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2015 Photography Now Purchase Prize

2015 PHOTOGRAPHY NOW PURCHASE PRIZE:

MORGAN ASHCOM

The Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to announce that the 2015 PHOTOGRAPHY NOW Purchase Prize has been awarded to Morgan Ashcom for his photograph, Untitled (Leviathan #10), 2010  from his series Leviathan.

This acquisition marks the first acquisition of Mr. Ashcom’s work by a public collection.

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Stranger than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction

curated by Chau V. Tran

Like a movie set or an imaginary world created in childhood game play, the eerily verisimilar space in Mayumi Terada’s Dollhouse 02-8, and Allen Bryan’s Tea Party oscillates between the artificial and tactile realities, public and private spaces, and the tension of time and space.

These still yet disquieting and ambiguous spaces, too unsettling for human presence, are situated where locality and time have become disjointed and distorted.

Mayumi Terada creates familiar, austere and intimate domestic spaces in her series Dollhouse. Made from wood, Styrofoam, and clay, Terada then photographs this seemingly simple, miniature world with atmospheric natural light. These interiors, though devoid of human presence, evoke an uncanny sense of lingering existence through small objects such as a curtain, a window overlooking scenic beauties, or in this photograph, a bathtub. As with most of the photographs in her series Dollhouse, the room and its sparse trappings are entirely white, confined and almost empty, no decoration, no history. Light permeates the interior gloom through a small window at the corner of the wall and the only object is partly bathed in soft light. The window gives a glimpse of other possibilities beyond this sparse, uninhabited space, but all that comes out of it is white, blinding light. Terada’s photograph defies any rational judgment of scale and proportion. The fabricated minimal design, the mundane everyday object, and the stark contrast of light and shadows, work together to create places that spring out of one’s memories. Her images operate between the realm of reality and recollection, of real and fiction. They puzzle such questions as when and where; of what might have been and may have disappeared; of something seemingly real but appearing at odds with reality.

 

Tea Party is a part of Allen Bryan’s series Comforts of Home, in which he seeks to portray the constant influx of human living spaces. If Mayumi Terada builds up her empty, melancholic miniature world as if she was reminiscing for something that was lost, Bryan uses digital imaging tools to reorganize fragments of everyday life. Unlike the stark spaces Terada crafts in her photographs, Bryan creates panoramic photographs of extremely clustered domestic spaces, using various images with different light sources, perspectives, and depth of fields. The more time one spends looking at the photograph, the more the space gradually unfolds, and what seems to be, at first glance, a normal scene from everyday life, turns out to be a seamless flow of contradictions. Found objects whose nature contradicts their associated placement confound expectations. This juxtaposition, within a realm where interior and exterior space folds in on each other, creates a scene of quiet chaos. The familiar, shielded nature of a domestic space is confronted by the unsettling elements that it contains in Bryan’s photograph.

 

With the series Dollhouse, Mayumi Terada sought to make photographs of spaces from her childhood memories while Allen Bryan’s Comforts of Home is the result of the artist’s search for a connection between the different spaces that he had photographed over the years. Just as time distorts our view of the past, we can never produce an exact photographic representation of the reality of those spaces when their image in our mind already grows pale. What these photographs offer is not a person or an object in a specific place at a specific time, but something that is hidden unconsciously in our thoughts and imagination, something that defies time and space, fiction and reality.

– Chau V. Tran, Fall 2014
Arts Administration Intern

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"Tides of the Past"

Tides of the Past

Tides of the Past

Curated by Brittany Juravich

Water has always been a symbolic and literal source of energy and renewal for me.

Having grown up near Lake Ontario in New York, I have been aware of its vastness, mystery, and beauty throughout my life. Although it is in a constant state of motion, and change, it provides me with a sense of peace and grounds me no matter where I find myself. Each of the artworks on view here, selected from CPW’s Permanent Print Collection, elicited specific personal memories through the techniques and visual approaches the photographers used to explore water as an element in the landscape and as a visual metaphor for the world that we live in.

In Robin Dru Germany’s (Slaton, TX) Galveston: Pressed, from her series Surface Tension, she explores not only the quietness that can be found on the surface of the water but also the mystery of the unknown world that lies deep below what the natural eye can. Germany uses encaustic paint to create a rippled texture over the printed image creating an effect that mimics the surface texture of the water. The enigmatic nature of the photograph illustrates the tension between the underwater world and the world above.

For Jeffrey Milstein (Kingston, NY) the ocean serves as a source of discovery in his photograph Block Island Dune, Moonrise. This image was taken early in his career, one night while climbing up the sand dune at Block Island along the coast of Rhode Island. Milstein wanted to capture the beauty and essence of that moment with the moon rising over the horizon of the water and night sky. Though inspired by the specificity of the location, there is a universal sense of familiarity to it. The sand dunes frame our view of the ocean and glowing moon suggesting an entrance to another world that promises a new journey ahead.

Jeannette Rodríguez-Píneda (Queens, NY) incorporates water both literally and illustratively in How Lovely Wetness Makes My Flesh. A self-described “nomadic explorer”, Píneda harvests elements from the natural world and utilizes historic photographic processes to evoke a multi-sensory experience for her audience. Through discovery and the use of natural elements, Píneda has created a piece that is as mysterious and beautiful as the world it references.

Each artist featured here has been drawn to water as a creative element in their artistic process. Whether they use this element in their work to symbolize a sense of wonder, discovery, and experiences in their lives or are simply marveled by its nature they invite us as viewers of their work to consider our own experiences, memories, and relationships to this vital element of life.

-Brittany Juravich, Summer 2014
Arts Administration Intern

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Race, Love, and Labor

RACE, LOVE, AND LABOR:
New Work from the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Artist-in-Residency Program

curated by Sarah Lewis

on view August 27  – December 14, 2014

at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz presents Race, Love, and Labor: New Work from the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Artist-in-Residency Program, an exhibition of new work from the
Center for Photography at Woodstock’s (CPW) Artist-in-Residency Program. Curated by Sarah Lewis, the exhibition will be on display at the museum from August 27 through December 14, 2014, in the Sara Bedrick Gallery. The public opening reception is Sept. 6, 5–7 p.m.

A special panel discussion with Lewis, CPW Executive Director Ariel Shanberg, and artists LaToya Ruby Frazier, Tommy Kha, and Deana Lawson, will be held on September 27, at noon, in the Student Union Building, Room 62/63, on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

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2014 Photography Now Purchase Prize

jackson

2014 PHOTOGRAPHY NOW PURCHASE PRIZE:

THOMAS JACKSON

The Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to award the 2014 PHOTOGRAPHY NOW Purchase Prize to Thomas Jackson for his photograph, Plates no. 3, 2013,  from his series Emergent Behaviors.

This acquisition marks the first public collection to purchase Mr. Jackson’s work.

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From the Prosaic to the Profound

From the Prosaic to the Profound

curated by Walker Downey

Perhaps one of the greatest virtues of photography is its potential for the construction of new perspectives – literal and figurative – by which the mundane, commonplace elements that fill our objective reality are newly illuminated.

Invested with novelty, intrigue, and “magic”, they can be recast in new roles or positions which allow formerly absent or dormant qualities to be thrust to the fore. Juan Manuel Fernandez’ Housing,Rebecca Horne’s Dancing Handkerchief, and Charles Shotwell’s Mr. and Mrs., while each rooted in different conceptual enterprises, share both an aesthetic inclination towards distinctly deadpan staging and a carefully-orchestrated transformation – aided by minimal trickery or manipulation – of the banal into the preternatural, the prosaic into the profound. Only by the deft hands and keen eyes of those capturing them do the focuses of these works – an unassuming suburban home (Fernandez), a page plucked from a fashion magazine (Shotwell), and a single sheer handkerchief – transcend their respective realities and achieve new contexts thus inviting repeated double-takes.

In Juan Manuel Fernandez’s (Highwood, IL) disquieting image Housing, from his series, Façade, the artist succeeds in wringing the uncanny from an ostensibly “normal” specimen of suburban America housing, dressed in unassuming yellow and replete with all the trappings typical of such a development: a patch of looming trees, electric white trim, and a neatly-tailored lawn. Yet, it is upon one’s second and perhaps even third glance, that the quotidian veneer begins to fracture. Using little more than clever angling and selective focus, Fernandez has shorn nearly all worldly reference points and all identifying marks from the structure. Lacking any visible indicators of human life—furnishing, ornament, wear—even its very entrance — the home echoes with an utterly alien emptiness.

Filled with a spirit markedly more playful than that which haunts Fernandez’s photograph, Rebecca Horne’s (San Francisco, CA) Dancing Handkerchief (from the series, The Corner of Your Eye) suffuses a common domestic object with both whimsy and waking life, deftly and subtly animating it in such a way as to effect a sense of oneiric fantasticality. While the grace and matter-of-factness of Horne’s subtle scene lends a fleeting plausibility, the fiction of the image soon collapses, much in the way a dream does when its seams begin to show.

The more overtly intricate Mr. and Mrs. (from the series, Fragments) finds Charles Shotwell (Chicago, IL) eschewing mere transformation for playful and striking subversion. By foregrounding and peeling back the simulacrum of the photographed image, Shotwell de-contextualizes and distorts the magazine clipping before quite literally planting it beneath the spotlight. Behind Shotwell’s lens, a page of glossy fashion that would otherwise command no more than a passing glance is rendered anew, the seduction of its pictured model and thus its artifice, cunningly short-circuited.

While opting for subdued, understated palettes and setting their sights on subjects typically consigned to the periphery of our awareness, the three artists gathered here have produced works that continually ensnares the gaze and bids us to re-calibrate our day-to-day perception. It is in this appeal to the magic and mystery lurking beneath the mundane that the brilliance of their craft lies.

– Walker Downey, Summer 2013
Artist Administration Intern

Selections from the Permanent Print Collection

SELECTIONS FROM THE PERMANENT PRINT COLLECTION

 

In harmony with the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s (CPW) mission, to support artists working in photography and related media and engage audiences through opportunities in which creation, discovery, and learning are made possible, CPW maintains and builds a permanent print collection.

The focus of the collection is contemporary voices in photography and related media that CPW has supported, collaborated, and worked with. In recent years the collection has grown to include historic works spanning the late 1800s to modern times so as to increase access and understanding by audiences in our region.

Through the generous gifts of artists and individual donors the collection has grown to include work by: Shelby Lee Adams, Ruth Bernhard, Albert Chong, Fred Cray, Jed Devine, James Fee, Larry Fink, Charles Gatewood, Graciela Iturbide, Kenro Izu, Christopher James, Antonin Kratochvil, Nina Kuo, Elliott Landy, Mary Ellen Mark, Sheila Metzner, Andrea Modica, Bill Owens, Gilles Peress, Sylvia Plachy, Lilo Raymond, Eugene Richards, Stephen Shore, Lorna Simpson, Carlos Somonte, William Wegman, among others. In addition, CPW maintains a unique holding of prints by Woodstock photographers such as Manual Komroff, and the

Gaede/Stiebel Archive of images and audiotapes of the Woodstock Maverick Festivals. CPW’s collection is housed in, archived, and cared for by the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, where it has been held on extended loan since 1996. Today, CPW’s collection features over 1,750 contemporary photographs. This exhibition provides a glimpse into how CPW’s collection has grown since it was established in 1980. The main avenues through which it has grown being our Artist-in-Residence program, Photography Now exhibition acquisition prize, individual donations and works donated from previous exhibitions.

 

What’s Mine is Yours

What’s Mine is Yours

Curated by Stephanie Brenner

How do we decipher between narcissistic visual diaries and introspective explorations?

People take photographs of themselves and their loved ones habitually, posting them on Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, YouTube or any available online source where they can expose themselves in an attempt to gain attention. When viewing self-portrait and personal narrative photographic work it can often be difficult to get passed this narcissistic self-consciousness that is so prevalent in our culture today. Of course there are great differences between everyday pictures and artists’ photographs, including aesthetics, time and effort, knowledge of the photographic medium, but most importantly, emotive conceptualism. Photographers like Elinor Carucci, Yijun “Pixy” Liao, and Lupita Murillo Tinnen who work in genres of self-portraiture and personal narrative are required to be both sensitive and fearless while revealing themselves and their loved ones. These artists use the personal as a foundation for universal themes that resonate with us whereas the everyday gets lost in cyberspace.

Liao’s artist book, Pimo Dictionary is an extension of her ongoing series Experimental Relationship, which questions traditional ideas about romantic relations. Pimo Dictionary is literally a lexicon of terms derived from everyday conversation and the daily life of Liao and her lover, but in no way is it superficial or one dimensional. Made over the course of her artist residency at CPW in summer 2010, she uses her relationship with her younger Japanese boyfriend, Moro, as a basis for the exploration of sex and power roles, differences in Japanese and Chinese cultures, isolation, disconnection, love and hate. The text is accompanied with images of them together; both are very aware and posed in front of the camera. This artist book, although quite witty and humorous, is an extremely personal portrait not only of Liao but her other half as well. Her fearlessness may have taken her too far in a certain part of the book as Moro scratched out a line of text and wrote “not okay 🙁 -Momo.”

Similarly, Carucci’s photograph, “Grandma Get Dressed”, captures a loved one in a moment that could be interpreted as embarrassing and private, and is indicative of her ongoing photographic exploration that captures the intimacies of her and her family. Carucci’s grandparents, parents, husband, and now children have been the main focus of her work since she started taking photographs at the age of 15. Carucci’s photography reveals the detailed aspects within everyday family relationships and motherhood. Although Carucci utilizes close ups to make her work simultaneously more intimate and universal, her portraiture work of her family members like that of “Grandma Get Dressed”, who are often nude or in various states of undress, exude great understanding and at times vulnerability.

Lupita Murillo Tinnen turns the camera on herself in the series Mourning Sickness made over the course of her artist residency at CPW in summer 2008, while exposing the extremely intimate pain associated with her three-year struggle with infertility. She shares her vulnerability and grief to the world through imagery of cathartic private performances captured in silent, lonely, and bare spaces. Tinnen explains in her artist statement, “accepting the fact that I may remain childless has been the most difficult struggle, the biggest challenge I have ever faced. It felt much like grief and so this work is about the empty feeling and numbness that I felt as I was going through the grieving process.” Although her work is a distinct personal narrative, the content is relevant, especially to the 7.3 million American couples that have had difficulties conceiving.

Self-portraiture and personal narrative work can be controversial but ultimately it stems from making art about what you know best – your life and your loved ones. Whether that is selfish, narcissistic, or brave is entirely up to the viewer. This kind of photography requires generous honesty and thought, and can be used as a way to purge emotions, gain perspective, or to even relate to the rest of the world. Together the works of Laio, Carucci, and Tinnen act as a generational progression of womanhood, starting with Laio’s artist book as young romantic love, Tinnen’s series as the trials of potential motherhood, and ending with Carucci’s photograph of the oldest and most experienced matriarch. These artists reveal their own intimate relationships with family and their experiences of womanhood and motherhood. They deal with the vulnerability of exposing themselves and their loved ones as a result of their creation. In the end these artists make work that while deeply personal transcends individual experience and addresses universal themes that can resonate with us all.

– Stephanie Brenner, Arts Administration Intern, 2011

Relationships

Relationships

Curated by Helena Kaminski

We are conceived and born out of a binary system of two individuals.

The understanding of this beginning creates a longing for companionship of our own. The hunger for attaining an orbiting star from which to plot our own geography is a defining factor in developing a sense of self and determining our worldview. Therefore it should be no surprise that historically artists have continuously revisited this theme, whether it be an investigation of their relationship with themselves, others, or the divine. This topic has been explored in the form of observing and capturing other couples’ interactions, photographing one’s own partner and loved ones, and restaging critical or intimate moments. The three photographs on view here symbolically articulate what I perceive as the defining stages of being, with regard to our need for independence, togetherness, and separation.

Louis Faurer (1916 – 2001) was a fashion and street photographer during the 1940s through the 1960s. Though not as recognized publicly as some of his contemporaries, he photographed for such publications as Life, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. However he is best known for his personal work photographing the streets of Philadelphia and New York. “Eddie” is emblematic of his style. Meticulously composed, Faurer carefully isolated his subject, placing him within a perfectly typical urban setting. The man is blind and shown alone but holds only a newspaper and a few sprigs of flowers. His face shows shyness, and the perspective is slightly withdrawn, observant. There is no suggestion of another individual in the photograph, creating a sense of loneliness.

Elinor Carucci’s (b. 1971) intimate portrait “Bite #2” is an eloquent study of her relationship with her husband, from the series Closer. The series describes personal moments, demonstrated by a very intimate perspective throughout, between the artist and her family. Gently closed eyes and lack of strained muscles on the face implies the couple in this photograph is at ease with each other’s presence. The bite suggests the push and pull of many relationships: the wants and needs of one partner versus the other. These intersections can lay the foundations for a strong relationship or destroy it completely. Or, the bite is simply a sign of affection and an affirmation of their familiarity with each other.

“Betty Field, 1944” is an unusually quiet photograph for fashion photographer Phillipe Halsman (1906 – 1979). Famous for collaborating with surrealist painter Salvador Dali and pioneering “jumpology” (photographs taken while the subject is jumping into the air), Halsman’s photographs are highly constructed. This photograph is of film and stage actress Betty Field, who at the time was two years into a fourteen-year-long marriage to the first of her three husbands, Elmer Rice. Also in 1944, Field was working on The Great Moment, a film by Preston Sturges, which ends with the death of the protagonist, mourned only by his wife. Halsman references the film by using distance to create an atmosphere of removal, both of subject to lens and subject to subject (Field to painting). The window has been left open, suggesting both a sense of escape and absence.

These three photographs individually engage the viewer in specific and distinctive ways. Faurer and Halsman both visually create a sense of detachment, Halsman through his use of distance and symbolism, and Faurer with his choice of subject, while Carucci’s approach to depicting intimacy exemplifies physical togetherness. Unlike Halsman and Faurer, Carucci also utilizes color, which makes her images feel more immediate and relate-able. Faurer observes his subject and photographs to highlight subtle emotion isolation while Halsman uses staging to suggest distance. Working within the different photographic genres, street, contemporary fine art, and commercial, these three photographs illustrate the inevitable stages of our most important interactions.

– Helena Kaminski, Arts Administration Intern
2011