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September 26, 2006


GREAT BARRINGTON, MA — Photographer Tanya Marcuse's photographs from her Undergarments and Armor collection will open at Belfast Exposed on October 12. Founded in 1983 as a community photography initiative, Belfast Exposed Photography, located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a gallery for contemporary photography with an emphasis on commissioning and publishing new work.

With the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Marcuse traveled around the U.S. and England in order to photograph such objects as breastplates, helmets, corsets, bustles, mannequins and dress forms. "The earliest objects date from the 14th century while no object is dated past 1900, ruling out the possibility of a living owner," said Marcuse, "I see these garments and suits of armor as sculptures of the body that, like a carapace, outlast their wearers." The series is made up of sixty-five 4 x 5" platinum prints as well as a suite of 11 x 14" pigment prints.

Marcuse is a Simon's Rock alumna and faculty member who lives in Barrytown, N.Y. She received her AA from Simon's Rock, her BA from Oberlin College, and her MFA from Yale University School of Art. She has taught at the State University of Vermont, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Vassar College, and Bard College. Her photographs can be found in the collections of The Corcoran Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Yale Art Gallery, and The Library of Congress.

Marcuse's work took her in and out of storerooms and museum archives, using the intensive 19th century process of platinum printing for most of the series. She chose to use the process for it's subtle tonality and beauty. "Though one might expect the feminine undergarments to be alluring, they often appear clinical, even dingy, divorced from the body's lingering presence," said Marcuse of her subjects, "On the other hand the armor often conveys an aggressive sexuality, both gorgeous and cruel. Yet in both cases the garments are transformative. The undergarments enhancing and constricting the body to support the fashion of the outer dress; the armor shielding the body's mortal flesh, while concurrently turning its wearer into a terrifying war machine."

Marcuse has received awards and honors such as a 2003 Anson Kittredge Grant, a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, fellowships from The Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Dutchess County Arts Council, as well as the Guggenheim fellowship. She is the recipient of a National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts Award among others. Her work has appeared in New York Times, New York Magazine, Village Voice, Art in America, Art Issues and Artforum. For information on her Belfast Exhibit visit, or visit

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