A MAP OF LATIN AMERICAN DREAMS
November 1- December 21, 2004
Latin America is a land of contradictions and broken dreams, a place where countries are being rebuilt, again and again almost every 10 years. External interference on national affairs along with internal corruption has written the history of Latin America over time. Freedom of speech and civil rights are not taken for granted nor are they fully exercised, for the memory of many people that were tortured and killed for having different ideas is still fresh in our minds.
This work, begun in 1992, arose out of the need to explore the field of human dreams, to return to the daily ritual of desires, contrasting our real situation with an ideal one. I want to engage that moment when we imagine our lives transformed by a desire fulfilled, with a new situation, even a new identity. I invite people to write on a chalkboard their desires and aspirations, in this way including their own perspective through their dreams. By participating in their own portrayal, they reveal themselves in their own language, retaining power over how they are represented and retaining authority over their claims. Dreams are real. They exist. My aim is to externalize what is internal by photographing it. This is a bridge that leads the people in these images to reveal themselves and to retain some power over how they are represented. Now is a crucial time to represent what is being left unattended: the evolution of another crisis in Latin America. The middle class is being pushed into poverty by rising unemployment, and campesinos are being forced again to migrate into the cities, moving from poverty into misery. The concentration of wealth is growing and the gap between the poor and the rich is being stretched. The conditions that create the pattern of cycles involving social fragmentation, political violence, and instability are rising. I want to challenge the view of a static inevitable poverty and sudden seemingly capricious violence. There is a middle ground, which is ignored: struggling individuals seeking a better future in peace, trying to overcome not poverty but impoverishment. By being able to imagine it first, and then express it, we can exercise our right to self-determination, to bring out that power from the individuals to lead our nations, as a way to transcend our condition and overcome our history and actual situation. Dreams are not commodities, countries and continents are not means of trade, and the histories of our communities need to be represented. Our destiny may only be changed if we allow ourselves to imagine a destiny different from that which we were given. – Martín Weber, 2004 — Born in Chile and raised in Argentina, photographer Martín Weber currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires and the International Center for Photography in NYC. A 1998 Guggenheim fellowship recipient, Weber has also been awarded two Hasselblad Foundation grants and a prestigious National Endowment for Arts grant. He has exhibited his work in the US at venues including Lightwork’s Robert Menschel Gallery in Syracuse, NY; the International Center for Photography in NYC; The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX; the Project in NYC and LA; and abroad at the Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, the La Habana Art Biennial in Cuba, the Mois de La Photo Maison de L’Amerique in Paris, and Communa de Milano in Milan. Lightwork published A Map of Latin American Dreams in Contact Sheet issue #125. Weber was an artist-in-residence at CPW in 2003. — webermartin.com —
SHIFTING THE POLITICAL: PORTRAITS OF POWER
curated by Ariel Shanberg
November 1 – December 21, 2004
The five artists assembled in this exhibition examine and reveal power in under-represented locations.
By doing so, they provide a dialogue on representations of power in and through the medium of photography. Power comes in many shapes and sizes. Along with being recognized in attributes such as wealth, authority, knowledge, athletic excellence, and self-determination, power is found in representation. To be depicted is a way of being empowered as is determining who and/or what is to be represented. An image’s ability to represent or frame a historical/social memory, and to define a person, place, or time is an enormous power. Though the emergence of photography democratized representation to a degree, it has continued to propagate visual tropes of other visual art practices. As we find ourselves in an era where the controls over how and what is represented have increased simultaneous to the democratization of image publishing and distribution created by the Internet, the discussion of locations of power and the politics of representation are most pertinent.
-Ariel Shanberg, 2004
Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003.
SIMPLY GIRLS – TEENAGERS IN IRAN
September 4 – October 24, 2004
I use my photography to question the role of women under Islam, as well as my own position as an Iranian-American woman. Drawing on my dual identity, I explore issues of oppression, exile, and integration that reflect the position of women as simultaneously inside and outside their respective cultures.
In a larger context this can be seen as the position of women world wide, a struggle between the conflicting demands of cultural and personal identity, specifically the tension between traditional and non-traditional roles for women.
As I explored the notion of difference I saw something emerge in my work that was more than a clash of cultures—it was more like a synthesis, a vibrant cultural pastiche created by the juxtaposition of these seemingly dissimilar worlds. Teenagers as a group are constantly aware of themselves as individuals between cultures. They exist in and partake of the larger adult culture that surrounds them, while participating in another culture exclusive to teens. Teenage years bring a heightened awareness of the body and a new sense of self-consciousness. Teenage girls in particular are extremely focused on matters of appearance and spend a good deal of time trying to create a visual self-image. They eagerly imitate what they see in popular culture drawing on images from magazines, Internet, and TV to express themselves. There is certain theatricality inherent in this adolescent performance and I play this up in my work. Because teens are already invested in the process of self-construction, they take the visual cues I give them and become actively involved in creating the final image.
In the photograph, “Bubble Gum”, the girls are in their intimate space and preoccupied with their self-image. Since they are covered, the viewer gets a chance to peek into the room and observe their mundane life—the details escape and undo any stereotype.
Even though most of these images are staged, I photograph my subjects in their own private spaces, natural environments, and colors. Teenagers are capricious and fanciful. Once, I give them the props, they often create the image themselves. I try to make my camera and myself as transparent as possible. Being young and uninhibited despite their culture and religion is part of being a teenager. This is exactly what I’d like to communicate to my viewers. When I started photographing the young Muslim women in Iran, I thought they would be much more confined and restricted in their attitudes and poses, nevertheless, once in a landscape with no one around them, their body language and their interaction with the landscape was as liberated as any Western teenager. Wearing Hijab or Islamic cover implies submission to a collective identity. However, I believe there is tension between the values of young people and that which the government dictates, between identity and uniformity. This collaborative project has allowed me to show that teens share many of the same characteristics, dreams, and fears.
-Soody Sharifi, 2004
Soody Sharifi, an artist, teacher, and curator based in Houston Texas, was born in Tehran, Iran in 1955. She earned her degrees from the University of Houston – including a BS in Industrial Engineering in 1982 and a MFA in Photography this year. In 2003 the Houston Center for Photography recognized her talent with a HCP Fellowship and in 2004 she was accepted into Columbia’s National Graduate Seminar Fellowship in NYC. Her work has been shown in group exhibits in Houston, Baltimore, and Tucson. This exhibition marks Ms. Sharifi’s second solo show to date, which will be followed by future solo shows lined up through 2006 from Oregon to China, Slovakia to NYC.
TRACING THE INVISIBLE
June 26 – August 22, 2004
While the series Untitled and Drawings may differ visually and in content, both challenge customary expectations of photography. They function in a singular manner, interacting with conceptions of photography and photographic processes.
These bodies of work depict landscapes that hover between emerging and being, the seen and the subliminal. Unlike traditional landscape images, they are landscape photographs that lack the landscape. The images present an uncertain plane in which spatiality is not easily discerned. They challenge the viewer to question what it is they can actually see in the photograph. Instead of using a full palette of grays to become a “photograph,” through the use of white space and black space, they resist becoming, tempting the viewer to associate what little is discernable – scatterings of trees, people, birds – or pieces of a building, a road, a wall – with pencil drawings or charcoal sketches.
The series “Untitled” engages the viewer in emotional opposition. They attract the viewer yet simultaneously repel them. They have a feeling of danger yet offer a beacon. They are about hiding yet also about being exposed. An intrinsic narrative exists within each separate photograph, but there is no solid narrative between the images. In the series “Drawings”, the generic situations suggest a narrative at work. The white space acts as a stage and the viewer seeks what is “off screen” – the unstated actions that could tie the images together. The effort to create and seek narrative is natural, the state of non-narrative becomes both a site for fear and exploration, asking us where our expectations lie, how we use narrative, and the way in which photography and the photographic has become intrinsic to this process. It is this play of the visual and its association/use as narrative space that ultimately informs the work.
-Noelle Tan, 2004
Born in the Philippines in 1969, Noelle Tan currently works and lives in Washington, DC. She earned her BFA from New York University and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Ms. Tan has shown her work in Boston, LA, NYC, Austin, at venues including the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco, the Asian American Arts Center in NYC, Creative Arts Agency in Beverly Hills, Chambers Fine Art in NYC, and Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal, also in NYC. Noelle was an Artist-in-Residence in the Center for Photography’s annual residency program in the summer of 2003.
F|R|A|M|E – ANALYSIS OF MOVEMENT
curated by Ariel Shanberg
June 26 – August 22, 2004
This exhibition presents artists whose work contemplates the intersection of motion and content, and movement and intent, by examining the architecture of the motion picture.
Implicit in their work is a contemplation of the still frame and the echo of Eadweard Muybridge’s ground breaking work of the 1870’s, which brought forth the ability to both reduce movement to a series of sequential frames and at the same time led to the ability to represent motion through the continuous projection of film.
Each of the artists in f|r|a|m|e create motion studies with a similar obsession as Muybridge, who in his pursuit to record physical movement by animals and humans alike, photographed gestures ranging from the subtle to grand. The revolutionary technological advancements brought on by Muybridge’s explorations and that of his peers, directly changed how we have come to understand and experience time and movement.
Yet the artists in f|r|a|m|e go beyond homage or reference. Operating in reverse of Muybridge’s development of bringing the still frame towards the motion picture, 100 years after his death, they reclaim the motion picture as a series of still frames. Their efforts create a forum in which the viewer can consider technology’s impact on our experience of time and movement through the subjectification of individuality, athleticism, history, culture, and the human body within the still moving frame.
-Ariel Shanberg, june 2004
Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003.
FRESH: YOUTH CULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHS
curated by Nancy Barr & Carlo McCormick
April 16 – June 13, 2004
The artists in FRESH: Youth Culture in Contemporary Photographs have made the theme of youth and youth culture an integral part of their artistic practice in either brief investigations or in extended series spanning the past ten years.
Several of the photographers in this exhibition were not consciously drawn to the subject per se, nor have thought of it as it’s own select genre. But for all of these artists, their interests in various contemporary sub cultural phenomenon—urban lifestyles, modern tribes, the underground, as well as the constructs of gender, race, and identity—combined with aesthetic methodologies of staged photography, portraiture, or documentation – have led them knowingly or unknowingly to the subject.Continue Reading...
FRESH attempts to define the emergence of this genre and includes seven artists who were selected for their diversity in aesthetic approach, age, and cultural perspective. The portraits of Dawoud Bey and Dennis Olanzo Callwood, the staged photographs of teenage girls by Justine Kurland, and the documentary photographs and films of graffiti kids and skateboarders by Cheryl Dunn comment on the constructs that define youth during adolescence. The other artists featured document the social practices and lifestyles emerging as distinct cultures, but from the photographer’s perspective as an insider. The trials, exploits, and collective passions of young adults are evident in the work of Ari Marcopoulos, Ryan McGinley, and Nick Waplington, who photograph youth collectives—snowboarders, global nomads, and underground urban dwellers.
From staged scenes and portraiture to real time visual chronicles, the exhibition reveals the disparate worlds common to contemporary culture and representative of youth as a complex state of mind and being.
– Nancy Barr & Carlo McCormick, 2004
Nancy Barr is an assistant curator in the department of Graphic Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She has curated numerous exhibitions for the museum including “Dawoud Bey: Detroit Portraits”, “Where the Girls Are: Woman Photographers from the DIA’s Collection”, and “Images of Identity: Photographs of Native Americans”. Her publications include articles for Big magazine, The Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and dialogue. Barr’s future projects for the DIA include organizing an exhibition of work by Robert Frank and portraiture by contemporary African photographers.
Carlo McCormick is a writer on art and popular culture based in NYC. Currently the Senior Editor for Paper Magazine, Carlo’s work has also appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Aperture, and Interview, among many publications. He has curated numerous shows including “The LP Show” (1999) for Exit Art in NYC and is currently working on an exhibition about Baseball for the Queens and Bronx Museums, in addition to an exhibition about 1980s art for the Grey Art Gallery.
[one_half first]Dawoud Bey[/one_half] [one_half]Dennis Olanzo Callwood[/one_half] [one_half first]Cheryl Dunn[/one_half] [one_half]Justine Kurland[/one_half] [one_half first]Ari Marcopoulos[/one_half] [one_half]Ryan McGinley[/one_half] [one_half first]Nick Waplington[/one_half]
PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2004
curated by Ariel Meyerowitz
February 7 – April 4, 2004
As a gallerist, I regularly view artists’ portfolios in an effort to find the diamond in the rough and as a means of keeping my finger on the pulse of today’s photography trends.
In CPW’s annual juried call for entries, I reviewed over 218 submissions from photographers of all ages and levels of experience. I expected to find a certain thematic consistency, but such was not the case. What I saw reminded me that photography has no boundaries. The eight photographers chosen for this exhibition are a wonderful affirmation of its diversity.
Representing the social documentary tradition, Lewis Steven Silverman turns his camera toward the solitary figure – an elderly man seated on a park bench, a man meditatively raking sand, a person kneeling in prayer under an archway – each composition exudes respect for the intimacy of the moment captured. Jelisa Ljn Peterson creates a compelling essay of an African village which beckons the viewer to participate with Peterson’s subjects as they crouch on the ground behind a pile of socks for sale, sit along the railing of a boat heading out to sea, or walk along a flooded road beside a truck full of passengers.
Nate Larson creates a visual and text-based diary of incidents shown with related objects that signify prophecy and a personal event in his own life. Catherine Day’s multi-media pieces of an abandoned house, a flowing river, a porch and garden, accompanied by an object from each site, take the viewer on a journey to a place perhaps from Day’s past, which conjure familiar associations.
Art Murphy’s architectural photographs of bridges, train tracks, and industrial pipes are atmospheric and graphically striking. Doris Mitsch makes great use of a new medium – Scanography – to transform flowers, grass, shells, and bird’s nests into layers of fabric, cresting waves, tentacles, or skin.
Liz Wolfe’s colorful diptychs and triptychs are mysterious double entendres. Suggestively placing an octopus on a doll’s head, pubic hair inside a doll’s lingerie, a beaded cactus on top of sequined underwear, she seems to be questioning difficult issues of young sexuality. Finally, Peter Tytla meticulously crafts collages from his own photographs – rusting cars, gas station signage, cats, abandoned shacks, and nude women set against picturesque landscapes. The end results are fascinating, fetishistic scenes of sexy, junkyard art.
Thanks to all who entered the competition for sharing your work with me. A special thanks to the Center for Photography at Woodstock for the invitation to jury this exhibition and for being so helpful.
– Ariel Meyerowitz, 2004
Ariel Meyerowitz, was born in NYC in 1971 to photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, and works-on-paper artist, Vivian Bower. She began working in the art community in 1991 as an intern at the Friends of Photography / Ansel Adams Center in San Francisco, CA. She went on to work for the Scott Nichols Gallery, and in 1995 upon returning to NYC, worked as the Associate Director at the James Danziger Gallery. With more than ten years experience in the field, Ariel opened her own gallery in 2000, which is currently located in the art district in Chelsea. Specializing in 20th & 21st century photography, the gallery’s inventory is eclectic ranging from contemporary conceptual work to classic vintage prints. Genres include: abstraction, color and black & white landscape, architecture / industrial scenes, still life and flora, social documentary, sports, science, fashion and more. Since its debut, the gallery has garnered a reputation in the critical press as well as the community at large as a respected, up and coming gallery, showcasing both established and emerging photographers.
Craig J. Barber
SITES UNSEEN – RURAL AMERICA
FEBRUARY 7 – APRIL 4, 2004
The landscape of my youth
working farms and small towns
summer playgrounds and hunting camps
Dreams let go
The Earth Abides
– Craig J. Barber, 2004
CRAIG J. BARBER is a fine art photographer who has spent over twenty years photographing the cultural landscape and its continually changing face. His work has been exhibited in over a hundred exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America, including those at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the International Center of Photography in NYC, the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, Robin Rice Gallery in NYC, the Gallery Palatina in Buenos Aires, and the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge. His work resides in collections at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Public Library, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. His talent has garnered grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Seattle Arts Commission and the Polaroid Corporation in addition to artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, Lightwork in Syracuse, and Yosemite National Park. Mr. Barber has lead workshops internationally for over a decade ranging from landscape, 19th century printing processes, personal vision, pinhole camera, and darkroom techniques.
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