Monday, February 15, 2010

Exhibition of Constance Stuart Larrabee H '96 Photographs of South Africa and WWII Opens at Washington College's Kohl Gallery

CHESTERTOWN, MD – “Looking Back: Perspectives on the Early Photography of Constance Stuart Larrabee” opens at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery on February 19th and will be on view until March 18th. The exhibition features 36 photos selected from the Gallery’s collection, donated by the photographer herself in 2000. View photos from the exhibition opening.

The third exhibit in the new Kohl Gallery, “Looking Back” follows the acclaimed exhibition “Second Nature: Masterpieces of Nineteenth-Century Landscape Painting” and a show of work by students from Chestertown Middle School. The exhibition will open in conjunction with George Washington’s Birthday Convocation and is the first show curated by an individual student in Kohl Gallery.

“Looking Back” is the Senior Capstone Experience of Riley Carbonneau ’10, a double major in Art and Art History and Sociology and a Kohl Gallery Intern. Under the supervision of Drs. Donald McColl in Art and Art History and Erin Anderson in Sociology, the exhibition represents a new opportunity for Art and Art History majors at the college to curate a show of their own choosing.

Remembered personally by many in the Chestertown community, Constance Stuart Larrabee (1914-2000) is internationally recognized for her work as a photographer, which began well before she settled on the Eastern Shore and established her long association with Washington College. In addition to her singular contributions to Friends of the Arts and the Department of Art, she left the College another legacy: a sizable collection of photographic prints, which are the subject of this exhibition.

Part of a project involving art-historical and sociological research and newly recorded oral histories, “Looking Back” contributes to ongoing reassessments of Larrabee’s work. Focusing on South Africa and World War II, the photos selected for this exhibition not only highlight documentary and formal qualities promoted by Larrabee herself, but also raise questions of meaning and context that make themselves apparent over time and continue to evolve with the differing perspectives on her photography.

A collaborative effort, the exhibition will feature a video, produced by Dave Wheelan and Kurt Kolaja (parent of Karly Kolaja ‘11) of The Chestertown Spy, over a recording of an NPR interview with Larrabee from August 18, 1998, as well as related photographs. In addition, Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is coordinating an oral-history project.

To accompany the exhibit, Karen Hye ’10, a double-major in Art and Art History and Psychology, interested in art therapy, will show examples of the extraordinary work she has done with AIDS patients in South Africa, part of which involved Hye’s giving said patients cameras to document their lives.

The resulting exhibition, “Defined by Four Letters,” was part of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and received national press in South Africa,

Hye continues her work in New York, with the support of a Clarence Hoidson Prize, and upon graduation, hopes to take her work to India and China.

Gallery Hours are: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and Mondays and is free of charge.

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