Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 3
 
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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Arts Council Moves “Beyond the Document” As Five New Exhibits Open at Robeson Center

Dilshanie Perera

Abstract color photographs, platinum prints, works in video and sculpture, and a showcase of Arts Council faculty work are featured in the five new exhibitions that opened last Thursday at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts.

Curated by E. Carmen Ramos, “Beyond the Document: Color Field Photography” displays abstract photos from various contemporary photographers. Bringing together a painterly sensibility and unusual processes of producing the final image, the works “challenge our idea of photography,” Ms. Ramos said.

Yusuke Nishimura’s project began with a blank sheet of paper taped to his wall that he would photograph every time the light quality coming into his room would change. The images in the exhibition are a digital composite of the analog photographs, as well as a visual record of his process. Ellen Carey, another artist featured in “Beyond the Document,” used one of the largest Polaroid cameras and a technique of pulling the negatives to transfer these abstract images.

Ms. Ramos explained that part of the impetus for curating the show came from wanting to feature mediums for which the Arts Council has classes, among them photography, ceramics, drawing, and painting.

The video lounge showcases Michael Paul Britto’s work, “Dirrrty Harriet Tubman,” which involves two videos in movie trailer and music video format. “He has taken the life of Harriet Tubman, and made it accessible by using formats we are familiar with,” Ms. Ramos said of Mr. Britto, adding that “he challenges what we accept in popular culture.” For instance, the music video in the exhibition involves a dance choreographed to the song “I’m a Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears.

Featured in the “Faculty Spotlight,” Arts Council faculty member Bruce Berenson’s work is comprised of black and white photo portraits. Over the past summer he learned a printing technique that involves using platinum instead of silver, and now works with platinum prints frequently, he said. Regular watercolor paper was brushed with a salt of chemicals containing the metal, dried, and exposed to ultraviolet light and the photo negative in order to create the image. “All you’re looking at is paper and platinum” he observed as he regarded the images.

Artist Harry Gordon’s stone sculptures can be seen outside on the Michael Graves Terrace.

The exhibitions will be on view until April 4.

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