Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Series of prints on Matthew Shepard murder at Housatonic Community College

Housatonic Museum of Art
900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, (203) 332-5052
Nomi Silverman: The Shepard Cycle
(On view on the 3rd floor of Beacon Hall at Housatonic Community College)
Through Jan. 8, 2011

Press release

In 1998, Matthew Shepard (Wikipedia article), a young gay man, was murdered by peers. In court the defense claimed the crime was a gay bashing. Titled The Shepard Cycle, Nomi Silverman of Glenville, Connecticut, created a suite of prints in 2008 that detail this narrative. Silverman’s prints are on view on the third floor of Beacon Hall at Housatonic Community College (HCC). The installation is sponsored by the Housatonic Museum of Art and is on view through January 8, 2011.

Silverman structured the persecution and suffering of Shepard much like the Passion of the Christ, also known as the Stations of the Cross. Silverman explains, “I used the Passion of the Christ/Stations of the Cross in this manner – describing his last night (and a few days after) loosely in those terms. I took liberties with the images, and moved and even eliminated one, but they are essentially there.”

The works on paper are created using two printing processes, lithography and etching. Silverman says, “The idea is that each medium is slightly different – allowing for a push and pull of emotions. Etching is a very violent medium, using acid on a plate to eat away at the metal. Lithography, the ‘gentler’ medium, allows for more nuances and a beautiful drawing-like quality which is perfect for the more subtle scenes.”

In her introduction to Silverman’s portfolio, printmaker and painter Ann Chernow describes Silverman’s approach as approximating the social critique and sure-handedness of artists such as Spanish court painter Francisco Goya. Regarding the Stations of the Cross, Chernow adds, “Of particular significance is her liberal use of the Stations of the Cross as the allegorical vehicle to depict her intensity of feeling. The entire suite is a condemnation of political and religious hypocrisy that emerged in response to the Shepard case, …”

Silverman sees the series as a continuation of her impulse to address social and political issues, “Over the years, [my art] has dealt with the origins of hate and how it spirals through the generations into violence, so often against those perceived as outsiders.” Through printmaking, the artist harnesses the storytelling capabilities of rendered images and expresses her emotional response to a senseless act with confidently etched lines and visceral applications of ink. Silverman hopes viewers will react to the feeling of each type of print as they follow Shepard’s story.

The exhibition is open to the public at no charge. Hours are: Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 5p.m.

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