Richard K. Kent teaches courses in East Asian art history and in the history of Western photography. He received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese art and archaeology from Princeton University.
He has published articles on facets of medieval Chinese painting history, especially the Buddhist subject of lohans (senior disciples of the Buddha) from the Song to the Ming dynasties. His current area of research concerns early twentieth-century Chinese photography, about which he has published a series of articles. He also has published essays about contemporary Chinese and American photography.
Kent has received research grants from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louise M. Hackney Fellowship for the Study of Chinese Painting, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies (Kyoto), and three Hackman Summer Research grants from Franklin & Marshall College.
Apart from his identity as a scholar of Chinese painting and photo history, he is a writer and photographer. His study of many facets of Chinese cultural history, including Buddhist history and philosophy, has offered vital perspectives that inform both his writing and photography.
Kent has shown photographs in juried exhibitions throughout the United States. The photographs he makes echo and extend his concerns as a writer. Several ongoing series document places and their transformation over time (Past Houses of Light, Patch of Woods, and Lessons in Recursion). Other series reflect an interest in implied, absurdist narratives or dreamlike still life studies (Approximate Knowledge and Mental Images). The most recent series, Lessons in Recursion, marks a shift in using positive color film (6X7cm) and the incorporation of digital means to produce the final prints.
As a writer, he has published poetry in such literary journals as FIELD, Tar River Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Midwest Quarterly, as well as other small magazines. Ice Carver, a chapbook of twenty poems, was published in 2017 by Seven Kitchens Press. He is currently working on a book-length series of octets that reflect—sometimes obliquely—his study of Chinese landscape poetry.
Scholarship in Art History
“序言” (“Preface to Chen Shen Guangshe jishi”), trans. Shen Yang 沈阳. In 陈申 (Chen Shen), 光社纪事 (A Record of the Light Society). Beijing: Zhongguo minzu yishu shexingshe, 2017 (bilingual): 5-7 (Chinese); 9-12 (English).
“Zhongguo 20 shiji zaoqide yishu sheying: Jiena, bentuhua, yongbao xifang,” (Early Twentieth-Century Art Photography in China: Adopting, Domesticating, and Embracing the Foreign) 中国 20 世纪早期的艺术摄影: 接纳, 本土化, 拥抱西方, trans. Shen Yang 沈阳, Zhongguo yishu shikong 中国艺术时空 (China Arts Space), No. 3 (June 2017): 36-58 [Translation of article that originally appeared in Trans-Asia Photography Review (2013); see below]
“Inscribed Photographic Portraits: Commemoration and Self-Fashioning in Republican-Period China.” In Portraiture and Early Studio Photography in China and Japan. Ed. Luke Gartlan and Roberta Wue. London: Routledge, 2017: 117-139.
“Flying Eagle (Feiying): Jin Shisheng and the Cause of Photography in 1930s China” (飞鹰：金石声和三十年代的中国摄影事业). In 陈迹: 金石声与现代中国摄影 (Relics: Jin Shisheng and Modern Chinese Photography). Ed. Jin Hua. Shanghai: Tongji University Press, 2016 (bilingual): 366-383.
“Early Twentieth-Century Art Photography in China: Adopting, Domesticating, and Embracing the Foreign,” Trans-Asia Photography Review, vol. 3, issue 2 (Spring 2013), 34pp. (A peer-reviewed electronic journal archived by the University of Michigan.) http:// quod.lib.umich.edu/t/tap/7977573.0003.204?view=text;rgn=main
“Fine Art Amateur Photography in Republican Period Shanghai: From Pictorialism to Modernism.” In Bridges to Heaven: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Wen C. Fong. Ed. Dora C. Y. Ching and Jerome Silbergeld. Princeton: P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art & the Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 2011: 849-874.
“Reclaiming Documentary Photography.” In Jerome Silbergeld, Humanism in China: A Contemporary Record of Photography. New York: China Institute, 2009: 18-35.
“Contested Space: The Work of Robert Lowing’s Witness and American Landscape Photography,” catalog essay in Contested Space: Witness to Place—Photography of Robert Lowing. Lancaster: The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, 2015: 4-12.
“Subject and Image: Zhang Yuming’s Search for Photographic Significance” (题材与影像：张玉明对摄影意义的探究, translation by Wang Yitong 王艺潼), catalog essay in Presence & Rendering: Zhang Yuming’s Photography (存在与呈现: 张玉明作品集). Beijing: Zhongguo minzu sheying yixu chubanshe, 2015 (bilingual): 18-22 (English). [ http://photo.artron.net/20130621/n466348_1.html (2013)]
Embracing the Uncarved Wood: Sculptural Reliefs from Shandong, China (擁質抱樸: 中國山東一個藝術家群體的木雕藝術), co-editor (with Christopher Zhu). Lancaster: The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, 2009 (bilingual).
“Mapping the Coordinates of Silence: Relief Sculptures from the True Words Studio” (測繪無聲的座標：真言工作室的木雕作品). In Embracing the Uncarved Wood: Sculptural Reliefs from Shandong, China. Lancaster: The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, 2009: 1-8.
“Trying My Hand at Translating Li Bai” [poem], FIELD (No. 100, Spring 2019): 47.
“Just Listen” and “This Early June Morning, While Reading Du Fu, I Discover We’ve Caught Another Groundhog” [poems], Anchor (No. 10, Spring 2019): 59-61.
Ice Carver [a chapbook of twenty poems]. Milford, OH: Seven Kitchens Press, 2017
Editor of William McNaughton and David Young, translators, Qin Guan: Moon as Bright as Water. Chesterton: Chester River Press, 2016. See http://www.deepwoodpress.com/Moon.html
“Writing the World and One’s Place in It [Seamus Heaney’s `Alphabets’],” FIELD (No. 91, Fall 2014): 18-23.
“Performing for the Earth God” [poem], Tar River Poetry (Vol. 53, No. 2, Spring 2014): 28.
“Lines Written on the Day before the First Snow” [poem], FIELD (No. 88, Spring 2013): 19.
“A Scholar Instructs a Goose: On an Anonymous Chinese Photograph from the 1930s” [poem], Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (No. 18, September 2012): https://www.asiancha.com/content/view/1201/356/
Recent Exhibitions [Photography]
2005 Art Association of Harrisburg, Edward C. Michener Gallery, Harrisburg, PA: Approximate Knowledge: A Sequence of Photographs & Poems
2005 Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA: Past Houses of Light: A Documentation of Wooden & Glass, Family-Run Greenhouses
Exhibitions (Selected Group)
2019 PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT: Intentional Spaces (recipient of Director’s Award)
2019 Jadite Gallery, New York, NY: NYC4PA Primary Colors (recipient of Juror’s Award)
2018 The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA: Semifinalist in the 93rd Annual International Competition
2018 Darkroom Gallery, Essex, VT: Metamorphosis
2017 The University of the Arts, Gallery 1401, Philadelphia, PA: The Photo Review: 2017 “Best of Show”; recipient of Third Prize.
2017 Providence Center for Photographic Arts: 4th Open Call Exhibition
2017 Darkroom Gallery, Essex, VT: Pathways and Passages; recipient of “Honorable Mention” Award
2017 Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA, 23rd Juried Exhibition
2017 The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA: Art of the State 2017; recipient of First Place, Photography
2017 The Garner Center, New England School of Photography, Boston, MA: Intimate View: First Annual Juried Group Exhibit
2017 A Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX: elsewhere
2017 Larson Gallery, Yakima Valley Community College, Yakima, WA: 40th National Juried Photography Exhibition; recipient of “Honorable Mention” Award
2017 Colonel Eugene E. Meyers Art Gallery, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND: The 8th Annual “Of Memory, Bone & Myth” Exhibition
2016 The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College: Biennial ArtFaculty Exhibition
2016 Maryland Federation of the Arts, Annapolis, MD: American Landscapes; recipient of “Juror’s Choice Award”
2016 Darkroom Gallery, Essex, VT: ARTifact
2016 Colonel Eugene E. Meyers Art Gallery, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND: The 7th Annual “Of Memory, Bone & Myth” Exhibition
2016 Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ: Photography 35
2015 Darkroom Gallery, Essex Junction, VT: Oddity
2015 Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN: Still Life: The Inanimate Subject
2015 The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College: 2015 Art Faculty Exhibition
2015 Darkroom Gallery, Essex Junction, VT: Con[Text]: Symbol & Image
2014 The Rourke Art Gallery Museum, Moorhead, MN: The 5th Annual “Of Memory, Bone, and Myth Exhibition”
2014 The Demuth Museum, Lancaster, PA: Demuth Invitational 2014: Pennsylvania Pop
2014 Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ: Photography 33
2013 San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA: Art of Photography Show 2013
2013 The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA: The Lay of the Land: Visions of America 1860-2013
2013 Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR: Field Notes: Landscape and Architecture
2013 The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA: Art of the State 2013; recipient of Honorable Mention
2013 The Rourke Art Gallery Museum, Moorhead, MN: The 4th Annual “Of Memory, Bone, and Myth Exhibition”
2013 12 12 Gallery, Richmond, VA: International Juried Portrait Exhibition
2013 Demuth Museum, Lancaster, PA: Demuth Invitational 2013: Landscapes:Lancaster and Beyond
2012 Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN: The Human Condition
2012 The University of the Arts, Gallery 1401, Philadelphia, PA: The Photo Review: “Best of Show”; recipient of Honorable Mention
2012 The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA: Art of the State 2012
2012 Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA: Permanent Collection: Featuring Recent Acquisitions
2012 The Art Gallery at the Rourke Museum, Moorhead, MN: The 3rd Annual “Of Memory, Bone, and Myth Exhibition”
2012 BronxArtSpace, Bronx, NY: Circuitous Routes
2012 Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY: Contextual: An Exhibition of Image and Word
2012 The Demuth Museum, Lancaster, PA: Demuth Invitational 2012: An Architect’s Influence
2012 The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College: 2012 Biennial Art Faculty Exhibition
2011 The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA: Art of the State 2011
2011 Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ: Photography 30
2011 Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN: Urban View – Rural Sight: Documenting a Sense of Place
2011 Minneapolis Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN: Black & White
2010 The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, Faculty Art Exhibition