WOODBURY — Michael Gallagher will present his photographs of Holyland USA at an opening reception Sept. 7, 2 to 4 p.m. in the Gallery at the Woodbury Public Library, 269 Main Street S., Woodbury.
The exhibition comprises 36 permanent pigment giclée prints made from negatives exposed September 1987 through February 1988 in an abandoned religious theme park in Waterbury. Holyland, USA, built by Waterbury lawyer John Grecco on a hill overlooking the city, closed in 1984 and slowly became derelict. Vandals and folk-art collectors disfigured statues, grottoes, catacombs, a miniature city, gateways and plaques made from construction debris, scrap iron, refrigerators, water heaters and other resources gleaned from junkyards.
Gallagher, drawn to the place, was intrigued by and aspired to understand the impetus, through analysis of the artifacts left behind, that drove Grecco to build it. Gallagher, “Saw the activity of photographing the site as personal archelogy, a way of understanding how a person becomes driven to create and as an act self-analysis was it a mirror for my desire to make photographs? Does the viewers’ experience of the relics become deepened or weakened as the forces of nature took over?”
Michael Gallagher is a nationally recognized fine art photographer. His work is in the permanent collections of museums, universities and private collectors. He exhibited one man shows at the Mattatuck Museum, Artworks, Russell, Schumacher, Emerson galleries as well as the Hotchkiss School, Deerfield Academy and the Rochester Institute of Technology. His images have been included in juried exhibitions regionally and across the nation. Publications include “School Arts,” “New Mexico Photographer,” the “New York Times” and “Who’s Who of American Teachers.” He is a recipient of a Connecticut Commission for the Arts Fellowship and many artist grants to pursue personal work. Gallagher, an immigrant who came to America as a boy has lived in Woodbury since 1979. He volunteers in the Woodbury library, sits on the board for the Art Alliance of Woodbury and was committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 54 and the Woodbury Little League.
The exhibit is on view through Sept. 30 during regular library hours. For more information, contact the library at 203-263-3502 or at www.woodburylibraryct.org.