Photographs by Ilaria Ortensi
September 5, 2013
Massive constructions on the suburbs of big cities are a global phenomenon. The contemporary cities are changing their shape so much faster than in the past, that it is very hard for their inhabitants to integrate the new in their life and imaginary.
In my most recent work I focused my attention on the new, unbridled, and largely unnoticed development around Rome in Italy. Attracted by the concept and aesthetics of contemporary typologies of residential housing, I decided to turn some of these architectures into pieces of art, depicting them as something between sculptures and movie sets. In these way I tried to recreate a state where the buildings are still looking for an identity being something between pure “form and volume” and set for possible narrations.
Ilaria Ortensi completed her B.A. in Cinema Studies at La Sapienza University of Rome in Italy. She then moved to Boston where in 2010 she completed the Post-Baccalaureate Program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She is currentely living in New York City and pursuing her MFA in photography at Columbia University.
Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions such as Pass this on at the Stone Crop Gallery in Maine, Collective 9 at the Dog Eared Gallery in London and Out of Context at West Germany in Berlin. In 2010 her work was part of the PRC Student Exhibition at the Photographic Resource Center and of the Student Annual Exhibition at the Grossman Gallery and Anderson Auditorium of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In the same year she had her solo show, Rooms, at the Stone Crop Gallery in Maine.
Stone Crop Gallery
In the early 1920s, Grace Merrill bought a small strip of land along a rocky ledge on Shore Road near Perkins Cove. Before a structure was built—even before she had a design for her new studio—she named the future home “Stonecrop” after the hardy flower that “clothes the rocks with starlike yellow bloom.”
Miss Merrill built Stonecrop with salvaged materials from an old barn and other local structures. She reclaimed the barn’s hand-hewn pine timbers to construct a 24-foot high great room, while a damaged 18th century dwelling supplied a stone fireplace and a unique staircase. As construction proceeded, she scoured the surrounding towns for wood, doors, windows—whatever she could find that fit her vision for the home. “From all sides, old materials seemed to pour in,” Merrill wrote. “All summer, my long-suffering car was adorned with bags of cement, old brick, and iron in varied shapes.”
The result of her vision is this unique house with a special history. Stonecrop has been a home to artists for much of the past century. Two previous owners, painter Ruth Seeger and printmaker Beverly Hallam, are still active in the Perkins Cove area. Current owner and photographer Dana Berenson welcomes you to Stonecrop and the Stonecrop Gallery. She’s proud to inherit the creative legacy of Miss Merrill, and invites you to enjoy the artwork.