Welcome to the MICA Photography Department
MICA Photo is pleased to announce that Callee Jo McCosby (Class of 2109) is showing new work, “Sublime Woman”, at the Flip Gallery in Baltimore. An opening reception is being held this coming Saturday, Sept. 14 from 7-10 pm. We encourage everyone to stop in and see the exhibition. The show is running through September 30th. Congratulations, Callee!
MICA Photo is pleased to announce that Faith Couch (Class of 2019), and alumna Lola Flash (Class of 1981) are exhibiting new work for the show “In Conversation – Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity”. The exhibition will be held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Special thanks to Stuart B. Cooper and Endowed Chair Deb Willis. Congratulations!
MICA Photo is proud to announce that Chris Hall (sophomore) has gotten a photo book published by Arcadia Publishing. We want to congratulate Chris on this momentous achievement! Here is the publisher’s description of the new book “Abandoned Baltimore: Northside”:
“Baltimore, Maryland, is a city full of history and cultural diversity. However, through the years, the area has been plagued with poverty and forced gentrification that has left the once bustling city in a state of disarray. There are over 16,000 vacant rowhomes within Baltimore. Crime rate is on a rise while population is on decline. Through all the mayhem, many incredible places have been simply disregarded and forgotten about. Many streets that were once full of life now resemble an apocalyptic wasteland. The north side of Baltimore, away from the Chesapeake Bay and industrial side that the city is known for, is home to many interesting abandoned buildings, including schools, churches, asylums, and more. Through the lens, photographer Christopher Hall sets out to showcase and bring awareness to these incredible structures that have been forgotten. His work takes you inside the dilapidated places where few venture. Join Christopher on his visual journey through time as he explores what has been abandoned on the north side of Baltimore City.”
“CHRISTOPHER HALL is currently a student in his first year at Maryland Institute College of Arts working towards a BFA in photography. At just nineteen years old, he has been featured in many galleries for his work as well as receiving many notable awards such as a Gold Key for his portfolio submission in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Christopher began exploring abandoned places about three years ago and it has been a very strong passion of his ever since. Based in Maryland, he travels up and down the east coast exploring what has been left behind.”
A member of the MICA Photo faculty is selling this very clean Mamiya 645 AF D camera. The camera is fully functional, comes with body, lens, film back and original manual. The asking price is $975. Please contact the Photo Crib at 410-225-2400 if you are interested in purchasing this camera.
Experimentalist: The Art of Robert W. Fichter
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
August 28 – December 18, 2019
Public event: September 24, 5:00 p.m.
Talks by Eileen Cowin, Adam Straus, and Tom Beck; reception to follow
The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery presents Experimentalist: The Art of Robert W. Fichter, the first retrospective of the artist’s career in over thirty years. Drawn entirely from the Robert W. Fichter Archive at UMBC, the 55 works in this exhibition created between 1962 and 2006 highlight Fichter’s exploration of the human condition across photography, printmaking, and painting. Fichter employs shifting moods and mediums as well as wit, humor, and satire to deliver trenchant critiques of war, nuclear proliferation, and environmental disaster. Firmly rooting his expressive compositions in a strong sense of place—the surreal landscapes of his native Florida—Fichter presents a singular vision of humanity on the brink.
Fichter was part of a group of artists—including Eileen Cowin, Darryl Curran, Betty Hahn, Robert Heinecken, and Todd Walker—who in the late 1960s began to experiment with so-called alternative (non-commercial) photographic processes. His experience as a curator at the George Eastman Museum and as a professor at UCLA strengthened his understanding of historical techniques like the cyanotype (blueprint) and gum bichromate printing, a method that relies on the insolubility of gum arabic to produce painterly effects.
He often combined mediums within a single work in order to convey a range of emotions. Using photographs that he made in camera as well as photograms and images appropriated from mass media, he employed multiple exposures and sandwich printing to produce complex, collage-like compositions embellished with drawing, watercolor, and airbrushing. He also experimented with then new photomechanical printing techniques like Inko dye (a light sensitive dye), lacquer transfer, Verifax transfer, and Xerox printing. The layering of images in Fichter’s work points to the ubiquity of photography, while offering a poetic intervention into a media saturated culture.
In the late 1970s, Fichter began staging elaborate still life constructions using everyday and found objects including taxidermy, children’s toys, and mass media ephemera. Many of these photographs weave together ideas and imagery that Fichter had pursued previously in other mediums, bringing to life a familiar cast of characters, including Mr. Bones and Fish-Out-Oh-Water, in collages ready-made for the camera. Several photographs include reproductions of earlier drawings and prints, creating a meta-commentary on the imaginative world built by the artist.
Fichter’s horror surrounding ecological devastation is expressed frequently in his work, where the landscape is variously represented in a state of primordial abundance, dappled by disease, or as a post-nuclear desert. Oil cans figure prominently as symbols of pollution, and taxidermy animals are reanimated as macabre harbingers of an apocalyptic future. Fichter’s wary view of humankind’s custodianship of the planet is a call to action especially fitting for the age of the Anthropocene.
Fichter’s experimental approach expanded to include digital processes with the 1984 introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer and graphics software MacPaint. Soon after it became available, the artist used the new tool to create a body of work published as After Eden. Full of humorous allusions and art historical references, the book functions like a medieval bestiary—a compendium of stories that describes the characteristics of various creatures and life forms—summarizing many of the major symbols, themes, and influences central to Fichter’s art. Fichter returned to digital expressions several times, including in a series of Photoshop collages made toward the end of his teaching career in 2006.
This exhibition is curated by Tom Beck, Curator Emeritus, UMBC, and the presentation is organized by Beth Saunders, Curator and Head of Special Collections and the Library Gallery, UMBC.
The Art of Robert W. Fichter: Talks by Eileen Cowin, Adam Straus, and Tom Beck September 24, 5:00 p.m.; reception to follow
The Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery is located on the first floor of the library building on the UMBC campus. The gallery is open Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m. Admission to the gallery and related programming is free and open to the public. UMBC is located immediately off I-95, about 10–15 minutes from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and about 25 minutes from the Capital Beltway (I-495).
General information: artscalendar.umbc.edu