The College of New Rochelle’s (CNR) Gordon Parks Gallery at the John Cardinal O’Connor Campus in the South Bronx presents Bridging the Gap, showcasing the works of noted photographer Gordon Parks and his daughter Toni Parks. The joint exhibit touches on issues that Gordon and Toni Parks address in their black and white, and color prints, which collectively span more than 50 years. The photographs are selected from the permanent collection of prints donated by Gordon Parks and Toni Parks to the Gordon Parks Gallery when it opened in 1991.
The Bridging the Gap exhibition which was opened on Monday, Nov. 4, is on display until Friday, May 2, 2014. The Gordon Parks Gallery is located on the John Cardinal O’Connor Campus of The College of New Rochelle at 332 East 149th Street, Bronx, New York 10451. Hours: Fridays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m and by appointment (call 718-669-1310).
Writer, filmmaker, activist, Gordon Parks (1912-2006), began his life in Fort Scott, Kansas, traveled the United States and Europe, broke racial barriers and created a diverse body of commercial and personal work. One of the first African-American photographers to work for Life and Vogue magazines, he ultimately co-founded Essence magazine. A versatile artist, he was one of the first African-Americans to direct a Hollywood film (his work includes The Learning Tree, Shaft, and Leadbelly), and also composed pieces of instrumental music including several film scores. Other firsts for an African-American include the first to work for the Farm Security Administration and the first to work for the Office of War and Information. Parks indulged his daughter Toni Parks with music lessons, weekend museum visits, and discussed life and relationships with her in his White Plains darkroom.
Toni Parks, (1940-) born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, grew up in White Plains, New York and Europe, where she travelled with her family for her father’s work. After dabbling in singing and acting, Toni Parks began her serious venture with photography in Spain in 1984. Her professional career as a visual artist began in 1990 with photographs she took during the filming of Gordon Parks’ ballet Martin. Over the past two decades, Toni has exhibited in several notable venues throughout the United States, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Irving Art Center, Irving , TX; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY; the United Nations, New York, NY. She is a member of Kamoinge, a group whose ongoing mission is “to address the under-representation of black photographers in the art world.”