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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

“Ancestor Portrait Series” by Donna Hamil Talman

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September 14 – October 29, 2006
Photography Gallery
Fine Arts Center Galleries, University of Rhode Island


Kingston, RI—Ancient, mythical, and contemporary themes unite in an impressive photographic series ongoing since 2002 by Worcester, MA resident Donna Hamil Talman. Using a Holga camera whose plastic lens naturally distorts, she makes manipulated gelatin silver images of ancient vertebrate fossils (dinosaur bones), with toners and selectivebleaching and watercolor. Through these delicate, if labor intensive pictorial effects, the vertebrates, as displayed traditionally in museums, are represented tenderly, abstractly and as unique photographic images. Moreover, the skeletal subjects appear in near embryonic states, intentionally raising questions of birth/death and extinction/transformation.

Talman explains, “Bones are what remain after we die, but…What is ancient reminds me of our deep connection to nature and each other, a bond easily lost in our fast-paced, high tech lives.” The transformed image - resonant of “psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence” – is what the artist cherishes. The artist makes marks on her negatives and other instinctive interventions to convey the omnipresent sense of history and the “I feel it in my bones” intuition that she values most highly.

Hamil Talman has exhibited her work throughout New England. In 2005 she won a Visual Arts Sea Grant from the University of Rhode Island. Other recent grants include a 2006 Kinnicut Award from the Worcester Art Museum and several from the Massachusetts Cultural Commission. The photographer has taught extensively and been active internationally for many years in the alternative photography community.

Gallery Talk by Donna Hamil Talman Thursday, OCTOBER 5, noon
Photography Gallery hours
Tuesday – Friday, noon – 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 4 p.m.

The FINE ARTS CENTER GALLERIES are open to the public without charge
and are handicapped accessible.
The Galleries are closed on federal and local holidays.