Photographs by Shawn Theodore and Installation by Thomas Lail Open Fall 2018 Semester at the Teaching Gallery

August 30, 2018

The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College announces One Leaf Does Not a Cypress Make, an exhibition by Philadelphia photographer Shawn Theodore on view Sept. 13 – Oct. 20, and Garden, an ongoing, site-specific installation by Thomas Lail, a professor in the Fine Arts Department at the college.

Theodore will discuss his work on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium. A reception follows from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Teaching Gallery, located in the Administration Building on the Troy campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

Shawn Theodore (1970, Stuttgart) makes photography, sculpture, collage, performance art and installations. He is best known for his photographic works that are in direct response to his surrounding physical and spiritual environment, and utilize everyday experiences as a creative “starting point.” By contesting the division between the realm of memory and that of experience, Theodore reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory from an African American perspective. The result is an examination of both the human need for “conclusive” stories and the question of whether visual anecdotes “fictionalize” history, particularly American history. These often are framed instances that might go unnoticed in their original societal and chronological context. But Theodore creates work in which the actual event has either yet to take place or has just ended: each moment evokes atmosphere and suspense, lending to his “Afromythology” narrative. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.

Theodore’s spare compositions and intentional use of color situate him as an artist who seeks to present a clear vision of his ideas. Whether shooting in the streets of Philadelphia or working with styled models, Theodore seems to make every opportunity, every location for an image feel fully intentional and under his control. His persistent use of shallow backgrounds, outdoors and in the studio, grounds his images and establishes them as tableaux that both recall the early days of photography and point to a new history of Theodore’s own making.

Shawn Theodore attended the Tyler School of Art and received his BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising from Temple University. His solo exhibition highlights include Future Antebellum, Art Sanctuary; Church of Broken Pieces, African American Museum in Philadelphia; The Avenues ‘16, Painted Bride Art Center; The Avenues, G-Town and Uptown ‘14, Imperfect Gallery and Scribe Video Center, and The Avenues, North and West Philly ‘14. He is a 2018 Getty Images ARRAY grantee and a 2018 VSCO Voices grant mentor. He lives and works in Philadelphia.

“Garden,” Thomas Lail’s over-sized rendering of a William Morris wallpaper pattern scales the trellis of the Administrations Building’s glass curtain-walled atrium, reflecting on the history of glassed-in winter gardens, cultivated nature, and the dream of Utopian architectures of transparency. This long-term work is the first in a planned series of window projects by faculty in the department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Digital Media.

Lail exhibits in the United States and internationally. From 2011 to 2016, he was represented in New York by Masters Projects. Lail performs and records with an experimental music duo, soundBarn, and the multi-member Location Ensemble. He has published numerous reviews and essays, including two catalogue essays on the work of Robert Longo, and releases poetry and experimental writing through soundBarn Press. Since 1993, Lail has taught drawing and painting at Hudson Valley Community College, where he is professor of Fine Arts and a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award.

“Garden” was made possible by the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation’s Stephen L. Hyatt Fine Arts Fund, and installed with assistance from the college’s Graphics Department and Physical Plant, as well as NoName Graphics, Troy.

Exhibitions in The Teaching Gallery are installed and assisted by students enrolled in Gallery Management courses and supported by the Department of Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Digital Media, the Cultural Affairs Program and the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation. Associate Professor Tara Fracalossi is gallery director.

Hours in The Teaching Gallery
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 1 to 7 p.m.
Saturday: noon to 4 p.m.
Sunday and Monday: closed

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