Hicks Art Center Gallery Presents ‘River Town Portraits 1973 – 1983’
Collection of photographs by Bruce Katsiff depicts the people who lived in hamlets along the Delaware River
Bucks County Community College, whose Hicks Art Center Gallery has been bringing renowned artists to the region for more than 50 years, proudly presents “Bruce Katsiff: River Town Portraits 1973 – 1983” through March 9.
The show features 33 photographs by Katsiff, whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
“When Bruce Katsiff moved from New York City to Lumberville, Pa. in 1968 to join the faculty at Bucks County Community College, he became part of a long history of artists who had found inspiration in the towns along the Delaware River,” writes guest curator Liz K. Sheehan. “For Katsiff, however, it was the people – not the landscape – that captured his attention. In what he later described as a ‘small Rip-van-Winkle town…an anachronism rich with subject matter,’ Katsiff began to make portraits of his neighbors as a means to connect with his new community.”
Katsiff set out with his large-format camera in 1973 to get to know the denizens of those river towns, including Lumberville and Point Pleasant. These carefully composed photographs reveal the intimate character of village life, and remain powerful today for their balance of emotion and technical precision.
“What surprises me when I return to explore earlier work is my changing judgements about which images are the most interesting and which prints best present the negative under consideration,” Katsiff noted in his artist’s statement. “The greatest pleasure in exploring old negatives is the ability to return to an earlier time in one’s life and to relive a period of one’s youth through visual memories.”
Born in Philadelphia where he attended Central High School, Katsiff went on to study photography at Rochester Institute of Technology and completed graduate work at Pratt Institute in New York City, earning BFA and MFA degrees. He attended postgraduate studies at Oxford University. For 25 years he taught photography at Bucks County Community College, where he also served as Arts Department Chair. From 1989-2012, he served as Director and CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. Katsiff now lives in Philadelphia with his wife Jo.
The exhibition coincides witha new monograph with essays by curator Liz K. Sheehan, Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy, and an appreciation by Jo Katsiff, the artist’s wife.
The Hicks Art Center Gallery is located at Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940, where there is ample free parking. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.bucks.edu/gallery or call 215-968-8425.
Bucks County Community College receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.