About News Members Open studios Application Opportunities Contact

Rhona Bitner

Artist's Website

My interest lies in the parallels between photography and theater. The duality of the performance experience parallels that of photography; in both one enters a black space and an image appears.

In the CIRCUS and the CLOWN series I focused entirely on the performer in the spotlight. In the STAGE series, I turned my attention away from the performer and onto the stage about to be inhabited, or just inhabited, by the performer.

As CBGB’s closed its doors in 2006, I began to think about music, primarily popular music, its wide reach and direct relationship to the human experience. I became intrigued by the notion of physical emptiness (co)existing with the memory of what occurred there. 

This current series of photographs records spaces that may be empty of the performances that made them memorable yet remain filled with the recollection of what occurred there and the moments when they became unintentional place-markers of events, ideas and progressions of popular culture. In some cases, the performances became hallmarks of a zeitgeist experienced by a movement or generation.

These venues encompass a wide range — clubs, theaters, arenas, parks, churches, recording studios — but still retain the unifying significance of the “place where it happened.” Many of these sites continue to inspire visits or pilgrimages.

The current state of these locations (empty, disused, reused) may belie their significance. But as places where a particular event happened, where a musician was discovered, where a hit song was recorded or where a genre found its voice, these venues may introduce a rather immediate and/or intimate relationship with a viewer than that of mere nostalgia. A simple, straightforward photograph of a place, perhaps not immediately evident for its significance can introduce an echo of recognition or familiarity, reinforcing a relationship of place, memory and resonance and, perhaps, a faint whisper of sound.

I have titled this project LISTEN.

Image Gallery >>

<< Studio Member Galleries