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Davis-Orton Gallery presents  exhibitions from Judith Henry and Marry Ellen Bartley from September 7 through October 7.

For over 30 years, multimedia artist Judith Henry has created evocative tableaus that explore the friction between our interior lives and our public selves.

Rebirth grew out of Henry’s fascination with public obituaries, which she has collected for years. Here the artist partially obscures grids of obituary portraits with fragments of celebrity faces culled from fashion magazines and other glossy journals. These hybrid portraits of the great, the near great and the unknown flicker in and out of recognition, underscoring the slippery nature of identity and our uneasy public relationship with death.

In Masquerade, Henry creates cinematic mise-en-scenes from appropriated word and image. She digitally collages her compositions from a variety of sources including images and objects from her previous works.  Among her other sources are text torn from assorted media, repurposed overheards, Freud’s and other historic texts and imagery from mass media, family snapshots and self portraits.

Mary Ellen Bartley presents photography books as they stand open before her camera.  Using their chance settling and a full-frame close-up view we see the books in a new way as they fall into and out of abstraction. As one examines Bartley’s photographs, there is the beauty of the interior space and structure of the book, and there are the unique formal discoveries found from looking at them close-up. The stripes the pages create, the shadowy voids between pages that read like burns or stains, and the reflections the photos can make on the pages facing them are among the repeating formal motifs she has found.

“I’m fascinated by conceptual ideas concerning appropriation and reproduction in a mechanical versus digital age. What is the unique aura or presence of a book? How is an image seen and remembered?” What drives the work for Bartley is the emotional connection she has to the books. In Standing Open she conveys the sensuality and intimacy of reading and looking through books as well as the fleeting inspiration and little jolts of connection that readers find in books they love.

At Davis-Orton Gallery,  114 Warren Street

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