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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Erika Gentry

SPE Member since 2003
Member Chapter: West

Ritratto Gratis

Series: Ritratto Gratis (2012). Around the year 1200 St. Francis, a simple church Friar from Assisi challenged the church government and society in general with a message of non-materialism and simplicity which was eventually blessed by the Pope and embraced by his namesake order "the Franciscans", established in 1208.

The concept "Ritratto Gratis" or "Free Portrait" is one I felt was fitting for the historical town of Assisi, as it was inspired by the concept of selfless giving introduced by St. Francis. Inspired by his quote "Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have receivedonly what you have given." During a summer residency, I photographed 100 residents in nearby Umbrian towns in and around Assisi and produced free portraits which they collected at the International exhibition in Assisi at the Gallery Le Logge.

As an artist practicing digital imaging and since 1996 I conscientiously chose a different direct "on camera" view as an effort to capture the person with minimal manipulation aside from basic camera controls. I tried to keep the material presence of the work to an absolute minimum. See the Book.

Lumen Prints: Ginestrella (2012)

Ginestrella plant, Assisi, Italy
(4) 8″x10″ unique prints and 30″x40″ pigment print

Lumen prints made onsite at Art Studio Ginestrelle outside of Assisi, Italy. The yellow Ginestrella (greenweed) flower covers Mt. Subasio, where St. Francis lived a nomadic life, April through June. Its flower was once used for medicinal purposes in treating conditions like hypertension. Black and white silver gelatin photographic papers are used in the process. The plant cutting is placed on the paper and under glass in the sun from sunrise to sunset. In the heat of the summer the photographic paper makes contact with the plant and produces color shifts and darkened exposures. This contact process references 19th century botanical gathering and cataloging of plants.

Video and composition, 10mins

Limbo, 2012, 10 minutes
Music: Takuya Imahori
Soprano: Maki Ohta
Photography: Erika Gentry

Created during a two week artist stay in Assisi, Italy and inspired by the Catholic culture and natural surroundings of Summer - "Limbo" explores both my personal state of being during this time and the religious connotation of the word.

In its contemporary context "Limbo" is any status where a person or project is held up and nothing can be done until another action happens. In scripture, "Limbo of the Patriarchs" or "Limbo of the Fathers" (Latin limbus patrum) is seen as the temporary state of those who, in spite of the personal sins they may have committed, died in the friendship of God, but could not enter Heaven until redemption by Jesus Christ made it possible.

Ritratto Gratis

Ritratto Gratis

Ritratto Gratis

Ritratto Gratis

Ritratto Gratis



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