RIT assistant professor to present exhibit of photographs depicting war

Gallery r show includes book signing and performance at Fringe fest

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Meredith Davenport

One of the images from Theater of War, a solo exhibition of compelling photos, video and performance at Gallery r in September that documents modern-war reenactment.

Gallery r, Rochester Institute of Technology’s metro showcase and learning laboratory for the arts, will host a solo exhibition of compelling photographs, video and performance in September that documents modern-war reenactment.

The photographs in “Meredith Davenport | Theater of War” document men who reenact and create games based on contemporary wars. Davenport, an assistant professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, is kicking off a new exhibition series—RIT Faculty in Focus—that presents recent projects or current work in progress from select faculty members.

“Theater of War” begins with an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, at Gallery r, 100 College Ave., Rochester. The reception is free and open to the public as part of downtown Rochester’s First Friday artwalk.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 27. Davenport will host a book signing and performance as part of the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25. All RIT events at the Fringe are free.

Davenport’s photographs depict games played with pellet guns and are inspired by narratives and pictures taken from the news media. The players—some of whom are recent U.S. military veterans—are interpreting distant wars into the three-dimensional space of play. In some of the photos, players pretend to hunt for Osama bin Laden in the barren winter hills of northern Virginia; play out the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro in the tropical forests of southern Florida; and fight behind military commanders to defeat unidentified Arabic-speaking tribes in the desert outside Los Angeles.

“I believe these war images stay in our mind and in popular imagination and find new meanings in internal narratives that we create in our daily lives,” Davenport said. “I am particularly interested in how far iconic images can stay in our heads and stories.”

Davenport has covered human-rights issues around the world, including the rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh for The New York Times Magazine and Hugo Chavez’s impact on Venezuela for National Geographic.

For more information, contact John Aäsp, gallery director for the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, at 585-475-4977 or email john.aasp@rit.edu.