November 13, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Prime Years explores the many aspects of aging through images made via 13 different artist´s perspectives. From the editorial to the personal, the work in Prime Years depicts centenarians, artists, relatives, and other individuals enjoying, enduring, and living their lives beyond the age of 60.
Cynthia Morgan Batmanis (Houston, TX)
Miloushka Bokma (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Edmund Clark (London, UK)
Kaylynn Deveney (Albuquerque, NM)
Victoria Diaz-Azcoaga (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Theresa DiMenno (Houston, TX)
Norma Holt (New York, NY)
Eileen Kennedy (Philadelphia, PA)
Margot Quan Knight (Seattle, WA)
Gaby Messina (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Blake Ogden (Cambridge, MA)
Jane Paradise (San Francisco, CA)
Mark Story (Hope, ID)
One would like to think that aging is not a necessary feature of human life but alas, it seems to be. Artists are particularly keen at exploring human life and the ones whose works make up the Prime Years exhibit are a case in point. To a certain extent, their works reflect the values of their cultures, but mostly they project their own idiosyncrasies. It never was the point of this exhibit to give a comprehensive visual account of aging, but rather to show precisely those idiosyncrasies.
Originally, we wanted to have an upbeat view of aging and the title of the exhibit reflects that desire. It was not a capricious wish. Today, more and more people live longer healthy lives. We did not, however, seek out works that reflected this fact alone. Our focus was always aging and the merit of the works. We did find some works that show more negative aspects of aging like senility, infirmity, illness, and isolation; but by and large, the exhibit followed its original design.
Fernando Castro R., Curator
Cynthia Morgan Batmanis´ staged work And If I Did, What Then? is about the assault of dementia on the elderly.
Miloushka Bokma´s depictions of grandmothers have the unsettling quality of Jan van Eyck´s The Arnolfini Marriage. Her subtly colored scenes, which aim to bring together women generations apart, are simultaneously intimate and detached, tender and cold.
Edmund Clark´s portraits of centenarians are optimistic and jocund. Their attire and demeanor suggests an ample social life.
Kaylynn Deveney´s series The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings is also a book in the format of a journal. Her photographs depict the daily happenings of elderly man Albert Hastings and are accompanied by Hasting´s journal-like entries.
Victoria Diaz-Azcoaga´s whimsical works are based on games that children used to find in the printed media (cut-out dolls, find-ten-differences in the picture challenge, etc.). Diaz-Azcoaga´s grandmother is the main character in these re-created games.
Theresa DiMenno´s video, The Twenty Years Since Daddy Left , is comprised of photographs of her mother covering an expanse of twenty years from the point of a dejected overweight mature woman to her gradual reinvention of herself. The images are accompanied by captions written by the artist´s mother in response to seeing pictures of herself.
The subject of Jane Paradise´s photographs, Norma Holt, is an artist/photographer in her own right. She has photographed people from all over the world. In the 1990s she focused on older women. She stated: "These women appealed to me. They were so beautiful. Though most people attribute this attraction to the fact that I am getting older, I believe it is more that I like their behavior and the way I can communicate with them. Many of them were lonely and we found much to talk about. Their faces were not covered with layers between who they were and what I could see. I could relate to them and make an honest and enriching statement." In recent years, Ms. Holt has focused on new ways of presenting photographs. This October she celebrated her ninety-first birthday.
Eileen Kennedy captures her husband´s life during his transition from being a successful professional with a semi-public persona to a retiree. While her scenes are intimate in nature, the project speaks to a universal quandary faced by many new retirees who explore new avenues for self-fulfillment and purpose.
Margot Quan Knight´s Portrait of a Woman: 1947-2007 compresses sixty years of her mother´s life to a two-minute video. The fast succession of photographic images emphasizes the fleeting nature of life.
Gaby Messina´s photographic project Great Women consists of a series of contextual portraits of elderly women. The props in the context clue the viewer about the active life the subjects enjoy and practice.
Blake Ogden´s photographic essay In My Grandmother´s House add an aura of nostalgia to the child-like exploration of artifacts collected by his relative. The camera discovers newspaper clippings, old photographs, and other memorabilia.
Jane Paradise´s images document the life of Norma Holt, a celebrated artist and photographer who summers on Cape Cod. Paradise´s photographs are situated alongside actual artworks created by Holt.
From 1987 to 2005 Mark Story photographed people worldwide who had lived over a hundred years. His close-up head shots are black-and-white portraits that render facial features like details of a map.
Prime Years Artist Talks
Friday Nov 13, 2009
5:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Prime Years Exhibition Opening Reception
Friday Nov 13, 2009
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM