WILMINGTON — Sean Wilkinson believes that photographs, like all other good works of art, can offer alternative ways of understanding the world.
That opportunity for awareness, meaning and insight beyond a simple, two-dimensional image is available through his exhibit, “China Photographs,” at Wilmington College’s Harcum Art Gallery Oct. 10 through Nov. 22.
A reception honoring the artist is planned for Oct. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m., with refreshments served and the public invited to attend free of charge. Normal gallery hours include weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by special arrangement from curator Hall Shunk, professor of art.
Wilkinson is retired from the University of Dayton faculty and holds the titles of Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor. At U.D., he established Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs that gained national reputations. He previously taught at Harvard University and instructed study abroad programs in Florence, Rome, Athens, London and China.
A graduate of Antioch College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and the Rhode Island School of Design with a Master of Fine Arts, Wilkinson’s photographs have been viewed in more than 90 gallery and museum exhibitions across the United States and internationally.
He said few photographs are made with the expectation that they will be given thoughtful consideration and, as such, are instantly readable and appear to “disclose themselves” at a glance. He challenges the viewer to consider, a bit more deeply, the photographs in the exhibit he took during visits to China between 2012 and 2018.
Wilkinson suggests his photographs of China are “not instantly readable”; they rather are images that show how something was seen. “In part, this is because I am drawn to ambiguity and obscurity, to the oblique and the evocative more than to the obvious,” he said.