Photography Exhibit: Mara Gibbs


Main Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138

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Viewing Schedule:

  • Opening reception: Saturday, May 11, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Monday, May 13, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, May 14, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 16, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 18, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 19, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Monday, May 20, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, May 21, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday, May 22, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 23, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday, May 28, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 30, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, June 1, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Monday, June 3, 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Please join The Cambridge Public Library and the family of Margalit ‘Mara’ Gibbs in celebrating her photographs.

Mara had a passion for both traditional darkroom processes and vibrant, digital effects. Her black-and-white photographs, many taken in public places, are rich observations of daily life, full of texture and luminously gradated light and shadow. In her color work, Mara experimented with transparency, collage, and constructed narratives. Much of Mara’s work revolves around loneliness, abandonment, decay, bruising, tenderness, and hope. The narrative works are alternatingly surreal, mischievous, elegant, and somber, messy and ephemeral. Together, the photographs in the exhibition reveal the range and depth of Mara’s skills and subject interests, including: portraits of family and friends; self-portraiture; public life; life at Reed College: and experimentations in color and abstraction. These photographs are intense, complex, intimate, and full of charisma.

Born to Lauren Gibbs and Steven Flax, Mara was named Margalit after Steven’s mother, Pearl, and Lauren’s mother, Pat. Margalit is the modern Hebrew form of Margaret, which means pearl. She grew up in and around Cambridge (her mother living in Cambridge and her father living in Roslindale, Brookline and then Somerville before joining Mara in Cambridge). A creative child, Mara began composing songs at age four, and by the time she was five identified as a math girl, taking every math class offered at CPSD. She danced, wrote poetry and song lyrics, and drew with pencil, charcoal and pastels.

Mara attended high school at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where she often felt that most of her learning occurred in the Photography Department. At the same time, she found English, History, Chemistry, and Psychology as well as Math to be additional favorite subjects. She took dance and then lacrosse at CRLS. Mara won Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards for her photography, and graduated in 2015. At Reed College, Mara took photographs all the time, but did not take photography classes. Her favorite courses at Reed included philosophy, economics, and computer science. Mara had two computer science internships – with GlooPen (a messaging/chat application with a game component) and with The Reed College Software Design Studio.

Mara’s life ended tragically during her sophomore year at Reed College, in an off-campus apartment fire. At a life celebration for Mara at Reed shortly after she died, friends shared memories and anecdotes, relating her propensity for dispensing hugs and humor. She will be missed. 

The works in this exhibition were printed at Pushdot Studios in Portland, Oregon.

Page was posted on 5/14/2019 3:28 PM
Page was last modified on 2/4/2020 1:02 PM
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