Born in 1953 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Stuart Rome received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography at the Arizona State University in 1980. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1985 to assist in the design of a curriculum and facility for a new photography department in the Design Arts College.
Rome is currently a professor of photography at Drexel University. Among his grants and awards are the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant in 1999 and 1992, Research Scholar Award from Drexel University in 1989, Artist-in-Residence at Blue Mt. in 1997 and Artist-in-Residence at Light Work at Syracuse University in 1978.
Mr. Rome has exhibited extensively in the United States including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Modern Art. Recent exhibitions of his work have been hosted by the Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles and Sepia International in New York.
Along with the public collections noted above, Rome’s work has been collected by leading photography collections such as, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yale Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Stuart Rome has published in numerous magazines and books; including “Maya, Treasures of an Ancient Civilization” (Abrams), “Balinese Dance in Transition, Kaja and Kelod” (Oxford University Press), and “Haiti” (Aperture Magazine). His book, Forest was published by Nazraeli Press in the fall of 2005.
[Courtesy of Stuart Rome]
In my most recent work, abstraction uproots subjects in my pictures and releases them from their familiar associations. These images become a form of guided hallucination, suggestive of curious but recognizable patterns that I have encountered in nature. I use real places to draw out connections that are analogous to maps of interior emotional and intellectual states. My intention is to create a bridge between the recognizable world and thoughts or impressions of other possibilities and even impossibilities.
As a photographer, I look for alternative worldviews to the version of materialist culture in which I live. I have used examples found in mythology to unlock hidden worlds, which hold clues to alternatives for our prevailing cultural standard.
In previous work, I photographed in distant places such as Latin America and Indonesia and examined the relationship between people and their environment. I documented ceremonies that revealed the active dialog with nature achieved through trance and possession. This experience provided me with an alternate viewpoint. It allowed me to see the multiplicity of perspectives that might be possible. Through my travels I discovered ways of seeing the natural world as a communicating entity and learned to see the landscape as living pattern.
For me, every process in picture making is a vehicle for considering meaning. The choice of black and white materials simplifies chaotic imagery into a form where a new visual order appears, one that better suggests metaphor. While photographing is a fast and intuitive process, printing is a slow and contemplative one. It allows for thought about the nature of light in a stream of consciousness manner much like my state of mind on a long drive.
"Stunning in the overabundance of natural detail, the images of Stuart Rome present a world of contained secrets and spirits hidden within dense foliage and dancing shadows. A sense of constant movement is often in evidence, and the intricate layering of foreground and background leads the viewer into a surprising game of hide and seek, divining meaning from the suggestion of unseen worlds."--Manuel Schmettau, Sepia International, New York
“I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.”
W.B. Yeats from Before the world was made.
© June 2006 - Stuart Rome - Used with permission
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