RIT Professor Remakes Likeness of Public Figures in Little Theatre Exhibition

Patti Ambrogi’s ‘Cover Girls Women in History’ runs May 5–25

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First Lady Michelle Obama dancing with the President at the Inaugural Ball, by Patti Ambrogi.

These two cover girls are highly recognizable figures in the public eye—Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama.

Patti Ambrogi revisits historic images of women in the news media who continue to influence contemporary culture in “Cover Girls Women in History,” an exhibition at the Little Theatre Gallery, which runs May 5 through May 25. An artist talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 15.

Ambrogi is an associate professor in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology and holds an M.F.A. degree from the Visual Studies Workshop. She says the project emerged from her interest in the behavior of pixels and her long fascination with how a series of pixels cover a printed page and create the illusion of a face—from a Sarah Palin to a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

“For example, First Lady Michelle Obama is shown dancing at the Inaugural Ball,” Ambrogi says. “Michelle Obama’s likeness not only includes the Democratic icons of the donkey, the skin colors in Rev. Joseph Lowery's inaugural address—‘white get it right and brown stick around’—and all the first ladies in history, but also the wives of the numerous Republican contenders for 2012.

“I work to unravel and to re-encode our popular images with signs that the world is not just out there a priori, but out there as we construct them and remake them.”

For more information about the show, contact Ambrogi at 585-260-2745 or pjapph@rit.edu.