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Man-ifestations: Photographs of Men

May 18 - September 3, 2004

The Reader
The Reader, 2002 © Maggie Taylor
"We make up a lot about men in this society based upon what we think they are. Photographs can reinforce that, tell us that story, too, yet they can also force us beyond those limitations, force us through their construction of the image to question how we construct whatever notions we hold." – Carla Williams

Focusing on men rather than women as the subject of our exhibit may seem, at first, no more than a rehash of the gender dialogue. The artists in this exhibit, however, maintain a deeper sense of their personal relationship to their subjects; whether they be strangers on the street, gangs in the ‘hood, fathers, brothers, sons, friends or lovers. The three men and three women, whose work reflects their inherent connection to the men in their photos, examine the complexities of human relationships rather than the otherness of their subjects. If a pie chart were to be drawn of this exhibit, gender would be no more than just another wedge, along with race, ethnic origin, religion and sexual orientation. In examining the whole of this pie, we step outside the limitations of its parts and begin to proclaim another kind of manifesto: a humanist manifesto. Kay Kenny, Co-curator, from the exhibition catalogue.


Orville Robertson has been photographing urban landscapes and people for nearly 25 years. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions in the United States and is represented in many major museum, private, and corporate collections. In 2001 he was the co-curator of “Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers” for the Brooklyn Museum, highlighting one hundred living black photographers. In 2002, he was awarded a Fellowship in Photography by the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is the publisher and editor of Fotophile, the photography journal he founded in 1993.

His recent exhibitions include participation in the Smithsonian Institution exhibition and book entitled “Reflecting Black: A History of Black Photographers1840 – 1999” and the group show “Saturday Night/Sunday Morning,” curated by 2002 MacArthur Fellow Deborah Willis and Lisa Henry at the Leica Gallery. Other exhibitions include the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Brooklyn Museum, 4th Street Photo Gallery, The Midtown Y Photography Gallery, Mary Anthony Galleries, and the Museum of the City of New York, all in New York; the Anacostia Museum/Smithsonian Institution and Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington DC; the Amon Carter Museum, TX; Gallery Mistral, Canada; Narodni Muzeum, Czech Republic; and many others. His work from the series “Markings: New York City’s Billboards, Posters, Signs, and Graffiti”, was shown at Ben Fernandez’s Hoboken Almanac Gallery in February 2004.

Kay Kenny is a New York based photographer, critic, curator and academic. She holds a Master of Arts from Rutgers University and an MFA from Syracuse University. Besides being an art critic for Fotofile and Cover Magazines and the Jersey Journal, she is a photography instructor at New York’s International Center of Photography, New York University and Mont Clair State University in New Jersey. Her photographic work has been published in View Camera, Zoom, Fotofile, Heresies Magazine and the Women’s Art Journal, and in texts including Robert Hirsch’s “Exploring Color Photography.”

Kay’s selected exhibitions include the LaMama, Hibbs, Hands, Colorstone, Alan Sirmon, PDG and Foto Galleries in New York, the Jersey City Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Taipei Photofest, New York University, Michigan State University and numerous other national venues. She has been the recipient of three Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey Council of the Arts, and two Fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her photographs are held in the collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Nantong Museum in China, and the Colombo Centro Americano in Colombia as well as the corporate collections of Prudential Insurance, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Pfizer and the Buhl Collection.

Ray Eduardo Ochoa Robbennolt is currently a stay-at-home dad, taking care of two young daughters. He received his MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, in 1993 and a BFA from Rhode School of Design in 1983. He has taught photography and critical and creative thinking at Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv, Israel, as well as at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY, and SUNY Brockport in Brockport, NY. Between 1995 and 2003, he was the proprietor of Brooklyn Art Documentation. He has most recently exhibited his work at 31 Grand Street and Eyewash Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the City Without Walls in Newark, NJ.

Maggie Taylor was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1961, and graduated from Yale University in 1983 with a BA degree in philosophy. While at Yale she also studied photography and the history of photography. In 1987, she received an MFA in photography from the University of Florida. Since 1987, her still-life photographs and digital images have been exhibited in more that 70 one-person exhibitions throughout the U.S. In 1996 and 2001, she received State of Florida Individual Artist’s Fellowships. Taylor’s work is in the collections of The Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; The Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; Museet For Fotokunst, Odense, Denmark; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; NationsBank, Charlotte, NC; and the Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, NJ, among others. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Vincent Cianni (Brooklyn, NY), born in Scranton, PA in 1952, is a documentary/fine art photographer and educator. Initially self-taught, he has been photographing since 1976. Cianni graduated from Penn State University (BS Community Development) in 1974, attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976-78, and completed his graduate work at SUNY New Paltz (MFA Photography) in 1986. He presently teaches photography at Parsons School of Design and also teaches workshops to youth, both in the Southside and internationally. He has worked as a curator, photo dealer and editor and has been photographing the Southside, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he currently lives, since 1994. Anthropologically based, his documentary work has explored community and memory, the human condition, as well as the use of image and text stemming from personal experience and discovery. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of the City of New York; the Photographers’ Gallery, London. His photographs have been widely published in photo journals and anthologies (i.e. Double Take, Aperture) and his first book, “We Skate Hardcore,” will be published by New York University Press and the Center for Documentary Studies in September 2004, with an accompanying exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections. His recent work focuses on man’s relationship to the landscape.

Arlene Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, New York and is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She has worked as a photographer in advertising and as a freelancer for such publications as Life Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Fortune and The London Independent. Her photographs have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Museum of the City of New York, the Leica Galleries in both New York and Tokyo and she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Berenice Abbott International Competition of Women’s Documentary Photography. Her works are held in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, the Jewish Museum, Lehigh University, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. Gottfried is the author of “The Eternal Light”, and is a lecturer and instructor at numerous colleges in New York City, where she resides.

"We make up a lot about men in this society based upon what we think they are. Photographs can reinforce that, tell us that story, too, yet they can also force us beyond those limitations, force us through their construction of the image to question how we construct whatever notions we hold. This exhibition really gets at that complexity of constructed identity and not just because about half of the work is visually complex in terms of how it's been put together--through digital manipulation, for example. Rather, the dialogue between fiction and reality, between what is fantastic and dreamlike and what is visceral and tangible that's what compels us to stare at these photographs, at these real and imaginary men, known and unknown". – Carla Williams, from the catalogue essay, Man-ifestations with Lyle Rexer.

The Southeast Museum of Photography would like to acknowledge the enthusiasm, creativity and vision of the exhibition’s curators, Orville Robertson and Kay Kenny. Without their diligence, hard work and persistence their exhibition concept would not have become reality. We also wish to acknowledge the generous loan of original artwork by the contributing artists. Lyle Rexer and Carla Williams have graciously assisted the project with a wonderful dialogue that places the artworks firmly within the context of contemporary critical debates.

He is a man Miky & Guardian Angel Clothing Botique Salesman

He is a man just like you get over it, 1999
© Ray Robbenolt

Miky and Guardian Angel, 1998
© Arlene Gottfried

Clothing Botique Salesman, Soho, Manhattan, 1990/2004
© Orville Robertson

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