Foley Gallery is pleased to announce Bears, an exhibition of photographs by New York-based artist Kent Rogowski.
In this body of work Rogowski presents a delicate and sensational series of teddy bear portraits. The bears appear different than ordinary stuffed animals. They have been turned inside out, re-stuffed and sewn back together, transforming them, creating entirely new creatures. The result of this enabled metamorphosis is a new kind of bear, sometimes grotesque or pathetic but often rather endearing. These new emblems no longer sustain the perfect image of childhood, but break apart this image into a complex picture of youth and development.
Photographed on a stark white background, the bears are removed from any relevant or meaningful context. They are placed in an environment where they appear as specimens to be studied, separate from any memories a viewer may associate from their own teddy bear experience. The neutral setting emphasizes comparisons between the bears. The revelations of the bears’ innards are strong analogies of how people may differ from the inside out.
Rogowski’s interpretation of this childhood staple raises questions about childhood security. A stuffed animal’s pleasant and cuddly outward appearance may mask or misrepresent what is happening inside. More literally, a happy outside may be hiding the inner drama of a child. This symbol of childhood comfort has, by way of Rogowski’s process, been altered and skewed.
Kent Rogowski received his MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. He has received many awards, including the Center Award from the Center of Photographic Art, and was selected as a finalist for the Calumet/Friends of Photography Emerging Artist Award and the Nerve.com.