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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Exhibition celebrates Mertin's images


An exhibition of the photographic works of the late Roger Mertin, former professor of art and art history for 26 years, is on display in the Hartnett Gallery in Wilson Commons on the River Campus. Mertin's works are well-known and found in collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Roger Mertin: Photography includes images that are owned by members of the Department of Art and Art History and Mertin's friends in the Rochester area. The exhibition has been assembled as a celebration of his life and work. Mertin died in May at the age of 58.

Mertin found images for his photographs in the backyards and main streets of America. "He was interested in local environments wherever they happened to be," said close friend and photographer Carl Chiarenza, who is the Fanny Knapp Allen Professor Emeritus at the University. "He wasn't looking for the exotic or the different; he was always looking for the American vernacular. Those were the kind of things that drew him."

Born in Bridgeport, Conn., Mertin became fascinated with "making"--not "taking," according to the photographer--pictures at age 13. In 1965 he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, later earning his master of fine arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo through the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester.

The recipient of numerous awards, Mertin was awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others.

The Department of Art and Art History has set up a scholarship fund in memory of Mertin. The prize was awarded for the first time in the spring of 2001 and will be presented annually to an undergraduate student for excellence in studio art.

The exhibition continues through January 31, 2002. For more information, call x5-5911.

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