Boundless and Bare…,Rachel Zimmerman, Harry Byrne
curated by Jon Manteau
“Boundless and Bare…” is a two-photographer exhibition, sponsored by Pete Checchia Photography and Arts, 733 N’ 2nd Street, in Philadelphia, PA, featuring the works of Rachel Zimmerman, Harry Byrne and curated by Jon Manteau.
The exhibition opens, On “First Friday”, October 4th with an artist reception the following day, Saturday, October 5th. Pete Checchia Photography and Arts, 733 N 2nd St.Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The title of the exhibition comes from the Percy Shelley sonnet “Ozymandias”. In the poem, a traveler describes a ruined statue, of a once mighty king, Ozymandias. The theme of the poem, is a meditation on the hubris of kings, empires and their inevitable decline, the fragility of human power and the effects of time. We are bearing witness to a similar decline in the United States. Our once “Mighty Union” seems to be slowly, inevitably eroding from outside forces and from internal. Our “Made in America” industrial giants are no longer a force in the world markets. Our once thriving plants, factories and workshops, long ago abandoned and vacated, left to the elements and to decay. Our old forms of entertainment, amusement parks, drive-in movie theaters, circuses, to name a few, replaced by that which is digital. Jobs lost to other countries and automation, our own workforce left to rot…or to rust across the rustbelt. If the creation of a structure represents the ideals and values of a time, so too does its subsequent abandonment and destruction.
In this exhibition, Rachel Zimmerman’s photographs of the “Altherholt Machine Shop”, through her lens, bear witness to remnants of “what was”, like some eerie time capsule. Our craftmanship and tools for the job, surrounded by aging infrastructure. The inanimate “tools of the trade” ghost-like without the people trained in their use. Harry Byrne’s photographs document the remnants of what once was or “the ghosts of”. In his images of antiquated modes of transportation (trolleys) and outdated “Americana”, an amusement park, one can almost feel the presence of all of the thousands of human beings who at one time or another passed through, on their way to work, home or for a family vacation or afternoon out. The Six Flags Amusement Park outside of New Orleans, vacated after Hurricane Katrina is now covered in weeds, rust and peeling paint. The park itself no longer inhabited by people but by apex predators-alligators and wild boar.
Harry Byrne is an attorney based just outside of Philadelphia, PA. He has written and lectured extensively on family law topics. He enjoys photographing urban decay and abandoned sites of all types and manner and is interested in themes of the transitory, the inevitable collapse and the pretensions of greatness: a favorite poem is Shelley’s ”Ozymandias”. More importantly, urban exploration and photography are as far as he can get from the strictures and formalities of practicing law.
Rachel Zimmerman is actively working in the visual arts. She is the Founder and Executive Director of InLiquid Art and Design, based in Philadelphia, PA. She is a working mother, married with a 14-year-old son, Ivan, and a 12-year-old daughter, Sasha. She doesn’t get as much time to do her own artwork as she would like. When she does get the opportunity, they are usually precious moments while traveling, where she can explore color, tone, light and composition in the ordinary. She has always been interested in spaces without people. At the moment, there is a timelessness that does not become dated by the conventions of style. Over the years, she has been influenced by the photography of-Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Aaron Siskind and Robert Frank…” The Americans” in their filmic quality and their exploration of the unfamiliar place.
Jon Manteau is a visual artist, musician, maker of many things, college professor and curator. He’s been a working artist for over 35 years. He attended Parsons School of Design, The New School for Social Research, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and received his Master of Fine Art, from the University of Delaware, in 1996. He has taught for over 25 years, at the University of Delaware, Temple/Tyler University and is currently an Associate Professor at Penn State University/Brandywine, where he has been building their studio-art program since 2010. He’s exhibited nationally and his works are in collections, throughout the United States and Canada. He’s curated multiple exhibitions. He’s lived and worked in New York City, Brooklyn and Hoboken. He’s a “native son” of Philadelphia, where he lives and has his studio-practice.
Thank you to Jon Manteau for the content of this post.
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