'Childhood Observed' Panel Rescheduled for Tuesday, March 26

Thursday, March 21, 2013
SNHU Communications Office

The panel discussion for the photography exhibit, 'Childhood Observed' curated by Dr. Deborah Varat, will be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. in Walker Auditorium. Panel speakers include Dr. Deborah Varat, Dr. Vanessa Rocco, Dr. Elise Pepin and Dr. Marilyn Fenton. A reception will follow directly after the panel.

Gregg Mazzola
Associate VP, Marketing and Communications
Southern New Hampshire University

'Childhood Observed' Curated by Professor Deborah Varat at SNHU's McIninch Art Gallery

Manchester, N.H. (Feb. 19, 2013) – The McIninch Art Gallery at Southern New Hampshire University presents Childhood Observed from February 28 through April 6, 2013, with panel discussion followed by a reception on, Tuesday, March 26, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm in SNHU's Frost Hall's Walker Auditorium.

The magic of childhood is one of the central tenets of western culture in modern times. We celebrate the wonder and joy that we nostalgically associate with our own early life. Childhood as actually lived though is neither as innocent nor as fragile as we are inclined to remember. SNHU Professor and curator of the exhibits selected a range of photographs from the last 100 years that present a multifaceted portrait of childhood stripped of sentiment and cliché. Varat explains some of her selection process in the accompanying essay of the exhibition catalog.

"Many of the images capture a time in the early 20th-century before the adult oversight of childhood became so pervasive, but they span the century with their refreshing insights. We see children out on city streets engrossed in games that vibrate with seriousness and intensity. We see a palpable thrill in the freedom of direct experience with no reference to adult society. We see images of solitary children alone with the immensity of their private emotional world. We see portraits that come close to revelation but stop short, reminding us of how different/distant and inaccessible those years are and will always be to adult viewers. And finally we see photographs that speak to the strangeness, the fantastical, the irrational, the otherness of the childhood experience."

Recent events such as the Sandy Hook murders have brought a resounding call for protecting the innocent. Politician, community leaders, religious groups and educators to name a few wrestle with senseless meaning. We pour over images of lives lost, reading the prose of glimmering hopes and dreams. The power of photography lies within the technologies ability to capture an image in a solitary moment. The photographer articulates that moment with an artistic and poetic signature, underscoring an emotion or thought.

We the viewers are left to interpret and chose how close we want to get to the sentiment of the moment. The exhibit begs the question as to who the photographer was seeking as an audience, if any at all; the adult who lost his/her way from that innocence where personalities were formed or the child who needs to learn courage to grow into an unknown world.

This exhibit was made possible by the generous loans of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Howard Greenberg Gallery, The Currier Museum, The Robert Klein Gallery, Museum at UNH, and Palm Press.

Photographers include: Helen Levitt, Jules Aarons, Teenie Harris, Melissa Ann Pinney, Nicholas Nixon, Harold Roth, Rebecca Lepkoff, Arthur Leipzig, Edward Steichen, Aaron Siskind.

Please call Debbie Disston at 603.629.4622, e-mail m.gallery@snhu.edu or visit SNHU.edu for additional information. The McIninch Art Gallery, which was made possible by a generous gift from the McIninch Foundation, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm and Thursdays from 5 to 8 pm. All gallery events are free and open to the public.

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