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April 21, 2014   
Posted: January 9, 2008
'Bears' exhibit at CCU asks question: cuddly or macabre?

  Kent Rogowski, “Bear 40,”photograph, c-print, 16” x 20” , 2007.  
An exhibition of color photographs from the book "Bears" by Kent Rogowski opens in the Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery at Coastal Carolina University on Thursday, Jan. 24 with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The reception and exhibit, which continues through Feb. 29, are free and open to the public.

"'Bears' is a series of portraits of the most unusual sort: ordinary teddy bears that have been turned inside out and re-stuffed," says artist Rogowski. "Each animal's appearance is determined by the necessities of the manufacturing process. Simple patterns and devices never meant to be seen are now prominent physical characteristics, giving each one a distinctly quirky personality: their fasteners become eyes, their seams become scars, and their stuffing creeps out in the most unexpected places. Together these images form a topology of strange yet oddly familiar creatures. They are at once hideous yet cuddly, disturbing yet endearing, absurd yet adorable, while offering a metaphor for us all to consider... It is by virtue of revealing their inner core might we better understand our own."

The book "Bears" was published by Powerhouse Books/Miss Rosen Editions in 2007. New York-based artist Rogowski has received numerous awards, including the Center Award from the Center of Photographic Art, and was selected as finalist for the Calumet/Friends of Photography Emerging Artist Award and the Nerve.com Emerging Artist Award.

He also produced a feature length documentary film on drug trafficking and immigration called "Al Otro Lado." It premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival in 2005 and made its theatrical premiere at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2006. It was also broadcast nationwide on PBS's "P.O.V." in 2006, and will be included in the film program of the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

Bryan Gallery programs are supported in part by the Coastal Educational Foundation, the South Carolina Arts Commission, The Friends of Bryan Gallery and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership. All programs are free and open to the public.

The gallery is located in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Daily hours Monday through Friday are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact gallery director Cynthia Farnell at 234-3466 or cfarnell@coastal.edu. The gallery Web site is http://www.coastal.edu/bryanartgallery.

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