Vienne Rea is an exhibiting visual artist who regularly presents her work in national and international shows. Her diverse creativity is expressed through multi-disciplinary visual arts—primarily, photography and sculpture. She prefers to work in themed series in both art forms. Her choice of themes is emotionally-driven and, in return, is emotionally received.
Having been a fine art photographer for over thirty years, Vienne Rea's work has shown in galleries from the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C. to the Foto Biennale in Berlin, Germany. Previous photographic themes which she has explored include: The Holocaust of WWII, African-American Slavery, Childhood, Divinity, the Collective Feminine; and the artist has several new themes forthcoming. Through the use of digital and analog photography, Rea creates imagery closely reminiscent of the Pictorialist style of late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her “signature” blur—which was once shamefully criticized by an art school professor, has become a distinguished feature of her photography. The intentional use of blur enriches the narrative whether it relates anguish, strength, confinement, struggle, or the opposite emotional spectrum of joy, tenderness, sovereignty, or serenity. Additionally, the relevant distance between herself and her subject unconsciously draws the viewer more deeply into the image. All of this works alongside powerful use of composition, stylized toning, light and shadow to enhance the storytelling in Rea’s body of work. Ultimately, the viewer may feel as if they are inside the memory of another. Any interplay between the viewer and the subject, especially resulting in an emotional connection, is her primary aim and that which makes this artist's work so memorable.
As a sculptor, Vienne Rea innovatively uses a wide variety of materials and hardware to create contemporary sculpture, which has become The Ladder Series. In her early sculpting career, Rea used assemblage techniques with metal, acrylic, and distinctive hardware to bolt, lace, and drill onto paintings and her photographs to create a third dimension. In 2013, Rea's pursuits in sculpture turned to the single theme—Ladders—which came to her in a dream. Fueled by this new inspiration, she sought a mentor to guide her in metal welding which beneficially led her to the renowned sculptor David Hess. Today, combining traditional and non-traditional materials, and using an array of sculpting techniques, the artist continues to expand on the captivating theme. The use of ladder-as-symbol has become a vehicle for her expression of autobiographical and biographical stories spanning a lifetime of experiences. All the while, the universal theme can easily elicit our own personal associations.
Selected Awards and Recognition:
Photography: Vienne Rea received seven awards (1 Silver Star, 6 Honorable Mentions) in the ND Awards 2017 competition (sponsored by Neutral Density Magazine) comprised of a judging panel of international industry professionals: including gallery owners, publishers, editors, and renowned photographers. Her work showed in 2016 and 2017 at Fotoweek/DC, a citywide photography exhibition held yearly in Washington, DC. In 2017, she was awarded the CJC Artist-in-Residence Endowment from Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, Maryland. Rea was vetted into Berlin Foto Biennale 2016 with six photographs, including those from her series Human Property and Never Again, two of which hung in a separately featured gallery commemorating the Holocaust. Her Human Property series was exhibited at the National Geographic Museum in a group exhibit in Fall/Winter 2016. The judges likened her photographic style to that of the Masters when she was recognized as a Finalist in all six categories of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers in 2015 - an achievement never before accomplished in the history of the award. That same year she was dually commended in multiple categories as a Finalist for the Black & White Charles Dodgson Award. Forty photographs from Rea's long-archived Childhood series were exhibited at the Hal Gomer Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland in Fall 2017 in a solo exhibition, along with her entire Ladder sculpture series.
Sculpture: Vienne Rea’s sculpture has exhibited in museums, galleries, and private collections. In Fall 2013, the first six sculptures from The Ladder Series premiered at The Mary Condon Hodgson Art Gallery in Maryland. The Maryland Federation of Art featured her solemn sculpture, titled '9/11', in their sculpture-only group exhibit in June 2016. In June 2017, Rea’s sculpture 'John, Dear' won Best of Show, given by juror Dr. Oliver Shell (Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art) in a vetted group exhibition at Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland. Most recently, in January 2019, Ben Simmons (Director of Academy Art Museum) gave Rea's sculpture 'PRIDE' the Best of Show Award in the Winter Members Show at Circle Gallery. Since its premiere, The Ladder Series has been growing in both number and scale: including the five new sculptures she produced for her photography and sculpture solo exhibit at the Hal Gomer Gallery in Fall 2017, and upcoming is a landscape piece, 'A Place in Our Hearts', which will be installed at a private school in Baltimore, Maryland.
American Society of Media Photographers
Professional Women Photographers
American Women Artists
Women's Photo Alliance
Maryland Federation of Art
National Sculpture Society
Washington Sculptors Group
Texas Photographic Society
The Center for Fine Art Photography