Jump to Footer

Ellen Eisenman Photo Narrative Exhibit to Open Aug. 7

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ A photo narrative exhibition of 29 works by artist Ellen Eisenman will open Saturday, Aug. 7 in the Burke Gallery, Myers Fine Arts Building at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum . The exhibit, "Memories and Mirrors," will go on display at 12 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7 and run through Sept. 26.

"for Jimmy" by Ellen Eisenman Since first picking up a camera in 1967, Eisenman has confronted and solved many of the creative questions presented to the socially responsible visionary artist in the last part of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st century.

Incorporating documentary photographic images, narrative contexts, quilting, color, monochromatic surfaces and selected objects, she examines, structures and offers the viewer her understanding of such issues as work, injustice, community building, manual labor and often the relationship of the eternal "two."  Slavery, ever present in the back of our historical mind, comes to the fore.

Her process begins with the idea and its presence in documentary photograph - initially a few and then its expansion into many.  These are quilted together with the incorporation of beads, shells, nails and glass; all breaking down the moment of the singular image and making a large context for the issue and the viewer.  All of this is driven by the essential compassion and humanity of the artist but ruled by the aesthetic nature of the commitment.

Eisenman's work took its dramatic turn toward stitched photography and its incorporation of other elements in 1979 after a weekend with James Baldwin during a public stay in Columbus, Ohio.  The alchemical process of working in the dark room revealed not one Baldwin, not one image that could capture her experience of him - but several Baldwins.  This need and insight led her to a contextual approach achieved through quilting. 

Edward Brohel, director of the Art Museum, said Eisenman's work maintains a commitment to 'concerned photography."

"Ellen's photographic references help set the context in which viewers may develop their own narratives. Up close, the fragments tug at the recesses of our minds," said Brohel.

"Indeed, the images come to us the way memories do - in bits and pieces, at times distorted, at other times in clear patterns."

Eisenman will discuss her work during a lecture on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Visiting Artist Series. A public reception in honor of the artist will be held on Friday, Sept. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Burke Gallery.

The Plattsburgh Museum is open daily noon to 4 p.m., except on holidays. For more information, contact Edward R. Brohel, museum director, 518-564-2474; Keith Tyo, director of public relations, 518-564-2090; or on the Web at http://clubs.Plattsburgh.edu/museum

Back to top