Marcella’s statement and bio:
In this body of work, My Rooms, I construct photographs that evoke a place and a persona, introducing and investigating the tension between narrative incompleteness and unfamiliar settings. From underground industrial rooms, to minimalist residences and collage-based fictional “spaces,” the juxtaposition with the figure orients and disorients readings of innocence, turbulence, and thought or mindful purpose. Illumination is mixed and precious. The figure may personify concepts such as wonder and wisdom, or difficult choices and personal struggles.
The rooms are both real and existential spaces—ones that I have passed through physically and psychologically—and as such they may suggest the strength and determination of knowledge and learning, the emotional labor of memories, and the generative role of trust and secrets.
The word camera comes from the Latin word for room. The camera body is an exquisitely dark, empty room, with film or sensors on one wall, and a small opening or aperture on the opposite wall. In this sense, My Rooms is also a meta-reflection on my medium, and a personal meditation on my own becoming. The rooms variously consider my own upbringing, longings, and challenges, including where I’ve been and how I’ve changed, and how I’ve grown as an individual, a partner, a parent, and an artist.
The figures throughout represent different modalities of my lived experience and relationships, just as the rooms conjure an interpretation of being immersed in a place. Like the photograph, with its strange metaphysics that collapses time and space, these images compose meaning through interweaving site and mind.
Marcella Hackbardt is a visual artist, curator, and professor of art and photography at Kenyon College in Ohio. She has given numerous lectures at galleries, universities, and conferences such as the Society for Photographic Educators and the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her essay on photographer Jeff Brouws is included in the book Jeff Brouws: Silent Monoliths, Steidl Press, 2022. Her curatorial project Material Message: Photographs of Fabric will be shown at the Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati, in 2021. Her work has been included in exhibitions at The Girl’s Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, Station Independent Projects in New York, Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Gagosian Gallery in New York and Paris, and at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, Germany.
More of Marcella’s work can be seen on her website: marcellahackbardt.com
Kent Krugh is a fine art photographer living in Cincinnati. kentkrugh.com