SANCTUARY: A Pop-Up Amateur Photography Show

Juror Statement

Amy Kurtz Lansing, Curator, Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum’s gallery show “Nothing More American:” Immigration, Sanctuary, and Community, an exhibition by Matthew Leifheit includes contemporary photographs and historic paintings. [3D Tour of Exhibition] The artworks tell the story of immigrant and refugee families who have found sanctuary from deportation or persecution in local churches and in the town of Old Lyme, where they have begun new lives. https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/nothingmoreamerican/
 
When the idea was floated to stage SANCTUARY, a pop-up photography exhibition inspired by the gallery show, little did we know how relevant the theme would become. Submissions for the exhibition opened as news of COVID-19 intensified, and soon, the Museum closed to visitors as social distancing was implemented as a key public health measure for reducing the virus’s spread. Plans for a physical exhibition during the month of May were reconfigured so that we could instead present the photographs online.
 
As we reviewed the photographers’ submissions in early April, it was evident that their works registered the new importance of sanctuary as Americans sheltered at home. Artists entered works that depict the places they feel safe and inspired, as well as the people (and pets) who stimulate their minds and surround them with love. Our horizons have narrowed to our apartments, houses, and yards. The photographers celebrate those environments as well as the hiking trails, beaches, and even travel destinations that have felt like sanctuaries to them. We particularly enjoyed the view of sanctuary reflected through the lenses of high school students, who submitted work as part of an academic assignment. Confinement to home, away from friends and school provided an alternative way to think about their lives.
                                                
Given the intensely felt and moving photographs that were submitted, the decision of which ones to include was not easy. We looked for photos that exemplified the concept of sanctuary as outlined in the call for submissions, taking into account both the imagery and the photographers’ words. Grain, lighting, color, and other technical qualities mattered to us, as did composition and a sense of intention from the photographer in achieving the results on view in each image.
 
While we did not include every submission in what is now an online exhibition, we marveled at the views of nature so many of the photographers captured, and are looking forward to seeking out the gorgeous locations they put before our eyes. Across the 300 photographs that were submitted to our site, nature prevailed as the embodiment of sanctuary, a place for contemplating not only the environment but also the individual, the communal, and the existential. As one of the few places outside our homes that we can explore these days, nature can offer sanctuary to us all through its beauty and dynamic of renewal. As you view SANCTUARY, we hope that you can share in that journey.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges 

 

All Categories

The Lake in Autumn
Jayne Armstrong

City: Old Saybrook
State: CT

Medium: Photograph
Artist Statement: Photograph of my lakeside retreat in Old Saybrook. The symmetry of trees, still water, and wispy clouds are serenely peaceful and balanced. For me, this special spot is a place of refuge after a long day.
Lila
Maria Baseel

City: South Windsor
State: Connecticut

Medium: photograph: Digital Print
Artist Statement: As a mother, I am her refuge for comfort, as this couch is mine.
The Ride
Maria Baseel

City: South Windsor
State: Connecticut

Medium: photograph: Digital Print
Artist Statement: Sitting on this seat each time I go to NYC brings a sense of security. This is my place where I can break free from being a mom, wife, teacher, and friend. This is my place where I find some of my greatest salvation.
Empowerment
Gregory Bowerman

City: Old Lyme
State: Ct

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: My sanctuary resides in my heart and soul: friendships, family, memories, experiences, new adventures, love, giving, and so on..., they all play a major role in how I live my life, treat others, and respect it, life. I try to represent this ideology metaphorically and physically in my daily actions and in my art; both in painting and photography. Art fulfills voids that life often, ultimately, creates.
Passion
Gregory Bowerman

City: Old Lyme
State: Ct

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: My sanctuary resides in my heart and soul: friendships, family, memories, experiences, new adventures, love, giving, and so on..., they all play a major role in how I live my life, treat others, and respect it, life. I try to represent this ideology metaphorically and physically in my daily actions and in my art; both in painting and photography. Art fulfills voids that life often, ultimately, creates.
Deck1
Mark Mathew Braunstein

City: Quaker Hill
State: CT

Medium: pigment-based inkjet
Artist Statement: This scene is my father's backyard deck that I photographed shortly before his death, but it looked much the same many years earlier during my childhood. Thus my photo both captured my aging father's final months, and recaptures my own childhood.

Prime Real Estate
GORDON BRODIE

City: Manchester
State: CT

Medium: digital photograph
Cape Neddick
Gail Buckley

City: Northbridge
State: MA

Medium: photography
Artist Statement: Our family sanctuary
Streets
Ellias Bunnell

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: I captured some of the places where I feel the best in and make me feel safe.
Rocky Beach
Ellias Bunnell

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: I captured some of the places where I feel the best in and make me feel safe.
Zara
Mateó Carrero

City: Berkeley
State: 7095

Medium: Nikon D750
Artist Statement: Zara struck me and asked for their permission to photograph them for this project. My photography revolves around representation of queer trans people of color and wanting to show the world that we exist and we are beautiful.
Refuge
Calum Carson

City: Leeds
State: West Yorkshire

Medium: Digital Photograph
Private Sanctuary
Cheefai Chow

City: Clinton
State: CT

Medium: Photographed in film- digital print
Artist Statement: This picture was taken in NYC's Cloister Museum. He had retreated to a quiet bench along the cloister courtyard with the daily paper to a private sanctuary from the hustle of the city.

Spiritual Sanctuary
Cheefai Chow

City: Clinton
State: CT

Medium: Digital print
Artist Statement: In this buddhist temple the outside is screened from the interior that is fill with incense and natural light. It offers a sanctuary for private prayers and meditations.

Hiding From Sunrise
Jacob Cohn

City: Colchester
State: Connecticut

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: A sanctuary is a place of emotion- whether those emotions are good or bad. The pictures of my treehouse represent those feelings, each of them different. Using contrasting light and proximity to the subject, the way the world is viewed from my place of comfort are separate, yet each remains intimate to the meaning of a sanctuary.
The Sun Always Shines in the Wilderness
Jacob Cohn

City: Colchester
State: Connecticut

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: A sanctuary is a place of emotion- whether those emotions are good or bad. The pictures of my treehouse represent those feelings, each of them different. Using contrasting light and proximity to the subject, the way the world is viewed from my place of comfort are separate, yet each remains intimate to the meaning of a sanctuary.
The sanctuary of home, love and friendship in the time of coronavirus
Maureen Collins

City: Guilford
State: Ct

Medium: Photography
Artist Statement: Still life taken with ipad. The still life was created with some objects collected from my family over time. The place setting is on an antique cloth. My grandmothers first set of dishes, bought with grocery store coupons. The vase is inscribed “one rose one love”. My father gave a similar one to my mother early during their relationship. The newspaper refers to the Coronavirus and request for everyone to stay home. The tea ceremony: when I was a little girl, my English grandmother , who lived in our apartment ( house), next to our apartment, served tea around 3 pm everyday and would leave her door open. This was a sign that everyone was welcome to come in, sit, have a cup of tea and a cookie. At some point we moved into a house, and my grandmother moved with us. My mother continued the tradition welcoming nearby relatives and neighbors. Later in life, when my mother came to live with me, I continued the tradition.
Full Moon Over Studio in the Snow
Suzanne Connah

City: Stafford Springs
State: CT

Medium: Photo
Artist Statement: An amazing clear evening after a freshly fallen snow. How do you ever capture the magnificence of the brilliant moon reflecting off of the twinkling snow and the glow from the window in the studio? It was magical and I was so grateful to be there!
Sunrise Behind Studio
Suzanne Connah

City: Stafford Springs
State: CT

Medium: Photo
Artist Statement: One of those special mornings when you are so glad to be at that spot, at that moment. A breathtaking hello to the day with the crescent moon still shining brightly.
Down Time #1
John "Jack" Connelly

City: New London
State: CT

Medium: digital photography
Artist Statement: "The Third Floor" is where my brother and I record, discover and enjoy music. Everyday I retreat to the third floor to find peace and let my mind rest.

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