Summer is the season of superseding. It sees blooming flora and overspilling planters. People come out from indoors to inhabit nature more than in any other season. Summer means life, and life in abundance.
This is the concept that rings true from the photographs of Kate Mahoney and Alexa Foust, both MCAS ’20, in Gallery 203, on Carney’s second floor. The exhibition contains prints from photographs taken by the two twenty-year-old women in Italy, Ireland, England, Scotland, Texas, Philadelphia, and California. Mahoney and Foust curated the exhibition with an eye toward “creating a well-rounded collection of diverse aspects of summer.” Their varied subjects satisfy this vision well.
Entering the room reveals the stark sight of McGuinn, whose concrete facade shows no color but the measure of late summer sunlight. On the west wall left of the door hang four photography vignettes, vivid as if in defiance of the unaesthetic view opposite them. A few themes traverse them, loosely corresponding to their groupings. Humans in miniature punctuate large landscapes and waterscapes. Nature shots with disappearing perspectives show the sheer size of the trees and sky. Photographed hair, hands, and human transport suggest motion. Even in the tableaux with buildings as subjects, located on the north wall, there is a sense of the natural world transgressing into the human one, or maybe the other way around, as flowers pour from truck beds and shoots and stones make city streets in tandem.
The north and south walls each have a collection of photographs in black and white which nevertheless evoke the same animation as their color counterparts. They have more anthropological and political foci. An MBTA carriage sits empty, then fills. People traverse rainy cityscapes and do Polynesian dance. One even holds up an anti-Trump protest sign, and another pictures a march, including a sense of political momentum in the exhibition alongside other forms of movement and life.
At first anomalous, the inclusion of two particular stacked portraits turned out to be a worthwhile choice. A horizontal one shows a girl flipping off the camera, while the vertical one below it shows a hand in lifelike color before a building in black and white.
Carney is a building characterized by hidden life. Rumors circulate about ghosts haunting its hallways, a cogent idea as we enter the month of October. Opposite the gallery stand the print station and a dance studio, both useful creative services even if students do not frequent them. In a similar way, Summer Photographs is a hidden and colorful sanctuary on campus which will persist as we begin the descent into winter weather. The exhibition has no parallels, but instead it widens the emotional range of humans depicted in summer—not just in normal motion, or in awe of nature, but defiant and life-affirming.
Summer Photographs will be on display in Carney 203 until October 31.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff