Donna J. Wan

Statement
Promised Lands is about perceptions of the contemporary landscape. The 19th century Hudson River School painters established an idealized and romanticized view of the American landscape with their paintings featuring towering mountains, overwhelming sies, vast fields, and endless seas. Especially with regard to the West, the landscape became a symbol for freedom, opportunity, and exploration. Today depictions of landscape often veer toward extremes – either they are of “pure” places that are untainted by human intervention or they represent locations, sometimes exotic, that have been severely compromised by industry and development.

I believe that neither representation is useful because it does not reflect our reality – we live in houses, work in buildings, drive on the road, and enjoy many of the conveniences of modern life – and it seems unlikely that we are prepared to give these amenities up for a return to an Edenic time. Yet, it’s still possible to view the landscape in ways that take into account our hopes and dreams as well as our fears and failures. My photographs invoke romanticized notions of the landscape but also feature man’s impact on the natural world. Sometimes, the effects of modernization seem like slow and inevitable developments onto the land. Other times, urbanization appears to threaten to overtake the landscape. My intent is to question how our perceptions of the landscape have changed over the past two centuries, after we have remade a considerable part of it in our image.

Bio

Donna J. Wan investigates of perceptions of landscape.  Drawing from the cultural references of the iconic, the monumental, and the symbolic, her photographs also depict man’s impact upon the land.  Donna Wan has been working on a series of photographic images that reference the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School, many of which depict the Catskills from a contemporary perspective.  During her residency at CPW, she will revisit the landscapes of artists Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher Durand, and Jasper Francis Cropsey, including such locations as Catskill Creek, Kaaterskill Falls, and North-South Lake.  “I was inspired to revisit this mythologized perception of the landscape”, Donna explains.  Her work raises such questions as, “Does land, sea or mountain still represent places we can project our hopes, fears, and desires? Or, have we become alienated from it and only respond strongly to it when we are shown images of its devastation?  What does landscape now mean for us?”  Born in Taiwan, raised in Queens, NY, and now living in Menlo Park, CA, Donna holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.

 

Website
donnajwan.com

Wayne Hodge

Statement
My work combines both photographs and collage-based elements. They act as both portrait and poster, combining advertising elements of the past, specifically blackface minstrel shows, with contemporary digital technology. These elements are placed to obscure or reveal the facial features central to depictions of the minstrel (eyes, mouth) as areas that are differentiated from the rest of the mask. These “faces” are composites that comment on the spectacular history of the Minstrel Show as it has played such a prominent role in the development of media images of African-Americans. The multi-layered elements that build up these images shake the unsteady ground of the racist spectacle. Pairing old images with new marks forces one to consider the spectacle, not only as it existed in the 19th century, but to consider the ways in which the ghosts of the past haunt our perceptions in the present.

Bio
Wayne Hodge received his MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2001 and his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1998. Hodge has exhibited his work at the Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, CA), Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill, NY), Rush Arts, Smack Mellon, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Bronx Museum (all in NYC). He was an artist in residence at the Center for Book Arts, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, among others. Hodge has been the recipeint of a NYFA fellowhsip and a Creative Capital Foundation Grant.

Website
wayne-hodge.com

Eyakem Gulilat

Statement
My work is about how identity is formed in the in-between spaces of cross cultural encounter. I gravitate towards communities which are underrepresented and who often do not have a place in main stream media. I treat my camera as a tool that captures one moment of a larger dialogue that occurs between me and my subjects. Using a photojournalistic approach, my art thrives on my interaction with people.

In my recent work, I am also changing my work to be less documentary driven and more introspective. How can I turn the camera back on myself? Having grown up in Ethiopia, Kenya, and the U.S., how do my memories and understanding of time and space shape who I am? I choose to reconstruct specific memories from my past in an ironic representation that is simultaneously playful and serious. By reinterpreting the past I seek to collapse the space between my experience as a child growing up in Ethiopia and my presence in America today.

I am also working on a series of triptychs that re-defines what a photo actually is. I confuse the boundaries between photographer and subject by first asking my subjects to dress up in Ethiopian clothing and secondly, to photograph me dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothing. The third and central photo of each triptych I photograph is the space between myself and my subject. Through this process I ask the following questions: “What is the difference between the subject and the photographer? What is the border that distinguishes us one from another? What is the space that divides us and how do our perceptions shift when we view each other through the camera’s lens?”

Bio
Originally from Ethiopia, Eyakem Gulilat obtained his BAS in Interdisciplinary Studies of Photojournalism and Art from Abilene Christian University and his MFA in Media Arts from the University of Oklahoma. In 2004, he was selected to participate in the Eddie Adams Workshop and was awarded the 45th annual Randolph William Hearst Award in the Portrait, Personality and Feature competition that same year. In 2005 he participated in the McNair’s Scholar’s Program and presented his research at the 13th annual McNair’s Scholar’s conference at Penn State University. Gulilat’s work has been exhibited across the U.S., at venues including Vermont Photo Space Gallery (Essex, VT), Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Denver, CO), and Lightwell Gallery (Norman, OK), among others. His work is in several private and public collections.

Website
www.eyakem.com

 

Lourdes Correa-Carlo

 

LOURDES CORREA-CARLO

Statement
This body of work includes photographs of vernacular architecture that intervene with construction materials. My process begins with walks throughout the cities I have been living and the need to understand the social construction of those places. I photograph using a frontal approach to reduce the elements in the images towards a more formal geometry and analytical configuration. Photographing in this way invites a semantic reading of the photographs. What are the psychological responses to these places and architecutre? What do they tell me in relation to this social fabric? What are the politics of the everyday? I look for what strikes me in these images, for what is hidden and embarassing about the social conditions in these places, and how these images relate to personal and social alienation through the histories, politics, and classes of these areas.

After photographing buildlings I reconstruct some of these images with a sculptural approach, making what I call a subversive gesture towards the photographs. I invert, collapse, reconfigure, and deconstruct them as they are being reconstructed. In this way the imags are treated as real objects. The final pieces are characterized by their weight, gravity, and three-dimensional physicality which enables the viewer’s body itself to interact with the work. My intention with the viewer is to make them aware of the space they inhabit and their relationship with the different works and materials that are being displayed.They may be allowed or denied access to the spaces, guided or made to feel dislocated. With these gestures I invite them to see space as an active context where we question our constructed realities, our philosophies and the calcification of social structures.

Bio
Based in Houston, Texas, artist Lourdes Correa-Carlo holds an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University and a BFA in Sculpture from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR. She also attended the Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, for studies in Art History. Correa-Carlo is an artist in residence at the Core Program in Houston, TX, and a past resident of the Vermont Studio Center. She has exhibited her work internationally, including at venues such as Marc Jancou Contemporary (NYC), NEXT Art Fair (Chicago, IL), Galería Comercial, and M&M Proyectos (both in San Juan, PR), among others. Her work has been written about in Artnet Magazine, PrimeraHora, and ArtNexus. She is the recipient of an Amy Tatro Scholarship from Yale University and a travel grant from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas.

Website
lourdescorrea.com

 

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

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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

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