Janice Levy Photo Tableaux at Cornell University

07/11/2005

Contributed by Melissa Gattine

Janice Levy, associate professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography, is one of four Ithaca area artists whose work is being featured this summer at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. Levy has seven large photographic tableaux in the "Ithaca Artists Series II" exhibit that runs through August 14, 2005.

Levy's series is called "Our Daily Bread," a collection of photographic tableaux that explore what sustains us intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually in American culture. The tableaux are giclee prints on canvas, and some are as large as 3 feet by 10 feet. "The images, taken from everyday life, are juxtaposed using irony, seriousness, and sometimes humor. They point out that what we believe in, and what sustains these beliefs, is based largely on surface and illusion," Levy said.

"My photographic mission has been to understand, through photographic documentation, what motivates human beings, how we are influenced by circumstance, and molded by the beliefs we are either born into or chose to acquire," she explained.

Nancy E. Green, senior curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Johnson Museum, said Levy and the other artists "make us think and imagine other worlds, other spaces, where things happen that have a familiarity but are distinctly different. While comfortable on one level, they are all capable of subtly commanding our attention through the questions they raise. They offer intimate glimpses of their worlds that make us reflect on the larger world around us."

Green adds, "We are a nation of speed, expecting quick responses, fast information. Levy's deliberate use of the digital medium is the perfect expedient, responding to this need by its very immediacy. But while the images come at us as quickly as a glossy magazine ad, the message is not a glib one, and should be savored in all is richness."

Levy will take part in a gallery talk at noon on Thursday, July 28, at the Johnson Museum. On July 29, Cornell will celebrate the "Ithaca Artists Series II" and other exhibits with a summer fest at 5:00 p.m.

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