After witnessing the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 from his Stamford office, Darien native and artist Robert Carley made it his mission to capture the American spirit in photographs of Old Glory in many different forms — including a chain-link fence, pick-up truck, surfboard and farm silo. Traveling to 43 states across the country, Carley has been documenting the flag-themed imagery of his red, white and blue subjects for more than a decade.
Highlights of his quest are on view beginning July 14, in the exhibition “Flags Across America: The Photographs of Robert Carley” at the Bruce Museum. The show celebrates the American flag with approximately 44 photographic prints and a video display of 60 additional photographs, representing more regions of the country than any of his previous displays.
Carley’s photographs have been exhibited across the country and have appeared on international websites.
“September 11th changed my life in an unusual way,” Carley says. ”I was an illustrator and artist, but after 9/11, I decided to pick up a camera that I had inherited and focus on documenting tributes to America. Flag tributes to America began to spring up everywhere. Flags sold out and homemade ones were created. The flag came to life in new ways.”
Reflecting on the the significance of his documentary art, Carley says, “I realized that I was witnessing a unique and special time in American history. America’s resolve and resilient spirit was expressed all over the country when the flag was painted on previously unimaginable objects.”
He says that he willl keep tracking down flag tributes as he hears of them until they have disappeared. This summer he plans to travel to states in the Southwest.
The exhibition at the Bruce Museum through Sept. 22, and is supported by the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.
More info: brucemuseum.org