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Ellis Island Photographs and Works by MacDowell Colony Artists at Art Gallery

October 17, 2007

Two new exhibitions featuring photographs by Christopher Barnes of the abandoned buildings of Ellis Island and new works by nine New England visual artists who have been residents at the renowned MacDowell Colony will be on view at The Art Gallery, from Oct. 30 through Dec.17.

The exhibitions, “Shadow and Memory: Ellis Island's Unrestored Buildings: The Photographs of Christopher Barnes” and “In Residence: Artists and the MacDowell Colony Experience,” will open with a public preview reception on Monday, Oct. 29, from 5 – 7 p.m. Admission is free.

“Shadow and Memory: Ellis Island’s Unrestored Buildings” showcases Barnes’s compelling images of the abandoned buildings of Ellis Island begun in the 1980s when he visited to document the main registry building. There he discovered 30 additional buildings, mostly on Ellis Island’s south side, that had steadily deteriorated since the island closed in 1954.

Drawn to the silent but powerful spaces in what had been the largest U.S. public health service hospital in the early 20th century, Barnes began this photographic odyssey that continues today, as these buildings are stabilized, cleaned, and prepared for restoration and adaptive re-use.

The exhibition includes these earlier images, taken when the hospital buildings stood empty and deteriorated, as well as his recent work documenting the progress to stabilize them, undertaken by Save Ellis Island, the National Park Service partner for the adaptive re-use of these structures.

Interspersed among the contemporary photographs are historic images of the hospital in operation, where 1.2 million immigrants were inspected for disease and treated for illnesses like measles, tuberculosis, and trachoma. These combined photographs illustrate the unique stories found within the hospital walls, stories of heartache and happiness in the context of compassionate care and treatment of ill immigrants and their families during Ellis Island’s busiest years.

Barnes, a resident of Maine, received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 for his Ellis Island portfolio. His work has also been shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, among other locations. “Shadow and Memory” was organized and loaned to UNH by Save Ellis Island, Inc. It is presented in Durham with generous support from Thomas W. Haas.

A non-profit organization, Save Ellis Island, Inc., is the National Park Service designated partner for fundraising and programming to restore and re-use the remaining thirty buildings on Ellis Island. These buildings, located primarily on Ellis Island’s south side and untouched since the island closed in 1954, will come to life again in the coming years, completing Ellis Island’s story as a major gateway to America. The buildings are slated to become the Ellis Island Institute and Conference Center, hosting public programs and conferences on issues that affect us all—human migration and health. In addition to convening conferences, the Institute will welcome visitors with exhibitions, interactive programming, festivals and performances that educate and engage audiences of all ages. For more information, visit www.saveellisisland.org, call (973) 347-8400, or send e-mail to information@saveellisisland.org.

“In Residence: Artists and the MacDowell Colony Experience”

Also on view at The Art Gallery is the exhibition “In Residence: Artists and the MacDowell Colony Experience,” presented as part of the national celebration of the 100th anniversary of the MacDowell Colony, America's first multidisciplinary artist residency program, located in Peterborough, NH.

The Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College and The Art Gallery at UNH have co-organized this exhibition, which features work by nine New England visual artists who have been residents at the MacDowell Colony since 1980.

The exhibition includes work in many media, including installation art, photography, painting, prints, drawing, sculpture, and artist books. Featured artists include: Rosemarie Bernardi (Keene, NH), Tom Chapin (Phippsburg, ME), Jim Coates (Lyndeborough, NH), Roberta Delaney (Sherborn, MA), Grant Drumheller (New Castle, NH), Beth Galston (Carlisle, MA), Olivia Parker (Manchester, MA), Susan Schwalb (Watertown, MA), and Judith Stone (Burlington, VT).

In addition to more recent work, each artist is represented by at least one work that was either created at MacDowell or directly influenced by the MacDowell experience. Accompanying the works on view, artists' statements reflect upon the MacDowell residency—how the experience affected and influenced their work.

The exhibition’s presentation at UNH is supported in part by a grant from The FEDCO Charitable Foundation.

“Shadow and Memory: Ellis Island's Unrestored Buildings: The Photographs of Christopher Barnes” include:

Christopher Barnes, “Desk of Questioning”, 60” x 40”, courtesy of Christopher Barnes


Christopher Barnes, 20” x 16” courtesy of Save Ellis Island, Inc.


Christopher Barnes, 20” x 16”, courtesy of Save Ellis Island, Inc. http://www.unh.edu/art-gallery/images/Christopher_Barnes_Ellis_Island/Christopher_Barnes_32.jpg

“Trachoma Patients”, photograph, 20” x 16”, courtesy of The National Archives


“Nurses”, photograph, 20” x 16”, courtesy of Ellis Island Immigration Museum


Selected images from the “In Residence: Artists and the MacDowell Colony Experience” include:

Rosemarie Bernardi, “Inundant Cathexis” from “Studies in Hysteria,” 1992, intaglio, 26" x 25"


Tom Chapin, Urim, 2005, bronze, 12" x 12" x 12", courtesy of Icon Contemporary Art, Brunswick, ME


Jim Coates, “Alexander--MacDowell Remembered,” 1988, handmade paper and wood, 24" x 50"


Roberta Delaney, Translations and Transformations (detail)” 2000, etching, 24" x 50"

http://www.unh.edu/art-gallery/images/MacDowell/Roberta_ Delaney.jpg

Gant Drumheller, “Dancer’s Bed,” 2006, oil on linen, 72" x 80"


Judith Stone, “Stronghold: Gorge”, 2000, graphite, conte, photograph, tinted, transparent Plexiglas, organic material (twig), 46" x 27 1/2" (framed)


Beth Galston, “Sycamore Circle”, 2000-2002, urethane resin, sycamore leaves, 20" x 54”


Olivia Parker, “Eye and Idea,” 1993, archival inkjet print, photograph by Olivia Parker


Susan Schwalb,” Refractions IV,” 2002, silverpoint and acrylic on paper on wood, 24" x 24", courtesy of the artist and Andrea Marquit Fine Arts, Boston


The Art Gallery is the 2007 recipient of “New Hampshire Magazine’s” Best of New Hampshire – Hidden Treasure award.

Exhibitions and programs are supported in part by the Friends of The Art Gallery and are open to the public free of charge. The Art Gallery is open during the academic year: Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; closed November 12 and November 21-25, Fridays and during exhibition changes.

Guided group tours for schools and other organizations are available with advance reservation by contacting Catherine A. Mazur, education and publicity coordinator, at catherine.mazur@unh.edu or 2-3713. For more information on the exhibitions and programs, contact The Art Gallery at 2-3712, art.gallery@unh.edu, or visit www.unh.edu/art-gallery.

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