Newsletter Archive~4: Summer 2011

The Chief Curator Of Boston University Selects
“The Wicked Witch”
For the Attleboro Arts Museum Exhibition

THE WICKED WITCH (c) 2010, C-Print (mounted w/Larson Juhl boards), Lahary Pittman

I was selected for this national juried show for the Attleboro Arts Museum in Massachusetts by the Chief Curator of Boston University, Kate McNamara. She has experience curating at MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY), and has worked at  the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, NY) as well as The Bronx Museum (New York, NY).

The exhibition runs from July 6 to August 3rd. My selection (The Wicked Witch, 2010 28×20″) conjures memory and relevance from numerous historical & childhood references such as “The Three Witches” from Shakespeares Macbeth.  General Macbeth, early in the play, is predicted to rise as king. Seated on the throne of Scotland, Macbeth hears “The Three Witches”  deliver ambiguous prophecies threatening his downfall. The witches’ dark and contradictory natures, filthy trappings, and their intercourse with the supernatural were-and are-exemplary of our notion of occult personalities and visions.

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As someone born in Kansas (known also as ‘Tornado Alley’) and thus breastfed on the Wizard Of  Oz, the Wicked Witch remains not only a vivid reality of my childhood but also as an introduction to Regionalism.  Despite being a contemporary visual artist I repeatedly find myself drawn to the American realist modern art movement that was popular during the 1930s called Regionalism. As a current resident of the Western Catskill mountains, the traits of Regionalism that I express are my drawings and photographs of rural life and nature in this relatively primitive mountain area. And as an original native of Kansas I share a commonality with the pioneers of  Regionalism that also were born in the heartlands, such as John Steuart Curry (also of Kansas), Grant Wood of Iowa and Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri.

As my studio is situated along the Upper Delaware River (designated in recent years as the #1 endangered river in America), in the Western Catskill mountains of New York,  I was able to capture “The Wicked Witch” nearby in the town of North Branch. She is, at once, an abstract expressionist form-as well as an extravagant portrait of a surrealist evil witch with whips, chains & vines that lash & flail about like the ‘mother of all aliens’ chasing Sigourney Weaver in the movie ALIENS. However The Wicked Witch’s curious, almost-anatomically correct form offers visions of a morphing, Rorschach test whose artistic image changes according to the viewers depth of scope.


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Water, Water, Anywhere

Water, Water, Anywhere Exhibition

This exhibition, “Water, Water, Anywhere” was curated by Virginia Butera, PhD .. the director of the Theresa Maloney Gallery of the College of Saint Elizabeth. This is a 3 month gallery show in Morristown, NJ USA and the opening reception was June 23rd, along with a piano concerto. The exhibit runs until September 10. The curator selected two of my handmade gelatin silver prints for this show; which was a primitive ice formation titled ‘IceFall’ and a gaseous landscape entitled ‘The Undercast III’. These pieces were curated as examples of non-literal interpretations of water. There was also a poetry event dedicated to the art exhibition with readings related to the theme of ‘Water’ on July 14 at 7pm.

Dr. Butera has curated more than 30 years for museums and galleries such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery.  My submissions for ‘Water, Water, Anywhere’ are extracted from my six year long series “Upper Delaware River”. Commencing in 2005, after returning from producing a series on the countryside of the south of France, I was struck with the counterpoint between the great landscapes of Europe and the dramatic landscapes of the American countryside. As my studio is situated along the Upper Delaware River itself I have gazed in awe at the primordial austerity that permeates the swath of mountains the river dissects known as the Western Catskills and the Pocono mountains.

THE UNDERCAST III (c) 2010, Gelatin Silver print on fiber paper, Lahary Pittman

The otherworldly beauty of what is some of America’s enduring primitive wilderness is entirely due to the wild elements of nature-and their formation of water, ice, gaseous mist and snow..all set within a soundtrack of howling, gale force winds. The Catskill mountains of upstate New York and the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania are both part of the Appalachian mountain range that formed at the end of the Paleozoic Age (245 million years ago), when North America was beginning to collide with the African plate supercontinent. Crust between the continents was thrust inland and folded upward to form huge mountains. The Appalachian Basin was folded into the Appalachian Range, with its foreland basin uplifted to form the Catskill-Pocono Plateau. As such it is the phenomena of the planet’s engulfing water that is responsible for the very shift of planetary plates.

ICEFALL (c) 2006, Gelatin Silver print on fiber paper, Lahary Pittman


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One response to “Newsletter Archive~4: Summer 2011

  1. Beautiful work Lahary!

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