Bushwick Farms

Bushwick Farms


November 5 – December 18, 2005

We are a collaborative team who have been traversing America for the past four years in a 1979 Ford pick up truck and a 1968 travel trailer.

During this time we have created a tangible fiction that revolves around a family farm, which sponsors a traveling variety show. Blurring the boundaries between various mediums including photography, performance art, theater, interactive installation, and constructed mythologies, we attempt to make our conceptual narrative real. References include reality television, traveling tent shows, vintage erotica, cottage industry, and otherworldly existences. Bushwick Farms exists in the space between illusion and truth, whatever is imagined becomes real and whatever is real exudes the dreamlike qualities of imagination.

Tara Cuthbert and Stuart Solzberg are a married couple obsessed with actualizing the history and genealogy of a conceptual company they created named Bushwick Farms. They created this company while living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, an area known for its desolate industrial landscape. They began to construct an elaborate history and family tree, weaving their personal dreams and fantasies into the narrative of Bushwick Farms.

In 2001, they rented a 15ft truck and moved all of their belongings into a storage unit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.They purchased a pick-up truck and travel trailer, which they transformed into a mobile studio/home. They placed large white vinyl letters on both sides of the trailer that read BUSHWICK FARMS. Intrigued by the notion of blending fact and fiction, they began to live as Joe Rotto and Violet Gray. Joe Rotto is the youngest of three sons of the Bushwick family and manages The Traveling Variety Show, which is sponsored by Bushwick Farms. As written in the history of Bushwick Farms, Joe and Violet began to travel America recruiting performers for their Traveling Variety Show.

Bushwick Farms has presented The Traveling Variety Show in spaces ranging from parking lots and RV parks to Contemporary Art Centers throughout America. Components of the show have been exhibited in conjunction with Santa Fe Center for Photography and Rose Gallery. Cuthbert and Solzberg have been Artists in-Residence at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The MacDowell Colony, and Visual Studies Workshop. In 2005 they were awarded a grant from the Nevada Arts Council.

Liséa Lyons


Liséa Lyons


July 2 – August 21, 2005

I wonder how the mind decides which memories to keep. There are certain moments you can always return to, never knowing why. Not the graduations, births, and weddings, but the strange summer day where nothing ever seemed to happen.

The significance of these slivers of time is just as obscure as the remembered scenario itself. It seems odd and almost unsettling that you can still see the colors and feel the temperature of what was just another day.

I used to feel certain I was documenting something – a time or place in my daughter’s life; it was actually my connection to her world. I felt consumed by thoughts about our domestic space and my role within it. As time passed and I abruptly changed the familiar landscape there was a new twist. In her world I began to see my memories, my ordinary days, fears, and dark spaces. Now the stories overlap and fold into one another. The picture becomes a window, a mirror, and can root itself in the place where those fragments and slivers live.

Liséa Lyons is a NYC-based photographer who received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. In addition she studied photography at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA and earned her BA in English Literature at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Her photographs have been presented in solo exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay area at the Marx Zavattero Gallery (where her work is represented), the Diego Rivera Gallery, the Isabel Percy West Gallery at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and in group shows at the Scope Art Fair in Miami, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Texas A&M University in College Station, Southern Exposure Gallery in San Francisco, the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and abroad at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. Liséa’s work has been featured in Art in America, ARTnews, Photo Review, and Artweek.  This exhibition marks Ms. Lyons’ New York solo debut.

Charise Isis

Charise Isis


May 7 – June 19, 2005

For the last twelve years, I have worked on and off in the world of exotic dance (strip clubs). It is a world harshly judged by the mainstream and generally negatively depicted by the media.

Strippers are often viewed as dysfunctional people on the fringe of society. Throughout my career as a dancer I have come to know some very powerful and creative women. I have witnessed deeply moving and healing experiences and I have seen a great deal of beauty and strength within this industry.

Three years ago, I began photographing the women that I work with. At first, I wondered if I should photograph every aspect of this world, including the stereotypical “bad stuff” (exploited women with low self esteem), but I realized that I do not view the dancers in this way. Dysfunction exists within the world of exotic dance as it does in every aspect of our society, however it is not the negative things that stay with me, but rather the humanity that constantly disrobes itself alongside the women.

I have therefore chosen to focus my lens on the performance aspect of this world where women express so much – dressing and undressing their bodies, dressing and undressing their souls.  The women I work with are extremely supportive of my work. They are inspired by my photographs and I am honored by their trust.

Born in the United States, and raised in New Zealand, Charise Isis returned to the States at 20 to study acting in NYC. As a “struggling artist”, she supported herself as a bartender and later a close friend introduced her to the world of exotic dance. Dancing for Isis became not only a great source of income, but also a wonderful platform for expressing her creativity. She also began exploring different visual media including painting, sculpture, and performance art before discovering her talent for photography. After having a son, she moved to Woodstock, NY, where she continued to supplement income dancing and began studying photography at Ulster Community College.

Having access to an abundance of interesting and beautiful women at her work, she naturally began photographing them. Since then Isis has compiled more than sixty images along with interviews, which she is currently working to make into a book. Isis has shown her work in exhibitions in NY at the Stepping Stone Gallery in Huntington, Best of SUNY show at the State University Plaza Gallery in Albany, and Backstage Productions in Kingston. “American Stripper” is Charise Isis’s first solo exhibition. Since then she has gone on to exhibit at Michael Mazzeo Gallery, Griffin Museum, and the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz, among others. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the Center for Photography at Woodstock.


Installation View

Esteban Pastorino Diaz

Esteban Pastorino Diaz


January 29 – March 27, 2005

In K.A.P. (Kite Aerial Photography), Esteban Pastorino Diaz explores the image of the urban landscape from the perspective of a remote-controlled camera mounted on a kite.

The resulting photographs present a world that appears miniature and toy-like at first glance; in fact, the landscapes are actual locations in Argentina and Greece.

At no time during the process of photographing can Diaz foresee the image captured by the camera. This project originates with this alchemy of chance; yet the images evidence a deeper conceptual motivation. The tilt and shift of the lens produce partially blurred images that create the illusion of a scale model. The momentary loss of reference to the real city leads the viewer toward an imaginary space where it is the photograph alone that constitutes the reference to the reality. Diaz’s technique evidences the representative and re-interpretative role of the photographic media, and calls into question the images of the “real” we take for granted.

Esteban Pasterino Diaz
was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1972. His work has been exhibited in Spain, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, the Netherlands, Columbia, and France at venues including at the Museum of Modern Art in Argentina. His work was first exhibited in the United States at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery in Houston, TX in 2004. This will be his second solo exhibition in the United States. His photographs are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires and the Museumof Contemporary Art in Bahía Blanca, Argentina. In 2005, Diaz was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kusten in Amsterdam.

Foreign Affair


curated by Kate Menconeri

January 29 – March 27, 2005

When I consider … the small space I occupy, which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me, I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there: there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then. Who put me here? – Pascal, Pensées, 68

What motivates us to leave home is as diverse as what we encounter along the journey but dreams of far away lands can often begin with a photograph. The relationship between photography and travel goes as far back as their inceptions. Expeditions to visually record the far corners of the earth were planned as soon as the development of photography was announced. Photographers such as Francis Frith, William Henry Jackson, and Timothy H. O’Sullivan (who had a darkroom on a boat) showed us the earliest ‘real’ images of the then unseen and undiscovered wonders of the world. Soon followed two firsts which simultaneously opened the world to us further. In the 1880s while George Eastman invented roll film and the box camera, the combustion engine was ignited, rendering photography and global travel accessible to middle class and working class families. Seeing and portraying the world firsthand was no longer reserved for the privileged elite. Tourists were photographing the great pyramids as early as 1890.

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Today photographs continue to fuel the tourism industry, but photography and travel have the ability to lead us far beyond glossy brochures. Departing from the tourist snapshot used to evidence “being there” or to consume place, the artists assembled in Foreign Affair focus the camera on the experience of the foreign, exploring our multifaceted relationships to travel, exploration, and dislocation. From expectations of the new to the confrontation of realities, from the rapture of release in a new environment to the anxiety of estrangement, the work presents a dialogue about transience, elation, loss, and discovery in a world where boundaries are ever shifting.

Many travel seeking beauty with the innocence and optimism that there is a better place beyond the one they call home, where a release from the rhythms of our daily routine will allow our problems to melt away. One glance at that photograph of a swaying palm tree on a beach is all one may need to get packing, but rarely do our actual experiences meet the expectations which a carefully composed, distilled photograph can inspire. Scott Whittle’s colorful images of sightseers in unfamiliar landscapes mine the gap between our fantasy of exotic travel and its less-than-ideal reality. We see the sites but also the obligatory omni-present vacationers who have become part of the view. What is refreshing about Whittle’s images is that in fully encompassing the tourist into their temporal destinies, we move beyond the package tourist mentality and see people interacting with the sublime landscapes that envelop them.

How do we process and understand a new place where the fixed boundaries of the familiar collapse? Language, food, colors, and sounds become unknown fragments overwhelming the senses, while our mind valiantly attempts to create cohesive connections. Fred Cray’s dense travel diary montages evoke a virtual experience of the dizzying layers that can disorient the traveler upon arrival in a new place. With no memories or previous landmarks, one may find this exhilarating, terrifying, or both.

In contrast to the dislocating feeling of estrangement in Crays’ work, Priya Kambli’s Suitcase series inverts displacement by carrying home abroad. Inspired by the experience of cramming her belongings into one suitcase when she emigrated to the U.S. from India in 1993, Kambli’s suitcases remind us of the self we carry within no matter the geographic location and the memories we allow to escort us as loyal companions through transformation.

Brent Phelp’s sweeping landscapes paired with original writings from Lewis & Clark’s journal literally carries the viewer on a fascinating historical voyage, to a time when the world was still “new” and yet to be explored. In this remake how do the images inform our understanding of history and move us into the mindset of seeing for the first time?

Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz’s collaborative images of snowglobes containing figures in transit subvert the objects’ cheerful conventions. Departing from the idea of the destination altogether, they frame the journey itself: solitary commuters, wanderers, and the lost attempt to find their way amidst the anxious territory of the unknown and the uncertainty of what lays ahead.

Tom Hunter’s series was created over a two-year jaunt through Europe in a double decker bus. His detailed portraits of the domestic environments of a contemporary nomadic group express his concern with the political issues surrounding the rights of ‘squatters’, ‘travelers’ and those viewed as ‘outsiders’. Not rooted by the geographical and cultural conventions of traditional community, these modern day gypsies are viewed as ‘others’ based on their lifestyle choices and priorities that keep them on the move. In comparison, Soon-Mi Yoo’s video, Isahn, brings to light the extreme challenges faced by an epidemic proportion of people and cultures forced into exile due to political unrest and conflict. Exploring issues of loss and alienation, Yoo recreates the experience of displaced North Koreans looking through tourist stereoscopes near the North/South Korean borders as they view images of a country they can no longer return home to. Crossing borders to make a new beginning they must negotiate a conflicting state of non-belonging and learn to assimilate the new and simultaneously preserve their uprooted culture while coping with the pain of separation.

Finally, what has often propelled us forward into uncharted terrain is the quest for knowledge and the idea that enlightenment could be within our reach. Vicki Ragan’s iconic imagery of astronomical charts, moonscapes, and explorers awakens longing, wanderlust, and the elation of discovery.

A transient position affords a unique perspective and can expand our understanding of how we know the world. The artists in Foreign Affair reveal that photography and travel share the ability to shift the frontiers of perception, empowering us to see beyond the confines of the world as we know it.

Should the chosen guide be nothing more than a wandering cloud I cannot lose my way. – Wordsworth

– Kate Menconeri, 2005

Kate Menconeri served as CPW’s Program Director from 2000 to 2007.

[one_half first]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Fred Cray[/one_half] [one_half]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Tom Hunter[/one_half] [one_half first]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Priya Kambli[/one_half] [one_half]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Walter Martin & Paloma Munoz[/one_half] [one_half first]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Brent Phelps[/one_half] [one_half]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Vicki Ragan[/one_half] [one_half first]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Scott Whittle[/one_half] [one_half]"Foreign Affair", curated by Kate Menconeri, CPW, January 29 - March 27, 2005Soon-Mi Yoo[/one_half]

Martin Weber

Martin Weber


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. —

Soody Sharifi

Soody Sharifi


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.

Noelle Tan

Noelle Tan


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.

Craig J. Barber

Craig J. Barber


FEBRUARY 7 – APRIL 4, 2004

The landscape of my youth
working farms and small towns
summer playgrounds and hunting camps
open space

Now fatigued
Some reclaimed
Most not

Dreams let go
Economies shifted
Struggles lost

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.