PRESS RELEASE: Bill McDowell in the BCA Center 2nd Floor Gallery in Burlington

Burlington City Arts is pleased to announce a new contemporary exhibition at the BCA Center (formerly the Firehouse Gallery) on Church Street entitled Ashes in the Night Sky, featuring work by Vermont artist and UVM Professor Bill McDowell. The exhibition opens on Friday, April 1st, with an artist talk and reception from 5-8pm, and runs through June 18th, 2011.

Bill McDowell’s poetic exhibition, Ashes in the Night Sky explores notions of loss and transcendence through large-scale black and white photography. McDowell writes, “This work is a meditation on my father’s passing, but also an exploration of the interconnectivity of life on Earth and in the Universe.” McDowell drops the ashes on the glass of a flatbed scanner, often seeking to replicate specific celestial bodies using astronomical photography as reference. In detailing certain bone fragments, his photographic process connects the astronomical imagery to the archeological examination of ash and mineral and echoes the universal connectivity of matter.

In a statement from the artist’s website, McDowell states “In the beginning, this project was driven by the desire to make images in the shadow of my father’s death. I wanted to take creative advantage of the emotional jolt his absence caused. As that grief subsided, however, the acknowledgement of my own aging and inevitable death maintained my interest in the confluence of ashes and sky.”

McDowell, who lives in Vermont, is the Chair of the University of Vermont Department of Art and Art History. He received an M.F.A. in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His photographic works have been exhibited in Vermont, New York, Texas and elsewhere, and his work is part of the permanent collections at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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