Cantor Art Gallery to Exhibit 'Grammar,' Exploring the Complexity of Photography as Language

Holy Cross professor and Boston-based artist Matthew Gamber to display inaugural show at College

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross will present the exhibition “Grammar,” a survey of recent photography works by Matthew Gamber, assistant professor of visual arts at the College, from Jan. 20 through Feb. 27. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Using a variety of photographic processes, the exhibition is an exploration of the meanings constructed around photography and the rules that govern its use. This exhibition is a survey of Gamber’s recent work based around his latest project, “Basic Ingredients of the Complex World,” his examination of how photography is both documentary and illusory – a paradox he demonstrates through experimentation with three-dimensional techniques.

“Photography is a language by which we communicate information and ideas,” explains Gamber. “To be understood, we follow a shared set of rules, a kind of photographic grammar, where the messages implied in our pictures can be understood by others. The best way for me to participate in this dialogue is to create artwork in response to changing syntax throughout the history of photography. I hope viewers will gain broader understanding of how these implied conventions have fostered a variety readings in the medium.”

Projects featured in the exhibition include: “[Blank Chalkboards],” the documentation of erased chalkboards, a now antiquated technological educational tool; “This Is (Still) the Golden Age,” the creation of images by pressing photographic paper against a television screen to capture the light emanating from the set and unmediated traces of programs broadcast and lost; and “Any Color You Like,” an experiment in how photography can confuse our perception of information.

Also on display is a projection of Gamber’s video piece, “Empty Cabinet,” a collection of video clips seen through the ground glass of a view camera, which takes a look back at photography’s origins. Modeling his approach after the likes of English landscape painter John Constable with the look of Soviet-era filmmaker Dziga Vertov, Gamber’s creates a new look on the landscape through an aesthetic remix of plein air paintings and modernist filmmaking.

Gamber joined the visual arts faculty in 2014 and had previously taught at Holy Cross during the 2008-09 academic year. He earned his B.F.A. at Bowling Green State University and M.F.A. at Tufts University. Among his many accolades, he received a traveling fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the New Photography Grant from the Humble Arts Foundation. He also collaborated on the recently published interpretive textbook, “Matter” (Vandret Publications, 2014), and is a founding editor of “Big, Red & Shiny,” an online arts journal. His latest exhibitions include “Still Life Lives” at the Fitchburg Art Museum (2013-14), and “Basic Ingredients of a Complex World” at the Gallery Kayafas (2013).

Gamber lives and works in Boston, Mass. He is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston.


  • Exhibition opens: Wed., Jan. 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Cantor Art Gallery
  • Opening Reception: Wed., Jan. 27, 5 – 6:30 p.m., Cantor Art Gallery
  • In Conversation: Matthew Gamber with Nancy Burns, assistant curator at the Worcester Art Museum, and Benjamin Sloat, adjunct professor of photography at Lesley University, on Wed., Feb. 10, 5 – 6 p.m., Cantor Art Gallery
  • Gallery Talk by Matthew Gamber: Wed. Feb. 17, noon – 1 p.m., Cantor Art Gallery

Gallery Information

Founded in 1983 through the generosity of Iris & B. Gerald Cantor, the Cantor Art Gallery serves both as a venue for a changing series of historical and contemporary public exhibitions, as well as a vital resource for Holy Cross faculty and students, linking exhibitions to the broader liberal arts curriculum.

The hours for the Cantor Art Gallery are Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday noon – 5 p.m. Located in O’Kane Hall, 1st Floor, College of the Holy Cross, One College Street, Worcester, Mass., 01610. Visitors needing assistance with handicap accessibility should contact public safety at 508-793-2011. Admission to the gallery is free.

For additional information please call 508-793-3356 or visit the Gallery’s website.

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