DAY DREAMERS / NIGHT WANDERERS: Photographs by Emma Powell & Kirsten Hoving
Daydreamers & Night Wanderers is a two-person (mother & daughter) exhibition of photographs by Kirsten Hoving and Emma Powell. The exhibition features work from a series by each artist: Emma Powell’s large-scale toned cyanotypes from her series “The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter,” and Kirsten Hoving’s archival digital prints from her series “Night Wanderers.” The work is linked by the artists’ shared interest in photo history, surreal imagery, implied narrative and symbolic objects. Photographs by both artists have been featured in a variety of national and international exhibitions and publications.
The photographs in the series, The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, balance on the fine line between reality and the dream. I use self-portraiture to articulate personal narratives, which are often both nightmare and fantasy. Human, animal, and environmental forms interact in unexpected ways to symbolize discoveries and conflicts in my intimate relationships. I use the cyanotype process to suggest an alternative space, such as a dream or memory. This historic process obscures the subjects’ location in time and creates a backdrop for archetypal universal symbols. These images are toned with tea and wine to produce a range of additional warmer tones, making them seem more natural. I choose these substances for the acidic effect on the chemistry, as well as their influence on communication and memory. Although photography is normally considered a medium that represents the present, visible world, in my work I attempt to make visual what cannot be seen in place or time.
Emma Powell is visiting artist and lecturer at Iowa State University. Her work often examines photography’s history while incorporating historic processes and or devices within the imagery. As an undergraduate at the College of Wooster, she studied the nineteenth-century spirit photography movement as a subject for her undergraduate thesis exhibition of wet plate collodion photographs. While pursuing her MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology, she expanded her interest in the intersection between historical and contemporary practice by examining the life of George Eastman in a series of photographs made through the viewfinders of old Kodak cameras. Her work has been shown in a variety of one-person and group exhibitions throughout the country, including her solo thesis exhibition A Life Reviewed: George Eastman through the Viewfinder at the George Eastman House in 2010. The photographs in her most recent series The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, depict personal narratives through self portraiture mixed with fantasy. Her use of the cyanotype process adds a historical component to the mysterious environments in which her subjects find themselves.
Night Wanderers is a series of photographs envisioning the cosmos. I photograph objects and nineteenth-century photographs frozen in or placed under disks of ice to create the feeling of galactic swirls of stars, galaxies and spiral nebulae.
For this series, I have been influenced not by the work of other photographers, but by the collage and assemblage art of the American artist Joseph Cornell. In the course of writing an art historical book on the artist, Joseph Cornell and Astronomy: A Case for the Stars, I became aware of the artist’s deep and abiding interest in astronomy. I also came to understand his creative process, which involved juxtaposing objects in often unexpected ways. His working method encouraged me to take risks, to experiment, and to be willing to destroy one object to create another. He also taught me to appreciate the stars.
Using ice as a still life object is always a challenging process. I partially thaw the ice to create transparent and translucent areas, then work quickly to photograph it. While I choose objects and photographs that recall earlier times (an outdated globe, old cartes-de-visite) to help remind us that star light is old light, the ice that encases them underscores the elegance and fragility of our place in the universe.
Kirsten Hoving is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Art History at Middlebury College where she teaches and writes about Modern Art and the History of Photography. After the younger of her two daughters left for college she turned to photography to fill the gap, and for the last eight years she has been making and exhibiting work on a variety of themes. Her work has appeared in a variety of group exhibitions around the country, as well as in solo shows at the Southern Vermont Art Center and the Sibley Gallery in New Orleans.
The exhibition will be on display from Feb. 1st through the 24th. Gallery hours are Fri/Sat 1-6 and Sunday 11-3.
There will be a brief artists talk and discussion with Kirsten and Emma Friday, Feb. 1st at 5:00pm directly before the opening reception which will be from 5:30 to 8:30pm during Gallery Walk.
Questions? Contact Joshua Farr at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-251-6051
Vermont Center for Photography – 49 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT. 05301
This exhibition sponsored by PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT. PhotoPlace Gallery’s mission is to support contemporary fine art photography as a means of creative expression and cultural insight. Learn more about PhotoPlace Gallery online HERE.
Selection of images from the exhibition: