Washington, D.C. photographer Cynthia Brumback donates 10 of her works to Fairfield University


Cynthia Brumback, a creative photographer whose works range from penetrating floral montages to captivating depictions of nature and manmade marvels, has donated a selection of her work to the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at Fairfield University.

The Walsh Gallery recently displayed an exhibit of Brumback's work, "Across Time: The Photographs of Cynthia Brumback," which ran through mid-December. The show featured miniature still lifes, pieces combining old tintypes with natural settings, composites and two-panel couplets covering Brumback's career from the 1970s through 2001.

Buddha of LeshanBrumback has donated 10 of the pieces that had been on display at the Walsh, many of which comprise several photo panels. The donation features several of Brumback's most popular works, including some of her large Asian images. Brumback created many of her photographs in China, where she has spent long visits with her husband, artist Wang Ming. Three years ago, Ming donated a collection of his own works to the Walsh.

Brumback's commitment to education and her desire to see artwork appreciated and enjoyed by many, moved her to make the donation. She said she was impressed with Fairfield University, and knew that the photographs would be taken care of and valued there. "I just enjoyed being there and seeing the campus and meeting the people who work there," Brumback said. "I was struck by the educational environment."

Brumback worked with the University to determine which pieces the Walsh would benefit most from receiving. "She wanted to donate both individual works and those that were part of a series, that would have meaning for us as an educational institution," said Diana Mille, Ph.D., director of the Walsh Art Gallery.

Gate, Ming TombAmong the works Brumback has donated are "Buddha of Leshan," a color photograph of the Grand Buddha of Leshan, a giant statue carved into the face of a cliff in Leshan city of Sichuan province in China; and "Gate, Ming Tomb," a black-and-white depiction of the gate that surrounds the Ming Tombs north of Beijing, where 13 of the emperors who ruled China during the Ming Dynasty are buried.

Brumback also donated: "Apricot Mound, Confucius Temple," "Eight Senses, 31_x 23_or 23_x 31_," "Universal Spirit III," "Foggy Morning," "White Cloud Kuan Taoist Temple," "The Vision of Unity," "Infinity," and "Unified Spirit."

Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1934, Brumback, now a Washington, D.C. resident, taught and promoted art in both the classroom and as an educational producer for public television during the early years of her career. She began working as a photographer in 1970.

Brumback's collection includes single images and sequences, sometimes comprised of three to nine 20"x24" photos stretched along a gallery wall. She also works in a folding book format that lays out a few photos in a folding screen fashion, allowing her to set the distance - or lack thereof - between images. Brumback also works in photo montage, in which she cuts selected images from her own photos and recomposes them to create a more forceful image.

"She works with very universal topics that are highly spiritual, in some ways, abstract in nature," Dr. Mille said. "She has the ability to combine the universal and the abstract with the particular."

Brumback has had one-person shows in the United States, Taiwan, China and Poland and her work is part of the public collections of the American Embassy in Beijing, The Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw and The World Bank in Washington, D.C.

"This donation of striking photographs is a noteworthy addition to the increasingly strong permanent art collection of the University," said Orin Grossman, Fairfield University's academic vice president. "I am deeply grateful to Ms. Brumback for her thoughtful generosity of spirit as well as her artistic vision."

The Walsh Art Gallery is located in the Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Admission is free. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 15, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 154