Laura Larson

August 6, 2014 - August 31, 2014

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype (hand-colored)
3 1/2" x 2 1/4" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype
3 1/2" x 2 3/4" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist: A. Cordiglia
1866
carte de visite
4" x 2 1/2"

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype
3 1/2" x 2 1/2" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype
3 1/2" x 2 1/2" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1880-90
albumen print
9 1/4" x 5"

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype (hand-colored)
5" x 3 1/2" (quarter plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype
3 1/2" x 2 3/8" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype (hand-colored)
5 1/2" x 4 1/4" (quarter plate)

image courtesy of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez, Jr.

artist unknown
c. 1860-80
tintype (hand-colored)
3 1/2" x 2 1/2" (sixth plate)

image courtesy of Laura Larson

artist: Sword, The Leading Artist
1893
cabinet card
6 3/8" x 4 3/16"

image courtesy Laura Larson

artist unknown
date unknown
gelatin silver print
4 5/8" x 3 1/2"

image courtesy Laura Larson

Laura Larson

Hidden Mother

For the exhibition Hidden Mother, artist Laura Larson has curated an extensive collection of nineteenth-century tintypes featuring portraits of children. In each image on display, the mother or caretaker is present, but strategically—if not entirely successfully—concealed from view. Early photographic technology required long exposures for capturing images, which necessitated creative techniques for keeping small children from moving and blurring their portraits. A mother would often remain in the frame as a calming influence, holding her child with a cloth draped over her face or hiding behind props. Sometimes she would stand outside of the image, allowing a single arm to break through the frame to reassure her child. Attempts to remove mothers from view would also take place in post-production, with the use of oval frames or mats centered on the child and blocking the mother. In some instances, the mother’s face could be violently scratched away or painted over on the tintype’s surface. Here, Larson has intentionally presented these small “hidden mother” images in their original, uncropped forms, challenging this erasure of the maternal presence from each frame. She poignantly asks the long-gone photographers, “Why not photograph the mother and child together?”

Laura Larson is a photographer based in Athens, Ohio, where she teaches photography in the School of Art at Ohio University. She earned a BA in English from Oberlin College and an MFA in Visual Art from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Larson has exhibited her work in national and international museums and galleries, including Art in General, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, SFCamerawork, Susanne Vielmetter/L.A. Projects, and Wexner Center for the Arts. She has published artist projects in Cabinet, Documents, Open City, and The Literary Review, and she has received grants from Art Matters, Inc., and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as residency fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Ucross Foundation. Larson’s work is represented by Lennon, Weinberg Gallery in New York City, where her retrospective, Laura Larson: Photographs 1996-2012, is currently on view through September 13, 2014.