114 Warren St. Hudson NY 12534  518-697-0266   Fri thru Sun noon to 6pm & by appointment


Nicole Buchanan

Amanda Chestnut

Exhibition Dates: October 8 to November 13, 2016
Reception for Artists: Saturday, October 8, 5-7pm

Portfolio Showcase  Identity: Race in America
Don Russell and Ben Arnon

Nicole Buchanan, The Skin I’m In      (more images)

CRJ 19 The Skin I'm In by Nicole Buchanan

CRJ 19 The Skin I’m In by Nicole Buchanan

AA 26 The Skin I'm In by Nicole Buchanan

AA 26 The Skin I’m In by Nicole Buchanan

Amanda Chestnut, Good Hair and Other Projects: Archives, Photographs, Ephemera, Artist Books

Now You Have Permission to Touch My Hair - artist book by Amanda Chestnut

Now You Have Permission to Touch My Hair – artist book by Amanda Chestnut

I am not your intellectual mammy, cotton apron with embroidering, by Amanda Chestnut

I am not your intellectual mammy, cotton apron with embroidering, by Amanda Chestnut

Portfolio Showcase  Theme: Identity – Race in America

Don Russell, Cowboys of Color      (more images)

Jason Griffin from Cowboys of Color by Don Russell

Jason Griffin from Cowboys of Color by Don Russell

Ben Arnon,  Black Lives Matter   (more images)

Black Lives Matter II by Ben Arnon

Black Lives Matter II by Ben Arnon

About the Artists

Nicole Buchanan, The Skin I’m In   


Skin color has been used for centuries as the focus of discrimination against minorities. Nicole Buchanan created The Skin I’m In to call attention to this and to recognize the dignity of individuals who self-identify as African, African American and from the African Diaspora. 

In this series of portraits, Buchanan depicts her subjects’ head and shoulders, without clothes and jewelry (with some exceptions) to avoid triggering viewer assumptions. Each person emerges from a black background – darkness – into a luminous setting, which highlights facial features, tonality and texture of the skin. Each person stares into the camera meeting our gaze. Expressions, neither aggressive nor submissive, defy racial presumptions. The uniformity of Buchanan’s compositions underscores similarities while the range of skin tones and textures challenges the stereotype of these individuals being viewed similarly.

Buchanan made 50 portraits of undergraduates and graduate students at Rhode Island School of Design where she was completing work on a BFA. Davis Orton Gallery will be exhibiting 16 of them. Her goal is that The Skin I’m In will start meaningful discussions around race and identity.

Photographs courtesy of Gallery Kayafas and the artist, Nicole Buchanan.

Bio  Nicole Buchanan’s work has been exhibited at Gallery Kayafas, Boston MA; Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography and Harvard University, among others. At Harvard, The Skin I’m In was shown in “Reflections on Freedom,” Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival. Buchanan is a recent graduate from the RISD with a BFA in photography and is represented by Gallery Kayafas, Boston MA.

Amanda Chestnut, Good Hair and Other Projects: Artist Books, Photographs, Archive and Ephemera

Installation-Banner - Why do you have to make everything about race? by Amanda ChestnutInstallation-Banner – Why do you have to make everything about race? by Amanda Chestnut

Amanda Chestnut, cyanotypes, artist book

Amanda Chestnut, cyanotypes, artist book

“I wonder if the struggles that my parents faced as an interracial couple, the brutality faced by my father because of the color of his skin, and the atrocities that were committed upon his ancestors all reside in me somewhere.”

In her photography and artist books, in her use of archival photography and emphemera, Amanda Chestnut’s narrative of race and gender conveys the emotion and the lasting impact of both personal experience and historic events.

“I spent many years allowing myself to be defined by my hair. This single feature, more than any other part of my body, has been used by others to measure how black I am, how white I am, how smart I am, how much money I have, and how much I am worth as an individual. I can’t help but explore why hair means so much.”

While many of the experiences that drive her work are deeply personal, in sharing them she has learned she is not alone. “This gives me strength to continue carrying this historical burden.”

Bio Amanda Chestnut holds an MFA in Visual Studies from The College at Brockport, SUNY. Since graduating in 2015, she has been exhibited throughout New York and was an artist in residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock and at Genesee Center for Arts and Education in Printing and Book Arts. She is now Communications Coordinator of Genesee Center for Arts and Education.

Selected through our Portfolio Showcase Call for Work,
the gallery is also featuring
portfolios by Don Russell and Ben Arnon

Don Russell, Cowboys of Color

Machelle Baccus from Cowboys of Color by Don Russell

Machelle Baccus from Cowboys of Color by Don Russell

Few people realize that there is a rich black cowboy culture and history. The intent of Cowboys of Color portfolio is to make visible the modern black cowboy and the continuation of the black rodeo and ranching tradition into our time. Neither black nor a cowboy, at first Don Russell was a stranger at the rodeo, engaging a rider for a few minutes behind the bull chutes. As he continued to make portraits, rodeo after rodeo, he became an integral part of the rodeo team and friends with many of the cowboys. He now also schedules photo shoots, makes time for long conversations and records personal essays of some of the contestants.

“I’ve met old and young, men and women, and historic figures. I have had the great pleasure and privilege to be invited into this world; to make this work so freely; to hear the stories. and find so many wonderful new friends.” What started as an idea for an afternoon shoot at a Cowboys of Color Rodeo in Dallas TX has become a two year project resulting a book and a traveling exhibition.

Bio: Don Russell’s work has been featured in recent juried exhibitions at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester MA, Photo Place Gallery, Middlebury VT and Kadoya Gallery, Pueblo CO. Several of his images have appeared in Black and White Magazine including a series in the 2014 Portfolio Contest Winners Special Edition. Russell, of North Texas, studied photography at the University of Kentucky and The Maryland Institute, College of Art. He also holds a BS in Electrical Engineering.

Ben Arnon, Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter I by Ben Arnon

Black Lives Matter I by Ben Arnon

“This is a war and Black Lives Matter is the enemy,” is what Ben Arnon heard. TV and radio news spread fear across America, painting a picture of Black Lives Matter protests as dangerous, angry, anti-American, anti-police, and downright scary. Conservatives such as Rudy Giuliani and Sheriff David Clarke were the messengers of this gloomy portrait.

But Arnon was there and saw the protests. They were inclusive and filled with positive energy. All ethnicities, genders, ages, and sexual orientations were visible. As a photojournalist, he was inspired to capture the harmony and positivity of these protests.

“These photographs tell the truth. This is what democracy looks like. This is what America looks like.”

Bio: Ben Arnon is a New York City-based visual journalist whose focus is documentary reportage, street portraiture, and the impact of human existence on urban landscapes. Photographs from “Black Lives Matter” were exhibited during the 2016 DNC Convention in Philadelphia at an exhibition called Truth To Power.

Several of his series can be seen this Fall including: “Willets Point” at Photoville in ‘Battle of the Boroughs’ multimedia presentation; “RIO,” throughout New York’s Chelsea Market from October 1 to December 31; and four photographs in the central atrium of the Atlanta Airport through November 30.

Ben writes frequently for the Huffington Post, offering social commentary on a wide array of topics including visual arts, culture, society, digital media, and politics.