May 31 – August 9
Alva Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Shuttered Cuba, an exhibition featuring the work of five contemporary photographers, four Americans and one Cuban. These photographers each open the shutters on an aspect of Cuban life, either in head-on depictions of her residents, in carefully composed still lifes, in the documentation of attempts to escape the island or in the flavor of the motorcycle sub-culture. These are not the easy pictures of nostalgic automobiles and salsa dancers. Rather they are presentations of realities of life on this island which has been the site of many external struggles and inward richness and passion. Each click of the camera is like a peek through a slat of the shutters behind which America has placed this island.
The photographers whose work is on view in Shuttered Cuba include Americans Derek Dudek, Nancy Goldring, Sean Kernan and Janis Lewin, and Cuban Rene Peña.
Derek Dudek specializes in portrait photography for advertising, editorial and corporate clients. His photographs have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and Martha Stewart Living and he has worked for Timex and Xerox, among others. Dudek has exhibited his photography in galleries and arts alliances throughout Connecticut. He won the prestigious Art Directors Club Award in 2002 and 1999. Combining technique with his desire to uncover truth and dignity in his subjects has led Derek Dudek to craft dramatic photographic imagery. His work for Shuttered Cuba includes riveting, black-and-white close-up portraits taken in Old Havana, Cuba.
Nancy Goldring, a New York-based photographer and teacher, received her B.A. from Smith College and her M.F.A. from New York University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Florence, Italy. Goldring currently teaches drawing at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She has had many solo and group exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad and is represented in both public and private art collections. Her colorful La Guarida Series in Shuttered Cuba weds cityscapes with domestic symbology in a unique composite format that not only intrigues the viewer but also begs the question “What is real?”
Sean Kernan, working from his studio in an old school in Stony Creek, Connecticut, is both a commercial photographer with an impressive client roster including A, T, & T; Boston Globe; Harvard University, New York Times Magazine and Microsoft, and a fine art photographer who has exhibited in galleries and museums in the U. S. as well as Greece, Egypt, and Mexico. Kernan has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the prestigious New York and British Art Director’s Clubs awards. He has published several fine arts books including his most recent Among Trees, 2003. He has been a visiting lecturer and taught at Parsons and the International Center for Photography in New York. For Shuttered Cuba, Sean Kernan’s black and white photographs show us somewhat fractured personal images of real people; close enough to see both their beauty and their imperfections.
Janis Lewin, a photographer based in New York City, has exhibited in the Austin Museum of Art, Museo del Barrio and other museums, and has worked for magazines and news outlets in Havana and New York. Lewin received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and has studied in Italy and at ICP in New York. She began a long-term documentary project about Cuba in 1990 which focuses on those traditions and customs passed on from generation to generation. Janis Lewin is currently working on a project about the Jewish diaspora in Latin America. Shuttered Cuba will include Lewin’s poignantly juxtaposed gelatin silver prints of Cubans leaving the island on rafts and Cubans as motorcycle “Harlistas.”
Rene Peña was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. He received his degree from the University of Havana with a specialty in English. Rene Peña has an impressive exhibition record with solo shows in Havana, Haiti and Denver, Colorado. He has shown in group shows both nationally and internationally including Miami, Belgium, Germany, and Havana. Pena’s work is in many notable collections in Havana, Miami, Houston and New York. Peña’s stark black and white still life images capture a moment in which each item is vested with visual and symbolic power.