Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature

SYNTHETIC LIGHTNING: COMPLEX SIMULATIONS OF NATURE

curated by Ellen K. Levy

November 1 – December 21, 2003

The artwork in the exhibition Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature resonate with ideas and experiences surrounding the scientific study of complex systems.

While the references are expressed metaphorically by most of the artists, some of the photographers implement simulations of complex systems in more scientifically rigorous ways. Wherever the works fall on the spectrum from metaphoric to scientific approaches, I believe each artist captures an experience of the world as a totality in a way that rings true.

With few exceptions the participants in the exhibition have not used cameras to produce their work. The pieces encompass straightforward photographic documentation, darkroom and digital manipulation, interactive video, and chance procedures. The emotional tenor is also varied: the sensibilities project mock objectivity, technological seduction, and wonder.

These artists share interests in modeling some aspect of nature and locating patterns among disparate groupings. A feature of many of the images in this exhibition is the aesthetic expression of fluidity. Artists who wish to capture the varied shapes assumed by fluids can also use computer programs that discriminate among different situations of fluidity. These pursuits are applied to visualizing the working of nature in a way that highlights its holistic character, and in this respect the artists reflect the expansive spirit intrinsic to studies of complex systems. The photographers are not unique in their interests, and some can be seen in early periods of art history, particularly with respect to patterning. What has changed is the intense, cumulative, often systematic pursuit of these areas within photography.

– Ellen K. Levy, 2003

Ellen K. Levy is an artist who has exhibited in the U.S. and abroad.  She explores interrelationships among art, science, and technology in her art and writings.  Levy received an art commission from NASA in 1995 and was Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Arts and Sciences at Skidmore College in 1999, a position funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

 

[one_half first]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Suzanne Anker[/one_half] [one_half]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003 Susan Derges[/one_half] [one_half first]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Nina Katchadourian[/one_half] [one_half]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Golan Levin[/one_half] [one_half first]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Charles Lindsay[/one_half] [one_half]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Joseph Nechvatal[/one_half] [one_half first]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Carol Pfeffer[/one_half] [one_half]"Synthetic Lightning: Complex Simulations of Nature", November 1 - December 21, 2003Susan Rankaitis[/one_half] [hr]

Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body

DIVINING FRAGMENTS: RECONCILING THE BODY

curated by Kóan-Jeff Baysa

November 1 – December 21, 2003

The human body is a slippery surface upon which discourses of race, class, gender, and sexuality are mediated, and thus becomes a contested scientific, political, ethical, cultural, economic, and social site.

Since human subjectivity and identity are linked to the changing perceptions of vision and visualization, we make and remake our visual experiences of the world within these different contexts. In diagnostic imaging, the areas of visualization, medicine, and technology come together. Using the term “divining” synonymously with “diagnosing” the exhibition title Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body refers to the history of diagnostics, from prognosticating over the internal organs of animals and ill gotten human specimens to visualizing the unseeable through dissection, microscopy, sonograms, x-rays, CAT, MRI and PET scans, including alternative techniques like phrenology, Kirlian and aura photography, as well as total body scanning from military applications.

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Confronted with the exposure of a public presentation of our private anatomy we experience the loss of boundaries and control, evoking issues of physicality, vulnerability, and mortality. Through the imaging and re-imagining of the human body these visual technologies have a profound impact on human self-understanding and behavior, often through implications outside of clinical application. They bring the relationships between health and knowledge under essential scrutiny, questioning the way that meaning is negotiated. The manufacturers of these machines would have us believe that their technologies produce unbiased images that reveal truths about an individual’s condition, but discrepancies exist between “machine vision” and “human vision”. Much of the psychophysical data used in the past to engineer high-performance networked imaging systems is not consistent with the current knowledge of the human nervous system, and compensating enhancements of the image risk misinterpretation and the introduction of artifacts. The design of information transmission, storage, and processing devices need a better fit between opto-electronics and human nervous systems.

Historically, the partial or fragmented image suggested grief and nostalgia for the loss of a vanished totality and a utopian wholeness. In diagnostic imaging, the body is examined in detail, piecemeal and irreconciled, described in terms of “cuts” and “slices”. The body in pieces, viewed as relics and synecdoches, constitute deconstructed images of humans and problematize issues of creation and re-creation, existence and mortality, integration and dissolution, especially when the images of the dematerialized body are solely transduced from digital code, existing as pure information.

Advanced medical imaging technologies came into clinical use in successive decades: CAT in the 70s, MRI in the 80s, and PET in the 90s. Unlike CAT scans that rely on the summation of x-ray images and PET scans that rely on the decay of an injected radioactive pharmaceutical, MRI does not involve radiation. Instead it uses a powerful magnet and the spin of hydrogen atoms in the body’s water to generate the images. It is astonishing to think of MRI and PET scans as the body’s way of illuminating itself from within through subatomic particles.

That there are dire consequences of equating photos with the real have been pointed out by cultural critics John Berger and Susan Sontag. Medical images circulate similarly within this belief system and are often thought to be equivalent to the bodies represented within them. Realizing that MRI images are only re-presentations and partial truths empowers us to recognize the political, social, and economic factors that affect the interpretation of these images.

The deployment of medical imaging pictures by contemporary visual artists reflects the innovative and alternative perspectives that art often offers to science, while acknowledging that both art and science are investigated by social beings within social contexts.

– Koán-Jeff Baysa, 2003

 A practicing physician, writer, critic, and curator whose studies concern the “sensate body” and the mediation of the world through the senses–particularly smell–Koán-Jeff Baysa explores and interrogates sites at which culture, aesthetics, and medical science converge. He has curated shows for the London, LA, and Chinese Biennials as well as for institutions as wide-ranging as the Whitney Museum, the United Nations, and Canon Corporation, while also serving as an active organizer of art events throughout the globe. He currently holds the position of Director of Arts Programming at The Institute for Art and Olfaction and works as Chief Strategist for his Los Angeles-based company SENSEight.

 

[one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koan-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Justine Cooper[/one_half] [one_half]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Mark Kessell[/one_half] [one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Lilla LoCurto & William Outcalt[/one_half] [one_half]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Patrick Martinez[/one_half] [one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Steve Miller[/one_half] [one_half]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Warren Neidich[/one_half] [one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Chrysanne Stathacos[/one_half] [one_half]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Kunie Sugiura[/one_half] [one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Unknown Artist[/one_half] [one_half]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003David Webster[/one_half] [one_half first]"Divining Fragments: Reconciling the Body", curated by Koán-Jeff Baysa, November 1 - December 21, 2003Jeff Wyckoff[/one_half]

 


Lisa Klapstock

LISA KLAPSTOCK

THRESHOLD

August 16 – October 12, 2003

The subject of my work is overlooked environments in the city – everyday spaces that are somewhat unfamiliar and marginally inhabited, but nevertheless imprinted with the ‘residue’ of human presence.

I am interested in re-framing and revealing the ‘invisible’, and in turn drawing attention to the act of looking and seeing. Since 1998, I have focused on the laneways around my downtown Toronto neighborhood, using macroscopic photography to document surface fragments of this environment. This 5-year project was an investigation of a discrete and relatively hidden place in the city. Since 2001, my recent work is concerned with spatial relationships, particularly relating to the figure in space and to the delineation of public and private spaces in the city.

“Threshold” is a series of 28 color photographs that depict boundaries – walls, gates, doors, and fences – and the fragmented views glimpsed through gaps and holes in their surfaces. These images were shot from the public space of Toronto laneways looking into the private space of residential backyards.

In this work, I am interested in the way that the particularities of photography can draw attention to the act of looking and to the limitations of vision. Facilitated by photography, boundary and space are simultaneously rendered as a single surface. The foreground and background coalesce in a single flattened view that is part abstract color field and part sharply focused scene, reducing the apparent separation between surface and space; outside and inside; public and private realms.

Shot with a macroscopic lens and then enlarged approximately 8x, the “Threshold” images reveal scenes that exist solely in photographic form and are invisible to the naked eye. Yet, at the same time they present what is depicted in a way that mimics human vision – we are not able to simultaneously see a sharply focused background and foreground. In this work, the camera clearly renders a concrete manifestation of farsightedness, where the foreground is blurred but apparent in its full spectral and textural glory, and the background is in sharp detailed focus.

Each work is presented like an object excised from reality – a piece of wall cut from its context along with the view that can be glimpsed through the aperture. I am also interested in the way the surface aperture evokes the camera by acting like a camera lens through which a scene is framed. Each uniquely shaped aperture frames and reveals a scene distinctly, intimately tying the scene to the host surface through its aperture.

The series itself is intended as a conceptual threshold that makes ambiguous the distinctions between real and representational, truth and fiction. The images present everyday scenes that are rendered at once unfamiliar and uncannily familiar, destabilizing our definitions of the abstract and the mimetic by taking us beyond our perceptual capabilities.

– Lisa Klapstock, 2003

Lisa Klapstock is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited in Canada, the U.S., and Europe at commercial, non-profit, and public galleries as well as in alternative venues. In the summer of 2002, Klapstock was an artist-in-residence at Stichting Duende in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She is a founding member of the all-woman international artist collective Fresh Air, and is represented in Canada by Diane Farris Gallery, Vancouver. Upcoming exhibitions include solo shows in the Odense Foto Triennial, Denmark, and at Centre Vu in Quebec City; and group shows at Vancouver’s Presentation House Gallery and the Contemporary Art Forum in Kitchener, Ontario.

lisaklapstock.com

Managing Eden

MANAGING EDEN

curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg

August 16 – October 12, 2003

The beauty of the world we live in has long inspired photographers. Many have sought to bring that majesty to our attention in hopes that we would manage and care for our environment with the respect that it deserves.

Take for example, the outstanding conservational achievements of photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum, and those of Ansel Adams, who, aside from being one of the most well known photographers of the century, served on the board of directors at the Sierra Club for over 35 years. Their breathtaking images raised enough awareness about place to help protect and preserve many natural treasures. The artists featured in Managing Eden share similar concerns but unlike those who choose to show us the beauty, they show us our impact within the natural world at a time when our own actions have brought upon global warming, pollution of air, water, land, and soil, animal extinction, and over-development that threatens the very resources that make life on earth sustainable. Ranging from commercial and societal action to personal connections, these image-makers shed light and understanding on the complexity of our relationships, interventions, and connections within our environment.

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The title of the show was inspired by Joann Brennan’s project Managing Eden. Brennan investigates the many sides of habitat management, scientific experimentation, conservation research, and the debate between intervention and wildness. She questions generalized assumptions … “is the hunter a villain? is the biologist a saint?” and poses questions many are afraid to ask – the answers themselves are often still unresolved and fall precariously between lines of science and morality. Rather than attempting to simplify the issues, she embraces their complexity and opens new doorways to a deeper understanding of just how involved we already are and how much is at stake.

Like Joann Brennan, other artists look at how we attempt to control and contain nature. Derek Johnston’s project, Landscape Specimens, an installation of bottled pristine landscapes, plays with ideas of how we attempt to preserve nature through containment and commodification, addressing our fragmented relationship to it. Johnston asks us to consider the constructed nature of many of our national parks with their sweeping vistas and the bottled nature of what we expect as the American Landscape. His work addresses his own impulses as a photographer of landscape and searchs for something beyond what is promoted as the perfect place for a hike, mountain bike ride, or camping trip. Dana Fritz writes of her inspiration for Garden Views: The Culture of Nature: In both Eastern and Western traditions the practice of gardening reveals simultaneously our distance from and longing for “the natural”. Fritz’s work, while focusing on meticulously cared for and preserved gardens, opens a broader dialogue about both creative engagements with nature, as well as our desire to impose order to the natural world as it exists within our personal and public spaces. In contrast to Johnston and Fritz who examine how we impose order on the natural world, Lori Nix’s work reminds us of the awe-inspiring power the natural world holds. Inherent in her toy filled constructions of natural disasters is the ironic idea that we can wage control over natural elements – when of course, we have no such power. Nix’s images remind us that it is humans who are subject to the whims, order, and patterns of nature.

Addressing societal and industrial involvement in the environment, David Maisel, Tim Butler, and Cynthia Greig examine the resulting footprints following the exploration or alterations of Earth’s natural resources.

In David Maisel’s work, we are shown what was “left behind” through his aerial Black Maps, which depict bacterial blooms in Owens Lake, California. This lake was drained to supply water to the inhabitants of Los Angeles in the first quarter of the 20th century. Maisel’s images offer us both a literal and psychological portrait of the landscape as ravaged and scarred yet strangely seductive, and a glimpse of the world as created through our own actions. In the multi-media work of Tim Butler, those who once benefited from such activities as mineral mining are asked to consider the repercussions and its detrimental effects on their own community. From immediate tactile interaction with natural and found elements such as coal, acid drainage samples, iron, and soil itself, to candid interviews with community residents, Butler searches for a sense of environmental stewardship among the American mainstream. Using the archetypical fruit of Eden – the apple – Cynthia Greig weighs the impact of genetic mutation – both natural or manufactured – and now that we’ve actually gone so far as to alter the genetic structure of our food crop, will we know the difference? She asks the viewer to consider how genetic engineering is changing the face of the natural world and the food we consume, as well as its impact upon the future of the human species.

Both Deborah Edmeades and Dornith Doherty approach the natural world from a more personal sense of balance and interconnection. In her video piece, Deborah Edmeades offers a meditation on the relationship between humans and nature. As she sits within a wooded area, Edmeades creates sounds, which merge with that of her surroundings. Her gestures of containment within the frame seem to embody all that we hear and the result is an opportunity to consider our own balance and impact on the world in which we live. Navigating the border between nature and artifice, Dornith Doherty merges art and science to investigate the cycles, rhythms, and transitory nature of life, and our own interwoven connections and temporal existence. She writes: Rather than approach these managed natural spaces from a documentary perspective, these constructed photographs employ a personal, expressive stance to explore the anxiety inherent in contemporary culture as we confront new scientific possibilities manipulating our environment.

The concerns presented in Managing Eden ask us to consider our own agency and relationships. If we were to think on Greig’s apples as a metaphor, have we taken the bite that will expel us from the proverbial Garden of Eden? In our questionable “mastery” of our environment, have our actions set us on a path whose course will result in our own demise – either through the depletion of Eden’s treasures or the transformation of it into an inhospitable environment? The artists in Eden inform us that the issues we face are complex, crucial, and yield great consequences to our future. Managing Eden artist, Derek Johnston writes: for me the real value and beauty of the natural world is not an achievable physical place; it is about forming a relationship with nature in which one can feel, understand, and participate in the earth’s cycles. The artists in Managing Eden, while showing us real and sometimes disturbing views, affirm the importance of the issues at hand and the ability of art to be used as a catalyst, communicating, informing, dialoguing, and changing the way we think about and interact with the world we live in.

– Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, 2003

Kate Menconeri served as CPW’s Program Director from 2000 to 2007. Ariel Shanberg has served as the Center’s Executive Director since 2003.

 

[one_half first]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 1- October 12, 2003Joann Brennan[/one_half] [one_half]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Tim Butler[/one_half] [one_half first]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Dornith Doherty[/one_half] [one_half]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Deborah Edemeades[/one_half] [one_half first]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Dana Fritz[/one_half] [one_half]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Cynthia Greig[/one_half] [one_half first]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Derek Johnston[/one_half] [one_half]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003David Maisel[/one_half] [one_half first]Managing Eden, curated by Kate Menconeri & Ariel Shanberg, August 16 - October 12, 2003Lori Nix[/one_half] [hr]

Byrdcliffe Centennial Exhibition: An American Arts and Crafts Colony

BYRDCLIFFE CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION: AN AMERICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS COLONY

in association with the Woodstock Guild and Woodstock Artists Association
and curated by Nancy Green (Johnson Museum) and Tom Wolf (Art Historian, Bard College)

June 7 to August 3, 2003

In the winter of 1902, construction of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony began on Mount Guardian just outside the hamlet of Woodstock NY. Seven farms, 1500 acres in all, were purchased for the enterprise by a wealthy Englishman named Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead. By the time it was completed in 1903, 30 buildings stood comprising what has been referred to as a “textbook example” of a utopian Arts and Crafts community.

The Arts and Crafts movement began in England in the last quarter of the 19th century as a reaction against rapid urbanization and industrialization and the overwrought elaborate Victorian sensibility. Its most passionate and well-known spokesmen were John Ruskin and William Morris. They shared a rural, utopian ideal based on a brotherhood of artistic collaboration. They believed that man could regain control of his life if the work he did reflected the nobility thought to have been lost when machines eliminated the need for the art of hand craftsmanship.

Ironically, it was the benefactors of the great wave of 19th century industrialization who had the means to rebel against it. Whitehead (1854-1929), the son of a wealthy mill owner from Yorkshire, England came directly under the influence of utopian ideas when he studied with Ruskin at Oxford and later traveled with him in Europe. It is from Whitehead’s enduring vision to found his own utopian community that Byrdcliffe owes its existence.

Whitehead came to America and married Jane Byrd McCall in 1892. The daughter of a prominent Philadelphia family, she shared her husband’s utopian vision of an artist-craftsmen

community. After faltering starts in California and Oregon, Whitehead and two acquaintances – Hervey White, a writer, and Bolton Brown, an artist and educator, crisscrossed the country searching for the perfect site. Brown found the natural beauty of the Catskills and their proximity to New York City ideal for a utopian Arts and Crafts school and workshop. Whitehead agreed, enchanted by the views of open farmland dotted by trees and cottages.

Byrdcliffe, taken from the middle names of Ralph and Jane, was fully built and operating by the summer of 1903. It had a metalworking shop, a pottery, a woodworking shop, a large studio for Bolton Brown’s art classes, a dairy barn, guest houses, a dormitory for students, and White Pines, the Whitehead’s own house. Unlike the vernacular architecture specific to the Hudson Valley, with its tidy white clapboard farmhouses, Byrdcliffe buildings resembled low rambling Swiss chalets characterized by their dark stained indigenous pine siding, gentle sloping roofs with wide overhangs, and ribbons of windows painted Byrdcliffe blue.

The Byrdcliffe Arts Colony is located on 300 wooded acres with 35 unique and picturesque Arts and Crafts buildings on country pathways in Woodstock, New York – a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of New York City in the Catskill Mountain Region. It is the only intact Arts and Crafts colony left in America – and the oldest one in continuing operation.

– Nancy Green

In a collaboration between Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University and The Woodstock Guild, the major centennial exhibit will showcase the most extensive collection ever displayed of furniture, ceramics, metalwork, woodwork, pottery, fine arts and textiles designed and produced at Byrdcliffe during the early years. It will be held at three of the major art institutions in Woodstock – the Kleinert / James Arts Center, the Woodstock Artists Association and the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

The exhibit will begin with a three-month showing from June 7 to September 7 (till August 3rd at CPW and July 27th at the WAA), then travel to Cornell and to Winterthur, in Delaware, before moving on to the Milwaukee Museum and the New York Historical Society.

Made in Woodstock II

MADE IN WOODSTOCK II

work by CPW’s 2001  & 2002 artists-in-residence

June 6 – August 10, 2003

This exhibition presents works by photographers who participated in CPW’s residency program for artists of color, WOODSTOCK A-I-R in 2001 & 2002.

Recognizing the special quality of our region, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, with generous support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, began WOODSTOCK A-I-R in 1999. By providing our residents with workspace, housing in the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony, stipends for food and travel, honorarium, critical support, and most especially, time, they have the opportunity to focus on expressing that which is internal by distancing them from the distracting hustle of their daily lives. With that gift, they have gone on and given us a gift of their own. Often inspired by our everyday surroundings, they have interwoven their ideas with Woodstock, the Catskills, and the Hudson Valley; and allowed us to see our everyday world through their eyes. In doing so they have honored and continued the tradition of art made in Woodstock.

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Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s diptychs call into question our reliance on historic imagery and plays with levels of fact and fiction by appropriating the aesthetic and tactics of Edward Curtis. Felicia Megginson responded so strongly to the presence of the Catskills that her initial plans where scrapped and pursuing her internal instincts created the series Communion, which explores the relationship between her individual and cultural/racial relationship with nature. Yancey Hughes, a long time commercial photographer turns his camera on us, seeking to separate the single person during the busiest times of pedestrian traffic in New York City. Tulu Bayar’s multi-media project Aphorisms seeks out amidst layers of visual and audio “white noise”, the role of personal spirituality for three women, one Jewish, one Muslim and one Christian.

Hong-An Truong’s photographic light boxes present images she photographed on her first trip back to Viet Nam with transcribed text sewn into the print – reminding us of the ongoing struggle to understand a place and people distant to us through word and image.

Terry Boddie’s series Stasis combines sonogram imagery of his children with personal and cultural documentation relating to his Caribbean origins bringing the past, present and future onto the same plane. Stephen Marc’s ongoing exploration of the African Diaspora is seen in his digital montages, combining historic sites relating to the Underground Railroad in New York with imagery of contemporary African-Americans that reveals the connecting threads of history preserved in such things as fraternity gestures and hair weaving patterns. Fascinated by the subtle poetic effects of lights’ impact on surface, Mayumi Terada constructs scale models, which once “impregnated” by light and captured through her camera’s lens, fill our minds with sensual wonder and curiosity.

Like Truong, Howard Henry Chen returned to Vietnam, having left with his family after over 25 years of life in the US. Chen’s images seek to re-imag-ine a place and people whose identity has been frozen in western culture’s collective memory through photographs and film clips from the Vietnam War. In her intimate photo-based works, Dorothy Imagire offers the viewer a chance to consider ideas surrounding the term exotic and how women of color negotiate the issues surrounding western standards of beauty and identity and balance them with their ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. And in Moonching Wu‘s ongoing photographic exploration of water and our relationship to this precious resource, we are provided an opportunity to consider its presence in the heavens, the earth, and sea.

-Ariel Shanberg, 2003

Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Arts Council, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Special thanks to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz for the loan of display cases and to the artists in this exhibition whose presence and creativity continuously inspires all that we do at CPW.

 

[one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Tulu Bayar[/one_half] [one_half]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Terry Boddie[/one_half] [one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Howard Henry Chen[/one_half] [one_half]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Yancey Hughes[/one_half] [one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Dorthy Imagire[/one_half] [one_half]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Stephen Marc[/one_half] [one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Annu Palakunnathu Matthew[/one_half] [one_half]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Felicia Megginson[/one_half] [one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Mayumi Terada[/one_half] [one_half]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Hong-An Truong[/one_half] [one_half first]Made in Woodstock II, work by CPW's 2001 & 2002 Artists in Residence, June 6 - August 10, 2003Moonching Wu[/one_half]

 

Howard Henry Chen

Howard Henry Chen

MY VIETNAM

March 29 – May 25, 2003

I have spent the last few years living and photographing in Vietnam. It was a heady time to be there as a young Vietnamese American who came of age in the United States, as I witnessed changing social and political sensibilities and the demanding reach of economic and cultural globalism.

Before I first arrived in 2000, after having lived in the United States for twenty-five years, I had originally wanted to document certain projects ­–– photographing the lingering effects of unexploded ordnance, for example, or Agent Orange, or a fledgling market economy in a nominally Communist state. These ideas were born from my training as a journalist and an abiding interest in historical and geopolitical issues. When I arrived, I discovered that these issues didn’t interest me as much as a need to explore, visually, a sense of my own identity, and to see my own version of Vietnam. I wanted to visually interpret for myself a place that others had always visually interpreted for me, to use a new visual grammar that could sit alongside images of Vietnam to which I have grown accustomed: of an Orientalist’s fantasy of smiling rice farmers and water buffalo in verdant paddies, or the famous combat images of decades past. Americans usually think about Vietnam as a series of anniversaries frozen in time: the anniversary of this or that military offensive, or this or that incident of violence or protest. The Vietnamese have moved on in a way that always amazed me, and it was this sense of radiant stillness and strength with which I identified and photographed.

Spending time with and making portraits of young Vietnamese born after the end of the war –– farmers, students, idealistic entrepreneurs, novice monks, young professionals, young Communists, ethnic minorities –– has helped me recreate my own vision of Vietnam. I saw subtle and profound changes, even in the relatively short period of time I lived there, and these are portraits of the demographic that is effecting the most change, and is most affected by it. I always asked my close Vietnamese friends and relatives if I could photograph them. Many of them are not much younger than I, and I asked this always remembering that were it not for some pluck and a bit of good fortune –– nothing more –– it could have been me on the other side of the lens. In any case, here we were, taking pictures, trying to redefine how Vietnamese people should be seen, and this collaboration was so elegant to me, as neither the photographer nor the subject have any memories whatsoever of the war.

The pictures also, to me, recall simple holiday snapshots taken by Vietnamese of our parents’ generation, standing stiffly and formally in front of canh dep –– a pretty background –– while a war mushroomed around them. This simplicity belies the palpable, almost aggressive, sense of hope and unfettered optimism within this demographic at this point in time. The features ­­–– of both the faces and the landscape –– are the same, but the history is different.

-Howard Henry Chen, 2003

Howard Henry Chen was born in Saigon, Viet Nam in 1972 and left for the United States with his family in 1975, a few weeks before the tanks rolled in. He grew up in Pennsylvania and studied journalism and political science at Boston University. He then worked as a journalist at several newspapers, covering, among other subjects, the television industry and the changing demographics of the American South. He first studied photography at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, where he sharpened his interest in cultural hybridity and produced a project on second-generation Vietnamese in the American South. He won the first Fulbright fellowship given in photography to Viet Nam in 1999, and has spent the last six years shuttling back and forth doing photographic work. He will receive his MFA from Columbia College in 2006. His most recent exhibit was at The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, where he and his wife currently live. Chen was an artist-in-residence at CPW in 2001.

howardhenrychen.com

Photography Now 2003

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2003

curated by Therese Mulligan

March 29 – May 25, 2003

While the opportunity to jury an exhibition is familiar to a curator, the activity itself revels in the unexpected and the unpredictable.

My experience as a juror was no exception as I surveyed over 2000 images submitted by 265 photographers for the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s annual national photography exhibition. In exhibitions like this, I am, along with the public, presented with a type of “snapshot” view of current issues and practices in contemporary photography. Here the wide diversity of the medium is on display, from emergent digital printing technologies to the reinvestigation of so-called “antique” processes born of the nineteenth century. Diversity is also reflected in the breadth of skilled practitioners. Few visual mediums encourage and extol this type of multiplicity of practice and maker: it is one of photography’s most enduring and richest attributes.

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From submitted entries, forty images by ten photographers were selected to comprise this annual exhibition. Decision- making involved in the jury process is never easy, but these works proved meritorious of special attention and deserve mention here. Jonathan Moller’s sobering series Guatemala attests to the power of the photograph as document and a deliberate tool for social change. The work of Gregory Hipwell and Allison Hunter also consider the documentary function of the photograph. However, theirs is an altogether different social context. For Hipwell and Hunter, the photograph is a distilled index of man-made organization and management, from the slick, unpopulated hallways of corporate buildings (Hipwell) to monuments of industrial technology that pose triumphantly on barren landscapes (Hunter). Technology presents a new face in A. Leo Nash’s playfully contrived desert panoramas, with post-industrial machines and landscapes that appear straight out of a Mad Max adventure. While all of these works have something of the “document” about them, other selected photographers pursued different aesthetic paths.

Abstraction finds a special resonance in James Reeder’s toned silver gelatin prints of floating worlds and Bill Armstrong’s vibrant colored photographs of masks. In these photographers’ work the power of abstraction lies in the power of suggestion to simultaneously reveal and conceal inherent subject and meaning. Abstraction is further highlighted in Paul Cary Goldberg’s Vessel images, with fragmented views of ship hulls awash in darkness that convey a menacing, still life sensibility. In Mary Daniel Hobson’s elegantly framed images, the camera’s intimate gaze of the female figure is intensified to the point of the personalized abstract by combining close up views and collage. The theatrical and cinematic coincide in Sandra Johanson’s Reconstruction series, based on the observed telling gesture and story board format, and Robert Goss’ appropriated images from popular culture, which also adhere—although playfully disjunctive—to the narrative format of the sequenced image.

I would like to thank all the photographers who submitted work to this competition and provided a truly pleasurable viewing experience. I also wish to express my deep appreciation to the staff of the Center for Photography at Woodstock  for the opportunity to participate as juror. CPW’s sponsorship of this annual exhibition represents an important forum on contemporary photography for the art community and public alike.

-Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY

Therese Mulligan has been the curator of photography at George Eastman House since 1995. She has organized numerous exhibitions, as well as authored and edited articles and publications on historical and contemporary photography. Highlights of these activities include the 1999 comprehensive guide to the Museum’s photography collection entitled Photography from 1839 to Today; and most recently the publication The Photography of Alfred Stieglitz: The Legacy of Georgia O’Keeffe (2000). At the Eastman House, she has organized “Telling Stories: The Narrative Impulse in Contemporary American Photography”; “Mexicanidad: Tina Modotti and Edward Weston”; “Digital Frontiers: Photography’s Future” at Nash Editions.

Most recently, she organized the first one-person exhibition of the work of contemporary photographer Robert ParkeHarrison. Mulligan received her MA in art history, with a concentration in the graphic arts, from Michigan State University and her Ph.D. in the history of photography from the University of New Mexico.

[one_third first]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003-thumbnailBill Armstrong[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Paul Cary Goldberg[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Robert Goss[/one_third]

[one_third first]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Gregory Hipwell[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Mary Daniel Hobson[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Allison Hunter[/one_third]

[one_third first]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Sandra Johanson[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003Jonathan Moller[/one_third]

[one_third]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003A. Leo Nash[/one_third]

[one_third first]"Photography Now 2003", selections by Therese Mulligan, Curator of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester NY, March 29 - May 25, 2003James Reeder[/one_third]

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