Innocent Age deals with the idealization of childhood photos vs. the realities of childhood. The idea for this series came from a local news story about a little boy who’d been locked in a closet and starved to death by his family. However, in a school photo, the little boy was flashing the biggest smile I’d ever seen; he looked happy. The childhood photo completely contradicted this little boy’s reality, proving again that a photo isn’t proof of anything.
Since I’ve always doubted the veracity of photos, I wasn’t surprised by this. But it did compel me to create a visual reconsideration of childhood. Included are re-contextualized photos of various children, known and unknown; clothing; toys; photos from the kiddie park; and masks children wear: the mask a child shows a parent for the sake of survival or a mask the parent places on the child by name-calling. These ‘memories’ are divided into roses and grass: happy childhoods and those less joyful.
Stitching Time, the second and newer series in this exhibit, uses pomegranates as a metaphor to explore the other end of the time spectrum: aging.
Kathy Vargas – Biography
Artist/photographer Kathy Vargas has had one person exhibits at Sala Uno in Rome, Galeria Juan Martin in Mexico City, Centro Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a retrospective at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Group shows include Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry a national traveling exhibit commissioned by the Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C., and Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA). She is in the collections of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the Toledo Art Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and the Sprint Collection. She was named 2005 Texas Two-Dimensional Artist of the Year by the Texas Commission on the Arts.