Grace Kim

 

GRACE KIM

Statement
My work is born out of a need to explore intangible experiences and the inner restlessness one feels when encountering an idea or subject that is familiar yet unknown. I want to understand and give form to the subliminal, and to engage my own and the viewer’s imagination as though we are meeting somewhere in the unconscious.

Dream Meditation was inspired by a personal belief that when we dream, we transcend physical reality – not unlike death and similar to meditation, whose beauty lies in stripping the mind and soul to its bare essence. Themes of death and spirtuality have preoccupied me since the passing of my brother and father several years ago. I began experimenting with self-portraiture as a means to investigate the notion of self in this context. The experience of dreams, meditation, death – each in its own way, connects human beings to a metaphysical state of consciouness. I imagine them co-existing, interwoven with the subtleties that characterize each in its most basic, minimal form. While the work references death, there is also a desire to idealize and immortalize the self through this process. It is a contradiction that seems to reflect the constant search for balance and beauty in all of life.

Threshold of Nothingness is an ongoing series of meditations on time, existence, and memory. The still and moving image-audio works and installations are haikus reflecting perpetual conditions with no beginning or end. Layers of perception explored through perspective, sound, space, time and viewer – echo the layers through which we filter our everyday realities. This personal yet collective process inspires my interest in how memory is constructed through projected illusions of perception; how the present is like water, slipping through our fingers; how quantum studies bring us closer now than ever before, to the acknowledgement of parallel realities; and the belief that time’s linearity is nothing more than a human construct. In Buddhist philosophy the journey of life is seen as an endless circle of time, cause and effect, decay and renewal. My work regards the journey as a metaphor for the human condition, reflecting its dualities, and treading between physical and conscious reality.

Threshold of Nothingness. An all encompassing void meets the vacuous mass of matter. The tangible becomes elusive and the invisible becomes visible. How do we discern the world that we perceive from the world in which we are perceived. What is the view from the outside looking in to the inside looking out? Time is a moving image of eternity, and today is tomorrow kissing yesterday. A threshold of nothingness is everything and nothing, everywhere and nowhere, wide-awake and dreaming.

Bio
Grace Kim received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a certificate from the International Center of Photography in New York. Her work has been exhibited at Melanie Flood Projects, Envoy Gallery, and the International Center of Photography (all in NYC), the Seoul Photo Fair (Seoul, South Korea), and The Last Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), among others. Her series Love Hotel was recognized in 2009 by the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris Photo Awards and has appeared in Burn Magazine. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Website
grace-kim.com

 

Tommy Kha

 

TOMMY KHA

Statement
Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees…” – Unattributed

American Knees examines the notion of Yellowface, a pre-Hollywood-centric practice of casting Caucasian actors to play Asians and physically altering their appearances to give them stereotypical Asian facial characteristics. This practice gives Caucasian actors the “right” to represent Asian roles and mannerisms, thus allowing them control over Asian portrayal in Western media.

The English translated Chinese play, The Orphan in China (1767), gave birth to the act of Yelllowface in the United States, pre-dating Blackface origins in the United States by two years. This convention still dominates in Western cinema to this day becoming more prevalent than Blackface. The most recent examples are The Last Airbender and Dragonball Evolution. Both have lead actors of non-Asian descent playing Asian characters. The director M. Night Shyamalan defended his approach in The Last Airbender as “multicultural casting”. My intention with American Knees is to attempt to take back control of Yellowface by altering my already inherited Asian face and accentuating its traits with make-up, props, costumes and expressions. This act undermines the Caucasian-owned tradition of Yellowface by giving this “mask” to an Asian person. However, this act intends to solicit questions of my own identity as a Chinese American. Wearing Yellowface does not necessarily allow me the right to bear it, nor does it give me authority to edit the history of Asians in passive, mystic, benevolent, supporting, effeminate or weak traditional roles in Western popular culture.

Bio
Chinese-American photographer Tommy Kha is based in Memphis, Tennessee. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at venues including Five in One and Jack Robinson Gallery (both in Memphis, TN) and at group exhibitions in New York, Shanghai, Austin, and Memphis. In 2009, Memphis Crossroads Magazine named Kha one of the “Top Twenty Untapped Artists.” An alumnus of the New York Studio Residency Program and a Digital Photography Residency in Shanghai in summer of 2010, Kha received his BFA from the Memphis College of Art in 2011 and is set to receive his MFA in Photography from Yale University in 2013.

Website
tommykha.com

 

Pixy Liao

 

PIXY LIAO

Statement
As a woman, I used to think that I could only fall in love with someone that I adore, who is more mature than me, older than me, a protector, a mentor. Then I met my boyfriend, Moro, who is 5 years younger than me. I felt the whole relationship change. I become the person who has more authority and power, and when I told my male friend about my new relationship, he said, “How could you choose a boyfriend the way we choose a girlfriend?”, and I think, “Damn right. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and why not?”.

I have always doubted the stereotype of a male-female relationship. Why should a couple be a man and a woman? Why does a man have to be a certain way? Why should a woman be a certain way? I feel relationships are far more complicated, always changing, and full of possibilities. So I began to think about the meaning of this relationship and experiment with it.

In this project I throw out questions and ideas about relationships. What will happen if men and women exchange their roles of sex and power? What does this relationship do to men and women? I also express my frustrations about relationships, like the impossibility of finding a soulmate, the feeling of isolation and disconnection. Because my boyfriend is Japanese, and I am Chinese, the project also describes a love and hate relationship. This project is an experiment to me, not a document of our real relationship.

Bio
Born in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao received her MFA in Photography from the University of Memphis in 2008. Her work has been exhibited at the Camera Club of New York, Jen Bekman Gallery (both in NYC), the Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), the 2008 China Lianzhou International Photography Festival, the Adam Shaw Studio, and the Art Museum of the University of Memphis (both in Memphis, TN). Awards include Hey, Hot Shot! and a 2009 nomination for the New York Photo Awards. Her work is in the public collections of the Center for Fine Art Photography and the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

Website
bloodypixy.com

[hr]

Rebecca Martinez

 

REBECCA MARTINEZ

Statement
Babies create strong emotions for the bearer, holder, and observer. I have discovered this holds true even when it is known the baby is not real.

I am photographing dolls that are created to look like living babies. They are constructed and weighted to feel like infants, which includes a head that must be supported while in one’s arms. They are the most powerful objects I have ever worked with; I am struck by the strong and palpable emotional reactions they produce. Besides the dominant biological instinct to nurture, occasionally I witness revulsion (the beholder feels the baby is dead); hostility; and for some, it is an opportunity to behave inappropriately with a “baby”.

There are roughly three main components to his series:

I have been photographing the subculture of women who create and love these dolls. For several years I have been attending their conventions and events. Most of the women I have encountered who are part of this community are exceptionally loving nurturers and caregivers. They have an especially strong passion for babies and this is a method to keep them in their lives. Some create or collect these dolls because they have a large amount of children and love the baby stage of nuturing, or cannot have their own, or have lost a child.

Carrie Fisher has been my primary muse with these dolls. She utilized her talents as a performer and writer to create scenarios inspired by these artificial entities. I am in awe of her powers of transformation and her ability to express and create compelling, raw, and emotive scenes with these babies. Carrie drew from her dark humor, deep with, and creative genius to construct scenes of a haggard homemaker, a bored mother;, and a beautiful, sophisticated housewife, all the while acting out forbidden thoughts and impulses with brave intelligence. Her ability to perform as instinctively and without censorship for still photography as she does on the screen and the stage has been a pleasure to capture.

I bring the babies out in different public and social situations and photograph people’s responses. When I am with a “baby”, my status changes in the world, I am mother, grandmother, aunt. I am constantly approached and inquiries are made about my baby. I always explain that the baby is not real; I inform them that this is a project. I ask if they would like to hold the baby. My photographs capture their reactions and are not staged. People take the baby and create their own narratives.

This series is the latest incarnation of my work to explore different aspects of artifice and our impulses to create illusory situations and objects to fulfill various needs – emotional, spiritual or psychological.

Bio
Rebecca Martinez was born and raised in Los Angeles. For the majority of her career she owned a graphic design firm in San Francisco, specializing in corporate identification for a variety of prominent corporations and nonprofit organizations, winning numerous national design awards for her work. She has now fully embraced her long-time love of photography, incorporating her knowledge, experience, and training in design and illustration into her work.

Martinez has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at San Francisco venues including SFMOMA, Sightings Gallery, and Robert Tat Gallery, where her work is represented. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at En Foco (NYC), Stephen Wirtz Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Richmond Art Center (Richmond, CA), Barrett Art Center (Poughkeepsie, NY), and most recently in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman (NYC). Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as the Crocker Art Museum, University Medical Center at Princeton, and Lehigh University. Martinez was awarded En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Award in 2010.

Website
www.rebeccamartinez.com/

Deana Lawson

 

DEANA LAWSON

Statement
My work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension; the photographs speaking to the ways that sexuality, violence, family, and social status may be written, sometimes literally, upon the body.

What you see in her work is photographer as cultural anthropologist but also as cultural vivisectionist and forensic curator. Her practice subtly contests the suppression of Black visual epistemologies – as much through absence as presence, withheld information as much cultural saturation bombing. Drawing the spectators eye to how people command space within the frame, how they proclaim ownership of selfhood before the camera is a recurring motif. Her work seems always about the desire to represent social intimacies that defy stereotype and pathology while subtly acknowledging the vitality of lives abandoned by the dominant social order. – Greg Tate, 2011

Bio
Deana Lawson holds BFA and MFA in Photography from Pennsylvania State University at University Park and RISD respectively. A recipient of numerous residencies including a 2007 Visual Studies Workshop residency, a 2008 Light Work residency, and a 2009 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency, Lawson’s work has been featured in such exhibitions as New Photography 2011 at the Museum of Modern Art (2011), Prolonged Fragments at the Elizabeth Foundation (2011), Greater New York at PS1 (2010), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2005 & 2010), 50 Photographers Photograph the Future at Higher Pictures (2010), all in NYC; the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, Milk Contemporary in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Kit Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany; as well as in Converging Margins curated by Leah Oates at CPW (2008). Her work has been recognized and supported through many fellowships including the 2006 NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography, a 2009 Aaron Siskind Fellowship, and the 2010 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. Her images have been featured in such publications as Contact Sheet (issues 12 & 154) published by Light Work, Time Out New York, the Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2 published by the Humble Art Foundation, the 2010 Greater New York exhibition catalog published by PS1 as well as in issue #98 of CPW’s publication PQ.

Website
deanalawson.com

[hr]

 

Yamini Nayar

 

YAMINI MAYAR

Statement

My photographs of imagined spaces are built on tabletops from found and raw materials. They are documented with a large-format camera an dafterward, are disassembled and discarded.

Built structures – from religious to the mundane – and found imagery are starting points for my installations that explore space as a repository for multiple and hypenated narratives. My practice is process oriented, combining elements of sculpture, assemblage and photography. The materials I work with are common – plaster, branches, wood, Styrofoam, and found imagery culled from online archives. Once I choose a starting image, I research various aspects of the scene – images and texts – and work to re-imagine the scene. The final image emerges over time and through the construction and reworking of the structure and contents in a given scene. I am interested in the space where photography becomes metaphor or illusion – where a fictional document is in dialogue with the construction of meaning. Ultimately, the final photograph is an entry point into an assembled world, in transition and momentarily held together for the lens, as well as document of a destroyed object.

Bio
Yamini Nayar is a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, and originally from Detroit, MI. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and is a past recipient of the Aaron Siskind Fellowship. Her work has shown nationally and internationally, and has been critically appraised in various publications including, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Art India, Art AsiaPacific, the Guardian, and Philips de Pury’s NOW: Art of the 21st Century. She is also listed by Vogue India as one of “India’s Top Ten Artists to Watch”.

Nayar gave the Lightborne Lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum, as well as held an artist residency at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2010. Her recent exhibitions and published projects include the Sharjah Biennial, Thomas Erben Gallery (NYC), NADA (Miami, FL), Art Basel, Galerie Anne Baurault (Paris, France), Indian Art Summit, and Saatchi Gallery (UK). Her photographs are in private and public collections, including the Saatchi Collection, Queens Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, and the US Arts in Embassies.

Website
yamininayar.com

Jeanette Rodriguez

 

JEANETTE RODRIGUEZ

Statement
The production and exhibition of my work requires a complex relationship between the integral aspects of alternative printing techniques and the artists’ method. My attraction to historic photographic processes such as Platinum/Palladium lies in the alchemist’s patience it takes to refine. The romantic cachet of precisely mixed precious metals, hand painted emulsion, and exposing with sunlight comes from participating in every vital moment of the process. Central to my intent, the work reveals the role of the artist throughout and demonstrates the assiduous quality of the practice. For me, there is never a line between the merely visual implication of a photograph and a deeper sensorial encounter. A specific smell can conjure a million memories; similarly, my work is meant to do the same and preserve the experience.

I prefer to act as a nomadic explorer, focusing on the tactility of the natural world and the romantic aesthetics of historic photographic processes.

Bio
Jeannette Rodriguez is a photographer and mixed media artist living and working in Queens, NY. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited at Shadow Space Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), Nexus, Visual Arts Gallery, Papa B Studios, and the School of Visual Arts Gallery (all in NYC). Rodriguez has been a teaching assistant in Photography and Design at the Bronx Leadership Academy, Parson’s the New School for Design, and the School of Visual Arts, where she is currently a teaching assistant.

Website
jeannetterodriguezpineda.com

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

 

 

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA

Statement
I make photographs about the act of portrait making, and the desire to look and understand the connection circuits and relationships between people. I photograph those clsoe to me and I use repetition and simple formal structures to emphasize the shared emotional line that connects these friends, romantic relationships, and family. The most recent works-in-progress investigate the shifting subject-object dynamic present in the site and event of portrait making, when layered on top of these relationships. These works are the result of a collaboration with Matija, a performance artist and special friend who I photographed the morning I left to come upstate. Each day, the digital snapshot portraits were re-photographed and re-contextualized in my new live/work studio, as I also began photographing the shifting light and landscape on the bed where I have been sleeping. The resulting images were printed, and the process of this constant reworking would begin again while new images, contributed by Matija, were added as he sent me snapshots from my home and bedroom in Brooklyn and later his own home and bedroom in Pula, Croatia while I was in Woodstock. The project is grounded in and around these exchanges, and consists of three parts: I. Self-portrait, II. Lav (Matija), and, III. Displacements (the redirection of an emotion from its original object to another, or the distance between an objects initial position and a later position). It is about meetings, and how the practice of art-making seeks to construct and define relationships.

Bio
Paul Mpagi Sepuya received his BFA in Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Basel, Sydney, Toronto, Paris, Berlin and Hamburg. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Interview, Capricious, V, Paper, and BUTT, among others. Recent exhibitions include 30 Seconds Off an Inch at The Studio Museum in Harlem and 50 Artists Photograph the Future at Higher Pictures (both in NYC) and recent awards include the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency (2009-2010) and Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2010). A monograph of his work was published in April 2007. The Accidental Egyptian and Occidental Arrangements, a publication of his collaboration with fellow artist Timothy Hull, was published in the summer of 2010.

Website
paulmpagisepuya.com

[hr]

Sofia Silva

 

SOFIA SILVA

Statement
I have been working with images from the media, specifically pictures from publicity shots, magazines, and movies. In this work I portray the bodies, selves, dreams, and desires that dwell in a society of consumerism. The bodies are fractured, their parts could be anybody’s; the Hollywood love stories display a standardized package of emotions. Because these bodies, faces, emotions, and dreams are so fractured, they can be appropriated by just anyone. The work thus turns into a mirror, presenting the spectator with their own processes of self-formation.

Bio
An Argentinean photographer currently based in Baltimore, Maryland, Sofia Silva works with subjects related to consumerism in society. She studied Sociology and Art History at the National University of La Plata and subsequently studied photography at the University of Buenos Aires, the International Center of Photography and with photographers Eduardo Gil and Lutz Matszche. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and Argentina, at venues including the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington, D.C.), apexart (NYC), Galeria Arte X Arte, VVVgallery (both in Buenos Aires, Argentina), the Baltimore Museum of Art, Open Society Institute, and C. Grimaldis Gallery (all in Baltimore, MD), among others. Silva was an artist in residence at Maryland Art place and received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. She is represented by Ricco Maresco Gallery in New York City and C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore.

Website
sofiasilvafoto.com