallery currently… its not! As an artist and photographer my participation in the NetWorksRI project lead me to recognize the need for a space for photographers to gather, share and exhibit their work and lead to my launching the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts. While we are rescheduling this exhibition in 2021 we are moving forward, because we can’t go back, and presenting the exhibition online in bi-weekly installments as a series of artist profiles and videos. I hope you enjoy this new format and the interviews with a selection local members and photo educators who’s work should be on our walls.
Before we begin featuring the photographers who were invited, it is worth introducing the NetWorks Project properly and Joseph A. Chazan, M.D. the man behind it. Networks Rhode Island was a promotional project for visual arts initiated in 2008 by Rhode Island arts sponsor and collector Joseph A. Chazan, M.D.
NetWorks Rhode Island was launched to document, celebrate, and foster the rich creative and diverse professional visual arts community in Rhode Island through profiles of individual artists and their work. It was meant to be a snapshot, a beginning, a way to support contemporary artists and ultimately help them sell their work. A semi-annual printed catalog complete with poster and DVD containing interviews of a selection of local artists were produced through 2016 and supplemented by museum and gallery exhibits. The project was underwritten by Dr. Chazan. with the hope of motivating others to support local artists based on his feeling that ”we all benefit from the presence of gifted and skilled working artists as creative catalysts in our midst. The NetWorks Rhode Island project celebrates the significance of what Rhode Island artists do as they toil daily, usually in a solitary way, seeking excellence as they strive to create.”
As you watch this six and half minute video produced by Richard Goulis in 2008 you may want to think about what a difference a decade makes… although the underling truths and the often under recognized value and healing power of art are as true today as they were then. The NetWorks project featured artists working across a wide variety of media and many of the pieces were purchased and later donated to area museums.
I hope you enjoy our online presentation of the Photographers from the NetWorksRI Project.
– David DeMelim, Managing Director RI Center for Photographic Arts
Networks Intro with Dr. Chazan
The NetWorks Rhode Island Photography Exhibition will feature all the photographers who participated in the NetWorks project and includes: Reenie Barrow, Jesse Burke, David DeMelim, Lucas Foglia, Cory Greyhorse, Philip Jameson, Scott Lapham, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Sal Mancini, Mary Beth Meehan, Alan Metnick, Denny Moers and McDonald Wright.
We will be updating this exhibition with the work of each photographer as their feature is posted over the coming weeks.
Photographers from the NetworksRI Project:
To photograph is to remember and I with a photograph remember… I want to remember it all, and photography has made this possible.
– Sal Mancini
Sal, a long time fixture in Providence was one of the first photographers featured in the NetWorks project. His feature and video interview were published in the inaugural issue of the Networks project, Networks 2008 which featured nineteen Rhode Island based Artists across a broad spectrum of media and interests.
Salvatore Mancini: in his own words…
Looking back throughout my 40 years of photographing what do I see through that clear singular reflective lens of time? From my first photograph in 1967, a self-portrait with dark glasses and a beret, to my most recent photograph, a self-portrait in a rat temple in Bikaner, India, the one word that jumps out at me is remembrance. Every photograph I’ve taken is an act of remembrance. I want to remember my passage on this earth (sentimental as that may seem). I want to remember the journey of my life, who I was, where I’ve been, what I thought, what I felt, what I dreamed and what inspired me. I want to remember all of my relationships, family, lovers, and friends, what questions I’ve had and which got answered or didn’t.
I don’t want to forget what the experience of living has been all about. There is my passage from childhood to adulthood, from primordial urges to evolving into a fully sexual and intellectual being. I want to remember all the experiences that formed my identity, from my birthright to my travels. I want to remember the age-old questions that we all ask – who are we? where did we come from? and, where are we going? I want to have a photograph to represent those questions and their conclusions. I want to remember every sight and insight along this human journey.
I’ve been given the freedom to explore and make visible many of the yearnings that make life fulfilling, and even painful. I want photographs of all of that. Every photograph I’ve taken is an attempt to not forget my own existence. The act of photographing keeps me a few steps back from a void, slows down the fleetness of time, and puts a frame around my memories. To photograph is to remember. I want to remember moments through the exactness of a shutter speed.
Source: NetWorks 2008 Catalogue
An video Interview with NetWorks Photographer Sal Mancini
A selection of Photographs from the Industrial Revolution…
To photograph is to remember and I with a photograph remember…
The moment when naked I pretended to fly off the Grand Canyon.
When I first saw the cypress trees of Point Lobos or the full moon rising over a boulder in Utah, inscribed with a procession of galloping horses.
Beholding the human fragility and strength in the faces of the mentally ill and retarded.
Seeing the body of a recently murdered young woman, a victim of gang violence.
Viewing a devotional procession to the Madonna della Civita, the patron saint of Itri, Italy.
Walking through the stone doorway of an Incan city in the jungles of Peru.
Seeing people being blessed by temple elephants in India.
A jellyfish being transformed into a jewel by sunlight.
Discovering industrial archeology in the forgotten rivers of Rhode Island.
A diver suspended in the sky over Narragansett Bay.
What my parents looked like before they died.
I want to remember it all, and photography has made this possible.
– Sal Mancini
You can find more of Sal’s work on his website at http://www.salmanciniphoto.com/ or
in the Smithsonian American Art Museum https://americanart.si.edu/artist/salvatore-mancini-6073
Sal Mancini is represented by GalleryZ in Providence https://www.galleryzprov.com/
From the first architectural abstractions to the current body of work with landscapes and structures from around the world, I have sought to sustain an emotional core and further a sense of mystery with the understanding that subject matter is always internal. – Denny Moers
Denny Moers is known for his highly imaginative, technically innovative monoprints created by controlling the action of light on the chemical sensitized photographic paper during the print developing process, giving his black and white photographs an extraordinary range of tonalities. He has photographed subject matter as diverse as New England architecture, medieval wall frescoes and tomb reliefs, contemporary constructions sites and western landscapes and dwellings.
His feature and video interview were published in the inaugural issue of the Networks project, Networks 2008 which featured nineteen Rhode Island based Artists across a broad spectrum of media and interests.
Denny Moers: in his own words…
The American poet, Charles Olson described the process of composing poetry as an open field; words forming their meaning directly and concretely on this ‘landscape made of paper’. I have always felt the visual experience as collaboration with this open field; sensitized to everything I could bring to it and receive from it through the interaction of light, chemistry, film and paper.
I have photographed subject matter as diverse as New England architecture, medieval wall frescoes and tomb reliefs, construction sites, western landscapes, abandoned structures, movement of water and the visual remains of cultures from around the world.
The act of photographing often demands attention to technical details and I have countered this technical control with an equal involvement using the fluidity of accident in the making of my monoprints. I call this the ‘struggle for the horizon line’ and its balance continues to evolve.
Photographing and printing have been one of transformation from the literal to the imagined; from the seen to the felt; from the invisible to the visible. The poetic insight for me is one of intangible qualities that can sustain a viewer through a core mystery made manifest by the artist.
As I explored new subject matter, the process of making these monoprints evolved from subtle, pastel like tones into an expressive bold range of hues from deep blues to saturated reds—all coaxed out through the chemical and light interaction of black and white photographic paper.
The idea of the monoprint is central to my working process as all prints are unique and can render different ideas and feelings each time the image is printed in the darkroom.
From the first architectural abstractions to the current body of work with landscapes and structures from around the world, I have sought to sustain an emotional core and further a sense of mystery with the understanding that subject matter is always internal.
A selection of Photographs from Structures & Landscapes…
A Note on the Process & Technique utilized to create these prints…
All tonalities in these monoprints are inherent in the black & white silver chloride paper itself. There is no hand application of colors. I shoot black & white film and develop a traditional silver chloride print. After the print is developed and before it is fixed, I put the print through a stop-bath then squeegee off the excess water and place the print onto a sheet of glass under a bank of incandescent lights. I begin ‘fogging’ the print by exposing the paper to light which alters the tonalities of the unfixed print. As the print continues to light fog, I ‘paint’ by applying the fixer locally, and that acts as an immediate stop to the fogging process. This is a fluid process with water, developer, and fixer constantly interacting. After fogging is complete, I may choose to selectively tone the silver prints with permanent metal toners such as gold chloride, selenium and sulfide. These toners react chemically with the silver and create a new range of tonalities; from the reddish brown of selenium to the midnight blue of gold chloride. In addition, I sometimes use selective bleaching for subtractive tonalities. As the process is extremely fluid, the result of this work is difficult to pre-visualize, and often I cannot see what the final tonal results will be until the print is completely dry. With this method of printing, I feel the notion of the monoprint is more or less absolute since I’m unable to duplicate the form, emotion and structure of any previous print.
– Denny Moers
An video Interview with NetWorks Photographer Denny Moers
About the Artist: Denny Moers was born in Detroit, M.I. in 1953. He received his MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop in 1977. During the early eighties, he worked as Aaron Siskind’s first assistant. He is currently teaching at Roger Williams University. His photographic monoprints are included in numerous public and private collections, including the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, M.A.; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris; the Museum of Fine Arts’, Boston and Huston; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; and the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.
Source: NetWorks 2008 Catalogue
You can find more of Denny’s work on his website at dennymoers.com or on numerous book jackets including poetry by close friend and Rhode Island Poet Laureate C.D. Wright. You can read her synopsis of Denny Moers in her essay, The Ecstatic Eye
Denny’s work is held in many public and private collections and can be purchased directly through the artist’s website
Networks Rhode Island June 17, 2008
“Water really got me started as a photographer… There was something about the water… the way it moved… that I just found fascinating. I can’t explain it. All I know is that even now I can easily spend an entire day standing in the water taking pictures.” – McDonald Wright
Wright enjoys a national following, both among jazz fans and collectors of contemporary photography. His portraits taken at jazz clubs and festivals around the Northeast are popular with the musicians themselves for their ability to capture the feeling of the music.”
Artist McDonald Wright uses what he calls “partial frame advance” to gather his photographic images on a single negative. An avid Jazz fan, his portraits of jazz greats come alive with the energy of the performance. “When I listen to jazz, this is really how the music sounds to me,” Wright explains, “It’s not a simple linear experience. Instead, it’s something that shifts and changes over time. It’s fluid, not static.” His photographs of many of the Jazz greats who he has photographed have been collected into a book called “Making The Moment” available through Gallery Z in Providence. GalleryZprov.com
In his own words, a video Interview with NetWorks Photographer McDonald Wright
About the Artist: McDonald Wright transferred from the Pennsylvania College of Technology to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he graduated with a BFA in photography. He lives in Providence, and continues to use a manual camera and film photography over digital technology. Mac continues his RISD connection working as a Technical Assistant supporting future generations coming through the photography program. He is passionate about analogue photography and continues his visual exploration of rhythm, energy and fluid motion.
Source: NetWorks 2009-2010 Catalogue
Today, nature both heals us and threatens us. As we spend more time than ever indoors looking at screens, neuroscientists demonstrate that time outside is vital to human health and happiness. – Lucas Foglia
Lucas Foglia grew up on a small family farm in New York and currently lives in San Francisco. His photographs examine the relationship between human belief systems and the natural world. This interest was evident in an early photography exhibition at Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery, A Natural Order, which portrayed people who left cities and suburbs to move off-grid in the southeastern United States. More than a decade latter this same interest continues in his recently published third book, Human Nature, with Nazraeli Press. Human Nature brings together a series of photographic stories about how we rely on nature in the context of climate change. Each story is set in a different ecosystem: city, forest, farm, desert, ice field, ocean, and lava flow. The photographs examine our need for “wild” places—even when those places are human constructions. Read the in-depth review recently presented in Lensculture
A selection of Photographs from Human Nature…
His feature and video interview were published in the 2010-2011 edition of the Networks project, which featured a selection of Rhode Island based Artists across a broad spectrum of media and interests.
An video Interview with NetWorks Photographer Lucas Foglia
About the Artist: A graduate of Brown, Foglia, born in 1983, received his MFA in photography from Yale University in 2010. His impressive curriculum vitae belies the fact that the young artist grew up with his extended family on a small, self-sustainable farm, living off the land. In The Garden project Foglia worked with the South Side Community Land Trust in Providence, producing a portfolio of images that portrayed different ethnic communities coming together to grow food. Nazraeli Press published a monograph of “A Natural Order,”
Foglia exhibits internationally, and his prints are in notable collections including International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Victoria and Albert Museum. He photographs for magazines including National Geographic Magazine and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Foglia also collaborates with non-profit organizations including Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. You can find current work and updates at http://lucasfoglia.com/news/
Source: NetWorks 2011-2012 Catalogue
You can find more of Lucas Foglia work on his website at lucasfoglia.com
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
In my work, I draw on my immigrant experience to pull back the veil on that outside of the dominant narrative and create art that explores untold histories and alternative narratives and makes this history more accessible. – Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Photographer Annu Palakunnathu Matthew was born in England, grew up in India and lives in Providence. She is a Professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island and was the Director of the Center for the Humanities from 2013-2019 and the 2015-17 Silvia-Chandley Professor of Nonviolence and Peace Studies.
Her feature and video interview were published in the 2009-2010 issue of the Networks Project which featured twenty three Rhode Island based Artists across a broad spectrum of media and interests.
About the Artist: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s photo-based artwork combines still images into a new form of time-lapse, exploring relationships across time. The resulting pieces look to reclaim history, offering the viewer opportunities to reflect on ideas surrounding changing values, assimilation and acculturation. The work often revisits naive histories established by the dominant culture. Her work draws on archival photographs as a source of inspiration to examine concepts of memory and to re-examine historical narratives.
A selection of work from An Indian from India…
Annu Palakunnath Matthew: in her own words…
“My transnational experience influences the kind of work that I do. In my work, I draw on my immigrant experience to pull back the veil on that outside of the dominant narrative and create art that explores untold histories and alternative narratives and makes this history more accessible. For over twenty years, I have been mining issues of identity, immigration and inter-generational memory. The artwork uses photo-based techniques to help myself and others reframe the past and thereby redirect the future. I work in a wide range of photographic media from the plastic lensed ‘toy’ Holga camera, photo animation to interactive installations. For two decades I have been an active internationally and nationally exhibiting artist and educator based in Rhode Island, USA.”
Adil from VI
Work presented digitally utilizing flat panels, iPads or similar technology
An video Interview with NetWorks Photographer Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Source: NetWorks 2009-2010 Catalogue
Matthew’s work is included in the book BLINK, from Phaidon, Auto Focus: The Self Portrait in Contemporary Photography and Home Truths: Motherhood, Photography and Loss by Susan Bright and The Digital Eye by Sylvia Wolf. Her work was recently featured on the New York Times Lensblog, CNN photo Blog and Buzzfeed. Her book Memories of India, published by Blue Sky Books, includes an essay by former New York Times art critic Vicki Goldberg.
Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from MacColl Johnson, John Guttman, two Fulbright Fellowships and grants from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts. In addition, she has been an artist in residence at Yaddo and MacDowell. Exhibitions include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, San Jose Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2018 Fotofest Biennial, 2009 Guangzhou Photo Biennial as well as at the Smithsonian.
You can find more of Annu’s work on her website at http://www.annumatthew.com
Annu is represented by Sepia Eye in New York City www.sepiaeye.com