Suzanne Opton: Soldier

March 21–June 30, 2006
Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
Lecture: Thurs, April 6, 5:30–7pm
Reception: Thurs, April 6, 7pm

Collect Soldier exhibition catalog, Contact Sheet 136

The lecture on April 6, 2006 will be presented by renowned art critic and author, Vicki Goldberg. This lecture is made possible through funding from the Central New York Community Foundation and Syracuse University’s PULSE program.

Light Work is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition Soldier by New York photographer Suzanne Opton. This exhibition takes an unusual and intimate look at soldiers who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The series includes a mixture of black-and-white and color photographs that range in style from timeless studio portraits to intimate close-up views of the heads of the soldiers lying on a flat surface. The exhibition features large-format color photographs of the faces of soldiers, evoking a sense of dreaming but also hinting at the transformative experiences of war. Opton has taken the otherwise loaded idea of soldiers and warfare out of a political context and placed it into a silent dialogue from one human being to the next. She says of the images, “We all experience strategic moments when we feel most alive. These are the moments we will always remember, be they transcendent or horrific. Afterall, what are we if not our collection of memories? In making these portraits of soldiers, I simply wanted to look in the face of someone who’d seen something unforgettable.”

In addition to the exhibition, the artist’s images will appear on five billboards throughout Syracuse, which will extend her exhibition into the community in addition to drawing the community to Light Work through the exhibition and the lecture. The exhibition, related programs, and billboards have been funded by the Central New York Community Foundation, and received additional funding by Syracuse University’s PULSE Program. With this support we are able to invite renowned art critic and author Vicki Goldberg, who will hold a lecture on soldiers and their place in the history of photography on April 6. She also wrote the essay that will be printed in the exhibition catalogue, Contact Sheet 136.

Suzanne Opton’s work has been exhibited internationally, and is featured in the permanent collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris; the Musée de’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She has received grants from the Vermont Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Orion, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and Fortune.

Opton teaches at the International Center of Photography and the Cooper Union. She participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in September 2005.