Tag Archives: Gallery Director

Susan Barnett

A number of years ago, I met Susan Barnett when she sat down at my table at Center’s Review L.A.  I was reviewing portfolios and knew that I was looking at a body of work that “had legs”.  Well, those legs have grown arms, a torso, and a head full of possibilities.  I am so thrilled to share the news that Not In Your Face has reached gallery walls with Susan’s first solo exhibition at the DeSantos Gallery in Houston.  The show opens on Saturday, June 16th, with an opening that begins at 5:30pm.  Susan also recently announced that the Library of Congress has purchased three prints from this project. And there is a lot more good news on the horizon.
This is a project that I often show in my classes because it is complex in it’s simplicity.  She shows us what we are communicating at this point in history, via the great leveler, the T-Shirt. Susan finds themes of self expression, explores the idea of personal advertisement, and ultimately, makes us look at our humanity with a sense of humor and a sense of reality.
This might be Susan’s first solo gallery exhibition but by no means has she been laying low.  Her work has been exhibited and published all over the world, and in 2013, she will have another solo exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, Colorado. She lives in New York City and comes to photography after a career as a gallery director.

 In the series “Not In Your Face” the
t-shirt is starkly evident but these photographs are not about 
the t-shirt per se. They are about
identity, validation and perception. I look for individuals 
who stand out in a crowd by
their choice of the message on their back and  for those people willing to pose for me. The messages are combinations
of pictures and words that are appropriated from contemporary culture but have
the unique effect of mixing up meanings and creating new meanings.

On the streets these personalities create
their own iconography that explore the cultural, political and social issues
that have an impact on our everyday lives. The t-shirt “performs a function of
identifying an indvidual’s social location instantly”.  In the early months of 2012, the LA
Times ran a front page article describing the emergence of the t-shirt and
hoodie as a staple of the protest movement worn in support of Trayvon Martin, a
young man gunned down in Florida that became a cause célèbre throughout the

The Trayvon Martin protest T-shirt has become a
staple at rallies across the country, and it’s 
difficult to think of another item of clothing more
representative of the nation’s twitchy 
zeitgeist in April 2012. Sometimes it seems as
though the old-fashioned medium of the cotton t-shirt has done as much as the
Internet to spread the memes associated with the tragedy through the 
country — and the world.

In these photographs we witness a chronicle
of American subcultures and vernaculars which illustrate the current American identity.
These photographs demonstrate how these individuals wear a kind of “badge of
honor or trophy” that says “I belong to this group not the other”. T-shirts
speak to like-minded people; a particular t-shirt may be meaningful to those
with different views and affiliations.

Each one of these people reveal a part of
themselves that advertises their hopes, ideals, likes, dislikes, political views, and personal
mantras. “The t-shirt speaks to issues related to ideology, differences, and myth: politics, race,
gender and leisure”.

I believe the power of each portraitʼs
meaning becomes apparent from the juxtaposition of many images. It is a universe of individuals
but when seen in groups they 
create a picture of our time without the imposition of judgment. Is this
democracy at work? We may feel we know more about these individuals than we
really do. What is their story? Here their individual mystery is preserved and the power of
photography can celebrate our urge to unravel it.

Dedicated to my late Mother, Mary, whose faith in me made all this possible.”Dedicated to my late Mother, Mary, whose faith in me made all this possible.”

The London Photographers’ Gallery Reopens with Edward Burtynsky and Animated GIFs

© Kate Elliott, Courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery

Likely few would consider animated GIF images–those primitive computer animations often just a few pixels wide–fit enough for a photography exhibition. Perhaps that’s because there has yet to be a space fit enough to exhibit them. Now, London’s Photographers’ Gallery, which finally reopened this May with double the exhibition space after an 18-month, £9.2m renovation, offers digital facilities to support a rapidly evolving medium.

One of the main reasons behind the renovation which began in 2010, Gallery Director Brett Rogers says in a video interview with the Guardian, was to develop ”facilities that are fit for purpose in the 21st century, to show works of a larger scale, but also to reflect the conditions in which most people experience photography.”

The Soho gallery was the first independent public space in Britain devoted to photography when it was founded in the 1970s. Today, in addition to three floors of gallery space, room enough for the commanding, large-scale prints in their inaugural exhibition of Edward Burtynsky’s oil photographs (on view through July 1, 2012), they’ve also built what they call a “digital wall.”

This display, located near the gallery entrance, is made up of eight large screens presenting a running program of digital images visible from the outside street. Wendy McMurdo, one of 40 artists that includes Penelope Umbrico, was asked to produce a moving image GIF for the wall by Katrina Sluis, the galley’s new curator of digital programing. McMurdo writes on the FOAM blog on the “joy” of contributing to their inaugural digital exhibition Born in 1987: the animated GIF (on view through July 1, 2012). This initiative, McMurdo says, demonstrates the gallery’s “recognition that it is in the digital and social domain that photography must, ultimately, discover its new purposes and new meaning.”

On the other hand, the Photographers’ Gallery is also offering opportunity to counterbalance what Edwin Heathcote for the Financial Times calls the “culture of browsing and glancing”–when people end up scanning thousands of images a day–that has come to prominence with such development. One room in the space is dedicated to exhibiting a single image that will change four times a year.

Moreover, their new education center doubles as a camera obscura, which in conjunction with the digital wall, Rogers says, should “enable people to reflect on the history of optics,” in its entirety.

Burtynsky: Oil
Exhibition on view:
May 19 – July 1, 2012

Born in 1987: the animated GIF
Exhibition on view:
May 19 – July 1, 2012

This Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm, join Katrina Sluis for a FREE discussion on “Curating the Digital Image.”

The Photographers’ Gallery
16 – 18 Ramillies Street
London, UK W1F 7LW
+44(0)20 7087 9300

Robin Maddock @ TJ Boulting, London

“Maddock’s views and snatches of life are both surreal and individual. He has the enviable ability to turn nothing much into something quite profound.” – Martin Parr
Opening tonight at TJ Boulting, is Robin Maddock’s God Forgotten Face, an exhibition in conjunction with the book of the same name, published by Trolley, which examines aspects of the everyday life in Plymouth, a port town still bearing the scars of the Blitz.
The exhibition showcases both key images from the book as well as new additions, taken more recently. In the words of gallery director, Hannah Watson, these have the effect of “introducing a slight shift to a lighter and more lyrical interpretation of the city.”
In her press release for the show she goes on to say: “After two years spent living in the town, where he has had family all his life, Maddock achieves a familiar interaction with his subjects, visible through his portraits in night clubs and pubs, and in the witnessing of the various goings on down at the sea front or in the local rec. In the misty early morning a nun stops to call her dog, whilst later a police forecourt is bathed in light and transported to a sunny LA; Maddock’s insight into the city is at once affectionate and optimistic in outlook, but stamped with his own aesthetic and curiosity.
In the book Owen Hatherley writes with a similar affection In Praise of Blitzed Cities, citing that the negative and concrete environs that come into most people’s minds when they think of Plymouth are in fact overlooking its “shabby, ad hoc vitality that most heritage cities would die for.” As a town, Plymouth’s past has been one of ongoing economic and cultural isolation since the shrinking of the Navy. Now it reflects more a broader England in decline, whilst all the post-modern ironic contradictions of the evolving new economies are present; ‘Francis Drake’ is a shopping mall, and what was the ‘Royal Sovereign’ pub is now a ‘Firkin Doghouse’. 
His childhood memories of the place are also challenged by more adult quotidian realities of Maddock’s time there, and his own preconceptions; the journey’s question shifting from, ‘What am I doing here?’ to the more telling, ‘What am I, here?’ The ‘God Forgotten Face’ of the title, originally derived from the 1945 Philip Larkin poem Plymouth, and the words “Last kingdom of a gold forgotten face…”, perhaps coming to represent his own personal account as a photographer finding himself changed in the face of the subject he had returned to find.” 
The exhibition runs until 2 June 2012.

Do Process: Jennifer F. Schlesinger

This week I am featuring artists exhibiting in Verve Gallery’s Do Process exhibition, showcasing eight unique approaches to the photographic process.

I’m not quite sure how Jennifer Schlesinger does it all–she’s a mother, gallery director, and talented photographer and is consistently able to create evocative images and explore new ideas and processes. Jennifer has spent the past year exploring and perfecting the hand-coated Albumen Paper process. Jennifer’s work in this exhibition is from her new series, Here nor There. Her inspiration comes from observing her young daughter’s innocence and imagination. Jennifer’s images are metaphors for capturing the initial magical and mysterious moments of inspiration. The artist believes that when adults learn to harness our youthful imagination, then we bring forth innovation and progress to the larger world around us.

Jennifer graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1998 with a B.A. in Photography and Journalism. Her work has been published online and in print in publications such as Black and White Magazine U.S and UK, Diffusion Magazine and many others. Schlesinger is represented in public collections, including the Huntington Botanical Art Collections (CA), The New Mexico Museum of Art and the New Mexico History Museum / Palace of the Governors Photo Archives. She has received several honors in recognition of her work including a Golden Light Award in Landscape Photography from the Maine Photographic Workshops in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Center for Contemporary Arts Photography Auction Award. Schlesinger is co-founder of finitefoto.com, a new media collective that investigates and promotes the intersection of photography and culture in the State of New Mexico.

The recipe for Albumen prints is simple, using everyday egg whites—“Break the eggs into a cup, carefully avoiding the mixture of yolk with the whites….”. Albumen is the sticky substance of egg whites and is the emulsion that is used to coat the paper. Albumen is the perfect process for Jennifer’s Here not There body of work. Albumen combines magical and scientific elements to produce a photographic image and is a perfect example of progress through invention. It is difficult to imagine the moment of inspiration where one of the greatest advancements in photography took place. Chicken yard egg white emulsion with table salt and silver nitrate bound the photographic chemicals to the paper effectively and cheaply. It was the first commercial process for producing multiple high quality photographic prints from a single negative. It leveled the photography playing field for the first time. It meant the medium was available for anyone to use; anyone could be a photographer. Moreover, it meant that pictures (portraits) were, for the first time, available to persons of ordinary means. Most of the photographs made in the 19th century were Albumen Prints. It remained the most viable and popular printing process for about 40 years. Albumen-coated paper was replaced by silver gelatin paper at the beginning of the 20th century.

Stephanie Dean

I recently met Stephanie Dean at the Portfolio Walk for the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago. Her project, Modern Groceries, visually jumped off the portfolio table because of it’s detail, color, and composition. The prints, in person, were quite remarkable.

Stephanie’s site is full of interesting work, which include a series of Sleeping Men and many portraits. In addition Stephanie is a wonderful writer and has recently had an article, “Smile!”: A Polemic on Fine Art Portraiture published in F-Stop Magazine. Stephanie attended the California College of the Arts receiving a BFA in photography, and earned her MFA in Photography from Columbia College. After graduating, she taught at Columbia Collge and Oakton Community College, and from 2006-2008 was the Gallery Director a Columbia College Chicago. In 2009, she earned a certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University and began teaching History of Photography at Oakton Community College in the fall 2009. Stephanie is a proud founding Board Member of Paragon Art Collection.

Modern Groceries is a series of still life photographs focusing on the way our purchased food is packaged and consumed. By setting common foods in their packaging and labeling direct from the grocery store into traditional nature mort compositions, our most common and necessary items of life – food – are jolted into historical focus. The viewers’ various degrees of knowledge of Dutch still life paintings will be the measure by which the photographs will either found or further the perceived rift between ourselves and nature, and ourselves and our food sources.


These photographs are not merely a critique of our habits; they are also a celebration and exaltation of these common objects. Our excessive packaging and labeling of each fruit and vegetable with name and number will hopefully soon be a habit of the past, and these pieces will then serve as historic documents as the pieces of 17th century Dutch still life genre paintings do today.


In literature concerning Dutch still life and vanitas paintings it has been noted that the affluence of Holland as a nation is partially responsible for the abundance of these paintings and to some extent the items represented within them. In many cases, the price a buyer would have paid for a painting would be considerably less than that he would have had to pay for all the items within the paintings, which often included expensive and exotic items and foods.

Blues and other Analogies

This phenomenon is no longer true; in fact, it is inverted. The items within the photographs of Modern Groceries are far less expensive and easier to purchase than the final work of art itself. When summed up, the cost of the collection of curtains, silks, tablecloths, antique and contemporary plates, and common groceries utilized in each photograph do not even approximate the final cost of an unframed print.

Cheese, Bread

The inclusion of insects in the still lifes of Modern Groceries holds less of the function it did in the 17th century — to remind the viewer of the transience of life and the beauty of nature — here they remind us that insects are an integral part of our ecosystem. The insects also remind viewers of the large amount of pesticides used in the cultivation of our food. The bee is an especially powerful symbol as it pollinates nearly every food we rely on. The bee is facing rapid population decline worldwide, and some experts blame pesticides and the overall stress of our agricultural habits on bee colonies. When considering these factors, we gain a deeper appreciation for the ease of acquiring and the overall abundance of our food.

Citrus and Daffodils

As with any work of art, the viewer brings their own index of symbols to bear on the photographs. Since the items are largely foodstuffs and therefore common to most viewers, the photographs rely on a visual vocabulary that is not only deeply meaningful (food is inherently associated with survival) but also overwhelmingly accessible.

Cookie Sandwich

Crab Legs

Homegrown Persimmons

Ivy, Nectarines, Apples

Mc Two for 3

Pate, Pickles, Predator

Pork Butt & Onions & Bread

Protected Fruits

Rooster Proscuitto

Styrofoam Ruski

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.

– Fazal Sheikh Exhibit at Davidson College

If you are in the Charlotte, NC area between now and Dec. 10, head to Davidson College to see Fazal Sheikh’s powerful "Beloved Daughters." This exhibit brings together photography and text from Moksha and Ladli, his two most recent books that focus on the lives on women in India. Sheikh explains on his Web site the draw to his focus on women in India: "I realized that, even now, when India is rapidly joing the first world economy, their very gender, from conception, makes women the potential victims of a patriarichal system which tactically condones their explotation, mistreatment, even death." In combining the topics of his two books, the exhibit portrays the lives of dispossesed widows and the effects of prejudices and sexism against women in India from the moment they are conceived.

Much of Sheikh’s work throughout his career has focused on displaced peoples. Personally, what I really appreciate in his photography is that he takes the time to connect with and understand the people he is capturing. He does not take a snapshot of a person just because he feels it will make for a dramatic or radical photograph; he interviews his subjects and takes, as he describes "contemplative and respectful" photos. In his books, he includes these interviews and his impressions, really bringing a personal background to the photos but leaving enough for the observer to find their own impressions to take away from the work.

If you have the chance, check out one of his exhibits. Currently, "Beloved Daughters" is being shown at the Van Every/Smith Galleries, Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center at Davidson College, N.C. No tickets are required, but if you have questions, the school’s site directs you to contact gallery director Brad Thomas at 704.894.2519.


– Support Obama and purchase a Schoeller print

I recently found a blog post announcing that Hasted Hunt Gallery in New York is sponsoring the sale of 500 signed and numbered prints of Martin Schoeller’s portrait of Barack Obama. The 11″x14″ archival pigment prints cost $250 (plus $18 for shipping and handling) and 100% of the proceeds from each purchase will be donated to the Obama campaign.

Purchase the print (and support Obama) by contacting Hasted Hunt at (212) 627-0006 or emailing [email protected] Gallery Director Mary-Presley Adams confirmed for Vewd that there are still prints available, but I hear they are selling fast so call and order yours today!

Read the blog post >

Download a printable flyer for this >