Tag Archives: Emerging Art

Matt Austin

Chicago photographer/artist, Matt Austin, has created a body of work, WAKE, that is a narrative about tragic moments in his family’s life.  This project is about to become part of an experiment in the sharing of work.
Matt received the Illinois Artist Council Grant to produce an edition of 10 of the WAKE books. Each copy of WAKE is made up of a handmade clamshell box that houses four hardcover books and a ledger. On October 27, the edition will be distributed to ten people familiar to Matt, but don’t personally know one other. Their responsibility will be to read the book, sign the ledger like a library card, and register their book number location by zip code on a corresponding website.The reader will then decide who receives their copy of the book next, pass it on to the next person, and so on. The website will provide a visual for where each of the 10 books are in the world as well as a waiting list platform for requesting a book to be sent to you.

Matt received his BFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago  and is teaching for the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Matt is the co-founder of the open digital lab LATITUDE (be sure to explore this amazing site), staff member of ACRE Artist Residency, co-founder of the art installation project known as TAIST, and a member of the pedagogical experiment The Mountain was a Gift. His photographs have been exhibited widely, including exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Catherine Edelman Gallery, NEXT: Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art, the MDW Art Fair, including solo exhibitions at Johalla Projects and the University of Notre Dame. Soon, he will be re-releasing the second edition of “/” with EJ Hill for their two-person exhibition SLOW DANCE at RAID Projects in L.A. this November.

WAKE is currently on exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, WI in the show The Kids Are All Right.  The exhibition runs through January where it will then travel to the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA throughout 2013.

WAKE is a photographic and literary narrative that presents my account of several tragic moments regarding my family over the past 4 years. The story begins with e-mails between my dad and I exchanged over the days that followed a violent eviction from his apartment and my simultaneous arrival in Ireland to study abroad. 

In the following chapters, WAKE gives an account of three family deaths over a short few months, drawing comparisons between economic failure and physical mortality. While providing one of many stories of a family’s experience with economic devastation, the book poses an optimistic perspective of learned appreciation through difficulty.

Matthew Schenning, Homeless Campsite

Matthew Schenning, Homeless Campsite

Matthew Schenning

Homeless Campsite,
Porto, Portugal, 2010
From the Beyond This Point series
Website – Schenning.com

Matthew Schenning is a Brooklyn based photographer originally from Baltimore, MD where he spent his youth playing in the abandoned spaces under highway overpasses. After studying sculpture at the University of Maryland he turned his focus toward photography as a means to understand his relationship to his surroundings. Making most his work while travelling, he photographs the landscape with a large format camera favoring the slow and deliberate way of working. He has been included in many exhibitions both in the United States and Europe. His work was featured in the first edition of The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography published by the Humble Arts Foundation and most recently in the exhibition catalogue for If This Is It published by Waal-boght Press.

Summer Re Runs: Kevin Thrasher

I’m stepping away from Lenscratch this week to work on a new personal website and prepare for upcoming photo activities…wanted to reintroduce you to some wonderful photographers featured several years ago, today with Kevin Thrasher.

Kevin Thrasher’s images have a wonderful combination of unsettling charm. He has a knack of finding moments and locations that while normal and natural, also leave room for alternate interpretations. Born in Birmingham, Alabama and now living in Richmond, Virginia, Kevin received his BFA from East Tennessee State University and his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He had a long list of exhibitions in 2010 including the forthcoming Collectors Guide to Emerging Art Photography published by the Humble Arts Foundation in NYC.

Photography seemed like the only option that I wanted to pursue in school. I wish there were a more glamorous way to talk about the choices that led me to photography, but photography was the only thing that I ever thought I really wanted to do over a lifetime. Photography made sense. Making photographs is a way for me to go out into familiar or unfamiliar places and discover things. I like going out and getting lost in a new place and making pictures there. The world is an awfully interesting place and you can make work where ever you are.

His series, Common Ground, looks at how we interact with the natural world, and the series Brown’s Island is a work in with similar themes but focusing on a specific place.

There is no pristine landscape. There is only the land that we have. We got to nature or other more socially controlled spaces to enjoy ourselves. Recreation takes us from our own backyards, to other places where we can connect with nature or experience moments of leisure.

The photographs exist in between accepted ideas of landscape and these newer more controlled spaces. People are making the best of the spaces that they have access to. Many of the locales often sustain the idea of community where people are drawn together for mutual purpose. We have come to accept these interstitial spaces as our nature.

Images from Brown’s Island

Peter Baker, Alfred Brush Park

Peter Baker, Alfred Brush Park

Peter Baker

Alfred Brush Park,
Detroit, Michigan, 2012
From the These Great Lakes series
Website – PeterBaker.net

Peter Baker was born in the seventies in a town called Blissfield, and counts himself lucky he made it through childhood before cell phones and the internet ruined everything. He attended the University of Michigan, moved around the country during his twenties, and currently lives near Detroit in cozy Ann Arbor. He works in both photography and design, running the design studio Elevated Works since 2004, and the letterpress print shop Elevated Press since 2008 with his wife Michelle. His work has been exhibited internationally, in print in Humble Arts' Collector's Guide to Emerging Art Photography, American Photography 26, and through commercial clients including Herman Miller, Popular Mechanics, Tesla Motors, Clif Bar and others.

Dina Kantor, Ryan, Lane & Lance

Dina Kantor, Ryan, Lane & Lance

Dina Kantor

Ryan, Lane & Lance,
Treece, Kansas, 2011
From the Treece series
Website – DinaKantor.com

Dina Kantor is a photographer and teacher based in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in 2007, and her BA in journalism and studio arts from the University of Minnesota. Her work has been exhibited nationwide and is included in the permanent collections of The Jewish Museum in New York, the Portland Art Museum and the Southeast Museum of Photography. Her work was included in Humble Arts Foundations’ The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography in 2009. In 2007, she was named to Heeb Magazine’s Heeb 100 list, as well as being included in PDN’s Photo Annual. She has received grants from the Kansas Humanities Council, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Finlandia Foundation National, and is currently being sponsored by Blue Earth Alliance. Currently, Dina teaches at The School of Visual Arts, Adelphi University and Nassau Community College.

Nadine Rovner, Someone Knows

Nadine Rovner, Someone Knows

Nadine Rovner

Someone Knows,
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, 2006
Website – NadineRovner.com

Nadine Rovner (b.1982) was raised in Southern New Jersey and holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been shown in exhibitions around the country; most recently it was included in Keystone 1, Pennsylvania’s first photography biennial, organized by the Silver Eye Center for Photography. Rovner has received a number of awards for her work, including The Print Center’s solo exhibition award in 2008. Also in 2008, she was included in the Humble Arts Foundation’s exhibition 31 Under 31: Young Women in Art Photography as well as The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Art Photography.

Success Stories: Elliott Wilcox

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote a post about Elliott Wilcox’s wonderful images of squash courts in England. A few weeks ago, I wandered into the DNJ Gallery in Santa Monica and felt like I was visiting with old friends. It was great to see the large scale images in person, and the prints felt much more painterly and significant than the small jpgs where I first saw his work. Annie Seaton, the DNJ Gallery Director, shared with me the many successes that Elliott has garnered over the last year.

Elliott is a London based, British photographer. He graduated from the University of Wales, Newport with a BA in Photographic Art in 2008 and the University of Westminster, MA Photographic Studies last year. He has been the recipient of several awards including a Judges Award at the Nikon Discovery Awards and a New York Photo Award. Elliott recently won a prestigious Lucie Award for the Discovery of the Year at the International Photography Awards.

Elliott has exhibited internationally and in the UK, his first major series ‘Courts’ was part of the show ‘PRUNE – Abstracting Reality’ at FOAM Gallery Amsterdam with guest curator Kathy Ryan, editor of the New York Times Magazine. He was also part of the BBC’s documentary series – School of Saatchi. His art work beat thousands of emerging art talents to the top ten artists involved in the show.

Elliott had solo exhibitions of ‘Courts’ at the Bau-Xi Photo Gallery Toronto, Canada in January 2011 and the dnj Gallery Los Angeles, USA in April 2011.

COURTS: This work examines representations of the enclosed spaces of sports courts. In photographing the empty courts, absent of the fast paced action we are so familiar with, these environments reveal themselves in a new light.The camera shows details that the viewer can see closely, revealing many subtleties that usually go unnoticed. The vivid stains, ball marks, blood and scratches force the viewer to focus on these details rather than just the court.

The courts have one single use, a ball game, with all their complicated rules and regulations. These normally sub conscious spaces become alive. Much like a gallery space is missed to the artwork, the space of these courts is missed to the sport. These large format images are slow and deliberate. The non-judgemental image creates an experience to explore, a path to revealing the unnoticed and exposing the unexposed, consequently romanticising the courts.

Congratulations on all your successes! The past two years have been quite spectacular—shows on both continents, awards, and Saatchi’s art-reality TV show. But let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up and what drew you to photography?


Thank you for your very kind comments.

I grew up on the South coast of England in a small market town called Ringwood. My Father is a professional sports photographer so I guess you could say I grew up surrounded by photography.

We used to have a small darkroom on the side of our house which I would sometimes be allowed to play around in and making shadow prints when I was small.
Even from a young age I was intrigued by my Fathers profession and, despite being miles apart in approach, both our photography revolves around sport. So perhaps I absorbed a love for the subject subconsciously.

Am I correct in thinking that you created Courts as a student? How did you come to create the project?

That’s right. I started Courts as a photography student at the University of Wales, Newport but continued to develop the project as I matured as an artist and image-maker.

The concept behind Courts was to create a project initially looking at space but specifically spaces that people chose to encounter, visit and inhabit.

Can you tell us about these courts in particular?

When you remove the one singular purpose ‘the game’ from these courts you are left with some very odd but intriguing. Much like a gallery space is missed to the artwork, the space of these courts is missed to the sport. These normally sub conscious spaces become alive.

Your imagery straddles the line between photography and painting, where you influenced by any particular painters?

I love the notion that my work straddles any line between photography and painting. I always find working with light and the results you can achieve with a camera truly fascinating.

I’m yet to be directly influenced by anyone in particular but a broad range of artists including Bacon, Ritcher, Gursky and Martins have had an impression on me.
Mainly, I’m inspired by any artist from any genre who is’nt afraid to push the boundaries of their medium.

I was struck by how similar the marks from the balls are to brush strokes, and how much it enriches the work to see evidence of time and human interaction with the space—did you feel this when making the work?

Yes. Each court has it’s own individual characteristics and historical background, some more than others. There is an overwhelming sense of time and human trace enriched in these prestigious environments. This was an integral part of my image-making process.

Did you have any idea where Courts would take you? Were you prepared for all the amazing opportunities and recognition that was (and is) coming your way?

II don’t think you can ever really prepare for what the future has in store. I genuinely try to take each day as it comes and am extremely grateful for any recognition. I just love honest image-making and can only hope people enjoy my artwork.

You are currently persuing your MFA—how do you balance current success and making new work?

Planning and a hell of a lot of to-do lists. I love to keep busy with lots of differential projects but I try to dedicate at least one day a week to my own photography.

What’s next?

am currently juggling between finishing my next major series Walls, that should be complete by the end of the summer, and experimenting with some new approaches.

Future projects are going to include elements of using photography to create visual vehicles, a combination of photography and sculpture.

I’m also the co-rater and Editor of a new photography publication called Splendid which catalogues an annual review of pioneering British photography which is planned for release this summer.

I’m sure that other emerging photographers could learn from your trajectory. What opportunity took your career to the next level and what advice would you give other emerging photographers?

Competitions and submissions were very useful when I first started. I also think it’s really important to prioritise shooting and spending time focusing solely on developing your own work.

Have you attended portfolio reviews?

Once and found the feedback useful.

Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?

There has been periods where I find it extremely difficult to make time to shoot but then I have the opposite when I don’t have enough hours in the day to get all the ideas I have in my head down on paper. Creativity comes and goes and I just try to focus when I am inspired.

Any thoughts on being a reality art star?

I have never considered myself a reality art star. I love taking photographs and enjoy the opportunities that are thrown my way.

And finally, describe your perfect day.

A day with my girlfriend, cycling and wondering.