Peace Warriors and Solitudes: Recent Photographs by Carl Chiarenza
Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond, July 15 through October 5, 2008
The Peace Warriors and Solitudes series of photographs evolved in the studio, according to Chiarenza, while he was working with a collage whose elements began to resemble a samurai. The artist deliberately created work in which figures resembling soldiers, the grim reaper, Don Quixote, and Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza emerged due to the artist’s frustrations to the situations in Iraq and the Middle East and the actions of the U.S. government. After creating photographs related to this theme and much in need of introspection, he began to create abstract, sensuous imagery with refined smooth shapes and tonality, resulting in the Solitudes series.
Chiarenza’s photographic career spans an impressive five decades. Regarding his motivation he states, “I want the viewer of my work to sense the power, to feel the presence of the unknown. All photographs share this life force of their own individuality. Somewhere between the making and the viewing of the picture, we experience this force, though our experience remains forever beyond satisfactory explanation.”
Chiarenza received an M.S. and A.M. at Boston University and an A.A.S. and B.F.A. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied with photographers Ralph Hattersley and Minor White. His Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University formed the basis of the monograph Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors, published in 1982. He is currently Artist-in-Residence and Fanny Knapp Allen Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Rochester. Between 1963 and 1986, he was Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor of Art History at Boston University. Chiarenza’s work is in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Art Arts, Boston; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, Peace Warriors and Solitudes: Recent Photographs by Carl Chiarenza was curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions, University Museums. The exhibition is on view at the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature through October 5, 2008, and will tour nationally through 2010.
The photographs of Carl Chiarenza are the subject of the newly released book, titled Pictures Come from Pictures, Photographs by Carl Chiarenza, with 91 duotone images, and an introduction by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums. The book was published by David R. Godine, Publisher, and is available for purchase at the University of Richmond Museums in conjunction with the exhibition, and on the website www.godine.com.