“Weir Was Here – Secret Rooms, Doors and Windows” will be on exhibit at Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library, Auditorium Gallery, Level 1, North Campus Drive, in Provo, Utah, from November 1, 2012, to January 23, 2013. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
This solo exhibit, by New York artist Xiomáro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”), features photographs from the first artistic collection documenting the beauty and textures of the interiors of Julian Alden Weir’s house and studio. Weir was one of the founders of American Impressionism, and his house and studio are part of what is now Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut.
Xiomáro will give a Gallery Talk on November 1 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. at 1131 HBLL Special Collections Lecture Room, Harold B. Lee Library, at BYU. The artist will give away free 4″ x 6″ souvenir prints to all in attendance and will also randomly select one or two people to receive a different, larger print. Admission to the exhibit and to the Gallery Talk is free of charge.
The photographs have been extensively exhibited in Connecticut as well as at the Washington, DC, office of Senator Joseph Lieberman who co-sponsored the bill to include Weir Farm as part of the National Park system. The collection arrives at BYU just as the University’s exhibit of paintings – “The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art” – travels to museums in Connecticut and North Carolina. Julian Alden Weir, his father Robert and his older brother John helped to shape American art for nearly a century.
Xiomáro’s exhibit presents 29 large photographic prints measuring 17″ x 25″ allowing for immersive views of these rarely seen rooms, doors, windows and other distinguishing characteristics of the interiors – unadorned but, at once, stark, rustic and ethereal. “The images add a sense of intimacy with Weir’s life,” said Xiomáro. “His art becomes further humanized because the same eyes and hands that painted works of Impressionism unlocked the doors and opened the shutters seen in the photographs.”
This unique photographic record was commissioned by the National Park Service as part of a major rehabilitation and restoration of Julian Alden Weir’s house and painting studio. By 2013, the interiors will be fully furnished and significantly changed from how they appear now. So the photographs offer a rare peek of what lies within as the interiors are empty for the first time in at least 140 years. “Their vacant state enabled me to draw attention to details and features that might otherwise go unnoticed in a fully furnished setting,” explained Xiomáro.
The artist also titled each photograph with a line of his original poetry. When each photo is viewed in sequence together with its corresponding title, a narrative unfolds about Julian Alden Weir, his artistic contemporaries and successors, and his homestead’s continuing legacy as both a National Park and as an incubator for new talent through its internationally respected Artist-in-Residence program. “Before turning to photography,” explained Xiomáro, “I had an extensive career in music. So I couldn’t help but to incorporate my love for lyrics and poetry into the series.”
More information about the exhibit and Xiomáro is available at www.xiomaro.com and http://net.lib.byu.edu/art/current.html. For more information about Weir Farm National Historic Site, visit www.nps.gov/wefa. All prints on exhibit are available for sale and help fund continuing exhibits of the “Weir Was Here” collection.