Local by Sandra Matthews
October 13 to November 6, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sandra Matthews Artist Statement:
I feel fortunate to live in contemporary Massachusetts - the state that pioneered universal healthcare and the legalization of gay marriage in the US. But Massachusetts has many histories. The state has been home to earlier pioneers – the English and European settlers who forced out or killed thousands of Indigenous people. It was the birthplace of the armed militia known as the Minute Men. Enslaved people and abolitionists both labored here. Immigrants from many continents have shaped its physical, social and cultural environments. The photographs in this exhibition, all made in rural areas and towns in Massachusetts, invite the contemplation of structures and markers placed in local landscapes. To place a structure or marker in the landscape, whether for private or public purposes, is to assert a claim on territory and ultimately on history. Whose histories are represented in the landscapes of Massachusetts? What remains invisible?
One set of photos explores small dwellings, sheds, and other home-like structures as they are found in the Massachusetts landscape. These examples of local vernacular architecture, abundant with historical resonances, also raise questions about the selectivity of history. Whose histories are we seeing?
Sandra Matthews Bio:
Sandra Matthews photographic work is represented in collections including the Smith College Art Museum; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Block Museum of Art, Chicago; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Women In Photography International Archive at Yale University. Matthews is co-author, with Laura Wexler, of Pregnant Pictures (Routledge, 2000), a cultural history of photographs of pregnant women in the U.S.
In 2010 she founded, and currently edits, the Trans-Asia Photography Review (tapreview.org), an online scholarly journal published by Hampshire College and devoted to the discussion of historical and contemporary photography from East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Her courses cover topics in the history of photography, with an emphasis on social issues and work from non-Western countries.