“PAINT BY NUMBERS” Exhibition

PLEASE JOIN ME at the OPENING RECEPTION 
Thursday, September 8 2016,  6:00 – 8:00 PM

PAINT BY NUMBERS
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West Fourth St, New York NY
September 8, 2016- June 30, 2017

Numbers are integral to Jewish rituals, belief, significant historical dates, and daily life. Numbers and numerology have been at the core of Biblical understanding since the Bible was codified and possibly before. Inescapable, numbers are the global language of humanity. More than fifty contemporary artists illuminate the meaning of numbers and their symbolism through a broad range of artistic media.

JM and Faith _01.20.16

“Two Generations x Seven Emotions”

Dimensions: 13.25H x 17.5W inches
Framed: 20H x 24W inches
Year Completed: 2016
Medium: Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

I photographed my friends, Joanmarie and Faith, as they were teaching themselves to wrap their arms with the tefillin seven times. It is the mother’s hand that is the foundation for her daughter as they learn to follow the commandment to bind oneself to a higher power and channel the divine energies of the seven emotions.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.  Teach these words to your children. Recite them at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise up. Bind them on your arm and on your head and inscribe them on the door-posts of your house.

Ukraine_August.08_Medzhybizh

“Eternal Flame of the Shin”
Medzhybizh, Ukraine c.1800

Dimensions: 12H x 18W inches
Framed 18H x 24W inches
Year Completed: 2008
Medium: Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

“Eternal Flame of the Shin,” was photographed in the cemetery near the ohel protecting the Baal Shem Tov’s tomb. Outstretched hands, joined in a gesture of blessing, were symbolically carved onto the headstones of Kohanim, descendants of the Biblical priests.

In Medzhybizh, the birth place of Hassidism and the Baal Shem Tov, I found the ritualistic gesture in the whitewashed hands inviting me to dig deeper into its meaning.

The four fingers on each hand are customarily split into two sets of two fingers each,  forming the letter Shin (שׁ), the 21st letter in the Hebrew alphabet that also designates Shaddai, the Almighty Creator.

The four stones poignantly placed on top of the gravestone serve to commemorate the life and enduring presence of the deceased. This image depicts my own mitzvot, uniting past and present, and the love and respect I have for learning from my ancestors.

Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm,  Friday, 9am-3pm 

2015 FALL to WINTER – 3 Exhibitions

PLEASE JOIN ME at the
OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015,  5:30 – 7:30 PM
EVIL: A MATTER OF INTENT
Hebrew Union College –JIR Museum
One West Fourth St, New York NY
September 1, 2015- June 30, 2016

My Femme Fatale Portfolio has its roots in the shadows and violence depicted on pulp fiction book covers and film noir movie posters. At the core of these stories is an edgy morality tale. ‘Bad girl’ characters live in a place and time where good is not always rewarded or evil inevitably punished. Central to this story is the predatory femme fatale, sometimes portrayed as a character that is not all bad.

Within the mysterious mise-en-scène, gender performance artist, Fred Koenig, appropriates the dark haired, noir-heroine dripping in furs and jewels as a character of multiple and hidden  identities. For SIN STREET (2013), the inner surface and the outer show are as interchangeable as the intimately linked masculine and feminine roles.  Sex is the femme fatale’s  weapon. She uses her attractiveness to manipulate the male protagonist. Better not to be too pretty, too aggressive or too sexual or you might be killed as the film noir heroine usually dies. The warning is well learned by generations of young girls.  The film noir moral lesson is that we are all connected; that the lure of transgression makes us closer than we think.

The exhibition EVIL: A  MATTER OF INTENT addresses the faces of inhumanity and explores the struggle between the acts of evil, (yetzer hara) and the acts of good (yetzer hatov).

“The artists in this exhibition as do many of us, have a vision of how to proceed. Less rhetoric. More action. It is up to each and every one of us to wage war on evil.” Laura Kruger, Curator

Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm,  Friday, 9am-3pm,  Select Saturdays, 10am-2pm (call for Saturday openings)
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PLEASE JOIN ME at the Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29th, 2015,  7-9 PM

ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE: What’s All the Fuss? This exhibition examines the work of artists who investigate the controversial subjects that spark public discussions today.

Pierro Gallery of South Orange
5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ
October 29 – November 25th 2015
ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE – Panel Discussion 
Thursday Oct 22 2015, 7pm, Montclair Art Museum –  to discuss the issues and concerns that arise in the creation of public art installations and how they engage communities in dialogue.

From the earliest days of my career in art and photography I have photographed strong and defiant people who bravely break taboos and re-define their cultural and sexual representation. Many of my images embrace the fluidity of gender identity and explore the possibility that we each hold a myriad of alternative selves within us.

SACRED CORSET (1997)
In the eighteen years that I have been photographing the French performance artist, Fred Koenig, we have collaborated on producing images that explore a gender-fluid queer identity. My HE/SHE Portfolio reveals the spectrum of Fred’s transformations into self-affirming portraits of his myriad personas and alternative selves.

For SACRED CORSET, Koenig dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. Here is a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the ambiguity and fluidity of his sexuality.

Fred_Dean_Sept_Paris_2013

AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER (2013)

Dean, the photojournalist and visual artist depicted in the portrait, AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER,  self-identifies with the pronoun “they,” and says: “There is nothing more courageous than being yourself in a world that tries to render you invisible in mundane and violent ways.” 

 
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VISAURAL 
NAVE Gallery Annex
53 Chester St., Somerville, MA 02144
October 8th – 31st 2015

Essex County State Penitentiary, North Caldwell, New Jersey

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN
Pigment print on aluminum with hand-filed edges, 12 x 18 inches

I photographed the graffiti drawing, WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN, on a cell wall of the Women’s Wing at the abandoned Essex County State Penitentiary, in North Caldwell, NJ. Both the text and the inmate’s haunting, hand-drawn portrait poignantly illustrate one of the fundamental questions we ask about life.

For the exhibition, VISAURAL, I paired it with “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen and performed here by K.D. Lang, because the prayer-like music affirms a faith in life and love amidst doubts. Cohen has said the iconic song represents “absolute surrender in a situation you cannot fix or dominate.”

Alone, within the steel bars of her cage-like cell, I can imagine the figure in the drawing listening to the repeated one-word chorus coming through the open ceiling above her.  According to the song, even those of us for whom “it all went wrong” can experience transcendence. As Cohen writes: we “stand before the Lord of Song/ with nothing on [our] lips but a cold and broken Hallelujah.”

http://www.trixrosen.com/divine-light/Hallelujah.html

 

Breaking Through Tradition

“Photographer Trix Rosen’s work about gender ambiguity empowers the viewer to question conventional definitions of beauty and remind us it is more important to define our own personal beauty rather than being defined by others.”
Maureen Harrison and Alexsandra Simakowicz, Curators, BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION

BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION
April 3 – May 3, 2014
Opening Reception: April 3 2014, 7pm-9pm
Pierro Gallery, Baird Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079

Please join me at the Pierro Gallery in South Orange NJ for BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION, a group show celebrating the American cultural transition towards inclusivity.

The Sea Change

My HE-SHE portfolio presents an ongoing series of portraits documenting my seventeen-year collaboration with French artist, Fred Koenig, who unselfconsciously dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. Observe him in ‘The Sea Change’ and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the ambiguity of his sexuality.

‘Ravaged,’ presents Fred within the decaying landscape of a New Jersey historic farmhouse. Perhaps this intimate pose and an abandoned structure lay bare a similar beauty and vulnerability.

Fred_Koenig_09.07.12

Fred and I collaborate not just in our art, but in our political activism. Talking about his HIV/AIDS status, Fred told me that it is part of what he shows me by exposing his soul to my camera.

‘Changed Landscapes’ also reveals a figure who has dared me to look deeper because she wasn’t afraid.  Here is a woman who bravely explores the physical and emotional contours of her new form after a double mastectomy.

5.1.2

This portrait can be viewed as a narrative about her life and as a defining moment of transfiguring change. Bald, breast-less and scarred, she is fearless and beautiful, essentially and eternally female.

These images record biographical moments, measured not as isolated fragments of time, but revealing the narrative arc of both Fred and Takami’s life. They are capturing the past, recording the present and projecting into the future. How courageous and optimistic to look inward and become stronger through the experience.

I hope to see you at opening of BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION on April 3, 7pm-9pm
Pierro Gallery, Baird Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079

Celebrating January 2014 & Art Connections 10 Exhibition!

Opening Reception: Sunday, January 26, 2014, 2:00-5:00 pm
Montclair State University – George Segal Gallery, Montclair NJ 07043

I can thank my parents for January being the month of my birth, and Curator, Marilyn Symmes, for choosing two of my images, Peeling Back the Layers and Endangered Oakley Stoll House  to be in  ‘ART Connections 10’ at the George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University in NJ. This marks the first exhibition that represents my gender fine art photography along with my architectural series of endangered houses. Both images record historical moments, measured not as isolated fragments of time, but as tangible and intangible exposures, revealing the narrative arc of my subject’s life/capturing past, recording present and projecting into the future.

Peeling Back the Layers

Peeling Back the Layers. Montague NJ, 2012, 27H x 18W inches,
Framed 31H x 23W inches,  Fine Art Digital Inkjet Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

Endangered Oakley Stoll House

Endangered Oakley Stoll House. Walpack Twp. NJ, 2012, 27H x 18W inches,
Framed 31H x 23W inches,  Fine Art Digital Inkjet Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

For Peeling Back the Layers, gender performance artist, Fred Koenig, clad only in panties, stockings and high heels, is framed by the antique peeling wallpaper and decaying wood molding of the historic Hornbeck/Roberts House in Montague NJ. Owned by the National Park Service, this eighteenth century farmhouse along with the Endangered Oakley Stoll House are located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These historically important houses are now sadly vandalized and trashed.

Whether I shoot a portrait or an endangered architectural site, what haunts me is finding the essence of the visible and invisible timeline. I look for the quintessential moment that can be revealed in the stillness of a decaying wall or in the expression of gender duality. Perhaps both Fred’s openly exposed gesture and these two endangered houses lay bare a beautiful and similar vulnerability.

ART Connections 10
Montclair State University – George Segal Gallery
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043
Gallery Hours: T, W, F, Sat 10:00 – 5:00 pm & Thurs 12:30 – 7:30 pm
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 26, 2014, 2:00-500 pm
Exhibition Dates: January 26- February 22 2014

Early Works

Autumn has become a time for reminiscence. Two of my older art works that have captured profound biographical moments are in exhibitions on the East and West Coasts.

‘CHILDHOOD MEMORIES’ opened on October 19 at the historic Mills Pond House Gallery in St James, New York. ‘Thoughtful Eyes, Fanciful Dreams’ is based on a 1979 iconic photograph of my niece, Jaimie, when she was six-years-old and staying overnight at my NYC studio. Jaimie, her sister Lani and their brother Scott, spent many weekends with me in my downtown loft as they were growing up.

‘Thoughtful Eyes, Fanciful Dreams’ records a moment, measured not as an isolated fragment of time, but suggesting the narrative arc of childhood/ capturing past, recording present and projecting into the future. Jaimie, cocoon-wrapped in a feathered cape, appears like a chrysalis emerging in the moment of becoming. Her wide-eye gaze draws the viewer into the enigma of childhood dreams.
5.1.2

The presentation of the printed image on cotton voile adds to the fluidity of the work. It can appear as a tangible portrait of a young girl, or depending on where one is standing in relationship to the piece, the image can become intangible, and disappear into the back light. ‘Thoughtful Eyes, Fanciful Dreams’ reflects not just the fleetingness of memory, but the evanescence of childhood itself.
Scootphoto_Trix

My brother, Al and his children, Sean and Amanda came to the reception. The Rosen Clan also included my brother, Michael, his wife Roberta and my nephew Scott with his wife, Laura, and their baby Nico, attending his first art exhibition.

Thoughtful Eyes, Fanciful Dreams_Art Opening.Reception.10.19.13

My second art work, ‘Syd and Jacki at Summer Camp’ was included in the exhibition, ‘EARLY WORKS’ at the RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco, California that  opened on October 17th. The entire gallery of early photos can be viewed online .

This photograph dates back to 1961 when I was 14-years old at Cejwin, a summer camp in Port Jervis, New York. EARLY WORKS’ is an exhibition that examines the naive imagery made by contemporary photographers when they were children.

Syd and Jackie-V3

The curators asked for “early images that often reveal surprising talent, visual intuition, and honesty. Kept for many decades in shoeboxes and faded albums, the images are often cherished belongings that play a key role in defining the self as artist. This exhibition,” they said “will be a close look at photographers’ earliest works, paired with personal narratives about the images and their role in each photographers’ development as an artist.”

The photograph of Syd and Jacki, my two best friends that summer, was taken with a plastic Brownie Starmite camera. I had been in the same bunk with these girls for five summers. I was lucky to have had a camera, and took pictures of my bunk mates during our days and nights together. This was the summer when I began to realize that while some of them were showing a big interest in boys, I was thinking more about girls. I was also very serious about my drawing and dreamed about living in NYC and becoming an ‘artist.’

In the photo ‘Syd and Jacki,’ I can see how aware I was of Syd’s gesture in her body language as she is lying down and looking at me, and how I also captured Jacki in the background obliviously looking into a mirror and doing her hair. This picture depicts a naïve eroticism and reveals what was both hidden and suggestive in our first bloom of teenage sexuality. I also remember how much I didn’t understand about myself and what I was feeling, other than I seemed different than the other girls in my interests and desires.

This picture reminds me how scary it was to not have the support of family and friends, or the vocabulary to be able to speak the words that became one of the defining elements of my life, my fine-art photography and my future career as a socially concerned photo-journalist.

On the night ‘EARLY WORKS’ opened, I decided to try to locate the girls in this cherished photograph. Thanks to FB, I found Syd within 30 minutes and we were soon excitedly chatting and recollecting our adventures as old friends do. In the next week, Sydell located Jacki and the rest of our 1961 summer bunkmates. We are planning a reunion in NYC.

So, find some of your own old photographic images and perhaps rediscover what they mean to you now!

A Kalinga Journey Through Time

I am very excited to share my project A Kalinga Journey Through Time with you.

In 1986 I was a freelance photojournalist living in the northern Philippines. An invitation by an indigenous Filipina from the Kalinga tribe to visit her village, nestled deep within the hand-carved rice terraces of the Cordillera Mountains, brought me into an isolated landscape that appeared to be untouched by modern times. Fascinated by the images of an ancient people beginning the process of a contemporary metamorphosis, I returned many times over 25 years to visit my friends, and to photograph their rapidly changing historic landscape.

I’m sharing this project with you because I’m hoping you might be interested in supporting the completion of this historic work. I’m aiming to raise $8,900 by mid-February 2013.

With support from this funding I would return to the Philippines for six weeks in March 2013. I’d bring with me earlier photographs that would be used as points of departure to trigger memories among the family members, photograph portraits and conduct video interviews and, with the guidance of the local population, would document the rapidly perishing vernacular architecture as I also record the newer buildings. After returning home, I would apply your support to cataloging the documentation, printing photographs, digitizing older film and editing my video recording. I would also be arranging for future lectures, exhibitions and a book project, A Kalinga Journey Through Time, that would aim to preserve the material I have collected. Photographing the changes that have impacted this community will also reveal much about how a tribal society evolves into the 21st century.

If you can support this project with a donation, in any capacity, together we can make this idea a reality! Sharing the project with others and sending me your thoughts are also very valuable ways to show your support.

Want to learn more? Click here:
http://www.usaprojects.org/project/a_kalinga_journey_through_time

About USA Projects:
Founded by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Prudential Foundations, United States Artists has supported the work of individual artists since 2005. Donating through USA’s micro-philanthropy initiative, USA Projects, supports the work of accomplished artists all across America and is tax deductible.

The Sexuality Spectrum

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I am very proud to have two of my fine art photography projects included in the groundbreaking exhibition The Sexuality Spectrum at the Hebrew Union College –  JIR Museum in New York City.

Opening Reception:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm ∙ Program at 6:30 pm
RSVP & Photo ID Required: hucjirmuseum@huc.edu or 212-824-2298

FAUST’S STUDY                                 
1997, Edition 3/9
Archival Pigment Print
13.3 inches x 16 inches
Framed  24.5  x 26.5 inches

Enter into Faust’s Study, a trompe l’oeil painted room, and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. His starkly lit, painted face and figure emerging from the shadows are a tantalizing contrast to the painted Adam and Eve on the rear wall. Faust’s Study directs the viewer’s attention to the relationship between the interior details and the subject, suggesting a narrative in which the gender performance artist, Frédéric Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desire. Faust’s Study, like much of my gender imagery, blurs the traditional definitions of maleness and femaleness.

WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS #2,
2012, 36 inches x 26 inches,
Archival Pigment Print spot mounted on black plexiglass

ABOMINATION: WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS 18:22 is my first artistic collaboration with Susan Kaplow.  Our installation explores the damage done by this biblical passage (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination”) and its homophobic legacy.  The first to wrestle with the meaning of this verse were the early Rabbis and so the chosen text here is the Talmud page where their commentary is recorded.

Because this abhorrence of her lesbian sexuality made Susan feel “dead,” she had the Talmud text printed on fabric like that used in the traditional Jewish burial ritual and then hand-sewed it into shrouds (tachrichim).  Susan asked me if I would photograph her in these shrouds and, together, we began the process of exploring the physical and emotional dynamics of being enclosed in the garments.  We came to realize that the images represented our own commentary on the text, reflecting the impact on those who suffer this curse.  Through the constitutive role of photography, we transformed and transcended the pain, ultimately retiring the shrouds to a geniza, in which sacred texts and objects which have outlived their ritual use are placed.

The Sexuality Spectrum is a groundbreaking exploration of diverse sexual orientations through the creativity of fifty international contemporary artists. The exhibition explores a broad range of subjects, including the evolving social and religious attitudes toward sexuality; issues of alienation, marginalization, and inclusion; the impact on the family, child-rearing, and life stages; violence and persecution; AIDS/HIV; and the influence of the LGBTQI community on the Jewish and larger world. This exhibition exemplifies the spirit of the College-Institute’s and the Reform Movement’s commitment to free and open inquiry, inclusivity and outreach, and advocacy on behalf of human rights and the eradication of sexual discrimination.

September 6, 2012 – June 28, 2013
Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West Fourth Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York, NY 10012-1186
Curator: Laura Kruger

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