August 2020 – Ongoing
Windows on Latimer is a series of new site-specific commissions from Philadelphia-based artists presented in The Print Center’s iconic bay window. This series responds to our temporary closure due to COVID-19, by providing safe access to art from the street. In its format, it reflects on the history of photography – a window as a lens onto the world – and takes into consideration both the formal and conceptual qualities of a window as an in-between space that can both separate and connect.
In the catalog for the 1978 exhibition Mirrors and Windows: American Photography since 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art, curator John Szarkowski observed a dichotomy characteristic of photography. He questioned whether a photograph is “a mirror, reflecting a portrait of the artist who made it, or a window, through which one might better know the world.” Today, we can still ask if the medium is a means of self-expression or of exploration.
The works in Windows on Latimer exercise the metaphor of the window as a frame for seeing and understanding the people, places and things around us. In the contemporary moment, we constantly are looking through windows – the windows of our homes, the windows of our computers, and even the windows that are our glass-paned mobile phones, which Teju Cole reminds us are “always on the verge of breaking.” This series of exhibitions compels us to not just hurriedly look through – or past – windows but to stop and look at them.
The Print Center is pleased to offer Windows on Latimer as a safe, outdoor viewing experience to all who walk, run, bike, skate or drive down our street over the coming months!
Windows on Latimer launched in August 2020 with Shawn Theodore, followed by James B. Abbott, Roxana Azar, Krista Svalbonas and Jaime Alvarez. Additional commissions will be announced at a later date.
"A sliver of tropical Puerto Rico blooms on snowy Latimer Street," WHYY, Peter Crimmins, December 2020 pdf
Jaime Alvarez is a Philadelphia-based artist known for “Fishtown Daily,” his ongoing photographic series of deadpan urban landscapes, as well as detail-oriented object studies. As temperatures drop this winter in Philadelphia, escape to the tropics through Windows on Latimer at The Print Center!
For this installation, Alvarez takes us to El Yunque National Forest in his native Puerto Rico, the only tropical rainforest in the United States. Covering 28,000 acres, it is home to over 200 species of flora and fauna – some not found anywhere else in the world. These include the Coqui, a very small, loud frog that is very common in Puerto Rico, yet still in danger of extinction.
Jaime Alvarez has a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence and an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is in the permanent collection of Comcast and the Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX.
Krista Svalbonas’ site-responsive installation What Remains compiles nine black-and-white photographs of Soviet-era apartment buildings in Latvia and Lithuania, embellished with laser-cut patterns culled from traditional Baltic folk art. As a whole, the installation meditates on the concept of home and what it means to be “at home” at this time. “Ideas of home and dislocation have always been compelling to me as the child of immigrant parents who arrived in the United States as refugees,” says Svalbonas. “This history has made me acutely aware of the impact of politics on architecture, and in turn on people’s daily lived experience.” Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our relationship to “home” has changed drastically. Svalbonas’ work reflects how these buildings – relics of the Soviet past – can be repurposed today.
Svalbonas holds a BFA in Photography from Syracuse University and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her work has been exhibited at Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston; ISE Cultural Foundation and Klompching Gallery, both New York; and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City. Her work is found in the collection of the Cesis History and Art Museum, Latvia. Recent awards include a Baumanis Grant, Rhonda Wilson Award, Puffin Foundation Grant and a Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Fellowship. Svalbonas is an Assistant Professor at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.
Roxana Azar’s photo-based sculptural installation Projections brings a psychedelic kaleidoscope of biomorphic plant life to The Print Center’s window. It is part of a larger series of holographic photo-collages featuring botanical imagery printed on opalescent materials. The installation changes in color based on the time of day and angle of view.
To Azar, artwork is “a way to work through anxiety and create joyful moments.” In our current moment, “Surrounding myself with plants has been healing,” Azar says, “I love that people can walk past and experience the work in different ways at different times of days.” Rooted in close observation of flora in the greenhouses and gardens of the Philadelphia region and beyond, it playfully translates organic forms through manipulation and transformation of shape, color and light. “My work reimagines floral arrangements and projects what they might look like in the future.”
Inspired by science fiction, plant intelligence, anxiety and floral design, Azar produces multi-media works combining photography, sculpture and collage. Azar holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. In addition to exhibiting nationally and internationally, Azar has been published in Mossless, Papersafe, Vice and Yen Magazine.
James B. Abbott
James B. Abbott takes us to the spectacular Cape Cod National Seashore with High Tide, Low Tide, High Tide. The three black-and-white triptychs taken on Cape Cod can transport the viewer to any special place of solitude. Abbott says, “In this new age of uncertainty, I find myself seeking solace in the memory of a place, a personal place, one that I fell in love with, have history with and tried to understand through my photographs.”
Abbott is a photographer whose subjects range from Venice, Italy to the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, from urban cityscapes to the solitude and rich natural beauty of Cape Cod. Abbott received a BFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. His work is included in many public and private collections, including the Allentown Art Museum, PA; Cranbrook Art Museum; and Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Abbott has generously created a benefit edition of High Tide, Low Tide, High Tide: inkjet print, 15 ¼” x 11” (image), 17 ½” x 13” (sheet), in an edition of 25 for $300. All proceeds will directly benefit The Print Center.
"These crisis times have clarified who and what are important to me. This includes The Print Center - which must continue to educate, nourish and bring us together as a community. Please join me in offering your support!" – James B. Abbott
Shawn Theodore brings us face-to-face with essential workers. Known for his dynamic street photography, Theodore began creating tightly cropped portraits of restaurant workers, janitors, delivery people and security guards in 2017. “Black folks in the service industry see their invisibility firsthand,” says Theodore, “I wanted to take a different approach in sharing a part of my practice that a lot of people are not aware of.” I See You Not Seeing Me makes the presence of these individuals palpable both in the image as well as in the reflections cast.
Theodore is an interdisciplinary artist whose work opens broad conversations regarding the shaping of agency and imagery, new forms of storytelling and the trajectory of the collective Black consciousness. He holds a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising from Temple University, Philadelphia and is currently enrolled in the MFA program in Photography at Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, Georgia. He has exhibited at Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago; Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; African American Museum in Philadelphia; Art Sanctuary, Philadelphia; University of the Arts, Philadelphia; and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, among others.
The Print Center would like to thank the artists for their participation and collaboration with additional thanks to James B. Abbott for his help in conceiving this series and his services as Master Printer.