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Photographer Cathy Cone gives online talk

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Vermont-based artist Cathy Cone, whose work is on view in the exhibition “Portals and Portraits” at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) through June 11, will take part in an online conversation with BMAC Director of Exhibitions Sarah Freeman on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. The conversation will focus on Cone’s photographic practice, including her integration of multiple photographic and drawing media and techniques in her work. The event is free and will take place via Zoom and Facebook Live. Attendees can register online at brattleboromuseum.org.

Cone’s artistic practice explores the vulnerability of memory and feelings of nostalgia. To create her painted portraits, Cone photographs or scans tintypes from her personal collection and modifies the reproduced images using gouache, watercolor, collage, stamping, and drawing. Her photogravures, also on view in the BMAC exhibition, similarly include layers of imagery that simultaneously reveal and hide their subjects.

In an essay accompanying the BMAC exhibition, Cone describes her process: “I begin by discovering an image. The image emerges and appears as a rather strange surprise. This surprise is the charge that I take back into my studio as ‘something’ found to translate.”

Reflecting on Cone’s abstracted portraits, Freeman writes, “This push and pull between visibility and obscurity calls into question the very purpose of a portrait and invites us to consider the process of knowing and understanding ourselves and each other.”

In their conversation on May 11, Cone and Freeman will delve deeper into Cone’s interest in the human face. Through her focus on the face, Cone explores its psychological importance in human interactions and interconnections.

Cone’s surrealist approach to photography began in the late 1970s with the introduction of the “Diana” camera. This led to her investigation of experimental techniques and a multidisciplinary approach to her poetic image-making. Cone received her training at Ohio University and the Vermont Studio Center. She received her M.F.A. at Maine Media College. Her work has been exhibited at various institutions, including the Weisman Art Museum, DeCordova Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, and Vermont Center for Photography. Cone is currently creative director of the Workshops and Studio at Cone Editions Press, a collaborative printmaking studio co-founded by Cone and her husband, master printer Jon Cone, in Port Chester, New York in 1980 and now located in East Topsham, Vermont.

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday–Sunday, 10–4. Admission is free. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.

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