Technological anxiety explored in photo exhibit at Penn College in Williamsport Oct. 21-Nov. 23
From a press release:
Large photographs in a rich color palette evoking classic 17th century Dutch still life paintings offer an exploration into modern-day obsessions with technological gadgets in “Tech Vanitas,” on display in The Gallery at Penn College in Williamsport from Thursday, Oct. 21 through Tuesday, Nov. 23.
The solo exhibition of Jeanette May’s beautifully designed images includes a reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, with an artist’s talk at 5:30 p.m. in the gallery on the third floor of the Madigan Library at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.
“Beyond causing viewers to think about the past and questioning what the future will hold, Jeanette May’s large-scale photographs elevate the status of previously mundane objects with their color and sharpness,” said gallery director Penny Griffin Lutz.
“Tech Vanitas” addresses the contemporary tension between the desire for technology and the anxiety surrounding technological obsolescence. In an age filled with devices that make domestic life faster, easier, and more complicated, consumers choose from an astounding array of tech products, and the more consumers yearn to keep current, the more objects are produced, consumed, and discarded. What was once cutting-edge technology soon becomes outdated, embarrassing, collectible, or forgotten.
May’s carefully disheveled compositions of stylish objects allude to historical paintings, product photography, and advertising imagery. The artist aims to honor beautiful design while also stacking products in assemblages meant to stir anxiety in the viewer. Juxtaposing old and new gadgets, her works suggest the passing of time and inspire nostalgia.
May teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York City and lives in Brooklyn. She received her master of fine arts in photography from the California Institute of the Arts and her bachelor of fine arts in painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Illinois Arts Council, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and Ms. Foundation. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including in China, Greece, and Spain.
Works from “Tech Vanitas” were exhibited in the Bryant Park subway station in New York City from January 2020 until May 2021. May’s image series recently won top honors in the professional still life and abstractions category at the 14th annual Julia Margaret Cameron Awards.
“Tech Vanitas” is the second exhibit in The Gallery at Penn College’s 2021-22 season. Serving as an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the community, the gallery is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.
The Gallery at Penn College (1 College Ave., Room 303, Williamsport) is open from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fridays, and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays; it is closed on Saturdays. Prior to visiting, guests should view the college’s continuity of operations page for current guidelines related to the pandemic.
Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public.
The Gallery at Penn College, an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art. Gallery endeavors have been supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Penn College, an affiliate of Penn State, offers more than 100 hands-on applied technology bachelor degree, associate degree, and certificate majors.
The Pennsylvania College of Technology became an affiliate of Pennsylvania State University in 1989 after establishing a national reputation for education supporting workforce development, first as a technical institute and later as a community college.
Today, Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State, committed to applied technology education.
Conveniently located in Williamsport, Penn College attracts the second-highest enrollment in the Penn State system; approximately 6,000 students are enrolled in associate and bachelor degree programs relating to more than 100 different career areas.
In addition, Penn College manages the state’s largest worker training program through its Workforce Development and Continuing Education unit.
The modern Penn College campus offers students hands-on instruction and access to the latest equipment, leading to excellent graduate placement and “degrees that work.”