Exhibition Dates: 09/05/12 - 10/07/12
Artist's Talk: 09/13/12, 5:30-6:30pm
Opening Reception & Book Signing: 09/13/12, 6:30-8:30pm
For three years, internationally renowned American photographer Lydia Panas invited families to stand before her lens in all kinds of weather against the lush, green landscape of her farm in Kutztown in southeastern Pennsylvania. She was curious to see what would happen. Nothing was deliberate or planned. These diverse groupings of children and adults, relatives and close friends from the surrounding area, stood graciously before her, taking positions in relationship to each other, and to the camera.
The resulting images from the project are engaging and highly charged psychological family portraits that were published in the artist’s first monograph The Mark of Abel (Kehrer Verlag) in the spring of 2012, accompanied by essays by renowned American novelist Maile Meloy and acclaimed curator, writer, and historian George Slade.
Panas’s portraits do not represent individuals as much as they explore questions about how we see ourselves, what we feel, and how we connect to each other. It is the details in the images that provide us with clues to understand the subtle nature of her work, and her ability to masterfully depict the delicate underpinnings of family dynamics. Her subjects are people she knows – family, friends, and acquaintances. She asks them to bring along their own family members or close friends – people with whom they share a history.
Panas’s subjects arrange themselves naturally, with minimal direction. She carefully watches their postures, gestures, and glances. It is a combination of strength and vulnerability that she is looking for, and that makes her respond. “They are complex emotions that guide us,” writes Panas. “Sometimes what we try to conceal is the most revealing. I am interested in what we know, but do not see. My intention with this series is to show us ourselves.”
The groupings are comprised of couples, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and family, siblings, and at times, individuals. Panas is particularly interested in young people growing up, and the transition between childhood and adulthood when we are searching for our own identities. The photographs in The Mark of Abel have a magnetic quality, and an intensity that draws the viewer in to ponder the stories of these families and close friends, and their relationships to each other.
The Mark of Abel had its debut at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pennsylvania in February 2012, followed by an exhibition at the Athens House of Photography in Athens, Greece in April 2012. The Mark of Abel was a winner in the photobook category in the PDN Photo Annual 2012.
Lydia Panas is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and internationally. Her work from her acclaimed series Falling from Grace … is currently on view at the Athens Photo Festival 2011. She was one of nine artists to be selected by Houston FotoFest curators for the prestigious International Discoveries Exhibition in 2007, and won First Prize for the Publisher’s Choice Singular Image at CENTER, Santa Fe, NM. Her work is included in numerous collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Brooklyn Museum; and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Lydia has degrees from Boston College; the School of Visual Arts; and New York University/International Center of Photography. She has also received a Whitney Museum Independent Study Fellowship. To see more of Lydia's work, please visit her website: www.lydiapanas.com
Hardcover, 9 ½ x 11 7/8 inches (30 x 24cm)
96 pages, 52 color photographs
ISBN 978-3-86828-229-0 USC