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Rose Marasco

Rose Marasco (United States, born 1948), Projections No. 5, 2007, inkjet print, 431/2" x 341/2". Courtesy of the artist.

New Perspectives on Familiar Themes

Through Rose Marasco’s lens, disparate worlds — from the urban jungle to the domestic sphere of women — are revealed through intimate details and quiet revelations. Working with myriad subjects and techniques, Marasco shows tremendous range, but above all, a purity of line, tone and perspective characterizes her photographs.

“Rose Marasco: Index” is the artist’s first-ever retrospective, on view now at Maine’s Portland Museum of Art. PMA Chief Curator Jessica May worked with Marasco for nearly a year to select works from a career that spans more than four decades. The exhibition is appropriately titled, as it serves as both a record of Marasco’s evolution as an artist and a virtual chronicle of her life.

Her early photographs explore the tension between geometric and organic forms and the reduction of three-dimensional space. Rectangular pans hanging on the wall in “Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane’s Kitchen, Binghamton, New York,” and the high contrast in “DA, Utica, New York,” demonstrate pared-down simplicity. Conversely, round globs of cheese hanging from ropes in “Provolone, Utica, NY” have a sensual, fleshy quality.

In “Woman with Scarf, Rome, Italy” and “Photomontage Series,” viewers see Marasco’s irreverent side. Playing with sequential images in “Woman with Scarf,” Marasco puts a slightly unsettling twist on a simple portrait. The shadows on the scarf create a mask-like appearance, making it unclear whether the woman is seen from the front or the back. For “Photomontage Series,” she pieced together separate photographs of various scenes in Portland: real places arranged in imagined configurations.

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