Plume House of Prayer Series
Published Artists: Anthony Alvarez, Colleen Gutwein, Dominique Duroseau, Nick Kline, Scheherazade Tillet
Editor: Nick Kline
Designer: Chantal Fischzang
Publisher: Shine Portrait Studio Press
City: Newark, NJ
Pages: 236 p.
Dimensions: 10 in x 10 in x 1 in
Process: Risograph, Pigment Ink
Color & Black and White
Edition Size: 100
The Plume House of Prayer Series, 2019, is Shine’s newly published edition of books referencing a historic site in Newark, NJ. Once a ”cozy farmhouse on the outskirts of a little town on the riverside,” and rectory to The House of Prayer church, is the Plume House. Built in approximately 1725, and the second oldest home in the city of Newark, now has its foundation visibly shaken by the vehicles driving on I-280, constructed a few feet from the house.
On this site, in 1887, Reverend Hannibal Goodwin invented celluloid photographic film in the attic. This invention was motivated by the frequent breakage of his glass lantern slides, which Goodwin used to teach children bible stories. The book covers in this series are designed to invoke a House of Prayer sermon pamphlet from 1852, on the life of statesman and slaveholder Henry Clay, delivered to “The Young Men of Newark, N.J.”
Five books feature the work by artists: Anthony Alvarez, Dominique Duroseau, Colleen Gutwein, Nick Kline and Scheherazade Tillet. Designed by Chantal Fischzang.
The books published in this series vibrate with the various histories and nature of this site, including the intersection of American independence, slavery, gender, church, state, Newark’s role in the history of photography, obsolescence, and hope.
Anthony Alvarez’s In Prayer is composed of self-portrait photographs created daily over eight months. The artist immersed himself in ritualistic vigorous movement, shaking his head from side to side, but also in restrained stillness, keeping his torso relatively steady. Long camera exposures render the repetition of movements and vibrations, which the artist refers to as forms of meditation and prayer.
Dominique Duroseau’s Blue., depicts a constructed set within the Shine studio in which the artist created self-portrait photographs as her "Mammy Was Here" character. In a series of performances for the camera the artist explores racist tropes, the erotic and self, in ways that hover between intimate voyeuristic, and direct.
Colleen Gutwein, The Camera I Always Wanted. Since the 1930’s there have been at least 25 different manufactures that have created Girl Scout-branded cameras. One of these cameras, created by "Jemco" in Newark, NJ, inspired Gutwein to create a series of photographs, depicting some of these cameras, at the organization’s headquarters in NYC.
Nick Kline, Two Sermons At House of Prayer. A series of photographs of House of Prayer Church. In July 2019, 174 years later, close to the corresponding day the sermon that inspired this published series was first delivered, Kline attended their Sunday service. It was 90 degrees, and felt more stifling inside the old church than outside it.
Scheherazade Tillet, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Like Aretha Franklin’s forever transforming Otis Redding’s song, “Respect” into her own, this series by feminist photographer and activist Scheherazade Tillet takes up Huey Newton’s 1967 iconic image while also re-staging and updating this familiar object from her childhood home -- the wicker chair -- with African-American teen girls. “Respect” features girls and young women from Tillet’s A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Institute, which empowers black girls to use art to advocate for themselves, other girls, and for racial and gender justice in their schools, communities, and beyond.