Light Work to feature Suzanne Opton photographs of soldiers who served in Iraq beginning March 21
Light Work to feature Suzanne Opton photographs of soldiers who served in Iraq beginning March 21March 06, 2006SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
The Light Work gallery, located at 316 Waverly Ave., will feature the work of renowned photographer Suzanne Opton in the exhibition “Soldier,” March 21-June 30. The exhibition of thought-provoking yet subtle portraits of men and women who served our country in Iraq presents a different impression of the war by giving viewers a rare close-up look at soldiers’ faces. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
“Soldier” features large-format color photographs of the faces of soldiers, evoking a sense of dreaming but also hinting at the transformative experiences of war. The photographs in the exhibition were taken in a temporary studio at Fort Drum, N.Y. Opton has taken the idea of soldiers and warfare out of a political context and placed it into a silent dialogue between one human being and another. “I wanted to see beyond the uniform and make vulnerable portraits of individual soldiers,” she says.
Simultaneous with the gallery exhibition, Light Work will also present the portraits in billboard form in downtown Syracuse and along Interstate 690, to appeal to a wider audience. Also, an exhibition catalogue will feature Opton’s black-and-white portraits to give further insight into her work. A grant from the Central New York Community Foundation has made it possible to extend programming for the exhibition.
Renowned art critic and author Vicki Goldberg will present a lecture April 6 at 5:30 p.m. in Watson Theater, considering Opton’s portraits in the context of the history of war photography. A reception will follow the lecture at 8 p.m. Both are free and open to the public. Members of the military and those individuals who posed for the portraits have been invited to attend to honor the soldiers and to invite dialogue.
Opton is known for imaginative portraits, and she approaches her subject matter from unusual perspectives. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Vermont Council on the Arts. She teaches at Cooper Union and the International Center of Photography in New York City. In September 2005, she participated in Light Work’s artist-in-residence program.
The “Newhouse Photography Annual,” featuring the work of SU students studying photography and advertising in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, will also be on view at this time.
Gallery hours for the exhibitions are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and by appointment. A limited number of free parking spaces is available at the gallery; please RSVP to reserve. Light Work is a nonprofit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (315) 443-1300.