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 firstname.lastname@example.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,
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
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"
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
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 email@example.com or 2-3713. For more information on the exhibitions and programs,
contact The Art Gallery at 2-3712, firstname.lastname@example.org, or