Skillman Library, Simon Room and First Floor
January 24 – March 11, 2011

Cover image: Love and Marriage by Nava Atlas, 2008.

Cover image: Love and Marriage by Nava Atlas, 2008.

Spilling out of the Simon Room onto the Library’s main floor is In Retrospect, an exhibit of vibrant artists’ books and other works on paper by three accomplished artists—Maureen Cummins, Ann Lovett, and Nava Atlas.

At first glimpse, it may be hard to find common threads among the vintage comic books, modern photographs, and old documents that appear in these works. However, all three artists use elements from the past as a way to make sense of contemporary culture. By rearranging and combining historical images, text, and ephemera with new material, they create provocative new works that challenge assumptions about race, gender, and memory.

The work of Maureen Cummins is inspired by old letters, documents, and photographs that she collects from flea markets. She creates quilts, photo albums, and ledgers that deal with wrenching subjects (slavery, insanity, torture), subverting the traditional values and gentility usually embodied in these ordinary objects.

Ann Lovett draws source material from historical archives and museum collections, as well as from her original photography. Her work explores individual and collective memory, the culture of memorials, and institutional control of sites of war, trauma, and loss.

Nava Atlas collects everyday ephemera—pinup photos, advice columns, vintage food images, old comic books—and arranges them in ironic juxtapositions that question traditional assumptions about gender.