The photography exhibit at Bates College Museum of Art, Photographs by Women: Recent Additions to the Permanent Collection, features the work of seven photographers from the USA and France. The works on view represents gifts to the Museum of Art in the last 4 years, as well as acquisitions targeted at growing the Museum’s permanent collection of photographs.
Although the “Photographs by Women” exhibit title may seem a bit, hmmm, sexist? dated? off-putting? to you at first, you’ll get over it once you see the exhibit. It’s just a handle and actually a fairly good one for the situation.
Claire Seidl captures the feeling of “Porch Dinner” perfectly in her image (above) – creating a video (very, very long exposure) in a still. It’s thinking outside the box and very successful thinking.
Denise Froehlich’s courageous and forthright series of male nudes is a showstopper and the almost sepia-toned, square images show a level of creativity maturity and risk-taking other photographers should find impressive.
I want to go spend time with the book of photos of the Hutterites, Hutterite – A World of Grace (published in 1998) by Kristin Capp. The most interesting image on view from that series was this one of the boy below, and I want to get a sense of whether the body of work as a whole resonates with this intensity for me. I may take a second trip to the exhibit or drop into the Glickman Family Library, 5th floor, at the USM campus off Forest Ave. Did you ever see such a library of photo books? And MECA has a terrific library of art books including a huge collection of photography books. Anybody can go to either collection and enjoy these resources, and if you have a Maine public library card, you can take many of the books out at MECA.
For me, the prize of the day were the eight black and white Irina Ionesco portraits. Ionesco got pretty famous after a show of photographs in Paris in 1974, and while these portraits are small (11.5″x9″), they pack an unforgettable punch, and that is a lesson in itself for other photographers. And not just because some of the content is erotic. With photo-based works getting larger and larger thanks to the technology of the digital print, I was grateful to be reminded that some artists’ works are so incredible that size doesn’t enter into your mind at all when you see them.
I had trouble getting much out of the remaining images by the other photographers (Sally Gall, Donna Ferrato and Susan Moldenhauer), but my sidekick of the day really loved the Ferrato street photography images of NYC. It’s a subjective thing, art appreciation.
So head to Lewiston and see what sticks in your own mind. There are worthy lessons here.