Minnesota photographer Rhea Pappas.
“Opening Up” by Rhea Pappas.
Lanesboro Arts presents “Reflections,” a photography exhibit by Rhea Pappas of underwater pictures. The exhibit opens with an artist reception on Saturday, August 18, 2018, from 6-8 p.m., and runs through October 18, 2018. The reception will include wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as live music. Always free and open to the public, the Lanesboro Arts Gallery is open seven days a week.
Pappas is a 31-year-old, female photographer working out of the Twin Cities. Her work mainly focuses in emotion, relief and womanhood within water. Growing up in Golden Valley, Minn., and spending most her life sailing, traveling, and exploring the world with her family has brought this love and focus of water as a form of expression. Her earlier twenties brought some chaos to her life with post-traumatic stress, depression, memory loss, and a cervical cancer scare that brought on her urge to photograph, giving her a sense of relief, calmness, and inner strength. Photographing this way gave her feelings she desired and missed in her own life and depicted a silent cry for the calmness and inner peace within her photographs. She photographed the world in which she desired to live.
“The water was always a safe place that calmed me,” Pappas shared. “I know I’m not the only one who dreams of a summer haze, where nothing mattered but the weightless relief of Minnesota’s cool waters. It’s something I want to recall and share with others.”
Since she was a small child, Pappas grew up sailing with her father throughout all of the Great Lakes and even journeyed from Florida up the Atlantic coastline. When she was 16, her dad would let her take complete control of the boat when he needed to rest for the night. Pappas realized, “This was when I became an adult. It was a moment of empowerment.”
Later in life, when she was deciding between marine biology and photography, because of her sailing experience, she told herself, “Anything I put my mind to, I could handle.” She has since become an accomplished photographer with exhibitions in France, New York, Vermont and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. She has future aspirations of taking photos and exhibiting on the coasts. Pappas’s work captures a sense of liberation and escape from reality through underwater photography of women.
The body of work to be showcased at Lanesboro Arts in “Reflections” is about exploring natural bodies of water and playing with their innate properties as home, safety, and womanly. “Photographing this collection was a different process than all of my previous exhibitions since I did not shoot in an artificial body of water and did not light it,” Pappas remarked. “The purpose for me was to draw from my memories of enjoying the lakes in Minnesota and getting out of Minnesota’s hot summer sun.”
For Pappas, coming up with the title of the show followed, “the place I am in, in life.” She added that, “I find myself daydreaming of my childhood and past. I’m romantically fascinated and in love with the water; it creates a dream-like nostalgia that brings me comfort, joy, and ease.”
“My love for water runs deep in my soul,” Pappas exclaimed. “When I have people look at my art, I want them to experience something. Not quite cinematic, but I want there to be an experience, a narrative, an enlightenment, even possibly something that inspires them to look at something or feel something different. What art is is simple. It is what the viewer thinks it is.”
Pappas is excited to exhibit her work in Lanesboro at the Lanesboro Arts Gallery. “It’s very exciting to be a part of a statewide artistic community in Minnesota and share our love for the arts and our home.”
The exhibit is sponsored by Commonweal Theatre, made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For more information visit www.lanesboroarts.org, call 507-467-2446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Handicap-accessible and free to the public, the exhibition gallery is located at 103 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro.