PRESS RELEASE:
PHYLLIS GALEMBO

 

SEPTEMBER 9 - OCTOBER 19, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 6-8 p.m.


Nina Freudenheim Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by artist Phyllis Galembo.

Phyllis Galemboʼs interest in the masquerade traditions of Africa and its diaspora began twenty five years ago, with her first visit to Nigeria. Since then, she has travelled widely in west and central Africa, and regularly to Haiti, making portraits that document and describe the transformative power of the mask. Her subjects are participants in masquerade events, both traditional African ceremonies and contemporary fancy dress and carnival, all of whom use costume, body paint and masks to create mythic characters – sometimes entertaining and humorous, often dark and frightening, and always powerful and thrilling. This exhibition is a comprehensive collection of these portraits.

Using a direct, unaffected portrait style, Galembo captures her subjects informally posed but often strikingly attired in traditional or ritualistic dress. Attuned to a momentʼs collision of past, present and future, Galembo finds the timeless elegance and dignity of her subjects. Galemboʼs portraiture illuminates the transformative power of costume and ritual. She highlights the creativity of the individuals morphing into a fantastical representation of themselves, having cobbled together materials gathered from the immediate environment to idealize their vision of mythical figures. Her images capture the raw and often frightening aspect of ceremonial garb. While still pronounced in their personal identity, the subjectʼs intentions are rooted in the larger dynamics of religious, political and cultural affiliation. Establishing these connections is a hallmark of Galembo's work.

Phyllis Galembo was born in New York and lives in New York City. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1977 and has been a professor in the Fine Arts Department of SUNY Albany since 1978.

Nina Freudenheim Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday 10 to 5, Saturday and Monday by appointment.
The exhibition is free and open to the public.  For further information please contact gallery.