“Being There” with Mark Sawrie

Caitlin Harrison
Registrar Intern

This past November saw the opening of a new photography exhibit, Being There, curated by associate professor of art, Mark Sawrie. The exhibit is a collection of Sawrie’s personal selections from the museum’s collection to inspire viewers to interpret a wide variety of photographs in new and exciting way. Professor Sawrie gave a tour of his exhibit to patrons wanting to hear his reasons behind his chosen photos.

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Professor Mark Sawrie (right) discussing a photo with a visitor

The tour opened with an explanation of the overall theme of the exhibit. Sawrie simply chose photos of places he would like to be, whether it be a historic event, an inviting environment, or a place in nature. The overall feel of the exhibit is a romantic one. Not romantic in a first date sort of way, as Sawrie was sure to point out, but in more of a pleasant, peaceful sense.

Many of the pieces were chosen for display because the artist or a specific photograph was inspiration for Sawrie as he began his career. A photograph by Ralph Eugene Meatyard, arguably the best-known artist included in the exhibit, was included because Sawrie wanted to do similar photography as a child.

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Photography by Eugene Meatyard

As the tour continued on, it was revealed that many of the photographs are slow reads. According to Sawrie, many of the included pieces are photographs Capture“that you have to spend some time looking at… you’re rewarded the more you look.” As the group moved around the room discussing the art, it became clear that much of the exhibition includes pieces with many small details or layers of details. One photograph appears to be of an iceberg floating in the cold dark water, but is actually a pile of road salt on asphalt. Surprising details such as this are present in many of the exhibited photographs.

Students are encouraged to visit Being There, before it closes on December 23,  and challenge themselves to interpret the exhibition for themselves.

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