Location: Main Gallery
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Paula Gately Tillman
Exhibition On View: DEC 16, 2022 – JAN 21, 2023
Opening Reception: DEC 16 | 6PM
Over the last two years, Paula Gately Tillman has photographed Baltimore visual artists in their studios and alongside their art. This is not the first time Gately Tillman has turned her camera to documenting a creative community in depth. From the mid 1980s to late 1990s, the artist was embedded in the counterculture scenes of Atlanta and New York, capturing the beautiful irreverence of an array of pioneering musicians, as well as punk entrepreneurs Tish and Snooky Bellomo of the Manic Panic hair color line, and LGBTQ+ icons in the making, Nelson Sullivan and RuPaul. These subjects were natural performers, preening and posing in wigs, crinolines, and marabou—extravagant garb that signaled a bold assertion of personal identity and gritty glamour. In 2018, Gately Tillman retrospectively compiled these raw and romantic works in the award-winning book Fringe: New York and Atlanta, 1984-1997. The Fringe series remains a striking document of confident creatives poised to change culture from their positions on the margins.
Presented alongside Fringe, Gately Tillman’s Baltimore project, New Generations, takes a different tone. In the recent portraits, introspection and a stripped down verité have replaced pageantry and extreme attitude. Befitting the pandemic period, the photographs were largely shot in studios—solitary sanctuaries—rather than the bustling night clubs and urban backstreets that set the stage for the Fringe images. And still, there is a kinship between studios and dance clubs. They are both out-of-the-ordinary spaces in which one can aspire to uninhibited exploration and expression.
Artists featured in the exhibition include: Amy Boone-McCreesh, Hannah Brancato, Carolyn Case, Schaun Champion, Joseph Corcoran, Julia Clouser, Vivian Marie Doering, Dave Eassa, Jerrell Gibbs, Taha Heydari, Monica Ikeqwu, Christopher “kolpeace” Johnson, Jr., Linling Lu, Charles Mason lll, Jonna McKone, Nadia Rae Morales, Vlado Petrovski, Edgar Reyes, Shan Wallace, Will Watson
Paula Gately Tillman is a photographer from Baltimore, Maryland. Gately Tillman is most well known for her 1980s and 1990s work in New York and Atlanta, documenting underground scenes and fringe personalities. Her photography has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in numerous public and private collections, including in the Special Collections of the E. Kirkbride Miller Art Research Library at the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and Sheriden Libraries at Johns Hopkins University; the Fales Library at New York University; and the LGBTQ+ Collection in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University. Gately Tillman’s award-winning book, Fringe: New York and Atlanta, 1984-1997, and her collector’s box are also featured in these collections.
Gately Tillman studied photography in Aspen, Colorado, under the guidance of internationally published photographer Eileen Lewis and moved to New York to take classes at the School of Visual Arts as well as pursue a career in photography. It was in 1984 that she met Brant Mewborn, then senior editor of Rolling Stone, who introduced her to the thriving scene of musicians, drag queens, and other collaborators that she would later photograph. During her combined time in New York and Atlanta, her subjects included the American Music Show, RuPaul, Michael Musto, Tish and Snooky Bellomo, Wigstock, John Kelly, Lady Bunny, Nelson Sullivan, Dick Richards, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Phoebe Legere, and others. Paula Gately Tillman is the widow of LeRoy E. Hoffberger, attorney, art collector, author, and philanthropist. She currently lives and works in Baltimore.