Women’s Rights National Historical Park celebrates Independence Day with the debut solo exhibition The Diary of Theodosia Ford – Photographs by Xiomaro. The 12 images tell the dramatic story of a young widow’s unsung role in the American Revolutionary War by giving up her family’s New Jersey home to George Washington for use as his headquarters during the worst winter of the century. Admission is free and the photographs will be on view from July 1 to August 31, 2018 at the Visitor Center’s gallery on the second floor.
General Washington spent the winter of 1779-80 at the home of Theodosia Ford, who persevered through the deaths of several family members including her toddler. Her 12-room Georgian Revival mansion became Washington’s headquarters as it was strategically located between Philadelphia and the British stronghold in New York City. Conditions were harsh. The house was crowded with the General’s assistants, servants and slaves, his wife Martha, and other historical personalities such as Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette, Philip Schuyler, and Benedict Arnold. It was also the worst winter of the century with more than 20 snowstorms, described by a soldier as “cold enough to cut a man in two.”
The exhibition of 12 images are drawn from a collection of almost 100 photographs of the Ford mansion that Xiomaro (pronounced “SEE-oh-MAH-ro”) was commissioned to create for the National Park Service at New Jersey’s Morristown National Historical Park. Each 17”x25” image is accompanied by a compelling narrative written by the artist. “The events and dates are factual, but I presented Theodosia’s story as an imagined diary that dramatizes what her feelings might have been as she and her four children lived through this very difficult time in history,” explains Xiomaro.
The artist used only existing window light with a sparing use of a technique called “light painting” to create ethereal photographs with rich color, detail, and dramatic contrasts of light and shadow. In addition to the framed images, two are presented as “photo ceramics.” Xiomaro applied adhesives and finishes over photographic prints to fuse them onto black 12” ceramic tiles giving the images a luminous textured surface.
Xiomaro is an internationally-recognized artist and speaker whose photography has been covered by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and CBS Eyewitness News. His work has been widely exhibited at venues such as Harvard University and New York City’s Fraunces Tavern Museum. Next year, Arcadia Publishing is releasing his photo book, Weir Farm National Historic Site, about Julian Alden Weir, the father of American Impressionist painting.
The gallery at Women’s Rights National Historical Park Visitor Center is located on the second floor of 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, New York 13148, and the exhibition runs from July 1 to August 31, 2018. For visiting hours call (315) 568-0024. A free limited edition exhibit ebook of photographs can be downloaded at www.xiomaro.com, which includes free entry into a giveaway of a softcover book about the Ford Mansion and a 5”x7” print.
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