The Relationship Show: China Edition


Carl Bower Maureen Drennan •  Laura Beth Reese • Matthew Swarts 

Curated by Patti Hallock and Samantha Johnston

September 19 – 25, 2019

Location: Pingyao International Photography Festival (Pingyao, Shanxi, China)

We’re delighted to announce that CPAC’s 2017 exhibit, The Relationship Show, has been selected for display at the 2019 Pingyao International Photography Festival in China.

Launched in 2001, the annual PIP festival has been running for 19 years. Advocating diversity, internationalism and professionalism, it is considered an important stage for international photographers to display their talent.

Patti Hallock, who co-curated The Relationship Show with CPAC Executive Director Samantha Johnston, will travel to China to represent CPAC and participate in related activities including an International University Photography Education Forum.

About the Exhibit (Statement by Patti Hallock) 

The Relationship Show explores four artists’ viewpoints on the beginning, end, and isolation within current relationships. Each artist approaches the topic utilizing multiple approaches that meet us emotionally, visually, and with bittersweet laughter.

The most important role an artist plays is the way in which they reflect back to the world something intimate about themselves. Art has the power to demonstrate love, passion, and joy. Conversely, it reveals uncertainty, discomfort, pain, and breakdown.

Making art about relationships can be the most honest way to work through feelings of turmoil and disconnection. The origin of the artwork is personal, but the experience is universal. The photographs of Laura Beth Reese are a conscious look back at her relationships that have ended, and an attempt at reconnection with an intimacy that has passed. Maureen Drennan photographs her husband with love and sensitivity in an attempt to reconnect and understand the turmoil in her marriage brought about by his depression. Carl Bower’s photographs of strangers describing their worst fears explore the tension between who we are and who we want to be.

Utilizing the language of popular culture adds universality to a project. Matthew Swarts takes our relationship with technology and amplifies the visual artifacts while simultaneously breaking our connection with the original image with two projects; each addressing the end of one relationship and the uncertainty that comes at the beginning of another. 

(Pictured above: Shea by Laura Beth Reese)



Carl is a Denver-based photographer whose work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Carl was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine of London, Time, Vice, and Lenscratch. He was a finalist for the PhotoLucida Critical Mass Book Award, New York Photo Awards and the Clarion Award. His work is collected by the Portland Art Museum and private collectors.


Maureen Drennan is a photographer born and based in New York City. Her work has been included in exhibitions in North America and Australia including the National Portrait Gallery (D.C.), Rhode Island School of Design Museum, The Wild Project (NY), Aperture (NY), Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and the Newspace Center for Photography, amongst others. She currently teaches at LaGuardia Community College and the International Center for Photography in New York City.


Laura Beth Reese is a Boston-based artist and curator. She was born in Iowa and raised in the Northeastern United States – sometimes in New Jersey and sometimes in Massachusetts. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in 2009 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts in 2013 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Reese’s work has been exhibited around the United States, most recently at the New Art Center, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and Bentley University’s McGladrey Art Gallery.


Matthew Swarts lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Photography and Digital Imaging. His work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, WIRED, SLATE, GUP Magazine, FLAK photo, Conscientious Photography Magazine, Doubletake Magazine, Contact Sheet, Afterimage, Fotophile, In the Loupe, and other publications. Swarts is the recipient of a J.William Fulbright Scholar Grant and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation Award for the best new work nationally in photographic portraiture.