Portrait Photography, Digital Media Highlight Latest Lawrence University Art Center Exhibition

Chicago photographer Liese Ricketts delivers the opening lecture Friday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. for the latest exhibition at Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center galleries. A reception with the artist follows the address.

The exhibition, which runs through March 7, features Ricketts photography in the Leech and Hoffmaster Galleries and “The Theory of the Meat Machine,” a collection of digital prints by Gina Rymarcsuk, in the Kohler Gallery.


With an artists’ affection for the human face, Ricketts specializes in photography that documents an individual’s sense of identity and place. Inspired by 19th-century itinerant photographers who roamed the countryside, setting up portable photo studios to make images of local residents, Ricketts has made similar trips to Peru. In her portraits, she allows her subjects to decide how they present themselves, photographing them with pets, objects associated with their trade or dressed in a favorite article of clothing.

The Ricketts’ exhibition also features a story based on a box of old glass plate negatives documenting a pair of dogs that she found. Her story includes characters based on photo theorists Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes and American essayist Susan Sontag.

Ricketts, who earned an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has taught photography for more than 30 years, including at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools since 1988.

Rymarcsuk, also a photographer, works with digital media, specializing in the way artists deal with the evolving intersection of technology and nature. Her “Theory of the Meat Machine” is a lengthy and elaborate narrative created by combining images of the human body with machine parts. She borrowed from surrealist artist Max Ernst’s pseudo alchemical and metaphysical ideas about nature, creating a series of linearly mounted digital prints, each of which acts as the page of an elaborate book.

“The Theory of the Meat Machine” earned Rymarcsuk “Best of Show” honors at the 2009 Southeastern Aviation Art Exhibition, Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Ala. An assistant professor of photography at UW-Milwaukee, Rymarcsuk holds a M.F.A. in photography from the University of Washington.

Wriston Art Center hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays.