Current Exhibition

March 23, 2018 to May 25, 2018
Opening Reception:
Friday, March 23, 2018 -
5:00pm to 7:00pm
  • Untitled, David Ritter 35mm film, black and white print,  Cap Haitian, Haiti.
    Untitiled - Sin Titulo, David Ritter 35mm film, black and white print, Cap Haitian, Haiti.
In the Chester F. Sidell Gallery:
The Art of Capturing Stories in an Image
The Art of Capturing Stories in an Image



The art of capturing stories in an image is the talent that photojournalists develop with experience and time, documenting their travels through communities, events and history to catch a moment and convert it into an image. The Sidell Gallery at The Essex Art Center is pleased to present the work of photojournalists, David Ritter, from Haverhill, MA, and George Richardson, resident of Methuen, MA.


David Ritter is a documentarian, filmmaker, and photographer who has spent much of his career working working within the West Indies documenting various aspects of the cultural, sociological and historic aspects within Caribbean society.  Born in Methuen, Massachusetts, David was educated in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts and began studying photography and various mediums of art at the Essex Art Center from 1995-2000.  Later he studied photography, lighting, printing, audio production, sound, art and video production at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  In 2010 he documented the colonial architectural remnants within the city of Cap Haitien, Haiti, mixed with life photography demonstrating day to day life there.

David will donate 20 percent  of the proceeds from any of his artwork sold in this exhibit to Konbit Santi, an organization base in Portland Maine, that provides health care programs to low income habitants in Cap Haitien, Haiti; so they can continue with their mission.


George Richardson graduated in 1991 from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  He has a vast experience working in commercial, as well as documentary style, photography. His images on this exhibit focus on his country of origin, telling the story of the people, communities and events that influence them.

“My photographs in this exhibition, challenge the image of poverty and poor without dignity, in traditional art exhibitions at the so called First World. My photographs do not dignify poverty but do not take away the dignity of being poor”.  

Each series of photographs in this exhibition offer the public a door to see Dominicans from the perspective of an artist who puts his head, eyes and heart on the same plane; balance, harmony,  unity and  simplicity.

In the Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery:
Tears and Bottomland
Animated films, drawings, and painting by Laura Harrison

Laura Harrison's animated films focus on marginalized, social outcasts with their own sub cultures. These fringe characters provide a focal point for her concerns with diaspora, trans-humanism, gender, and the loss of touch in an overwhelmingly visual world.  The characters she creates drive the story, their messiness mirrored in her shaky, painterly hand drawn and painted images.  She hopes that her animations act as "the proverbial axe that breaks the frozen sea inside us."  


This exhibition will include two animated films, along with related original drawings and a painting. Tears For Narcissus addresses the dark side of the American obsession with beauty and endless life, as well as the contemporary predicament of painting. Featuring a narcissistic protagonist, Betty, whose obsession with plastic surgery and a car accident leads to an unfortunate facelift, Tears is also a not so subtle metaphor about our current need for digital interventions and the fetishization of touch.  Bottomland is a trailer for Michelle Hoover's forthcoming book of the same name, published by Black Cat, an imprint of Grove Atlantic. It encapsulates the novel about a German farm family in the mid west during World War 1, focusing on three sisters' points of view. Their hermetically sealed lives on a farm are compressed into an experimental dreamscape about longing, loss and disappearance.


Formerly living in Cambridge, MA, Laura Harrison is based in Chicago, where she received an MFA in 2016 from the Art Institute of Chicago.  In 2017, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Her award-winning animated films have been screened at Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; Ottawa International Animation Festival, Canada; Animafest Zagreb, Croatia; Los Angeles Film Festival, and Melbourne International Animation Festival, Australia, among many others.  She often works in collaboration with writers, musicians, and actors to realize her work.

Community Artist Exhibition:
Esperanza Academy Service Learning Project