Thursday, April 2, 2020


Hera board member Wendy Wahl shares information about mail in ballots for the primary election, (now on June 2, 20200 and Hera Gallery's rescheduled call for entries for our 100th anniversary celebration of women's suffrage, Right toVote.

In today’s Providence Journal is the proposed process for voting in the RI primary. The primary is now June 2nd and it will likely be by mail in only. The registration deadline to receive a ballot by mail is April 7. 

R.I. presidential primary moving toward mailbox

In the latest conronavirus-induced change to Rhode Island’s presidential primary, the state Board of Elections on Thursday voted to stop requiring witnesses to observe ballots cast by mail. 
The move comes three days after Gov. Gina Raimondo moved the state’s April 28 primary to June 2 at the board’s request to avoid the risk that voters and elections workers congregating 
at polling places could spread the virus. Along with moving the primary date, Raimondo’s order asked the Board of Elections and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to “determine a plan to  
hold a predominantly mail ballot primary...

Mail Ballot application form and where to send it. 

Right To Vote
Hera Gallery and Educational Foundation
10 High Street
Wakefield, RI 02879

Contact Email:
Call Type: Exhibitions
Eligibility: National
State: Rhode Island
Entry Deadline: 8/1/20
Days remaining to deadline: 124

Images - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 3
Total Media - Minimum: 1, Maximum: 3
Entry Fee (Right to Vote): $35.00

In celebration of the 100th year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, Hera Gallery and Educational Foundation is partnering with Women’s Fund of Rhode Island to host a dual exhibition at Hera.

Hera Gallery Presents the Exhibition: Right To Vote
Juried by: Lauren Szumita
Concept: Right to Vote examines artists’ perspectives on the continued importance of strengthening voting rights in our democracy. Hera Gallery seeks artwork addressing the multiplicity and diversity with which the democratic process in America is experienced.

Who decides who gets to vote? Why is the concept of one person one vote so important? Why does America have such low voter participation rates compared to other democratic nations? What does disenfranchisement and enfranchisement look like along racial, economic, gender, ethnic, religious, and environmental lines? What types of barriers exist to voting and how do these in turn affect disparate populations differently?

In conjunction with the national juried show Right To Vote, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island will be presenting RADical Women, a collection of banners with a narrative timeline of historically significant women of Rhode Island and contemporary information about wages, women’s rights and advocacy and how these are affected by such factors as race and socioeconomic context.
Juror Bio: Lauren Szumita is the Curatorial Assistant of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Worcester Art Museum. There, she oversees the Central Massachusetts Artists Initiative (CMAI) rotation for contemporary, regional artists. She also currently serves on the Arts and Culture Committee at Anna Maria College. Previously, she was the Koch Curatorial Fellow at the Fitchburg Art Museum. She received her MA in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Oregon.
Application Deadline: March 15th, 2020
Exhibition Dates: May 16th – June 13th, 2020
Opening Reception: May 16th, 2020,  6-8PM

Notification of Acceptance: Hera Gallery will contact artists by April 8th, 2020
regarding their inclusion in: Right To Vote
Eligibility: Hera Gallery seeks work in all media, 2D, 3D, and video for this timely, critical exhibition. 3D limited to 50 lbs and must fit through a 5’10” x 6’8” door. 2D must also fit through said door.
Artwork Delivery: Local delivery instructions will be sent to all accepted artists.
Delivery Due Date: Artwork must be at the Gallery by May 9th, 2020
Return Shipping: Artist is responsible for all shipping costs and shipping containers.  Artist must include prepaid return shipping label.
Sales Commission: Hera Gallery retains a 30% sales commission.
Insurance: Although the utmost care will be taken in handling your work, Hera Gallery assumes no responsibility for damage, loss, or theft. Artists are responsible for their own insurance.
Photography/Publicity: Hera Gallery reserves the right to photograph work for publicity.  By entering this exhibition, you agree to the use of your name, likeness, certain personal information, and artwork in any publicity material or documentation developed for the exhibition.

About Hera Gallery:
Hera Educational Foundation and Gallery promotes contemporary professional artists through a comprehensive exhibition schedule of member work, curated, and juried intersectional social justice shows. Together with thought-provoking programming our organization encourages dialogue that enriches the cultural life of our non-urban Southern RI community. We provide a venue for young talent to find a public voice, and creative support to local health services. Since its inception in 1974, Hera has been resolutely dedicated to gender equity and feminist discourse to challenge perceptions and inspire social change.

Because of its flexibility and commitment to presenting exhibitions with artistic merit and integrity Hera has been awarded numerous grants for its exhibitions and programs including grants from Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, The Champlin Foundation, Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, Rhode Island Foundation, and the Puffin Foundation.

Monday, March 30, 2020


Today Hera Board member and past President, Barbara Pagh shares a video from her studio.

I have been working on these collages of handmade paper that are memories of colors as I look out at the sky and water in Matunuck at different times of day and weather conditions. Compositionally they go back to my minimalist roots with straightforward horizontal bands of color and texture. I find these collages meditative to make and a necessary respite from the news.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


Hera artist Molly Kaderka installed her solo exhibition at the Jamestown Art Center right before social distancing and school, institution and business closures happened. Today she is sharing images from the exhibition. Enjoy!

You can find information about the exhibition below the photographs.

A Mythic Pause 
Jamestown Art Center, Jamestown RI
March 5- April 25
Artist: Molly Kaderka  (IG handle @mkaderka )
Contributing Furniture: Kit Howland (IG handle @kithowland )

Short Blurb
A Mythic Pause creates an immersive environment with large-scale, site-specific paintings laminated directly to the walls. Using a combination of printmaking, drawing and painting, Kaderka depicts two different realms: the celestial and the terrestrial. Framed by a tactile printed rock surface, the circular compositions act as an aperture to the distant and intangible stars

Exhibition Statement 
In the exhibition A Mythic Pause, Molly Kaderka presents her latest works, which explore deep time embodied in geological formations and the night sky and engaged in a delicate interplay of terrestrial and celestial realms.

The centerpiece of the show is a series of five works that move the viewer from an experience of dense darkness—layers of heavy rock broken by a few slivers of sky—to an encounter with a nearly overwhelming brightness, as the work evokes the night sky four billion years hence, when the neighboring galaxy of Andromeda is predicted to collide with our own Milky Way.  Anchoring the series is an immense and exquisitely balanced formation of rock-like surfaces encircling a night sky, the ancient stones opening to the distant, intangible stars. 

These dramatic installations leave behind our traditional associations of rock and sky with permanence and stillness, illusions born out of our brief interactions with both.   In the nearly unfathomable span of deep time, everything is shifting, spinning, and changing. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

From Hera member, Susie Matthews

The current pandemic is causing terrible things to happen to many, many people.  While I do not want to underemphasize the severity of this tragedy, I am finding some beauty and joy during this time, especially on my walks and in my garden.  Sharing this bit of inspiration cannot heal the sick or grow the economy, but I hope it might bring others some happiness.

                                                          Spring is always a miracle.  I am awed by the magic and strength of new growth rising up from the ground. The contrast of fresh, soft leaves coming out of hard, dull branches or earth exhilarates me.  One of the earliest plants to emerge in the spring is skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). When I looked up the latin name, I learned that the part in the middle is a spadix, and the hooded part is a spathe.  I have made sculptures that look like the spadix. 

This next image is of a tree peony that my mother gave me.    The emerging leaves are a wonderful pink color, clustered fronds with little white hairs on them.

I am also often struck by the contrast between organic growth and manmade forms or human caused interventions. These beautiful mosses swell up between the cut stones of a wall by my studio. I combine felt and ceramic in my work to try and create a similar tension. 

And these lichen grow on the bark and the outermost rings of this tree that have been exposed by a chainsaw, turning that violent act into new life. 
I encourage everyone to spend some time outside, looking carefully and closely. The necessary physical separation from other people is an opportunity to slow down and pay attention to our natural world.

from Hera Member John Kotula

An Old Artist on the Road In this Time of Contagion; three drawings, a photo, and reflections

         My wife, Deb Drew, had been planning to hike the Appalachian Trail for a long time. This year was the year! We left Rhode Island on March 13th, Friday the 13th, headed for the beginning of the Trail in Springer Mountain Georgia, where she would begin a six month, solo, through hike. The plan was that I’d drop her off and continue on to Florida to do some volunteer work. As we started out, news of the Corona Virus epidemic was intensifying, but we saw no reason to change our plans. As we drove south, everything began to unravel. First my volunteer plans, which included living in close quarters with a group of people from across the US and working in agricultural communities began to feel like they posed too much risk of exposure. I cancelled and decided to bum around Florida on my own for a couple of weeks, before Heading North and rendezvousing with Deb to help her clean up and restock. Deb hit the trail on schedule. She was very excited and curious about what was in store for her. We reasoned that six months walking in the woods, might be the safest place to be! I went on, first to Silver Springs and then to Cedar Key. I planned to practice social distancing on the road; laying low, relaxing, walking, reading, writing, binge watching Schitt’s Creek, and, of course, drawing.  
         Day by day, the pandemic intensified, and the utter incompetence and mendacity of the Trump administration revealed itself. Deb hadn’t been on the trail a week when the Appalachian Trail Conservancy advised hikers to leave the trail. Their reasons focused on hikers being vectors that could spread the virus from community to community since the trail passes through many towns along the way and concern that services hikers need might not be available, especially if the hiker got sick. Since I had access to news coverage, my alarm grew along with everyone else’s. I began to be anxious about being so far from home and worried about getting stranded. What if my car broke down and I couldn’t find anyone to repair it. Despite these underlying fears, I enjoyed myself and figured out that, although I’m a naturally gregarious guy, I can do social separation if it is necessary.
         As I write this, things are in flux. I’m meeting Deb in three days (that’ll make it March 22nd) and we’ll decide together what comes next. Playing it by ear is the only option, right?

         I’ve been making drawings. I’d like to share with the Hera community three of them. I’ll throw in one photo and and my reflections on these images in this time of contagion.
Drawing #1
 My first stop in Florida was Silver Springs where I had gone to visit my girlfriend from 8th grade. We hadn’t seen each other since we were 14, but a few years ago we became Facebook friends. When my plans to be in Florida developed, I asked her if I could buy her lunch. We took a stroll in Silver Springs State Park and then went out for Mexican food. We swapped life stories. There is no one I am in contact with who knew me when I was 14. Hers are the oldest memories of me that I have access to.
         When we were in 8th grade we had a very close connection. For her it was based on friendship, acceptance, and companionship. For me, it was all that plus some early romantic sexuality. She said, “I didn’t really understand that boy friend girl friend stuff. I just thought you were my best friend. I remember once you kissed me at the bus stop and I thought, what was that about, because I didn’t understand until much later.” It was brief. Then our lives diverged and we didn’t see each other until last week. Her life got very hard. It sounds like she has survived it through strength, intelligence and kindness, but I don’t think any of it was or is easy. And me? All and all, it has just been a joy. How to explain my good luck and privileged existence? I have no idea, but I sure am grateful.
         This drawing is dedicated to my old friend. I hope our paths cross again before too long.  

Drawing #2:
I have been spending a lot of time alone. For example, today I had brief contact with just three people; a guy I bought a latte from this morning, the host of the cottages I’m staying at who I chatted with briefly about can openers, and the postmistress this afternoon when I mailed a letter. I haven’t touched anyone in several days. However, I don’t feel socially isolated, because I am having a lot of contact through text, email, social media, the US mail, and occasional phone calls with family and friends.
         This drawing came about because I heard that one of my grandsons had broken up with his girlfriend. This was his first serious one and I had wondered how he’d do when it ended. We exchanged some texts, not to address the break up directly, but just so he’d know I was thinking about him. When I clicked on him in my contacts I saw that he had added to his name an emoji of a muscular arm. We joked about that and when I got off the phone, I started this drawing.
         The sound track while I drew, playing first in my head and then on Youtube, was Joe Cocker singing Unchain My Heart. I thought of the drawing as tattoo flash and this evolved into a couple of fantasies/flash stories.
         The first is autobiographical: Although he’d been happy and successful, even late in life he couldn’t shake the notion that being a tattoo artist in Key West might have been a better fit.
         The second was longer and pure fiction: He thought of himself as a model citizen of Cedar Key, although he had been drinking beer for breakfast for 20 years. His preferred modes of  transportation were bike and fishing skiff. For awhile he got a new tattoo every time he banged a tourist lady but he ran out of skin around 2000 just about the time his batting average started a serious slump. On the bright side, he was on a first name basis with several pelicans. His income, which actually was sufficient, came from a steady bar tending job, his design for welding sea turtle sculptures, and selling small quantities of weed he grew on National Wildlife Refuge Land up the coast; hence the fishing Skiff. On his forty-fifth birthday, he started to make some major changes in the way he’d been living. For example, he took on a significant renovation of his cottage. The sweat equity, probably made him a hundred thousand dollars richer on paper, but of course he’d never sell the place. He knew exactly what had brought this about, but he didn’t think about it much based on the theory you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. One night at the bar he was listening to Joe Cocker’s version of Unchain My Heart. These words formed in his mind: “Damn, dude. You ain’t going to get nowhere begging somebody else to unchain your heart. You just gotta be strong and break the damn chains yourself.”  Things were better after that.

Drawing #3:
Yesterday I went walking on a trail that followed an old railroad bed. I picked up this pine cone thinking it would make a good drawing challenge. While I was drawing it today, I remember, sort of vaguely, that pine cones need fire to release their seeds, so I looked it up: "Some species, such as the jack pine, even rely on fire to spread their seeds. The jack pine produces "seratonous" (resin-filled) cones that are very durable. The cones remain dormant until a fire occurs and melts the resin. Then the cones pop open and the seeds fall or blow out." Evolving In The Presence of Fire, David Herring.
         What if we thought of ourselves as pine cones and the corona virus as our fire? Maybe it will pop us open and release our seeds to grow something new. We could hope that the new thing would be a full realization that we are all in this together and that we will only survive if we take care of each other; that there is no room for aggression, competition, choosing up sides; winning, trying to come out on top; only room for compassion, generosity, community, respect, and love.
Here's hoping.

The photo:

 Within a month I'll be 75. I'm on the big sunset tour. However, this photo was taken at dawn. Damn, what a metaphor! I doubt the corona virus or anything else is going to kill me before May 14th. So, I’m likely to wake up on my 75th birthday to the dawning of a brand new day full of hope and opportunity! You can’t ask for more than that.

Friday, March 20, 2020


From Hera Artist Abigail Wamboldt
This is a video that Abigail made for her students and would like to share with our community.

Thursday, March 19, 2020


From Hera member Kathie Florsheim

I am an inveterate gardener. Sometimes I grow plants I want to photograph. This amaryllis is one I grew this winter.

 Seeing it today makes my heart sing, its rich color is an urgent reminder that all is not lost. 
 Sometimes my work rescues me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


A post from Hera Board President, Uli Brahmst on the transformative power of art.

"The transformative power of art is so obvious each time an exhibition goes up or down. Empty spaces get completely and magically altered. "

The images above are from Uli's recent exhibition as UMASS Dartmouth CVPA gallery, 
On Being a Woman, the first shows the exhibition in the space and the second shows the space after the exhibition was taken down. January-February 2020

These two images show Hera gallery during the opening reception for and during installation of our bi-annual children's exhibition. February 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Looking for creative diversion, Hera Board Member Roberta Richman and her partner Sandra Enos  explored a walk organized by the Newport Arboretum Society that takes you around downtown Newport to see a collection of 52 exceptional trees that they have often walked past without seeing. They intend to do all of them filing up a thermos and a picnic lunch for the next ones.Well worth doing if you’re looking for outdoor activities during this strange time we are living in.

The Newport Arboretum Society allows you to download maps for each walk which is also great. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

From Hera Board Member Wendy Wahl

Sunday, March 15, 2020

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Creative Quarantine

A note from Hera President, Uli Brahmst,

Anxiety, chaos, doubt, and raw emotion are familiar territory for most artists and in many ways the ground we walk on and from which we lift ourselves every day to reach for a more inspiring reality. 

Hera member Kathie Florsheim called me yesterday morning pointing out that people look to the arts for mental and spiritual sustenance in times of crisis and that we at Hera need to respond to that call. I had started to discuss this blog the night before and Kathie’s comments focused me on the reality that artists are in a way experts on anxiety and on moving beyond it. We decided to share what Hera artists will be doing with their time in refuge. 

Mara Trachtenberg will be the editor in chief of this blog and our members are invited to post aspects of their daily creative experience. I am looking forward to be inspired by my peers at a time of great reconfiguration. I am convinced that the chaos of the moment holds profound creative potential.

“Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and Camus and Sartre have proclaimed that courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.”
                                                                                           (The Courage to Create, Rollo May)

Sunday, February 9, 2020


The Woman Project is a group of RI artists and activists formed in 2016 by members of Hera Gallery and community members to use art as a catalyst for Women's Reproductive Freedom. The Woman Project is exhibiting parts of their Petition Quilt, which was used to help codify abortion rights into RI law in our 5th anniversary exhibition The Fifth Decade. On February 21st as part of the talk for the exhibition, "Hera, Artist Cooperatives and Social Justice",  The Womxn Project will  present their Quilt to the Pembroke Center Archives at Brown University.

Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.

The Womxn Project (TWP) is a statewide organization dedicated to building a strong movement that harnesses the power of art, activism, and advocacy. We believe that together we can dismantle systems of oppression and uplift the voices of people in our communities throughout Rhode Island in order to shift power and shape the policies that impact our lives and the lives of our neighbors. 

TWP wields the power of art as an instrument of change. TWP believes that art can make public important information, push forward critical conversations, progress political work, and inspire ground-swelling social action. 

The TWP story is one of organic growth, sprouting from hope and determination and powered by art and community-strengthened commitment. TWP’s initial mission (to codify the rulings of Roe V Wade into Rhode Island state law) was inspired by the Hera Gallery’s community meetings in 2016-2017 through the Creating Together series. The Hera Gallery has served as both a community hub and inspirational network for the organization. 

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?

The Petition Quilt is the product of thousands of voices of Rhode Island residents and hundreds of labor hours from volunteers state-wide. It is a symbol of the massive support for safe and legal reproductive healthcare in RI. We hope viewers, like us, take the time to appreciate not only the individualized squares that showcase the real voices and lives of passionate Rhode Islanders but also marvel with gratitude at the craftspersonship and love that binds the quilt together into its epic size. 

We also hope that the quilt inspires folks to introspectively wonder which of their own personal talents, skills, or gifts that they hold within themselves could be creatively used as a tool to make the world a better place. We all hold a unique and valuable power potential inside each of us; what actions, resources, and perspectives might you personally be able to volunteer to the work and missions that exist around you and overlap with your passion? What power might we invent if we all dared to become inspired together?

What influences your work? Why?

Art is a powerful way to communicate human experience, thoughts, and ideas. Throughout history artists have created work to address political, cultural, and social issues relevant to their time and place. Within The Womxn Project Educational Fund, we engage ARTivism as a method to look for new ways to disrupt the political system, change the conversations, and move beyond traditional paradigms of activism.

What does it mean to you to participate in Hera, either as an artist member OR as an exhibiting artist?

Central to The Hera Gallery are three principles:  Rhode Island spirit, generational love, and artistic power. TWP is moved by all of these core ideas and is energized to be a part of this show at this moment in RI history.

Thursday, February 6, 2020


 Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.

In my kindergarten “All About Me” book I wrote “When I grow up… I want to be an art teacher.” 20 years later, I am doing just that! I earned my BS in Art Education with a concentration in painting and photography at Rhode Island College. I am now completing my MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at MassArt in Boston. I make art to express my thoughts and ideas, share stories, and to teach… and to make my house prettier. 

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?

I create work that reclaims and empowers the bodies, skin, crafts, and stories of women. I aim to provide the viewers with an empathetic glimpse into these lives and stories that are often looked over or looked down upon.  I want my work to confront viewers with their own biases towards these topics and bring the viewer to honor women in the light they deserve.

What influences your work? Why?

I direct my work within the 4th wave of feminism to intersectionally empower all women, all of their lives, and all of their stories. I derive all of my drawn images of the female figure from the internet and mass media advertising. I often refer to Jean Kilbourne, especially her speech “The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women,” to confront these dangerous depictions of women ingrained in our subconscious memory from television commercials and magazine covers and to reclaim the image and role of the female figure. Most recently, I find myself prominently inspired by fine- artists’ Sophia Narrett, Erika Spitzer Rasmussen and Ghada Amer as well as musical artists The Highwomen and Lizzo.

What does it mean to you to participate in Hera, either as an artist member OR as an exhibiting artist?

Participating in Hera means to be a part of feminist art history. Hera was built on a ground of passion and resistance to not only change the art world but change the culture of the world through the power of women’s voices. It is an honor and a pleasure to continue to carry Hera’s ideals into the next decade and be included in this community of artists. 

To see more on Sonja's work visit her website:

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


 Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.
 I was always an artist it was a natural gift that was I was encouraged to pursue from a very young age. I decided to take art seriously after completing CCRI and committing to a Fine Art curriculum at URI. Printmaking, drawing and digital art were my concentrations. I make art because it is fulfilling a destiny and it’s a way to express what I read and the awareness of it in engaging art form. 

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?
I want them to have a profound experience absorbing the layers in the work literally and figuratively and to appreciate attention to detail, the mix of planning, research on topics and rare images for influence and spontaneity, the use of color and the mixing of ancient influences and knowledge with contemporary aesthetics. I want people to feel excited about coming out the next exhibition and bringing new people into the fold.

What influences your work? Why?
 I read books and source a lot of obscure information from the Internet. My work is influenced by studying the unknown, supernatural, ancient knowledge, especially esoteric symbolism and symbols pertaining to old world languages, mythology, religions, lost civilizations, mystical places, archaeological digs that turn up rare artifacts and humanoids that are different from us. As a kid mythology, Sasquatch sightings, aliens, beasts, dinosaurs always fascinated me, and that led to the study of our metaphysical origins and beyond. I try and capture elements of all this in my art in cohesive series that evolve in stages.

What does it mean to you to participate in Hera, either as an artist member OR as an exhibiting artist?
Hera showcased my first solo exhibition in 2014 and allowed me to always belong to something to keep me rooted in the art field despite life’s constant distractions. 
I am forever grateful for Barbara Pagh reaching out to me with the opportunity. 
It’s a warm and friendly community with a rich heritage I enjoy being a part of and the freedom to show whatever you want to express in artistic form is priceless.

To see more of Jason's work visit his website:

Monday, February 3, 2020


Tell us your artist story, some biographical info, when did you decide to be an artist? Why do you make art? Where did you study? Etc.

I am not sure I decided to be an artist. The decision crept up on me when I was an undergrad, taking design, photography and sculpture classes. I thought those classes were gut courses, a respite from all the reading required of a history major. Little did I know…. Soon I was spending all my spare time in the bronze-casting studio on the heels of taking a year of design classes. By the time I graduated, I was hooked and itching to make things- not to delve farther into modern European history.  Nonetheless my undergraduate education taught me how to ask a question, and how to look for the answer. That has been essential in my studio practice.

The pleasure of Making is the most exciting thing I can think of doing, in this or any other lifetime. Whenever I daydream about other professions, like marine biology or something similar, I can’t imagine being away from my studio or the process of making things. I love having space, both physically and emotionally, to fiddle around with ideas. For me the process is as important as the finished object. 

My education is a bit off the beaten track. I was a history major at Mt. Holyoke College in western Massachusetts, followed by two years at as an undergrad at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in Oakland, California. Then I came to RISD for an MFA in photography. I thought I would be a sculptor when I went to CCAC but the sculpture department was full of casting all-stars, all male and not friendly to women. It was a closed shop, which was not the case in the photography department.

The first day of photography class at CCAC, the assembled crowd exceeded the allowable size of the class. To pare the class down, the instructor went around the room, asking each of us why we were there. I said, “Because I have to be.” She let me stay. On our first photo field trip, I got a cactus stuck in my forehead, had to have a tetanus shot, and refused to tell my doctor why I appeared in his office with mercurochrome covering my forehead. Adding insult to injury, one of my classmates thought it was a good idea to photograph me rather than to remove the cactus spines. 

I started out using a 35 mm camera, but moved on to a 4x5 Crown Graphic and eventually moved to a medium format twin lens Rollei with which I made the images that got me into grad school. I applied to RISD because Aaron Siskind was teaching there, spent two years there learning how not to critique images – there was nothing kind or particularly useful that came out of the crits in grad school. I had to learn how to do a responsible crit for the benefit of my students after I graduated. I didn’t fall in love with photography until well after graduate school.

What do you want people to walk away with after experiencing your work?

I am making the seascapes in the series Room 10 because I am interested in how light alters space over water. I follow my nose as I go. These images are hard to make, harder to edit. I am doing them because. I am told they are calming and serene. Once I have completed the process of making them, I can see that. But I am not making them with that intention.  I don’t make them with the viewer in mind. I am making the Because.

The climate change work I am doing in my two series On the Edge  and Living on the Edge is intended as a chronicle, a way to document what we are doing along the shore. I want to call attention to land use in those places-because so much of it is  absurd,  and destructive, and the beat goes on, as we continue to approve and build structures in flood zones. If I bare witness to this absurdity, and pass along my distaste and distain for the disrespect accorded to that luminal space, I will sleep well at night.

What influences your work? Why?

Music and calligraphy and daily living are what influence me. Music and calligraphy have taught me a lot about graphics, shape and color. I have spent a lot of time living inside of music I love. I can’t explain how I do this, I can only say I enter the music. 

I studied piano as an undergrad, seriously studied it. I was not a good pianist, but I learned a lot about phrasing, shaping and coloring sound and that has been determinant in my work. That knowledge, for me, translates well into a two-dimensional image. Music also teaches me, repeatedly, how to start and how to end a sequence of images that I want to show. 

Studying calligraphy enriched what I learned from music. Good calligraphy demands that graphic and spatial placement work simultaneously – it is very satisfying and a great and demanding task master.  Whenever I go to a concert, I know I am in the right place when my thoughts merge into calligraphy as I listen. 

What does it mean to you to participate in Hera, either as an artist member OR as an exhibiting artist?

I am a member of Hera because the gallery is a community. I also admire the courage to take on shows that would be unlikely in other places. Our shows are varied and challenging. Making work can be isolating, but Hera offers an opportunity to trade ideas and expose one’s self to what other artists are doing. I also like being involved in the nuts and bolts of how work is displayed.

To view Kathie's work visit her website: