Reconstructed History Wendel White, Annie Hogan, Casey Ruble, Leslie Sheryll, Ann LePore
October 14 - November 25
The Arts Council of Princeton presents Reconstructed History. Curated by Amy Brummer, Reconstructed History features work by artists Wendel White, Annie Hogan, Casey Ruble, Leslie Sheryll and Ann LePore. These artists transform documentary images by obscuring the primary data through layers of processes, both analog and digital. By doing so, the artists create visual narratives that speak to a broader historical complexity in content and technique.
Wendel White’s Schools for the Colored Series, depicts the architecture and geography of America’s educational apartheid, in the form of a system of “colored schools,” within the landscape of southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He uses large format film (4×5) to capture images of buildings or locations that were designated as such then scans the image and creates a digital mask indicating where the former building once stood in contrast to what stands there today. The images are then printed digitally in black and white.
“From a subject matter standpoint, exhibiting Wendel’s “Schools for the Colored” in the ACP’s Robeson Center, seemed like a natural fit for a space that sits at the corner of a fragile intersection of the future and past,” says curator Amy Brummer. “I felt that the artists were speaking to a sort of physical and psychological archaeology – that reflects the way places and historical narratives get built up, torn down, grown over, excavated, rebuilt, repurposed and reborn.”
Annie Hogan’s dreamlike photographs of buildings at the Berkeley Plantation in Virginia fuse the mansions of masters with the houses of slaves. In her series’ Double Vision and Bloodlines, she starts with large format negatives, either layering or masking the images to further the narrative. In the Double Vision series, negatives are layered together and printed traditionally (at Taylor Photo), while the Bloodlines series uses pinhole camera negatives and selective application of the cyanotype emulsion.
Casey Ruble uses handmade, reflective silver paper*, layered over a digital image, to create collages that subtly push the image into three dimensions. Depicting present-day locations that were once safe houses on the Underground Railroad or places where riots broke out, the collages both eliminate and enhance details to suggest subtle narratives. (*From Dieu Donne, made from the same pigment as the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man’s makeup(!)
Leslie Sheryll pulls her imagery from tintypes of women that she has collected over the decades. She scans and manipulates the images by voiding, veiling, superimposing and/or colorizing and embellishing the subjects for emphasis. These appropriated images, reworked to suggest the unseen complexity of women, draw attention to their individual stories, plucked from obscurity and reimagined through the eyes of a 21st century female gaze.
Ann LePore’s three-dimensional Modern Catholic Kitchen started with an analog image of pulled from a Portapack film reel shot in her mother’s kitchen during her childhood. The lithographs are the final product of a complex process that includes projection, analog Polaroid capture and development, darkroom enlargement, lithograph platemaking and handprinting on Plexiglass. The final image is housed in a wooden box and lit from behind. In Forbidden Views, glass Lantern Slides, decommissioned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are deconstructed and realigned to provide a multi layered look at shifting perspective.
Amy Brummer is COO of PTPVentures, Inc., providing business management and consulting services to clients in the entertainment, apparel, finance and data industries. A graduate of Colgate University with a degree in Art History, Ms. Brummer is the founder of the Bruce Berenson Foundation for Darkroom Photography at the Arts Council of Princeton and serves as agent and archivist for Mr. Berenson’s estate.
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