With two approaches to the use of the photographic image, artists Mary Goodwin and Robert Rainey critically and creatively re-examine the history of place and art.
In a new media exhibit, “Histories,” which opened in the Davis Gallery at Houghton House on Friday, Nov. 20, Goodwin and Rainey explore new modes of artistic expression through photographic experimentation.
In his series titled “his*story,” Rainey, according to the artists’ statement, “borrows from the formal vernacular of great historical works of art. Each photograph is a reenactment of a famous figurative painting or sculpture. He uses himself as an actor, and pairs himself only with male partners. Rainey seeks to question and explore issues of personal identity as influenced by cultural notions of class, gender, race, age and sexual orientation. By replacing the females with male actors in traditional patriarchal garb, Rainey subverts the idea that women are the object of the cultural gaze.”
In the series “Site Line,” Goodwin “constructs unusually oriented panoramas of places, revealing the histories hidden in place. Goodwin’s images map places where a change of state, a transition, has occurred. The events behind these transitions range from the historically significant to the deeply personal. As the photographs focus on localized sections of the earth, they delineate both a physical and a cultural geography; “Site Line” traces the tangible locations of intangible moments that define the history of the land and its inhabitants. In her combination of visual detail and narrative text, Goodwin questions how much can be truly known about place through the photograph.”
Goodwin has exhibited at venues across America, including SOIL Gallery in Seattle, Wash., Northlight Gallery in Tempe, Ariz., and Payne Gallery, Bethlehem, Pa. Her work has been shown abroad at the International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China, and at the Academy of Art, Leipzig, Germany. Her images have appeared in Art in America, CameraArts, and the Albuquerque Journal, among other publications, and her writing about photography has been printed in numerous publications, including American Photo magazine and the photo-eye booklist. She holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, a BA in German literature from Mount Holyoke College, and a BFA in photography from Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. She is currently the associate director at Light Work in Syracuse, N.Y. For more information about Goodwin and her work, please visit her Web site at www.marykgoodwin.com.
In 2002, Rainey left a 17-year career in the corporate world of marketing and entertainment, where from 1993 to 1998 he worked as executive vice president of creative advertising at Miramax Films, directing marketing campaigns for movies such as “Basquiat,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient” and “Good Will Hunting.” He studied digital media at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles in 2003, and in 1986 he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. He now pursues a career as an artist, working on conceptual portrait projects. In 2004 Rainey was an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, focusing on photography, film and electronic arts. Rainey completed a masters of fine arts in photography at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque in 2008.
Rainey’s photographs are intended to subvert conventional implications of identity. His portraits become a means for critically commenting on issues relevant to contemporary life. Rainey’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions including Raised by Wolves, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (2007); TwoWay, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Ill. (2005); Relative: Photographing Domesticity, ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Athens, Ga. (2004); and the Southeastern Juried Exhibition, Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Ala. (2004). Rainey currently resides in Gardiner, Maine where he is an assistant professor at the University of Maine at Augusta.
The opening reception was held on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Davis Gallery and the exhibiti will remain open through Friday, Dec. 18.