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Made In Woodstock VI

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.

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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.

INTERPRETING LANDSCAPE
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.

NEW LANGUAGES
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.

HYPER-REAL
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.

IN CLOSING
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.

 

 

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Lourdes Correa-Carlo

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Nikita Gale

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Gerard Gaskin

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Eyakem Gulilat

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Tommy Kha

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Grace Kim

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Deana Lawson

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Pixy Liao

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Rebecca Martinez

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Yamini Nayar

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Gina Osterloh

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Jeannette Rodriguez-Pineda

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Jacolby Satterwhite

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Paul Mpagi Sepuya

"Made In Woodstock VI" October 27 - December 30, 2012Sofia Silva

 

Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott

CLOUDS

September 8 – October 14, 2012

We have been photographing clouds for years.

As long as we can remember, we watched them form and dissipate
glow with a multitude of hues and roll heavy with storms
move with the wind and stand still for hours.
We felt the energy of these vast cloudscapes
towering cumulus formations, iridescent waves of lenticular clouds
and feathery cirrus fans.

The sky is a wilderness, a celestial refuge.
The clouds we observe are volatile and ever changing
visible to us but out of reach.
We cannot harness, own, or develop them.
They retain the clarity of their structure of fine water droplets
and crystalline ice particles suspended in the atmosphere
at altitudes reaching up to several miles.
They create entire skyscapes, half of the landscape we see
and challenge us to look up and watch them unfold.

To make our images, we work in open spaces filled with weather.
And while we photograph the clouds moving above grasslands and mountains
ice fields and canyons, forests and deserts,
we experience the weather which creates them.
We are buffeted by wind and get chilled to the bone
swelter in heat and hunker in heavy rain
feeling the next-to-the skin sense of being there.
This part of the process is what makes it real for us:
our physical presence in nature and the sense of being fully alive.

Our process leads us to fundamental questions about visual experience
and perception of what we see.
How do we view a scene while looking at it?
How do we remember it — for days or years — after we leave?
How do our memories reflect images
taken at the time when we saw the scene?
And how can the photographic medium be used to encompass
and communicate what we see — the entire half dome
of the cloudscape, or its most exquisite fragment —
and yet stay in the realm of a still photograph?

To answer these questions, we use various photographic techniques.
We explore the clouds with long telephoto lenses
and with extreme wide angle ones.
We create images showing the moment in time
as well as the transition in the constantly changing sky.
Like chapters of a book, they follow a story, a time line, a movement.

We use our medium to explore and expand the limits of our perception
and encourage the viewer to pause and focus momentarily
on one cloudscape
before moving on and taking in another.
We often show no land, allowing the clouds to float freely as they do
unanchored, ephemeral and fleeting.

– Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott, 2012

Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott are internationally acclaimed photographers of nature. Nomadic for years, they settled in the Catskills in 1979 but continue to explore the rhythm, the light and the essence of remote and mysterious wild places.

A New Zealander, Eastcott published his first book of photographs at 17, earned a degree in photography in London, and met Yva while hitchhiking near the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Together, they took off for the North, fell in with Dogrib and Slavey fishermen catching whitefish on Great Slave Lake, and published their first images under shared photographic credits.

Later Momatiuk and Eastcott proposed a story idea to National Geographic and spent five months in the Canadian Arctic with a group of Inuit hunters. Soon they were authoring magazine stories and pictorials for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, Stern, The Observer, and Nature Canada. Yva and John, married by then, became a couple of roaming “professional bums”, to use their words, following their curiosity and desire to see, feel, and learn.

They have traveled and photographed in New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Canada, Afghanistan, Chile, and Argentina. They followed the mustangs of the American West and created a book of images and a Smithsonian cover story. They spent many seasons in Alaska, the American Southwest, and river swamps of the South. They returned to the Canadian Arctic, explored pampas of Patagonia, the outback of Australia, the savannah of Africa, and the Pribilof Archipelago in the Bering Sea.

Momatiuk and Eastcott have published four books, High Country (1980), Mustang (1996), This Marvellous Terrible Place: Images of Newfoundland and Labrador (1998) which also became a theatrical publication, and In a Sea of Wind: Images of the Prairies (1991), as well as two children’s books, Face to Face with Wild Horses and Face to Face with Penguins, both published in 2009 by the National Geographic Society.

They are recipients of awards from the National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year, BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best and National Wildlife magazine competitions, and the annual award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation for excellence in still photography dedicated to environmental issues. Their images were represented in several National Geographic shows in Washington, DC, and in BBC exhibits in Natural History Museum in London, England.

momatiukeastcott.com

DOUBLES, DUALITIES, & DOPPELGÄNGERS

conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt

July 14 – September 9,  2012

Doubles, Dualities, and Doppelgängers features the work of classic and contemporary photographers who each, in their own way, explore both the exterior appearance and examine the intensely personal psychology of being a twin.

As a subject that continues to resonate with both photographers and the public alike, identical twins connote both a physical and psychological duality and balance, but have also been regarded as curiosities or freaks. The phenomenon of exact doubles existing in nature has long been researched by scientists as an opportunity to begin untangling questions about heredity and environmental factors in determining the people we become.

The concept of “nature versus nurture” seems embodied in twinship: How can identical twins with virtually identical DNA be so different in personality or temperament? Conversely, like the extreme case of ‘the Jim twins” (1), how can identical twins whom have been separated by birth still have so much in common?

Photography is a particularly potent catalyst for this conversation. The camera has often been seen as a mirror to the outside world, creating a more-or-less exact copy of reality. Since the advent of the medium, there has been a photographic fascination with twins.  The unnerving repetition of an individual presence within the frame evinces photography’s voyeuristic nature. A number of the works in this exhibition possess a certain assumption that the intended audience shares the photographer’s desire to stare and compare.

Conversely, that impulse has also been subverted and consciously implemented to mine a deeper understanding of the human psyche. Utilizing the visual spectacle of the double, photographers have appropriated the concept of a twin to create a paradigm ripe with metaphorical possibilities. As a result, the exhibition Doubles, Dualities, and Doppelgängers presents photographers who are working from one of three different approaches:

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People Photographing Twins focuses on photographs of twins, and offers a survey of the theme in both historical and contemporary practice as well as through a variety of photographic genres. Iconic portraits by Mike Disfarmer, Mary Ellen Mark and Roger Ballen ride the line between the spectacle of doubles and the intense personal interest and compassion that these photographers carry towards their subjects. Martin Schöeller’s larger-than-life portraits ask the viewer to compare and contrast between both the physical (dis)similarities and the underlying personalities of his subjects. Working within multiple genres of photography, Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s refined eye for fashion and formalism is shown alongside the well-known Louis Faurer 1948 image of twins in Times Square and opposite of a photojournalistic approach with Jodi Cobb’s story about two twin sisters, one of whom has undergone gender reassignment hormone therapy to transition from a female to a male. Also included in this section are works by Janette Beckman, Elinor Carucci, Annabel Clark, Rineke Dijkstra, Charles Harshberger, Sarah Moon, and Hiroshi Watanabe, as well as works by several unknown photographers.

Twins Photographing Twins features photographs created by and of twins, whose imagery truly expands our understanding of self-portraiture. On view is a piece from an early project by Lynn Geesaman, an artist known primarily for her landscape imagery, that was made possible by access to the University of Minnesota twin study led by Thomas Bouchard in which she participated. Her image is a poignant portrayal of twins who were born out of wedlock in Germany, raised without knowledge of each other and reunited years later. Eileen Cowin, Christa Parravani, and Carrie Will all probe the psychology of twinhood by staging or documenting lived moments between themselves and their twin sisters, using the connotation of the double to explore dramatic narratives within their strikingly intimate and/or at times contested relationship. Colleen Kenyon and Kathleen Kenyon’s (CPW’s longtime Directors from 1981-2003) interpretive works mine practices of photography and photo collage, respectively, whether in camera or by hand and divulge. Their distinct but mutual artistic practices reveal the intensity of the intimate connection between twins and the doubled meaning for them as artists. As Kathleen notes in her artist statement, “(I) always [had] a doppelgänger in my art”.

Twinning: Dualities as Metaphor presents works in which the concept of “twinning” is used for the purpose of metaphysical and psychological explorations. Though not twins themselves, Kelli Connell, Cornelia Hediger and Ruud van Empel each, in their own way, use the camera and the computer as a tool in constructing a believable reality that questions our expectations of representation, identity, and exposes the multiplicity of the single self. Also featured in Twinning: Dualities as Metaphor are works by several unknown photographers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries from the collection of Robert Flynn Johnson, which depict some early instances of “twinning” in photography, wherein the same individual appears twice in one frame. These images were accomplished by using combination printing (2) which is the process of joining together multiple negatives to form a single image. It was a process that was used by proponents of the Pictorialist (3) movement in photography and was a precursor of photomontage (and one can say, Photoshop).

Though not featured in this exhibition, Diane Arbus’ infamous photograph Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 (which many indirectly encountered through its reference in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining) serves in many ways as the exhibition’s emblematic icon. Her biographer, Patricia Bosworth, wrote that “she was involved in the question of identity. Who am I and who are you? The twin image expresses the crux of that vision: normality in freakishness and freakishness in normality”.

The photographers’ motives for creating their respective images span a wildly diverse range of approaches. Some of the artists approach the subject through the perspective of anthropologists, social documentarians, photojournalists, poets, and scientists, while others are motivated by their personal connections as parents or siblings. Collectively the works featured in the exhibition Doubles, Dualities, and Doppelgängers proffers questions of identity, individuality, and the (in)appropriate nature of the gaze found within photographs of twins – a most enduring subject for photographers.

– Akemi Hiatt & Ariel Shanberg, July 2012

Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003. Akemi Hiatt worked as the Center’s Program Associate from 2009 to 2013.


 

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012(Attributed to) Edena Co.

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Roger Ballen

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Janette Beckman

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Elinor Carucci

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Annabel Clark

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Jodi Cobb

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Louise Dahl-Wolfe

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Rineke Dijkstra

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Mike Disfarmer

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Louis Faurer

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Charles Harshberger

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Mary Ellen Mark

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Sarah Moon

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Martin Schöeller

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Unknown

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers", conceived by Ariel Shanberg and organized by Akemi Hiatt, July 14 - September 9, 2012Hiroshi Watanabe

 


Twins Photographing Twins

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Eileen Cowin

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Lynn Geesaman

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012 Colleen Kenyon

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012 Kathleen Kenyon

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012 Christa Parravani

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Carrie Will

 


Twinning: Dualities as Metaphor

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Kelli Connell

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Cornelia Hediger

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Olrehambaatt-Photo

"Doubles, Dualities, & Doppelgängers" July 14 - September 9, 2012Ruud van Empel

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Surface Tension

curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt

May 5 – July 1, 2012

Press Release →
As various techniques and processes have been freed within the medium of photography from the responsibility of “depicting images” and “telling stories”, not unlike the revolution that painting experienced over a century ago, photographers are increasingly exploring the ontology of various image-making processes and mining a deeper understanding of our relationship to the medium and its nature as an object.

Though the medium of photography has long been host to pluralities as all art forms do, one can increasingly observe a recent incarnation of the form that self-reflexively engages the process and production of image-making. In the spirit of the quality of surface tension found within the natural world, this exhibition features photo-based works by 11 artists who establish new languages within the medium wherein our notions of the “photographic” are both challenged and expanded.

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Our point of contact with photography today includes news media channels, photo albums, Facebook, Flickr, Google, and advertising. We experience those images on screens of all sizes, both backlit and projected, plasma, and LED, matte, and glossy. The emotional responses that pictorial photographs trigger can include wonder, horror, sadness, joy, and so many more. Released of the medium’s afore mentioned historic obligations the works assembled in Surface Tension invite viewers to consider the tactile qualities of a photograph and the tension of the physical and/or psychological response they elicit. What happens when photography’s responsibility to tell a story or capture a moment at an event is given up and one instead considers a photograph for its formal and aesthetic values? Often, we may be frustrated by the featured works’ reluctance to share information. Why do they insist on remaining elusive and avoid the appearance of a narrative even when embarking on one, preferring instead that we embrace their own coded language?


Objecthood
We expect from photographs the communication of a particular event, person, or moment in time and yet none of the images on view here appear to do that. Marisa Baumgartner, Klea McKenna, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Matthew Brandt, Joseph Heidecker, Aspen Mays, Alison Rossiter, and Christopher Colville, evince an interest in the photograph as an object. In these artists’ hands, the photographic print becomes conflated with its subject and can be seen as a fetishized object made dear by the original circumstances of its creation.

These artists move away from the onus of narrative and revert to the handmade, unique, spontaneous image which photography initially seemed so poised against. Through the reorganization of prints, the use of Photoshop, sunlight, lakewater, bodily fluids, a hole puncher, photographic developer, gunpowder, beads, string, and pins, they confront the notion of the supposed “lasting image”, instead leaving records of their own removal or manipulation in surprising and unpredictable ways.

Baumgartner’s vinyl wall piece, along with McKenna’s folded airplanes and Sepuya’s transplanted studio space, each in their own way, lets the photographic quality of the print be subsumed within the installation itself and enhanced by its site-specific nature, forcing the viewer to engage in unexpected ways with the imagery on view.

McKenna folded paper airplanes from chromogenic paper and exposed them to the sun at former WWII anti-aircraft lookout posts over the period of one day, from dawn until dusk. As camera-less photographs exposed directly by the sunlight, the specific conditions of these images can never be replicated, contesting our expectations of a machine-generated replica from a cameras digital sensor of a film negative. 

By using the studio as the site of creation for his current work, Sepuya’s process involves constant printing, editing, re-appropriation and recreation. He will move a referent from one piece and incorporates it into another, and as a result this shifting subject-object dynamic points to his interest in using photography as a tool to collect photographs and to explore the relationship to and among art objects. 

So too does Brandt fold the physicality of his subjects in with the final product – whether by utilizing the salt from a person’s bodily fluids to instigate a chemical reaction for the photograph to emerge or by allowing the lake water depicted in his images to physically degrade the print.

Akin to the seemingly perverse action of intentionally destroying a photograph are Heidecker’s piercings of found portraits with needle and thread. Sourcing found images and commonly discarded materials, he creates masks for these strangers, the faces and identities of whom will remain unknown.

For Mays who nearly obliterates the entire photograph with a hole puncher, the photographic print represents a complex terrain of knowledge and questions. In her approach making sense of the image supersedes knowing what is in the image. Subsequently her gestures connect the invisible space between information and understanding.


Creation Myth

At its birth, photography was an explosive unstable medium. Like a star going super nova, the photograph in its earliest days was momentarily here and then it was gone. With William Henry Fox Talbot’s efforts, the process of “fixing” a photograph was made possible and its role as a document of record, a record of fact, was confirmed. Today some 170 years later, through the employment of chance, instability, and visual tension, we find in the works of Christopher Colville, Alison Rossiter, Matthew Brandt, and Klea McKenna, a reinvigoration of photography’s earliest and now obsolete processes and its defining element – the light sensitive emulsive surface.

Colville’s phosphoric illuminations on gelatin silver paper and Rossiter’s elegiac pools and pours on expired gelatin silver papers often decades old, bringing forth opposing sensibilities of the light sensitive plane; an opposing pairing of slippery (Rossiter) and abrasive textures (Colville). As with Action Painting so exemplified by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler, each work resides as a minute experiment and an unveiled universe all at once.

The subjectification of the subject of their photographs is mined by both Brandt and McKenna who obliterate any trace of their respective pictorial setting while simultaneously embedding it into the photographic surface. For Brandt it is a biological intersection while McKenna’s exploration uses the contextualization of place in her photographic process.

In looking inward at the originating gestures of their process, they blend scientific method with artistic practice and evoke an enthusiasm that has long been dormant.


There Is Nothing Here To Look At: Flatness, Illusionary Depth, and Deceptive Descriptions

In encountering the works of Brea Souders, Megan Flaherty, Mark Lyon, and Marisa Baumgartner one experiences a psychological and visual tension rather than a tactile or physical reaction directly evoked by other artists in the exhibition. As collapsed documents that reveal neither depth nor context, they refuse to allow themselves to dwell within the realm of pictorial narrative.

Flaherty trains her eye and camera on the flatness of work surfaces used by art students. The resulting images simultaneously highlight the success and the failure of the documentary photograph. Through the process of re-photographing photographs, Lyon creates seemingly straight forward images of the photographic wallpaper used in clinical environments which emphasize the two-dimensional nature of their subjects and echo the seductive illusion that the wallpaper is meant to simulate.

Using fabric, mirrors, magazine cutouts, and fragmented representations of her own body, Souders composes surreal and dreamlike scenes which oscillate between flatness and illusionary depth. In her efforts to establish a legitimate connection with her personal ancestry, she both utilizes and contradicts the photographs traditional role in preserving memory and connecting lineage. The result is a seductive, yet unyielding surface.

Similarly unyielding in its structure, Baumgartner’s vinyl wall piece interrupts a view onto a courtyard (raising the question of what is the photographer’s vantage point – are we seeing from the inside or the outside?) with wide bands of deleted content, forcing our mind to fill in the blanks. As wall and image fuse, the resulting liminal space serves as a mirror, a window, and a void.

Conclusion(s)
By subverting conventional (cultural) expectations of the photographic medium via gestures of abstraction, deconstruction, and manipulation by the artists’ hand, the print as a three dimensional object is as much at play as the artists’ methodology in embracing photography’s transmutable nature. Through the artists’ explorations featured in Surface Tension, we are witness to the establishment of an increasingly flexible visual language that would not have been possible prior to the advent of Digital Photography. In that their work has allowed for a renewed investigation of aesthetic diction throughout the medium, can this work be seen as an invitation to embrace a wider understanding of visual literacy? If the artists in Surface Tension are any indication of the direction that the medium is heading in, can we imagine what new images will be taken, but also conceptualized, erased, constructed, altered, soaked, combusted, lit, pierced, or layered? And if so, what does that say about what our expectations of a photograph could and should become?

– Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 2012

Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003. Akemi Hiatt worked as the Center’s Program Associate from 2009 to 2013.

 

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Marisa Baumgartner

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Matthew Brandt

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Christopher Colville

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Megan Flaherty

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Joseph Heidecker

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Mark Lyon

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Aspen Mays

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Klea McKenna

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Alison Rossiter

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Paul Mpagi Sepuya

"Surface Tension", curated by Ariel Shanberg & Akemi Hiatt, May 5 - July 1, 2012Brea Souders

 

 

PR: Photography Now 2012

Press Release

Photography Now 2012

Photography Now 2012

Opening reception: March 10, 2012, from 5-7pm

Gallery hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 12-5pm and by appointment

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is pleased to announce Photography Now 2012, juried by Natasha Egan, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago.

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Thilde Jensen

Canaries

March 10 – April 22, 2012

Since World War II the production and use of synthetic chemicals has exploded.

In the course of an average day, people come in contact with a host of chemicals. As a result of the prevalence of these synthetic chemicals, it is believed that more than ten million Americans have developed a disabling condition referred to as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

MCS is a condition in which our immune and central nervous system have extreme reactions when exposed to small amounts of daily chemicals like perfume, cleaning products, car exhaust, printed matter, construction materials and pesticides. In addition, some individuals affected by MCS react to light, fabrics, food and electromagnetic fields as emitted by computers, phones, cell towers, cars and florescent lights – making life a near impossibility.

Many people with MCS are forced to live in remote areas in tents, cars, or retro-fitted trailers, away from dangers of neighbors’ chemical use. Others are effectively prisoners of their own homes, with advanced air filter systems to keep outside contaminants at bay.

In 2003, the story of this condition became my story when a sudden development of severe MCS cut short my life and my career as a documentary and editorial photographer in New York City. I had to flee my home as my immune system crashed, forcing me into a survivalist journey which unraveled the comfort and construct of my previous life.

The ensuing years were a lesson in basic survival. I camped in the woods and wore a respirator when entering supermarkets, doctors’ offices, and banks. To my surprise, I was also introduced to an otherwise invisible subculture of people who shared this isolated existence.

My photographs are a personal account of life on the edge of modern civilization as one of the human “canaries”, the first casualties to an ubiquitous synthetic chemical culture.

– Thilde Jensen, 2012

Thilde Jensen (Truxton, NY) is from Arhus, Denmark, where she attended European Film College and K.U.B.A. School of Fine Art Photogarphy. After moving to New York, she attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at the Society of Contemporary Photography in Kansas City, the New Century Artist Gallery and The Back Room Gallery in New York City, and the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. A solo exhibition of “Canaries” was previously presented at Light Work in Syracuse in July, 2011. Jensen’s work has appeared in various publications including The Observer, Contact Sheet, The New York Times Sunday Review and Doubletake Magazine. Her editorial and journalistic work have appeared in Newsweek Magazine, Details Magazine, and Blender Magazine, among others. Jensen’s work is in the permanent collections of Light Work in Syracuse, NY and the Museet for Fotokunst in Odense, Denmark.


thildejensen.com

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2012

juried by Natasha Egan

March 10 – April 22, 2012

Press Release →

Serving as the juror for PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2012 was at once a pleasure and a challenge. Nearly 300 submissions from artists across this nation covered a vast range of photographic styles, techniques, subjects, and ideas, and the eight projects that I ultimately selected cover a range in photographic practice today – abstraction, conceptual, constructed, documentary, narrative, and performative. I am drawn to work that is layered – visually or conceptually. Always intrigued by minimalism with cerebral depth, I am interested in photographs that communicate complex stories and educate the viewer with artistic and conceptual integrity. I am particularly attracted to works that possess irony, humor, or formal complexity.
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Three of the projects in the exhibition take family and friends for their subject matter but apply entirely different modes of photographic practice. In Wise Blood, Martha Fleming-Ives sensitively documents her father’s public life as a Congregational minister and his private life as an aging father with four daughters. Motohiro Takeda prints extremely dark photographs of interiors in his grandfather’s home in Japan to memorialize the passing of his grandfather and allude to the ways that memory works. Identical twin brothers Jason and Jesse Pearson construct narratives based on shared experiences, memories, family history, and fantasies, from adolescence to adulthood.

Other artists concentrate on socially constructed perceptions of land and space. Katie Shapiro humorously explores ideals of the American West by staging portraits of herself with her partner, a native Texan, in different national parks from the Channel Islands to Big Bend. In each picture they become progressively more cowboy-like as they approach Texas. Juan Fernandez‘s Facades depict familiar places such as homes, malls, and institutional spaces, but by cleverly manipulating the buildings he disrupts our perception of place. By seamlessly juxtaposing two or three images together, Terri Warpinski‘s Surface Tension looks at both physical and psychological barriers along both the US-Mexico border and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories.

Finally, two artists transform paper into metaphor. Bobby Davidson poetically and hauntingly creates photographs inspired by documentation taken during 9/11 and a scene in Don DeLillo’s novel Falling Man, where office paper and ash float down to the surface of earth from the sky. Jon-Phillip Sheridan turns a two-dimensional piece of paper into a three-dimensional object by folding it, and then uses special lighting to photograph the unfolded paper object. In Sheridan’s words, “These images are constantly shifting between the banality of their materiality and the spectacle of their illusion.”

I would like to thank each of the artists who submitted work. It was a great privilege to see the extent of strong images being produced today and to take in the varied stories and situations that were so carefully revealed to me.

– Natasha Egan, April 2012

The Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Natasha Egan has organized numerous international and national exhibitions including The Road to Nowhere? For the FotoFest 2010 Biennial: Contemporary U.S. Photography. She has contributed essays to such publications as Brian Ulrich: Copia (Aperture, 2006) and Michael Wolf: The Transparent City (Aperture, 2008). Egan also teaches in the Photography and Humanities department at Columbia College Chicago and juries national and international exhibitions.

mocp.org

 

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Bobby Davidson

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Juan Fernandez

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Martha Fleming-Ives

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Jason and Jesse Pearson

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Katie Shapiro

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Jon-Phillip Sheridan

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Motohiro Takeda

"Photography Now 2012", selections by Natasha Egan, Museum of Contemporary Photography, on view March 10 - April 22, 2012

Terri Warpinski

 

The Frustration of Expression

curated by Dorota Czerner in collaboration with iNDIE

November 13 – December 23, 2010

Curated by Dorota Czerner and featuring works by former participants in the iNDIE Media Program, The Frustration of Expression brings back to Woodstock one of the most renowned voices in contemporary video art and an artist who spent his formative artistic years in Woodstock, New York, home to one of the nation’s longest running artist colonies.

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The exhibition features Gary Hill’s Wall Piece (2000) a complex multifaceted installation which features the artist hurtling himself against a wall, uttering a single word from a prepared monologue. With each impact a strobe flashes, both complicating and articulating the moment Hill simultaneously hits the wall and utters a word.

With Wall Piece as the exhibitions “center piece”, the five selected alumni of the iNDIE Media Program working with Czerner and iNDIE Director Russell Richardson, have created newly commissioned pieces both in response to Hill’s work and focused on addressing “the frustration of expression”, particularly in connection to having grown up in Woodstock. Their video installations, created specifically for this exhibition, explore the terrain of adolescent expression and the obstacles – both external and internal – to that expression. The development of these pieces can be followed on VIMEO by clicking here, as Richardson accompanies his former students and uses his own camera to capture the complex process of artistic creation

With the Aquarian paradise tangled before them in beaded necklaces, young people of Woodstock grow up knowingly listening through the gap between myth and reality.

The disjuncture between the town, and its own essential happening, generates nostalgia for the absent story.

“True life is absent. But we are in the world. All metaphysics arises and is maintained in this alibi” (Emmanual Levinas).

Teenage rebellion embodies rejection of the fake. Desire for a true life. Truly spoken – truly experienced. Every trajectory of acquiring an identity reveals both: a negation, and a yearning turned towards “the elsewhere, the otherwise, and the other”.

Yet ingress into the metaphysical space is never easy.

There, at the threshold, lies trepidation.

There, is breaking the boundaries of social acceptability, pushing against the predictabilities of the physical world. Testing the veracity of words and spaces, of textural and textual objects. Walking the line of trust.

There, is violence comparable to breaking through one’s own walls.

In flashes of flesh – flashes of light.

Breakthrough fragments of identity surface intimate worlds, expressed by the flow of images weaving themselves from the other side.

Like summer fireflies, their expressive energies illuminate the darkened field.

– Dorota Czerner, 2010

Born in Wroclaw, Poland, in 1966, Dorota Czerner is a writer and poet who currently serves as the editor of Open Space magazine. She actively collaborates on numerous mixed-media performances and audio/visual projects and is in the process of writing an experimental novel entitled a place of dunes.

Established in 1999, iNDIE provides hands-on educational offerings which allows youth between 16 and 23 years of age to come together, work on media projects – chiefly video – and interact with mentors from the local community. CPW is pleased to have had a history of collaborating with the program since its inception including hosting special screenings and curated exhibitions.

 

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Gary Hill

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Marilla Abrahamsen

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010    Will Lytle

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Anthony Morelli

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Kaela Smith

"The Frustration of Expression", curated by Dorota Czerner, on view November 13 - December 23, 2010Taima Smith

 

 

Installation View of "Vanitas", January 9 - February 28, 2010

Justine Reyes

Vanitas

January 9 – February 28, 2010

Taking inspiration from Dutch Vanitas paintings, these photographs incorporate personal artifacts within the traditional construct of still life. Pairing objects that belonged to my grandmother with my own possessions combines present and past and speaks to memory and personal legacy.

Both the decomposition of the natural (such as rotting fruit and wilting flowers) and the breakdown of the man-made objects reference the physical body and mortality. These objects bear witness to a spiritual trace or imprint that is left behind or residual. The insertion of subtle contemporary details (like the saran wrap, the family portrait, etc.) locates the work in a specific time and place. It also lightens the weight of both the art historical references and the family history.

Much of my work explores the power of objects to bear witness to intangible ideas and emotional truths. Moreover, my work often explores how identity is shaped by our relationship to and our personal idea of home. This body of work employs the iconography and symbols of common everyday objects as a means of communicating memory and the passing of time.

Justine Reyes lives and works in New York. In 2000 she received BFA from Syracuse University and in 2004 she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Reyes’ work revolves around issues of identity, history, and time; and examines our relationship to these themes within the context of a post 9/11 world. Using photography and installation, she examines family, the idea of leaving and returning home, and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.

Reyes has shown her work both nationally and internationally. She participated in Proyecto Circo at the 8th Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba and took part in Contemporary Istanbul in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2008 Reyes was an artist in residence at both St. Mary’s College of Maryland and here at the Center for Photography at Woodstock where her series “Vanitas” began. In 2009 Reyes’s “Guayabera” series was included in Queens International 4 at The Queens Museum of Art. Reyes was recently awarded the Individual Artist Initiative (IAI) from the Queens Council on the Arts and a workspace residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for 2009-2010.

justinereyes.com

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