Photographer Shellburne Thurber’s upcoming exhibition at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, which will run from March 19th through April 23rd, features images of the interior of a house in Boston’s South End. Located at 9 Wellington Street, it belonged to a friend of the artist until recently, when he was forced to move out due to his age. Thurber’s previous subjects have included abandoned, Southern homes, the Boston Athenaeum, and more recently, psychoanalysts’ offices.
Thurber will transform the gallery space using not only her photos, which she plans to adhere on the walls, like murals or wallpaper, but also architectural elements and objects from the house. Gallery director Andrew Witkin describes the project: “It’s not documenting the house; it is a translation of what’s there, through her lens and letting that conversation begin the interaction that can occur with the viewer and accompanying works.”
The photographs that will cover the walls are dense images, filled with the owner’s personal belongings. They feature an array of antique furniture, a large collection of books, numerous sculptures and ceramics, and other paraphernalia. The adult furnishings are mixed in with more juvenile objects such as action hero figurines, plastic dinosaurs, and Mardi Gras beads.
These remnants of a childhood long gone, as well as the dead plants and the thick layer of dust, which coats most of the furniture in the photographs, are reminders of the inevitability of the passage of time. Witkin states, “There really is a strong humanist poetry of the juxtapositions of objects and images within the photographs, and hopefully, she is able to continue/balance/question/explore that through the juxtaposition and overlay of the various images, along with objects from the house, itself, which will also be in the exhibition.”
This is Shellburne Thurber’s first solo exhibit at the Barbara Krakow Gallery. She began taking photographs around the age of nineteen and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tufts University. In 1983, Thurber completed a graduate program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she was awarded the Albert H. Whitin Travelling Fellowship. She has since gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, one of those being the Alpert/UCross Residency Prize, Alpert Award in the Arts in January of 2005. She has exhibited her work in museums and galleries throughout the United States, as well as in Tokyo, London, Vienna, and Brussels. Her photographs are part of public collections across New England, in addition to the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville, Kentucky and McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.