LEWISTON – “The Body Holographic: Harriet Casdin-Silver,” an exhibition of work by a pioneering figure in the art of holography, opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, at the Bates College Museum of Art, 75 Russell St.

A highlight of the opening is a lecture, “Casdin-Silver in Context,” by Sarah Maline, an authority on holography and director of the Art Gallery at the University of Maine at Farmington. She’ll speak in Room 105, Olin Arts Center, the center where the museum is also.

Holograms are flat images that seem to show objects in three dimensions. The first American artist to develop a body of holographic work, Casdin-Silver began working in holograms in 1968. “The Body Holographic” concentrates on the human form and its psychological, sexual and spiritual energy.

“Holography is a medium of veracity,” says Anthony Shostak, education curator for the museum and the exhibition organizer. “Its stunning illusions seem so real that they are almost sculptural.”

“Capitalizing on the power of this accuracy, Casdin-Silver presents the body as it is,” he explains. “She pulls no punches and doesn’t shy from the truth: The ideal body is rare and fleeting.”


“Virtual reality becomes a forceful tool with which she underscores the social content in her work, the core of which is dignity and compassion. We’re invited to reconsider our preconceptions about beauty, gender identity, aging and death – along with all of their social and political consequences.”

Born in 1925 and raised in Worcester, Mass., Casdin-Silver worked in broadcasting before becoming a painter. Her work in holography began as an experiment at the invitation of physicist Raoul van Ligten at the Boston-based firm Art and Technology Inc.

Her exhibitions include a career retrospective in 1998 at the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Mass. She’s opening “Holographic Portraits and Other Work,” a solo show at Gallery Naga in Boston simultaneously with the Bates exhibition.

She has taught and held research positions at Brown University, Clark University, MIT and the Royal College of Art in London.

She has worked as an artist-in-residence at the University of Ghent in Belgium and at American Optical Laboratories in Framingham, Mass. She lives in the Boston area.

Showing simultaneously are “Between Science and Art,” a show of botanical X-ray images by contemporary Ohio artist Judith K. McMillan, and “New Acquisitions: Local and Global Contemporary Photography,” featuring artists from Maine, China and Africa. For more information, please call 207-786-6158.

McMillan used an X-ray machine as her camera to capture the internal structures of plants and insects, revealing the beauty of natural forms invisible to the human eye.

“Between Science and Art” was organized and circulated by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A member of the Maine Art Museum Trail, the Bates College Museum of Art is open to the public at no charge. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. School groups and tours are welcome; people can call (207) 786-8302 to schedule them.

The holography exhibition runs through March 19. The exhibition and Maline’s lecture are also open to the public free of charge.

More information is available at www.bates.edu/holography.xml.

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