Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust

To commemorate National Holocaust Remembrance Month observed in April, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz will present Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust. The twenty-two works in the exhibition were created by Jeffrey A. Wolin and selected by Wayne Lempka, art collections manager at the museum, from the traveling exhibition of the same name. The exhibition will be on view in the Sarah Bedrick Gallery at the museum from March 24 ? May 30, 2004. On Tuesday, April 13th the artist will give a gallery talk on his work at 6 pm in the museum. Mr. Wolin will then participate in a symposium dealing with art and the Holocaust at 7 pm in LC-102. Both programs are fee and open to the public.

Image available at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/DorothyandMoisheBerkowica72-02-04.htmlAbout the Photographs and Process: Jeffrey A. Wolin’s multidimensional yet unassuming portraits of Holocaust survivors are a touching call for all to remember the troubling histories experienced by each individual photographed. His revealing images stand as testimony to the pain, the losses, and the vivid memories of each survivor.

Unique to his work is the way in which Wolin embraces his subjects with text?revealing penetrating images of survivors and their intimate recollections. Wolin interviews each survivor on videotape, and then makes the photograph. He edits, discusses his selections with the individuals, and then adds handwritten text taken from the interviews to the surface of the photographs. Wolin states, “I am fully aware that no one who did not directly experience the Holocaust can truly understand the depths of horror that Jews in Europe endured at the hands of the Nazis. Nevertheless, it is my hope that by opening a window to an individual through his or her image with an accompanying story of great power, an audience will gain a better understanding of the survivors,”

Curator Wayne Lempka believes that the photographs in the exhibition retain a powerful dualism. “The criteria used to select images for the exhibition is such that each image will not only be evaluated on its artistic content, but for its strong reflection of both human suffering and the triumph of the spirit,” he says. In discussing the image “Irma Morgensztern,” Lempka remarks, “This photograph is especially moving for it details quite graphically the horrors that a young girl faced on the night before her escape from the Warsaw Ghetto. The stillness in this image is what makes it so powerful. In the distant look in Irma Morgensztern’s eyes, we see both a bittersweet reflection on the past, but more importantly, hope for a new and better life for future generations. It is in her silence that we hear shouts of condemnation towards past atrocities which must never happen again.”

The original exhibition catalogue, with an introduction by Charles Stainback, director of the International Center for Photography, will be available for purchase at the museum.

The photographs in the exhibition are courtesy of June Bateman Gallery, New York.

About the Artist: Photographer Jeffrey A. Wolin is currently professor of photography at Indiana University. He has received two Visual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for his photographs with text. Wolin’s photographs have been exhibited in and acquired by numerous museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; the International Center for Photography; and the George Eastman House, Rochester. Recent gallery exhibitions include: Ancient Provence at the June Bateman Gallery in New York, N.Y. and A Plea to Somewhere Else at the Bury Art Gallery & Museum in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom.

About the Curator: Wayne Lempka is the art collections manager for the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. Lempka’s recently curated exhibitions, include W. Eugene Smith ? Selections from Classic Photographic Essays, and Engaging Pictures: Aesthetic Choices for the Center for Photography at Woodstock Collection. Prior to his position at SDMA, Lempka was curator of education at Storm King Art Center and executive director of Dutchess County Art Association/Barrett House Galleries. He currently teaches in the Department of Art History at Marist College, and is an art reviewer for both Art New England and the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Museum hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, university intersessions and national holidays. Museum information: (845) 257-3844 or on the Web at www.newpaltz.edu/museum

About the Museum: The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is dedicated to collecting, researching, interpreting, and exhibiting works of art from diverse cultures. The permanent collection spans a period of almost 4,000 years. Areas of specialization include 20th century paintings and works on paper, Asian and Pre- Columbian art and artifacts, metals and photographs. SDMA has a special commitment to collecting and exhibiting important works of art created by artists who have lived and worked in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. The Museum is a major resource in the Hudson Valley serving a broad-based constituency from both on and beyond the New Paltz campus.

High and low resolution images from this exhibition are available on the Web at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/DorothyandMoisheBerkowica72-02-04.html