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Signs And Wonders
Stuart Rome

February 19 - May 13, 2011
Artist Talk and Opening Reception: February 19, 2:00-4:00pm

This exhibition is comprised of three related series.

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I. Signs
These images excerpt messages that make an offer of life in harmony with nature that appears to be in conflict with the actual settings of these advertisements.

All images in this series are archival pigment prints

Stuart Rome

II. And (drawn from nature)
This is an elegy about beginnings and endings and the photographs describe patterns found in ancient fossil records and contemporary animal tracks. The digital pigment prints on silver leaf have a foothold in the 21st Century, and yet have the quality of earlier photographic processes.

All images in this series are aluminum/silver leaf pigment prints on stonehenge paper

Stuart Rome

III. Wonders
The eloquent tracery of patterns and details in these prints resonate with an inner glow and with a draftsmanship that veers at will from lyrical to muted to explosive in order to capture the varied complexions of the processes at play in the nature.

All images in this series are silver gelatin prints

“Everything is explained to us and we understand nothing.” —Thomas Bernhard


Florida has always figured large in the American psyche. Shrouded in mystery and myth, the Florida landscape has inspired awe, fear and conjecture. From the early days of the republic, through the era of exploration and to the present day, explorers, artists and writers chronicled their travels and discoveries in Florida for a curious and fascinated nation. Important early natural scientists and investigators such as Bernard Romans, William Stork, Mark Catesby, Thomas Hutchins and William Bartram, in turn, inspired people such Henry David Thoreau, the English Romantics, James Fenimore Cooper and John Muir. Stuart Rome has followed in the footsteps of many of these great pro-genitors and journeyed to the heart of the Florida peninsula. His new body of landscape images adds to this rich and compelling history of botanic, scientific and artistic curiosity and draws some of its inspiration from the writings, journals, and illustrations of many of those important early naturalists.

Signs And Wonders is a vertical transect through time and through the natural world. Stuart Rome’s images condense, flatten and compress the multitude of subtle time signatures that are present in a landscape to construct a complex language of referents and conjunctions. It is evident when we stop and examine these photographs, that beyond these closely observed details from the landscape, there emerges a portrait of the land as a living canvas of marks, gestures and symbols; teeming with an energy and regenerative vitality that is constantly in a state of flux and renewal. This complexity and allusiveness are the hallmark of Stuart Rome’s photography.

The eloquent tracery of patterns and details in these prints resonates with an inner glow and with a draftsmanship that veers at will from lyrical to muted to explosive to capture the varied complexions of the processes at play in the natural world. In order to break out of the purely descriptive limitations of conventional prints, he has even produced a unique silver leaf and digital image print process that creates a shimmering, three dimensional effect on water color paper.

“A fractal is any pattern that reveals greater complexity as it is enlarged. Thus, fractals graphically portray the notion of “worlds within worlds.” —Benoit Mandelbrot


Stuart Rome has a very extensive record of exhibited and published work dealing with landscape, land use, social and cultural history and with environmental issues. His most significant projects have included documenting Haitian Voodoo trance rituals and Mayan culture. He holds an Associate’s Degree and a B.F.A. in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an M.F.A. from Arizona State University, Tempe. His published works include Maya, Treasures of an Ancient Civilization, Balinese Dance in Transition, Kaja and Kelod, Haiti, and Forest. In 1985 Rome was instrumental in developing a new photography program at Drexel University where he was co-chair until 1994. He is a full time tenured professor of photography at Drexel University.

Stuart Rome has had major solo exhibitions at Sepia International Gallery, New York; Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia; Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University; Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles; Moore College of Art, Philadelphia; Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York; Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia; the International Museum of Photography at The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY; the Albuquerque Museum of Art, New Mexico; the American Museum of Natural History, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Royal Ontario Museum, Canada; Dallas Museum of Art; Morris Gallery, Philadelphia and at the FotoFest Biennial. “Haiti: Flesh of Politics/Spirit of Vodun” was a traveling exhibition with catalogue that was produced by the University of Connecticut Art Center. “Maya: Treasures of An Ancient Civilization,” was a traveling exhibition and book.

Rome’s photographs have been included in group exhibitions at the Light Work Gallery, Everson Museum, Syracuse University; Sepia International Gallery, New York; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; Abington Arts Center, Abington, PA; Philadelphia Art Alliance; Lancaster Museum of Art and Main Line Art Center, Philadelphia, PA Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Delaware Biennial,” Wilmington, Delaware. His awards include grants from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh; Blue Mountain Center, NY; and from Drexel University.

Rome’s images have been collected by the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona; The Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University; The Federal Reserve Bank Collection, Philadelphia; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Fine Art; Newport Harbor Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Princeton University Art Museum; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics, Japan; and at Yale Art Museum. Stuart Rome lives and works in Philadelphia.

“The visible world is but the first shoreline.” —John O’Donohue

Stuart Rome


"The Universe in a Grain of Sand: Reading Signs And Wonders" by George Slade

Artist Statement & Acknowledgements by Stuart Rome

Exhibition Press

Installation Images:
Stuart Rome Installation Images Stuart Rome Installation Images Stuart Rome Installation Images

Principal support for this exhibition and catalogue was received from Daytona State College, with additional support from the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and Drexel University. The Southeast Museum of Photography acknowledges the continuing program support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Department of State.

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Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

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