exhibition slideshow

Photography by David R. Hanlon
Ceramics by Jim Ibur

On View
January 21 - March 3, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

During two recent summers, photographer David R. Hanlon joined an archaeological team excavating a medieval castle in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Photographing the ruins and its artifacts piqued his interest in discovering more about the older culture associated with this structure, as well as the contemporary urban spaces of the country. Twenty of his Macedonian photographs, which integrate past and present iconography, are on view at PHD Gallery. Complementing the photographic images are ten Macedonian inspired, ceramic vessels created by Jim Ibur. Ibur's work resembles artifacts that might be found in an archeological dig with surfaces and illustrative motifs that are drawn out of natural environments and often reflect specific cultures. The pieces on view meld images of spirals, labyrinths and other bridges with iconic vessel imagery inspired from Mediterranean Amphoras, Middle Eastern minarets and elements of African Architecture. Hanlon and Ibur coordinate the Photography and Ceramics programs respectively at St. Louis Community College-Meramec in St. Louis.

David R. Hanlon is a Missouri native and has been a practicing photographer for 25 years. He is a photographic historian, researcher and writer about early photography and his photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the University of Kentucky Museum of Art, and numerous private collections. Hanlon is presently the coordinator of the Photography Program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and has taught at the college since 1990.

James Ibur is a potter, sculptor, musician, exhibition curator, and educator. Exhibiting nationally and internationally, his work is reminiscent of iconic vessels "rescued" from the sea and lost ships. Ibur received his MFA from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana plus graduate work at UC Davis. Awarded residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada and the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, Ibur is now an Associate Professor at St. Louis Community College - Meramec, where he coordinates the Ceramics Program.

Macedonian Inspirations: Modern Artifacts

The Balkan region of southeastern Europe is a land of hills and fertile valleys that has played an important role in almost every phase of Western civilization. Strong tribal kingdoms created spheres of influence in ancient times, with the Macedonian royal dynasty establishing a huge empire under Alexander in the 4th century BC. The Romans eventually overtook the area, with the subsequent spread of Christianity, Slavic influence and a long period of Ottoman rule leaving remnants and repercussions that can be seen today.

The modern Republic of Macedonia - situated on the northern border of Greece, with Bulgaria to the east and Albania to the west - is at the center of this rich historical heritage. Even in its contemporary cities, elements of the past persist and coexist. Roman, Byzantine and medieval remains can be found throughout the country, with ongoing excavations uncovering even more remnants each year. Monastery churches and religious spaces from the 12th - 14th centuries have been carefully conserved and still serve the needs of local populations.

This exhibition features the work of two St. Louis artists who have found inspiration through historic and contemporary aspects of Macedonia. Symbolic forms play a predominant role in both bodies of work. In David R. Hanlon's photographic studies various uses of visual information are considered, within both historic structures and on the modern street. James Ibur's work was inspired by the long tradition of refined styles and motifs used by Macedonian artists. The continuance of language types (especially religious symbols and representations of identity) understood by people over an extended period can be seen in both bodies of work.

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