In the Shadows: Works from the Collection
January 20 – April 29, 2023
In the Shadows features images from the Zillman Art Museum’s permanent collection that reflect the psychologically charged, the uncanny, and the unsettling. By focusing on the human figure—in combination with the artist’s layering, shadowy lighting, and detailed compositions—the works examine how the human form conveys elements of the internal psyche. The exhibition also explores states of psychological turmoil and distress and how these inner conflicts are portrayed through the figure. Some of the highlighted works express terror and despair, while others appear more sinister and scheming.
In Robert Flynt’s piece, Untitled, a man photographed in a blackened environment is overlaid with an anatomical illustration of bones and organs, along with two pairs of ghostly hands. The juxtaposition between the scientific diagram and the photographed body evokes a sense of discomfort, as viewers consider what lies beneath the surface of the skin. The hands, which are grasping at his body and mouth, contribute to the sense of torture and suffocation.
Gates of Hell by Michael Philip Manheim also utilizes a layered technique in his photographs. Through multiple exposures stacked onto a single frame, a perception of movement and transformation is created. In this piece figures are shown huddled together with a separate, more ominous figure, looming above them. The man on top reaches down, as if to grab the two women, who are clinging to each other fearfully. A feeling of apprehension is created by this imagery, in combination with the unsteady and disorienting effect of the multiple exposures.
Similarly, Connie Imboden explores ways in which layering can result in distortion. In her photograph, Untitled, a seated person is shown in a mirror’s reflection. The surface of the mirror has been scratched, creating a shattered, fragmented quality. In other areas, oil has been smudged on the mirror’s surface, adding to the shrouded, mysterious feel of the work. Through these distortions, Imboden’s subject can be seen staring off into the distance, appearing disconnected and detached. By obscuring parts of the reflection through scratching and smudging, an impression of hopelessness and despair is created.
Many of the other pieces included in the exhibition also use the figure to convey elements of discomfort and fear. In some, the subjects emerge out of darkness, adding to the mystery. By focusing on the ominous and eerie, the artists examine the darker side of the human subconscious.
2022-2023 Curatorial Intern
- Ralph Fabri (American, 1894 – 1975). Death and Transfiguration, no date. Etching. 60.21.G.NA, Museum Purchase: The Kenduskeag Fund.
- Robert Flynt (American, born 1956). Untitled, 2005. Photo chromogenic print. 2013.18.1, Gift of Bruce Brown.
- Roman Franc (Czech Republic, born 1983) Brother Series – Brother and Dead Hare, 2010. Gelatin silver print. 2018.1.1, Museum Purchase.
- Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1746 – 1828). Hilan Delgado (They Spin Finely ), from Los Caprichos, 1799. Aquatint and etching. 51.1.G, Museum Purchase.
- William Gropper (American, 1897 – 1977). Headless Horseman, 1922. Lithograph. 50.20.G, Gift of the artist.
- Thomas Hager (American, born 1965). Both works: Gift of the artist.
- Departure, 2004. Van Dyke brown print. 2011.14.2
- Seductress, 2006. Van Dyke brown print. 2011.14.1
- Connie Imboden (American, born 1953)
- Untitled #3997, 1991. Gelatin silver print. 2009.4.1, Museum Purchase: Stebbins and Schildknecht Art Fund.
- Untitled #8393, 1993. Gelatin silver print. 2009.4.4, Museum Purchase: Stebbins and Schildknecht Art Fund.
- Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867 – 1945).
- Beratung (Conspiracy), 1898. Etching. 98.10, Gift of David O. Decker.
- Beim Dengeln (Sharpening the Scythe), 1905. Etching. 49.2.G, Museum Purchase.
- Hildo Krop (Dutch, 1884 – 1970). Untitled, from ”Wendingen” No. 7-8, Pg 28, 1919. Woodcut on Japanese paper. 74.645.27, Transfer from Fogler Library, Gift of Carnegie Corporation
- Alphonse Legros (French, 1837 – 1911). Le Bonhomme Misére, 1862. Etching. 85.10.1, Museum Purchase.
- Michael Manheim (American, born 1940). Both works: Gift of the artist,
- Gates of Hell, 2004-2007. Gelatin silver print. 2020.5.9
- Sing Hallelujah, 2000-2004. Gelatin silver print. 2020.5.6
- James Whistler (American, 1834 – 1903). The Kitchen, 1858. Etching and drypoint. 56.72.G, Gift of William P. Viles, Class of 1928.