October 27 – December 30, 2012
Press Release →
Made in Woodstock VI marks the sixth installment of CPW’s exhibition series featuring work created by participants of WOODSTOCK A-I-R, CPW’s workspace residency program for artists of color working in the photographic arts.
Established in 1999, WOODSTOCK A-I-R provides participants with time, facilities, space, and the critical and technical support necessary to move forward. The program encourages the pursuit of creative risk-taking in an inspiring and supportive environment where, working without distraction, photographic artists can focus intensely on their own work, continue works in progress, layout their goals for the future and break new creative ground. With quiet and solitude yet enlivened by a community of fellow artists, WOODSTOCK A-I-R participants work in the idyllic environment of Woodstock – a gathering place renowned for its vibrant cultural history.Continue Reading...
Being close to the creative process and integral to the production of new work is, for CPW, at the core of our mission to support emerging and groundbreaking artistic voices. What transpires over the course of a residency can vary greatly from artist to artist and is continuously affected by concept, process, goals, and the fresh realizations made while here.
Representing the broad range of photographic practices and interest that WOODSTOCK A-I-R helps realize, the 15 artists featured in Made in Woodstock VI whose residencies took place in 2010 and 2011 engage in an inspired and deeply self-aware dialogue on landscape, identity, performance, representational concerns, aesthetic diction, and more.
With the mutable nature of each artist’s work in mind as well as their intensely diverse and dynamic interests, the following categories can provide an initial guide to understanding the multiple themes threading together the work in the show. However, it is by no means an exhaustive framework for understanding each image-maker’s own particular story and voice.
The Hudson Valley has been a source of inspiration for artists throughout history, whether they have been painters of the Hudson River School such as Thomas Cole or residents of the Byrdcliffe Colony working across the visual and performing arts alongside a community of fellow artists.
Each of the residents included in Interpreting Landscape arrived in Woodstock with the intention of making work impacted by their surroundings. For them, the question of “Why Here?” is ever-present, whether it reveals in the lushness of the natural world, functions as a psychological motif, or is used in contrast with dissimilar environments and ideas of home.
Through the integration of still photography and video that manipulates time, meditation, and perception, the work of Grace Kim (Brooklyn, NY and Berlin, Germany) is meant to seduce and hypnotize the viewer. With footage sourced from such disparate settings as the Grand Central terminal, and late-night drives on local roads here in the Catskills, Kim’s films give form to otherwise intangible experiences. Similarly, Jeannette Rodriguez-Pineda (Queens, NY) engages with her direct surroundings, gathering moss and twigs that are depicted in her photographs to distill personal moments, impressions, and symbols of the human and natural world into tactile and sensory descriptive works.
Originally from Ethiopia, Eyakem Gulilat‘s (Norman, OK) work deals with questions of identity and home. His process involves inviting his American subjects to be his collaborators in a representational trade-off, as he photographs them wearing traditional Ethiopian clothing and they photograph him in turn. In the resulting prints Gulilat and his numerous subjects are separated only by the shared environments they both inhabit.
Jacolby Satterwhite‘s (Brooklyn, NY) studio practice involves photography, performance, 3D animation, and sketches created by his mother in her battle with schizophrenia. Among other themes, which are discussed below, his films contrast an idyllic nature and a hard urban, virtual world that the artist-as-character navigates and performs within.
CPW supports artists making photo-based works, and recent years have seen a growth in artists employing photo-sculpture, mixed media, video, animation, and artist’s books. Equally as exciting as witnessing the successful union of multiple processes is the invigorating dialogue that emerges as artists make conceptual choices that underpin the messages in their work.
Jacolby Satterwhite is interested in using multiple media to conflate and contest established narratives. His source material, whether it be autobiographical (drawings by his schizophrenic mother), performative (ritualized and contemporary dance), or environmental (the landscape of Woodstock or computer-generated virtual realms) all come together to give form to a surreal fantasy world in which the artist, as a major player acting out scenes of love, lust, and heroism, can examine insider/outsider art practices, queer phenomenology, and the inheritance of a studio practice.
Both Lourdes Correa-Carlo (Houston, TX) and Yamini Nayar (Brooklyn, NY) combine sculpture and photography in their practice, though each with very different outcomes. Correa-Carlo’s weighty and unyielding pieces assert themselves physically in the space and sometimes develop into environmental artworks that change the way the viewer navigates the room. Her pieces evoke the containment and constraint of buildings ranging from lean-tos to skyscrapers and probe the social and industrial effects of urban planning and the built landscape. In the spirit of a Tibetan mandala, Nayar constructs invented scenes on tabletops, documents them with a camera, and discards the materials after the photograph is made. Within the frame, there is no referent to perspective, scale, or depth, such that the sculpture depicted is abstracted from the construction of its meaning.
The book form is an apt vehicle for breaking apart languages both visual and text-based. Nikita Gale’s (Atlanta, GA) project and artist book entitled 1961 revisits and re-contextualizes a volatile period of U.S. history. Her work juxtaposes historical documents including letters exchanged between a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Malcolm X, found family slides from the Civil Rights era, and mug shots of Freedom Riders. The content of these materials is physically cut apart and collaged together such that the original context is not always apparent, though remains oddly tense and subversive. Likewise, in navigating the relationship with her younger partner, Moro, Pixy Liao (Brooklyn, NY) has invented a visual and textual manual for their own coded language entitled PIMO Dictionary that is at once playful and mischievous. The book is part of a larger investigation of the exchange of power between men and women, as well as across cultures (Pixy is Chinese while Moro is Japanese), and reflects the charmingly stilted flow of communication between humans as well as our never-ending quest to create meaningful relationships with one another.
THE ARTIST AS PERFORMER
All the world is as they say, a stage and the camera has been a privileged witness. For many artists working today, the single neutral frame of a photograph can serve as a provocative realm within which one can contain gesture, sequence, and narrative. Yet these images are not meant to be experienced as documentation. Rather they are specific to being performed for only the camera, not before a live audience, and experienced within the context and language of the photographs.
A traditional though no less innovative definition of the artist as performer is clearly represented in the work of Jacolby Satterwhite whose videos incorporate ritualistic and contemporary dance, which he performs in both real and virtual environments along with 3D animation and appropriated iconography. In his project Glasco Turnpike Paul Mpagi Sepuya performs a compounding series of gestures before the camera using in some cases his own body. Continuously enfolding in actions into each new image, he lets the resulting photograph double in on its previous incarnations, thus raising questions surrounding the relations and meaning we have to the photographic object. Gina Osterloh‘s (Los Angeles, CA) photographs serve as record to her explorations in which she traces gesture and movement within temporary constructed spaces. The resulting images serve as the sole record of her research ñ a map of her visual choreography.
In Tommy Kha‘s (Memphis, TN) series American Knees, the photographer revisits the yellowface performances of Caucasian actors during the early/mid 20th Century in Hollywood. By performing what are established stereotypes, Kha creates a doubling within the still frame that brings forth authenticity and falsehood at the same time. His performance fills the borders of the image with qualified sense of hesitancy and disbelief. The deconstruction of preconceived notions and stereotypes are also explored in Eyakem Gulilat’s work. His triptychs serve as evidence of a performative exchange, a conscious exploration of visualizing the other by swapping roles and emotive gazes upon a shared stage.
Performance as a mechanism for the negation of ideas and a process for inquiry reverberates through the works of Pixy Liao whose still images document performed gestures and role-playing between her and her partner Moro as articulations of their real-world dynamic.
Standing apart from the other artists outlined here is Deana Lawson (Brooklyn, NY) whose ongoing photographic exploration involves engaging her subjects as performers before the camera’s lens. Recognizing photography’s ability to turn its subjects into characters, archetypes, and (dangerously so) stereotypes, Lawson focuses on the body as a vessel for meaning and assumption with its capacity to contain and perform ethnic, racial, socio-economic, and engendered identity.
The photograph, or more accurately the image’s ability to capture and define realities is more eminently clear than ever before. Whether unveiling a sub-culture or a under-recognized community or utilizing imaging tools to articulate what is either invisible to the naked eye or only visible in the imagination, photography’s ability to share realities beyond our own has never been clearer.
Additionally the ever-increasing prevalence of images throughout our daily lives has granted them a greater role in our understanding and comprehension of the worlds we live in and those that we don’t. As much as photography holds the power to reveal the unseen, it holds the ability to elevate and influence our sense of and expectations for reality. The resulting impact is often a desire to match more the image-inspired realm than the realm we exist in.
The definitions of artificiality and realness are clearly blurred in the works of Gerard Gaskin and Rebecca Martinez. In his ongoing documentation of the world of House Ballroom, Gerard Gaskin (Queens, NY) offers us a glimpse into the ongoing 50 year old tradition amongst members of the African American and Latino/a queer community who have created and maintain an idealized realm of community, family and identity that speaks to their true sense of self and their aspirations include extreme measures to achieve their realness. Rebecca Martinez‘s (San Francisco, CA) series preTenders reveals the subculture of individuals who own and/or make highly detailed and realistic dolls of infants. While the babies they hold, burp, put to bed, and play with, are undeniably fake, the emotions they elicit from their owners and the love and care that is bestowed upon them are no less real.
Sofia Silva (Baltimore, MD) examines the suffocating influence of commercial imagery that influences our desires and expectations relating to ideal body types and romantic relations. Silva zeros in on print media, which has allowed for a warped depiction via imaging editing tools targeted particularly at women. In fracturing and rephotographing commercial imagery and its hyper-real depictions, Silva’s approach belies the printing process and elevates its constructed nature, thus decoding representations of corrupted feminine ideals.
Collectively, CPW’s artists-in-residence build upon existing genres while injecting their own personal inquiries and perspectives. Made in Woodstock VI champions these 15 talented artists-of-color and provides a forum for a visual engagement with a wide yet interconnected range of photographic methods, interests, and subjects explored. Together, they celebrate and enrich Woodstock’s historic role as a home, community, and source of inspiration for generations of artists – past, present, and future.
– Ariel Shanberg and Akemi Hiatt, November 2012
Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003. Akemi Hiatt worked as the Center’s Program Associate from 2000 to 2007.