July 17, 2019

Photography Exhibit at MCCC’s Kerney Gallery

“THE FIGURE A PORTRAIT MAKES”: This portrait by Ramie Ahmed is among works by ten current or former MCCC Visual Arts students to be featured in a new exhibit at MCCC’s James Kerney Campus Gallery in Trenton July 29 through August 23. A community reception is scheduled for August 2 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus Gallery (JKCG) in Trenton presents “The Figure a Portrait Makes,” contemporary interpretations of the genre of portraiture by ten current and former MCCC Visual Arts students. The exhibition runs Monday, July 29 through Friday, August 23.

The exhibit features photography by Ramie Ahmed, Timothy Dill, John Labaw, Elizabeth Mayer, Isaiah Mcrae, Julia Pfaar, Regina Ritter, Danielle Rackowski, Zac Santanello, and Grace Spencer.

The community is invited to a reception with the photographers on Friday, August 2, 3 to 6 p.m., held in conjunction with a concert by students and faculty from Mercer’s Summer Jazz Institute, to be performed outdoors at the campus.

The gallery’s director and curator is Michael Chovan-Dalton, coordinator of the MCCC Photography program. Chovan-Dalton is co-curating this show with Ryann Casey, adjunct instructor of art.

According to Chovan-Dalton, historically, portraiture has been used to represent the power, status, and wealth of an individual or a group by reproducing their idealized likeness. “In the early days, photographers imitated this process as best they could with lighting, costume, and scenery but soon they began to embrace the more vernacular descriptions that the photographic process could offer,” he said.

Chovan-Dalton notes that through the medium of photography, portraiture has branched out into environmental portraits, documentary/travel portraits, photojournalism, street photography, self-portraits, and, of course, the snapshot.

“Photographic portraiture has been used to exoticize, colonialize, demonize, classify, document, heroicize, connect, heal, and memorialize. It has been a tool for our worst and best impulses,” said Chovan-Dalton, adding that the show’s title is based on an essay Robert Frost wrote as a preface to his 1939 edition of Collected Poems.

JKCG is located in MCCC’s Trenton Hall, 137 North Broad Street, across the street from the James Kerney Building. Exhibit hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment by emailing jkcgallery@mccc.edu.

For more information, visit www.mccc.edu/jkcgallery.