Look This Way
This exhibition presents the provocative new work of three mid-career women artists and offers an intriguing counterpoint to the daguerreotypes on view in the Through the Looking Glass exhibition at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit MA.
Fiber artist Jodi Colella is fascinated by early photography and collects antique tintype portraits which she manipulates to create evocative artworks with dark humor and surrealist imagery. Her new series, Ghost Stories, is inspired by the uneasy postures and expressions evident in daguerreotype portraits, whose subjects were required to sit without moving for many minutes before their image could be captured. For Colella, these minutes also expose a sliver of the soul that she contemplates and then seeks to reveal and investigate.
Painter Jackie Reeves recaptures fleeting moments of personal history in her Memory Paintings based on old family photo albums dating back to the 1920s and super-8 home movies. Inspired by the daguerreotypes, she has created new works on aluminum, leaving more metal exposed to create images that flicker, shift, and change as the viewer moves by and light filters across them – much like a daguerreotype shifts from positive to negative image depending on which side is viewed.
Ceramicist Kimberly Sheerin has created a new series of portraits of women surrounded by ornate frames inspired by the elaborate designs used to protect and display 19th century daguerreotypes. In contrast to the ephemeral photograph, her monumental vessels memorialize in solid clay the lives of significant women tackling urgent social issues of global importance side-by-side women whose lives remain hidden and unknown.
Just as these artists question the gravitas of the photographer, they challenge the viewer to stop, look deeper, linger longer and to consider what their artwork truly reveals. Even as people and moments are recorded by the camera, things are not always what they seem; even though we possess family photographs we hold dear, memory is fleeting and transient; even when we think a photograph tells us the truth, there is so much that is never recorded.
– Annie Dean