BENNINGTON -- On view in the Regional Artist Gallery of the Bennington Museum is "Circus on Broken Boulevard," a disturbing yet strangely profound and humorous meditation on the loss of innocence and the darker, authoritarian impulses of church, family and corporate media reflected in photographs created by artist Lodiza LePore. This exhibit will be on view through Sept. 16. Until recently, LePore's work was exclusively gelatin silver, hand printed and toned in a traditional darkroom. "I entered the digital arena with great reluctance, but I've begun to form a dialog with it. Nonetheless, all images are created without computer manipulation.
Working with porcelain figurines acquired at flea markets, antique shops and online, LePore assembles these in settings that "confront and cry out against the physical and emotional abuse afflicted upon children and society-at-large by institutions corrupted by power and greed." She purposely incorporates damaged or imperfect figures in her photographs "to reflect the ways in which human interaction often results in damaged people." "All of the scenes come from my own observations and how I see life, and for me the images are an allegory about fascism and the origins of evil and how child abuse leads to fascism," says LePore. "I have tried to analyze the nature of evil and man's destructive nature, the repression, malice, cruelty and misplaced anger that are the source of so much abuse." Recognizing that some people may be shocked by her work, LePore believes it is important to show and reflect what she sees occurring in society. She couches these concerns with elements of humor that lighten the seriousness of her message.
Prior to becoming a photographer, LePore traveled the country from New York State to Arizona and California, not settling in any one place. She finally settled in Vermont where she currently resides. She studied art history and philosophy in the United States and Europe, but it was not until the mid-90s that she took up photography and delved into printing techniques. It was shortly thereafter that she became "obsessed with the art form and spent an obscene number of hours working on developing film and printing images," recalls the artist. "Working with black and white film turned me on to a whole other world and gave me the ability to see things in a way I hadn't viewed them before." LePore is currently pursuing a range of projects including subjects such as fracking, homelessness, abandoned shelter dogs, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Her work is now being created in the digital realm.
About the museum
The Bennington Museum, located at 75 Main St. (Route 9), in The Shires of Southwestern Vermont has a wide-ranging collection of American art, focusing on the arts of Vermont, ranging from 18th-century portraits and decorative arts to Folk Art, Vermont landscape paintings, and 20th-century Modernism. Here visitors encounter the largest public collection of Grandma Moses paintings in the world as well as the largest collection of 19th-century Bennington pottery. In its remaining galleries, the museum presents a 1924 Wasp Touring Car, one of only 20 produced, one of the earliest ‘Stars and Stripes' in existence, artifacts and documents relating to the Battle of Bennington, and much more. On view through September 2 in the Ada Paresky Education Center located on the second floor of the museum is "Tom Fels: Cyanotypes from the Arbor Series." The museum is also presenting "Southwestern Vermont and the Civil War," on view through Oct. 27. Now open are two new permanent galleries: Gilded Age Vermont and Bennington Modernism. Bennington Museum is open every day July through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Children, students 18 or younger, and visitors to the Museum Shop are admitted free. Visit the museum's website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.