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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

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]

 

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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Invisible Cities

INVISIBLE CITIES

curated by Kate Menconeri

June 1 – July 28, 2002

How do we construct, re-create, and unify a past that is simultaneously now? Inspired by the Italo Calvino novel of the same title, the artists in Invisible Cities, coming from the U.S., Canada, and South America, delve into the slippery territory of memory with visual tools, layers, and creativity. They explore how the past can shape our understanding of self, history, culture, the present, and how memory can shift and change quite readily, dissolving into pure imagination and re-vision.

 Magicians indeed, they reveal new ways to think about and visualize that which we carry within but cannot see with the naked eye. If photography is said to endorse the existence of things, this work ironically validates that which cannot be seen, but also calls into question the veracity of the photograph itself and explores our ever changing perceptions of what was, what should have been, and what is.

In Italo Calvino’s novel, Invisible Cities, the young explorer, Marco Polo, is commissioned by the emperor, Kublai Khan to tell him of the cities within his empire. Each story takes us to diverse and vast lands – each one different, each with its own jewel. Soon Kublai realizes that each of these places are in fact the same place – and he begins to question if they even exist at all. I’ve often thought of memory as a fluid part of perception. Places existed in my mind before I had ever actually been there and once I did in fact visit – the places I had imagined continued to exist on their own – while one informed the identity of the other, the new perception became a different place – and both remain embedded in my mind, existing simultaneously on their own. Each piece of information about a place recalled to the emperor’s mind that first gesture or object which Marco designated the place. The new fact received a meaning from that emblem and also added to the emblem a new meaning. Perhaps, Kublai thought, the empire is nothing but a zodiac of the mind’s phantasms. – Calvino, Invisible Cities

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The past is mediated by memory on all levels – personal, historical, collective, and cultural. And memory is a silent but all encompassing presence, informing our decisions and perceptions, and propelling us forward each moment. One has to begin to lose memory, even small fragments of it, to realize that memory is what our entire life is made of. A life without memory wouldn’t be life, just as intelligence without means of expression wouldn’t be intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our action, our feeling. Without it we are nothing. – Luis Bunnel, My Last Sigh

Like Marco’s “discovered” cities, the past is simultaneously unreachable and ever present. While the facts of the past are fixed, memory changes with the filters of time, distance, new experience, knowledge, and desire. It easily shifts, dissolves, and reasserts a new story. We begin to remember things differently and we may have no idea of what has already been forgotten. The past is by nature invisible outside of ones own perceptions – an invisible field – a city – and only in the present does the past (or future) actually exist. As in some of the chapter titles in Cities, signs and our own desires can again alter and reposition the past. Memory becomes both real and imagined. The place that I had re-built in the shadows had gone to rejoin the places glimpsed in the swirls of awakening, set to flight by that pale sign the fingers of the rising day had traced above the curtains. – Marcel Proust, Silent Heights of Memory, Combray, Remembrance of Things Past.

Someone might dream that remembering and forgetting can be acts of will, rather than aggressions or gifts of chance. – Jorge Luis Borges. Memories may exist for some great episode in life – a first kiss, but it is also the corner we passed yesterday, the grocery list we try to remember once we reach the store. Borges wrote, while forgetting purifies, … memory chooses and rediscovers. What we bring forward is sometimes a matter of choice – but often we cannot escape the experiences we’ve had or the stories and events that continue to shape our perceptions today. I am every instant of my lengthy time, every night of scrupulous insomnia, every parting and every night before. I am the faulty memory of an engraving that’s still here in the room and that my eyes, now darkened, once saw clearly. – Borges

Employing photographic based tools to explore this elusive terrain both parallels and questions our historical understandings of photography as the documentation and authentication of what is real. One day I received from a photographer a picture of myself… because it was a photograph I could not deny that I had been there. – Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida. Photographs are said to capture a moment in time forever, preserving the past for as long as the image remains – they are our only “real” visual evidence. The power of photographs thus to trigger memory is widely felt, and often used in media and advertising to prey on our emotions.

Have you ever found an old box of letters and photographs or a diary that once you picked up you couldn’t put down because it completely and blindly transported you to another time in your life – to the people you no longer know and the places you will never again go? Keisha Scarville delves into her past with personally charged objects and narratives. What might appear to have generic or little meaning – a toothpick, a shoelace – carries the force of her past and brings her life lessons forward. Oscar Muñoz shows us the fleeting faces of those lost in historical/political tragedy. In this work you see only yourself until you breath onto the plates, reclaiming the past and thus the importance of remembering. Terry Boddie metaphorically combines personal and cultural symbols, exploring the relationships between knowledge and history and their own regenerative possibilities. Terry’s layers of information, from the portrait of his sisters – (taken annually) to the symbols drawn in mourning – all speak of the passage of time, birth, rebirth, death, and reincarnation. Shauna Frischkorn freezes the duration of the commonplace – where nothing may have actually happened – and shows us absence as the subject itself. While some of the work in the exhibition does in fact trigger memory, it reveals more about how the past shapes the present now.

The past is not always employed to relive or remember, but to reconstruct a dialogue about the now. James Fee juxtaposes his Father’s documentary pictures of Peleliu Island in 1944 with his own current images of the same place not to revisit the past but to better understand his present. Fee’s large color scenes, uncluttered and empty of specifics reveal a present that is molded by absence, inheritance, and imagination. Gayle Tanaka examines issues of appearance and the intersections of time, culture, personal history, and the construction of memory. In her multi-media work, each informs the other, exposing how her identity continues to be shaped by her inheritance.

While painting can feign reality without having seen it, in photography I can never deny that the thing has been there… Photography’s “noeme” [essence] will therefore be “that-has-been”. [which does not mean that which was] – Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida. But while thought to be real, photographs, mirroring memory, can be harnessed to alter the facts, deceive, invent, recreate, and fantasize, and are not necessarily referential to any real event or time. Unseen images of the mind are revealed by the transformative power of the medium and the imagination. What P. E. Sharpe literally shows us is not in fact the item she references in her titles, but that which metaphorically transports us to an unseen past, where the very real visual of absence triggers memory. Gerald Slota’s disturbing and ambiguous scenes of childhood and family reveal something a bit more menacing than the ordinary. Based not in the facts of the past but in the imagination, these deeply layered and marred images may suggest an elusive and unreachable past. His processes mimic the way in which we can distance and separate ourselves from the facts and the past, and while this work is in fact not based in any literal space or time, and is not about memory, it may indeed trigger powerful emotions, fears, and recollections. Carol Golemboski, too, uses visual tools to create a more psychological plane for the objects she pictures.  As found objects, the stories she tells are not based on a known or real history, but her own imaginative associations and a response to the energy these mysterious objects resonate. She takes us into the future and reminds us of a sense of melancholy… and a mounting dread that comes with the realization that our own stories will suffer the same fate. In Robert Flynt’s intimate portraits the past and present co-exist and communicate. The found photograph and the artists’ invented image create a jangling dialogue unbound by time, touching upon sensuality and the temporal body, loss, relationships, and our infinite place within the cosmos.

In exploring themes of memory and past and present in their artwork, the artists featured are not looking to “capture moments” to preserve for all time. This work transcends time, creating a dialog about the present and what exists within the invisible cities that surround us. The unseen is seen, the past meets present, and fact meets fiction.

-Kate Menconeri, 2002

… A Man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Through the years he propels a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and people. Shortly, before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his face. – Jorge Luis Borges

[one_half first]Terry Boddie[/one_half][one_half]James Fee[/one_half] [one_half first]Robert Flynt[/one_half] [one_half]Shauna Frischkorn[/one_half] [one_half first]Carol Golemboski[/one_half] [one_half]Oscar Muňoz[/one_half] [one_half first]Keisha Scarville[/one_half] [one_half]Gerald Slota[/one_half] [one_half first] P. Elaine Sharpe[/one_half] [one_half]Gayle Tanaka[/one_half]

Beyond Words – Photography Now

BEYOND WORDS

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2002

juried by Debra Singer

March 23 – May 19, 2002

This winter the Center sent out an international call to photographers posing the question – If the unthinkable, the unknowable happens, what do you – as a photographer – do?

How does a major event (personal, social, collective, national, global) change your life, your family, and your world? And how do you show that visually? How do we come together – in our home, in our community, in America, and in our world? How do you visualize your fears and your hopes?

Juror Debra Singer selected nine artists who connect in diverse ways to the healing power of art and the creative process. Through picture making these photographers illuminate pathways that address with compassion and experience issues we wish we could ignore but can’t. They confront sorrow, loss, life changes, and an uncertain world. They remind us of our fragile existence and of our humanity.

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Maureen Beitler celebrates the ephemeral nature of life and shows us beauty and magic in what may seem another mundane ritual of daily life. Sonia Targontsidis’ meditative color images reveal subtle gestures and expressions that remind us of our humanity, possibility and transience. Anne Savedge reveals a new place through distortions to evoke personal meaning. Jean Collier Hurley, a breast cancer survivor, links her experience with the demolition of a 38-year-old church in San Francisco. By memorializing the destruction of the sacred parish home, Hurley hopes to find herself and others strength in what remains behind and presents a visual metaphor for the battle she won. Patricia Richards learned from her father to look for the opportunity in every difficult situation. Her photographs chronicle, with poignant sorrow, the passing of this man, and looks for a door to go forward from here.

Gregory Van De Rostyne explores the creative process as a way to search for his origins. Michael Marshall juggled science and art until he became aware that art provided a road to understanding. His images document what he has discovered and what he still questions. Jackie Clark transformed shock, confusion, and the need to put things “back in place” by making pictures. After the heartbreaking events of September 11th she united with fellow on-lookers at the site where the twin towers once stood and documented the face of sorrow and loss. Bruce Sheftel, responding to the tragedy on September 11, 2001, shows us the magnitude of the tragedy unfolding as seen on the television by observers in a local waiting room at the Philadelphia hospital.

How has the world changed since 9/11? Since last spring? Since last week? Many people now talk of the world as “pre” and “post” 9/11 as if it is an entirely different place. There are things happening every day that catapult our lives – without notice, without warning. In only an instant all we know may change – with a word, a look, a hope – for better or for worse. This hasn’t changed – and we carry on – the best we know how.

Does art meditate challenging times?

How do you channel your own energy to focus on the positive when your world is turned upside down?

What guides your forward?

[one_half first]Maureen Beitler[/one_half] [one_half]Jackie Clark[/one_half] [one_half first]Jean Collier Hurley[/one_half] [one_half] Michael Marshall[/one_half] [one_half first]Patricia Richards[/one_half] [one_half]Anne Savedge[/one_half] [one_half first]Bruce Sheftel[/one_half] [one_half]Sonia Targontsids[/one_half] [one_half first]Gregory Van De Rostyne[/one_half]

Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography

PRESENTING/RECEIVING: SUBJECTING PHOTOGRAPHY

curated by Ariel Shanberg

January 12 – March 10, 2002

Perhaps no other medium influences our lives, inspires our dreams, and informs us on a daily basis as greatly as photography does.

The artists in Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography draw our attention to both the power and limitations of photography; exploring the dichotomy between the ways our imaginations empower the image and how the photograph triggers our minds. By using found photographs, creating constructed images, and putting the photograph in the spotlight, they allow us to meditate on the photograph as an object, a tool, and an art form.

– Ariel Shanberg, 2002

 

[one_half first]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002Damali Ayo[/one_half] [one_half]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002Laura Carton[/one_half] [one_half first]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002 Pamela Elliss Hawkes[/one_half] [one_half]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002Peter Hendrick[/one_half] [one_half first]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002 Nikki S. Lee[/one_half] [one_half]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002 Annu Palakunnathu Matthew[/one_half] [one_half first]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002 Zoë Sheehan Saldaña[/one_half] [one_half]"Presenting/Receiving: Subjecting Photography", curated by Ariel Shanberg, January 12 - March 10, 2002 Judith Selby[/one_half]

PASSENGER

PASSENGER

a video exhibition curated by John Mannion

November 3 – December 16, 2001

This video exhibition, on continuos play, is featured in conjunction with We Are Named, a visual arts exhibition curated by Susan Evans and is accompanied by a special issue of the Canter’s magazine, PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, with articles by Evans, Mannion, and Gary Hesse (Jamesville, NY).

The videos in PASSENGER look to the identification of family and gender as markers of who we are and how we view our own personal identity. The inner perception of self is a result of our personal states and thoughts during our lifetime, Plainly said, when we define ourselves we must decide who we are and where we belong. In many ways, we are defined by our histories; the content of our past haunts the decisions we make now.

The ghosts of ourselves make us wonder what might have occurred had history taken a different course. What if the answers weren’t the same? The understanding of who we are forces us to define the relationships we have made to our immediate environment. What’s more is that we are carried along by our own inertia; how the self has already been defined. We are who we say we are. This sets up an interesting binary, we are defining our  self while our self is defined by where we are and have been. We become passengers of our own self-identification.

The first tape in the series is Los Animales made by Argentinean artist Ivan Marino and Arturo Marinho. The tape looks at a place called Chino, located in Buenos Aires. It is an area famous for tango and nightlife. My interest in the piece is the way that the main characters, two men sitting in the street, are partially defining this part of town as it defines them. These men are who they are by choice and tell us of their life through the drinks they have on the street.

They speak of women that both define them and drive them to live. “I was born from a woman, I live for a woman, and I will die for a woman.” An inevitable tragedy it seems. A man who appears to run a local establishment sings about a woman who loves him but whom he does not love himself. “I am sorry that I do not love you anymore.” This prophecy of endless conflict between man and woman is a large part of their dialogue. It is part of the sexual tension that is so much a part of the tango, so much a part of this space.

The next tape in the series is entitled Le Memoria de los Caracoles (The Memory of the Snails) made by Chilean artist Edgar Endress. This autobiographical video diptych looks at two seemingly innocent events that come to have a larger distinction upon the narrator in the tape. The work remarks on the subtle and sometimes unnoticed way that an oppressive government, in this case that of General Pinnochet, can touch your life without you even knowing.

In both of these stories Endress is unintentionally participating in the wrong doings of this totalitarian dictator. In the first tape Endress gives us a simple story, essentially that he participated in waving to and venerating Pinnochet’s motorcade traveling with full military parade. While his father was the only one present to protest. In the second tape another simple text places Edgar on the wrong side of good unwittingly. He gives guards the oranges that will be used to beat and torture people who are wrongfully imprisoned. Even though he did not have an idea of what the symbolism of his acts where at the time, there is regret found within the tone of the tape.

The ghost of these events charges the tape with frenetic energy. Le Memoria de los Caracoles points us back to the circumstance, but the mood that Endress relays tells us of his opinion. Even though these were out of Endress’ control they turn into ghosts. They seem to motivate the tape. In both of these tapes the father is present and is, to some extent, a hero. In this tape the father figure is indeed choosing the right decision and makes an ideal self that the child in the tape, a young Edgar can look to. This makes the absence of father seem so much more important in the next two tapes.

John Orenticher’s tape 3 X Named evolves out of a personal investigation of Orentlicher’s biological parents. The tape is quite amazing to me in that I clearly see how as a viewer I am implicitly participating in who this person is. The test in this piece begins to define his parents. As it happens i see and feel my understanding of John’s identity though his own investigation, one that builds for me nearly as it must of for himself, or as I imagine it would. A pair of images appear in the piece together. In one, there is a figure that is cut out, maybe his father. This heightens the awareness of his absence. Little is mentioned of Orentlicher’s father only that he was a Jewish intelligent from a large family. John’s investigation of himself seems to assign his identity as outsider even though he does not intend this from the  investigation. He asks simply who his parents are. But all it really creates are more questions.

This last tape is by Margaret Stratton entitled Kiss the Boys. This tape takes a normative view of homosexuality and entwines it with the memory of her lost parent. Her father becomes a ghost of herself – someone who judged and watched Margaret. As in Endress’ and Orentlicher’s tape the acts of the parents significantly affect their children. THe absence certainly becomes part of her self-identity. She, even when recognizing her own desires, must appease the structure that her father exists in, haunted by that which defines herself.

As with life and our definition of anything we define ourselves by what we know. Where have we been? What are we told? Wondering what might have been raises most of the content in these works. These are questions that we ask ourselves all the time.

The way that society dictates, or parents dictate, is our first lesson in defining who we are. These tapes, when brought together, begin to show the way we can be affected by larger forces, be they social, political, or something other.

– John W. Mannion, 2001

John W. Mannion is an artist and educator who currently teaches at Light Work in Syracuse, NY. He has taught photography, digital imaging, art history, and media studies at Syracuse University and served as co-director of Sparks Gallery, also in Syracuse.

 


JOHN KLEINHANS

John Kleinhans

NEW LANDSCAPES

November 3 – December 16, 2001

The photographs in this exhibition are drawn from recent work around my home in Woodstock, New York; as well as Monhegan Island, Maine, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

I have been privileged to have traveled to far places and have photographed in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the American West. I’ve seen some of the highest mountains and deepest canyons, but it is the landscape where I have spent my life in the northeastern US that moves me most deeply. The Hudson Valley region, with its wooded hills (Westerners are amused to find the word “mountains” applied to the Catskills), fields, farms, and small towns everywhere shows its long habitation and cultivation. Likewise the coast of New England although very rugged, is on a human scale. The little rock of Monhegan reveals the same sort of remnants of many lives lived that we find on our hikes around Woodstock. The overgrown paths, bits of stonewall, and long abandoned orchards are like flickers of memory.

Technical / This show is my first extended effort in digital printmaking. Working with my computer, scanner, and printer has been challenging, occasionally frustrating, and always exciting. The magic I experienced when my first black-and-white prints emerged in the tray of developer 36 years ago, I am experiencing once again. I watch the print head go back and forth, faithfully obeying my most minute commands and feel I’m watching a miracle.

There are pitfalls in working digitally. Whereas in the darkroom one may always be trying to increase one’s control of variables like lightness, contrast, and color, with the computer one must, on the contrary, learn restraint, since the control available goes so far beyond one’s needs. At first there is the temptation to play with every trick in the Photoshop toolbox and risk producing garish monstrosities. The thing I value most about photography is its faithfulness to the visual reality I saw when I first exposed the film in camera. Retaining this fidelity is the greatest challenge in the digital realm. But once this self control is mastered it is such a joy to be able to make that highlight just as white as it should be, to get the black really black, to get that magenta cast out of the sky, to handle that scratch on the negative perfectly. Finally, when you work with your image on the screen you can get to know it better than you ever had before – you can explore every detail. Since my images are made first of all to please myself, this leisurely exploration of the picture provides new enjoyment. The photographs begin as 4×5” color negatives, which I shoot in camera and then develop. They are scanned on an Epson 1680, cleaned, and fine tuned in Photoshop 6, and printed with an Epson 1270 on Lumijet Classic Velour paper (watercolor).

 

John Kleinhans was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1942. In college he began as a music major but turned his attention to psychology and was particularly interested in the psychology of visual perception. He spent twelve years as a psychology professor at Rutgers, Manhattanville College, and the University of Connecticut. During his years in academia he became more and more involved in photography, and ultimately devoted himself to it after his show of French Landscapes at the Alliance Francaise in New York City and his move to Woodstock, NY. In Woodstock John has been closely involved with the Woodstock School of Art where he has been a vice president since the early 1980s. He has also served as a chairman and trustee of the Woodstock Artists Association and an instructor at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Additionally he works as a designer at Woodstock Percussion Inc.  Kleinhans set up his first darkroom in 1965, began making color prints in the 1970s, platinum prints in the 1990s and is now busy exploring digital photography. He has worked in portrait, architectural, art, aerial, and news photography but always returns to landscape. He has published two books of his landscape photographs – An Image of Monhegan (Precipice Publications, 1997, 2nd edition 2000) and Woodstock Landscapes (Precipice Publications with Golden Notebook Press, 2000).