Thoughts of Family and a Feeling of Home
Plus Portfolio Showcase
Reception: Saturday, November 2, 5-7pm
Show dates: October 27 to November 26, 2019
•Moira Barrett •Karen Davis
•Ellen Feldman •Cassandra Goldwater
Maureen Beitler & Robin Michals
Moira Barrett, Imaginary Homeland
Karen Davis, Close to Home
Ellen Feldman, Separation Anxiety
Cassandra Goldwater, Absence/Presence
“After a Certain Age” and “A Daughter Recalls Her Mother’s Advice”
Selected through our Portfolio Showcase International Call for Entries,
the gallery will also feature two portfolios
Maureen Beitler, Westernport
Robin Michals, Our Neighborhood
About the Artists and Their Work
Moira Barrett, Imaginary Homeland
“… do you know this idea of imaginary homeland? Once you set out from shore on your little boat, once you embark, you’ll never truly be at home again. What you’ve left behind exists only in your memory, and your ideal place becomes some strange imaginary concoction of all you’ve left behind at every stop.” Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs
Your homeland becomes a combination of memories that are overlaid with every new place that you’ve been. You will never be able to go back to that place that you once knew; it will never be the same.
But what if your imaginary homeland isn’t some place that you’ve left behind and lost, but an ideal that you are traveling toward. Rather than looking back with regret over a lost home, you are moving toward a new destination. It is a combination of hopes, imaginings and bits of memories of a perfect place that may not exist, one that incorporates all the pieces of the places that you’ve been and all your hopes for a better future.
Bio: Moira Barrett is a fine art photographer based in New England. She uses traditional and contemporary techniques including: photo-transfer, video, and construction to address issues of self, memory, relationships and aging. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and galleries, including the Cambridge Art Association’s BLUE, RED, Northeast Prize, and 2019 Open Photo Exhibit; the Davis Orton Gallery of Hudson, NY; the NAVE Gallery of Somerville, MA; the Susan Maasch Fine Art Gallery of Portland, ME; and the Boston Young Contemporaries juried show. Her work was reviewed in the Women’s Review of Books by Dana Hoey.
Originally from Rochester, New York, she has a BA in Art from SUNY Buffalo and an MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University College of Art and Design. Moira is married to Johanna Schulman, a financial planner, lives in Cambridge, MA and is the parent of Annie, a Senior at NYU.
Karen Davis, Close to Home
In Close to Home, my photographs focus on family relations—on the passage of time and inter-generational pairings. In the series of six images from my project “Strangely Attracted,” I foreground correspondences between fleeting moments of my family’s everyday life and the timeless details of fine art painting (here capturing multiple hands in a single frame). In this exhibit, I also present an assemblage/box and three books, each with a different approach to family and storytelling: Aidila, an archive about my mother (interactive—please touch!); The McCann Family, a book about my childhood family told through captioned photographs of my sister’s dolls; Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: A Family Portrait, a twenty-year story of my brother-in-law and his family as it confronts the challenges of mental illness— with their words and my images. (A Family Portrait is a book dummy – I am looking for a publisher.) And the fourth, Pretension: All About Us, is a takeoff on art, relationships and, well, pretense, by my husband Mark Orton and me.
Bio: Karen Davis is a photo-based artist and co-founder/curator of the Davis Orton Gallery in Hudson NY where she and her husband Mark Orton exhibit photography, mixed media and photobooks. Her work is featured at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and is in the collections of the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW); the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art; Lishui Museum of Photography (China); the Houghton Rare Books Library of Harvard University, and in corporate and private collections. Recent exhibits include Exposure 2018, Photography Resource Center (PRC), Cambridge MA and Protest Art, TSL arts organization, Hudson NY. She was the 2009 recipient of the Artists Fellowship Award from CPW and was a 2018 Finalist in Critical Mass. Davis teaches portfolio development and marketing to fine arts photographers. Her book, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: A Family Portrait, awaits a publisher.
Ellen Feldman, Separation Anxiety: Mother and Daughter
As I sip a cup of coffee or apply lipstick, I feel I’m channeling my mother’s gestures. I’ve had these sensations for decades, generally wanting to shake them off. But as time—and my mother—have passed, I now embrace these “invasive” feelings. I’ll even fling my arms high above my head in abandon, just as she did, to keep alive a gesture that I loved so much.
Most of these images include two photos and a quotation: I juxtapose a photograph of my mother (or both parents) that I took in the recent or distant past, with a more recent photo of me adopting a similar pose, often in the same location. I include a quotation that obliquely refers to the scene, to our mortality, or to an emotion.
The theme, “identity over time,” carries over to diptychs of me “then and now” and to fragments of letters and an early autobiography.
Bio: Ellen Feldman is a fine arts photographer, whose work includes prints and photobooks of street photography and long-term projects. Feldman’s photographs have appeared in solo exhibits at Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA, the Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY, and the French Cultural Center, Boston, MA; and have been shown in many juried group exhibits. Among her photobooks are: “We Who March: Photographs and Reflections on the Women’s March, January 21, 2017,” with contributions by thirty photographers and comments by twenty marchers; a photo-comic “The Dancer as the Invisible Girl”; and two books of street photos: “Les Mystères de Paris / Paris Mysteries” and “A Week in Prague: Wall People / Street People.”
Feldman is the photography editor of Women’s Review of Books (Wellesley College) and holds a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from NYU.
Cassandra Goldwater, Absence/Presence & Histories of Self
My father was dead at 36; my mother widowed at 37. How his absence and her presence shaped my understanding of self and other is subtle and revealed by reflection. These images are a dreamed world of my imagined parent and some evidence of history with my living parent absent the story line to give that evidence meaning.
Histories of Self: a series of 3 mixed media works
The Saboteur: An archetype of destructive power, this figure also has a light side. To sabotage someone or something, the saboteur requires intimate knowledge of a person or thing to succeed in its destruction. Making this figure clarified the role of family systems that sabotaged parts of my journey and my own self-sabotage. Materials: Clay, found objects, fabric from family clothing, mud cloth, wire, copper beads, branch.
Devil’s Claw: This piece reflects a wish that every child be treasured. The devil’s claw is an ironic response to my mother calling the two pigtails she tied on top of my toddler head as “your devil horns.” Materials: Devil’s claw, clay, hand felted “swaddling,” found objects, root.
Coming/Going: Materials: Root, wire, found object.
Bio: Cassandra Goldwater uses photography to wrestle with current events and histories both personal and political. While many of her images combine found objects, she is also drawn to the interplay of the natural environment and imagination. Her photographs have been shown in multiple Photography Ateliers, at the Davis Orton Gallery, a juried student show at the deCordova Museum, the Bedford Library juried show and Lexington Open Studios.
Bio: Goldwater studied photography at the deCordova Museum, the New England School of Photography and the New Hampshire Institute of Arts and Science. She has also taken workshops at the Santa Fe Workshop with Cig Harvey, the North Country Workshops with Sean Kernan, as well as the Griffin Museum of Photography. Her commentary on the photographic work of Jennette Williams and Hellen van Meene appeared in the Women’s Review of Books.
Miriam Goodman, After a Certain Age &
Daughters Recall Their Mother’s Advice
Miriam Goodman’s photographic and word and image series began with ideas, which she pursued with intensity until each was complete. Engaging her friends and relatives in the development of her photographic projects, they shared their experiences of getting older forAfter a Certain Age, and recalled their mothers’ advice and admonitions for her short movie, Daughters Recollect Their Mothers. It was a joy to watch her process as she honed her compositions into spare, powerful works, often tinged with humor.
Bio: Miriam Goodman (1938-2008) was a poet, editor, photographer, and teacher. She was the author of three books of poetry, including Commercial Traveler, 1996, Garden Street Press; Signal: Noise, 1982; and Permanent Wave, 1977, Alice James Books. Her photographs have appeared in solo and group exhibitions, on book jackets, in literary magazines, CD packaging and on the web.
She was the first photography editor of the Women’s Review of Books and founder/co-coordinator of the Word & Image Lecture series sponsored by Lesley University, Cambridge MA and New England School of Photography.
Portfolio Showcase: A Feeling of Home
Selected through our Portfolio Showcase International Call for Entries
Maureen Beitler, Westernport
Artist Statement: Deep within the Allegheny Mountains, Westernport is the birthplace of my ancestors and is a town steeped in family legend. Although it is a real place, for me growing up in urban Baltimore, it was a mythical place. Once thriving it now has a population of less than 2000. It was the home of my great-grandparents and as a young child I heard many family stories about the mountains, the town and how our family survived hardship. My great grandfather was a coal miner who died from black lung disease. His death changed the trajectory of my family history. My great-grandmother and her children left the home that they loved and would forever long for. This project began as an exploration into my family history but evolved into a deeper photographic encounter with the region, the land and those who still call Westernport home.
Bio: Maureen Beitler is a documentary and fine art photographer. Her work explores the symbiotic relationship of men and women within the environments they have created and the impact that each exacts upon the other. Before turning to photography she worked as a trauma nurse in Baltimore city, which greatly influenced her photographic practice. She studied at the International Center of Photography and is a NYFA recipient for her project, Faith in Harlem. She continues to work on projects in the US and abroad and divides her time between NYC and the Hudson Valley.
Robin Michals, Our Neighborhood
Our Neighborhood juxtaposes homes with the infrastructure of industrial production or as Jedediah Britton-Purdy writing recently in the NYT has called it, “ the technological exoskeleton for the species.” If you live near a factory or refinery, you hear it, you smell it, you know it is dangerous but you accept it because either you have no choice or it is your best choice. You can’t leave. No one will buy your house or the rent is low. We all live in this house, this is our neighborhood.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report last fall stating that the global temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial levels by 2040, causing calamitous worldwide damage. Our grandfathers built this house and really there is no where else to go.
Bio: Robin Michals is a photographer whose work explores explores the specificity of place. Since 2010, she has been developing Castles Made of Sand, a series about communities in New York City impacted by sea level rise. More recently, in Our Neighborhood, she has been looking at resignation in the face of climate change in the series Our Neighborhood, shot in communities living with industry. Her work has been seen in The Fence, the Brooklyn Historical Society, St. Peter’s Church, the Alice Austen House among other venues. She was a visiting artist at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2015. In 2009, Michals photographed over fifty sites in the borough with legacy pollution for the series Toxi City: Brooklyn’s Brownfields, which was exhibited at the Brooklyn Lyceum with support from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation. She teaches photography at New York City College of Technology and lives in Brooklyn.