Exhibition Archives

Izzy and Places of the Spirit Exhibitions

Exhibitions June 10 - July 23, 2004

Izzy the Frog in Lumina Land

Izzy image
An experiential exhibition by artist Joy Wulke, illuminated by Jamie Burnett of Luminous Environments with accompanying soundscape by Istvan Peter B’Racz, who named Izzy.

The exhibition will open June 10 and continue through July 23, 2004. The museum will host a special reception for the artist to celebrate the concurrent performance of Terrarium: Izzy the Frog in Lumina Land to be held at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

The opening reception will be held
Thursday July 15
5:30 to 7:30pm in the gallery.

The installation of Izzy the Frog in Lumina Land leads viewers/participants through a landscape of reflective ponds of water, light, glass sculptures, bubbling water and a series of illustrated stories. The illuminated text tells of the evolution of our relationship with toads and frogs as symbols of transformation though multicultural myths throughout time and as the species of warning of universal ecological breakdown. Visitors are invited to add to and make their own stories of transformation and ecological enquiry on the scrolls of Izzy Life.

Izzy the Frog in Lumina Land at the Housatonic Museum is intended to reach a broad audience, including those who will be participating in Izzy Frog Festival at the Connecticut Beardsley Zoo on June 27th and a multi media event at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard presenting a full laser show, a symphony of amphibious sound, and an illuminated pond full of frogs on July 16th and 17th. All programs offer educational opportunities about our fragile ecology and a wondrous and unique experience for all ages to become inspired through the artful and scientific frog to take a proactive role in environmental stewardship.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.



Sacred Site photo

Opening Reception
Friday, June 11, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Curated by Mara Miller
with images by Barry Lobdell, Heather MacLeod,
Romaine Orthwein and Shellburne Thurber

=Places of the Spirit is an exhibition of the work of four photographers commissioned by the Lake Placid Institute for the Arts and Humanities during 2001, to visually respond to sacred sites – churches, synagogues, burial grounds, and landscape sites of spirituality – within the Adirondack region in upstate New York.

Photographers Heather MacLeod of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Romaine Orthwein of New York City, Barry Lobdell of Saranac Lake, New York, and Shellburne Thurber of Boston, set off on their own to record and visually represent both the palpable and unseen but “felt” signs of the spirituality of a people in a specific community at a specific time. Each photographer has considerable experience and exhibition history using the visual idiom of documentary photography to expand multiple levels of reading and meaning for structures and sites within the natural landscape.
In the Adirondacks as elsewhere, sacred objects and phenomena are set off from ordinary, everyday life. The architecture and furnishing of churches and synagogues – right down to the materials used to adorn and embellish inside and outside – like the boundary markers of cemeteries, are signifiers for how a particular community views and conducts its daily life and how it wishes to leave that life “behind.”

The Adirondack landscape itself contributed greatly to additional readings of what was “sacred” or truly spiritual. The wilderness for several centuries stood for the sacred – for native American peoples as well as for the people of the State of New York, who in the latter decades of the nineteenth century brought such pressure to bear upon their legislator s that the Adirondack Park was created and thus deemed “sacred.”

And yet the people who settled the land had ambivalence towards this sacred site. As Philip Terrie has written:
….the wilderness condition of the Adirondacks was also a source of hardship, and every family’s goal was to secure a good living by eliminating at least that part of the wilderness around their home and farm….When children attended school or families worshipped in churches where the wilderness had once prevailed, this was, in the minds of Adirondackers, genuine progress.

Genuine progress had helped settlements grow and become more worldly (or profane), and one result has been the refurbishment or abandonment of many of the structures and sites captured in these photographs.

Places of the Spirit has been theorized from the perspectives of architecture, history, and photographic representation, and, always, from within the peculiar, or unique, context of the Adirondack landscape itself. The exhibition attempts to question how faith or the sacred may be invested in a particular site or structure, how it may be represented or indicated in such a space, and how the photograph as a memory of the past may shed light on issues of architecture, cultural history and religion, and photography’s role in representing each. The works in this exhibition offer up some record of the past, of beauty, and of loss; such recording may stimulate reflection, visual awareness, and perhaps even action.

The exhibition, of approximately 40 photographs, has been supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts; it is being curated by Mara Miller, an independent curator with a specialty and exhibition history in the area of landscape representation; and it benefits also from the historical and architectural expertise of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Executive Director Steven Engelhart, who serves as consultant to the project.

The exhibition will open at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Connecticut (June 10 and run through July23, 2004). An opening reception will be held Friday, June 11 from 6-8 pm and the public is cordially invited to attend. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday: 830am -5:30pm and Thursday evening until 7pm. For additional information please call during galley hours.

About the Curator of

MARA MILLER is an independent curator whose projects focus on contemporary landscape photography and painting. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the M.A. program at Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, Miller has curated exhibitions at the Center for Photography at Woodstock (catalogue essay in Photography Quarterly), the Vernicos Center for the Arts in Piraeus, Greece (with catalogue), and the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, as well as at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. She has been a guest curator in residence and Lecturer at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), and at the Parsons School of Art in New York City. Miller has also participated as curator and essayist at Exit Art, New York City, and A Day in May exhibition on a mountain top in Cold Spring, N.Y. She has served as consultant and collection interpreter for the Storm King Sculpture Center, Mountainville, N.Y., and for two years has been curatorial consultant for a private collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century art in New York. She has recently opened a gallery of contemporary art, Miller/Geisler Gallery, in the Chelsea area of New York City.