Donna J. Wan is a San Francisco Bay Area artist. She received her BA from Stanford and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown at Gallery 1401 at the University of Arts, New Mexico Museum of Art, Klompching Gallery, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was named a Magenta Foundation Flash Forward 2007 Emerging Photographer and, most recently, received an Honorable Mention award for Review Santa Fe's Project Launch category and the APA/Lucie Foundation Scholarship grant. Her work has been published in Fraction Magazine, Lenscratch, Time Out Chicago, Profifoto, and the Conscientious website by Joerg Colberg and written about by W.M. Hunt and Virginia Heckert of the J. Paul Getty Museum. In 2009, she was an artist-in-residence at The Center for Photography at Woodstock and was invited by Catherine Opie to lecture at UCLA. Collectors of her work include the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Richard Ford and Thomas Kellner."
Years ago, the photographers Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel decided to put together a book about the work on which they had collaborated, decades worth of significant art made between the 1970s and 1990s. Each had been working on his own solo projects and Mandel had left California, where the two grew up and met and studied together, so the book was always meant to be a look back, a visitation from a place of finality. But then Larry Sultan got sick. Sultan succumbed to cancer in December of 2009 at the age of 63.
We thought it would be great to take some of the work that people hadnt seen a lot of or hadnt seen anything about and bring that to light, and we just thought now would be a great opportunity to do that, now that we were kind of moving into a different part of our lives, Mandel says. We didnt realize Larry was moving into leaving this place.
The book project was dormant for a while after Sultans death, but his wife, assistant and galleristwho continued to be involved throughout the projecthelped Mandel get the idea going again. Because the book had always been about a collaboration that had ended, the form and structure imagined by Mandel and Sultan could still be implemented. linkwheel . The resulting book, Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel, will be released by Distributed Art Publishers in September.
The artists, who met as graduate students at the San Francisco Art Institute, shared an openness to conceptual and experimental photography. We were lucky to be young and freshly in that world when so much was changing, says Mandel. The medium was expandingalthough Sultan later became known as a photographer, the work the two did together is photography mainly in a conceptual senseand the community was small enough that the two had access to influential teachers and artists even outside their school environment.
Their collaboration began in 1973 with public art displayed on billboards, work that both interrogated the tropes of advertising and challenged art by placing it in a commercial context. They continued to make billboards for many years. They also worked together on books, including How to Read Music in One Evening, which re-appropriated advertising imagery, and the seminal Evidence, their best known work, which took documentary and archival photos out of their contexts. Later, the two turned their attention to the news media, applying their signature critical mindfulness to the subject. Alongside photographic highlights of their art career together, Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel features analytical essays and a metaphorical commentary by author Jonathan Lethem.
Mandel says that this new book was an opportunity to revisit some of their projects that had not been previously examined. As time went on I think we recognized that a lot of the work we had decided at the time we didnt need to talk about really ought to be talked about, for different reasons, he says. We did re-frame what we chose to put in the book based on this idea of looking back and being a little bit more generous toward ourselves.
But even though the photographers had discussed the content of the book prior to Sultans illness, Mandel was left to make many decisions alone. He says that there were moments when he knew that there would have been a disagreement if Sultan had been there; the weight of sole responsibility was a heavy one. And they hadnt yet decided how to end the book. Mandel chose the project Newsroom, a 1983 exhibit in which they used news tickers to edit their own versions of the days events, as the book’s stopping place. He says he felt that to stop there was to present the most coherent set of ideas, and it was also a chance to step back and look at a project that the artists had been such part of that they never got to see it from a distance. If Larry had been with me it would have been really great to have done that together, Mandel says.
In an essay that accompanied Evidence, Robert F. Forth, the dean of the California College of Arts and Crafts, examined the meanings of evidence, surprise and context. He wrote about the yin/yang balance between the circumstantial and the evident, the way that the two compliment each other to make one whole thought. If one has any defect, its relationship to the other can fill that whole. Likewise, says Mandel, his own introverted working process and Sultans gregarious quick thinking co-existed without one drowning out the other.
We just had a very different way of being but we both trusted each other a lot and we both gave each other as much room to argue and promote our ideas as much as we could. Thats what the Socratic attitude was about. It was about testing these ideas, says Mandel. We collaborated as equals all the way through our relationship.
Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel, will be released in September byDistributed Art Publishers.
For the average person, Google Maps is a website used to locate an address on a map, find directions from one place to another and see what areas around the world look like from a bird’s eye perspective. But for artist Jenny Odell, Google Maps is a tool to see, cut up and re-imagine her world in a new, photographic way.
Odell grew up in the Bay Area, and not unlike many in the area, was born to parents in the tech industry. After studying English in undergrad, Odell went on to receive her M.F.A. in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Interested in the complexities of technology—its progress and efficiency models, alongside the hiccups and mistakes inherent in web applications like Google Maps—Odell found inspiration in the two seemingly divergent paths.
Her project Satellite Collections, created from 2009-2011, uses the satellite view on Google Maps to find objects as diverse as airplanes, basketball courts and even water slides from places all over the world, which Odell then compiles into pictures—a selection of which is on view at Breeze Block Gallery in Portland, Ore. The photographer is often unaware of ‘where’ she is on the map, but then again, it’s not really important to her. “By working with the map labels turned off, I’m free to move about and explore freely,” says Odell. ”This work is about a greater idea of space. I’m interested in the strangeness of a particular site or location.” After making her selections, she makes screen grabs of the items and then brings the files into PhotoShop to cut them out of their surroundings. Final square-shaped images of 144 empty parking lots, or every basketball court in Manhattan, tell a story of our world from a perspective unusual for the human eye.
Odell’s most recent project, Signs of Life, which she began this year, expands on her previous projects and explores life from Google’s satellite view. This time around, the focus is our collective preoccupation with stuff both tangible and not: movies, cell phones, alcohol, marriage counseling and weight loss are just a few of the topics to fall within Odell’s examination.
Daniel Farnum was born in the blue-collar town of Saginaw, Michigan. He is the recipient of many notable awards such as the Juror’s Selection Award given by Christopher Rauschenberg at the Center for Fine Art Photography, two prizes from the Paul Sack Architectural Photography Contest, and an award from William Jenkins, who curated the seminal New Topographics exhibition. Daniel’s prints have been exhibited at the Marin MOCA, MPLS Photo Center, Sea and Space Explorations in LA, UC Berkeley, and at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in NYC. He has also been featured in solo exhibitions at Center Gallery in Wichita, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and Newspace Center for Photography in Portland. He has upcoming solo shows at the University of Toledo, University of Wisconsin, and Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Daniel received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from the University of Michigan. He teaches photography at the University of Missouri.
I recently reviewed portfolios of photographic educators at the SPE National Conference in San Francisco. This week I am featuring some of the terrific work I got a chance to see….
Marie-José Durquet is a photographic educator, but she also educates through her unique photographs. I was enchanted by her series, Almost Gone, that are in part performance art, sculpture, and photography. The series is a form of public art, bringing awareness to endangered species. She creates fragile outlines of different species out of string and glues them into a public environment, allowing time and tread to eventually remove the object…which is exactly what happens to the species in real life.
Originally from the Basque country, Marie-Jose has worked as a teacher and artist in many parts of the World: in African diaspora: Guinea-Bissau, Botswana, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and has been on the photography faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, the San Francisco Art Institute, UC Berkeley and California State University, Hayward. Marie-Jose received her MFA in painting and photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BA in Art from UC Davis. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA.
Almost Gone: This multimedia project brings together ideas about the ephemeral nature of art and the changing nature of our environment. Using yarn that I glued to concrete, wood and other surfaces found in urban areas, I made drawings that represent endangered plant and animal species. I chose to illustrate the various subjects with simple lines made from white yarn in order to evoke skeletal remains. This delicate material gives a tangible texture to the subject while creating a semi-permanent art piece. The evolution of each image culminates in a color photograph that documents the subject, process and location.
The inspiration for this project has been a life-long interest in environmental issues, which intensified after moving to San Francisco in the late 1990s and seeing the changes that had taken place over 25 years. The increase in development and surge of high tech industries had led to a reduction of open space and pollution of the natural habitats many species depend on. My choice of city structures and concrete as the background for the drawings is a metaphor for this conflict between urbanization and preservation of wildlife.
While the photographs can hang on a gallery wall, people walking throughout the city might also stumble upon the original drawings; they surprise and confront passers-by in a way that is similar to graffiti. My hope is that these images raise questions and invite dialogue while simultaneously injecting an element of beauty onto the harsh surfaces of the “concrete jungle” that many of us call home.
Daniel Farnum was born in the blue-collar town of Saginaw, Michigan. He is the recipient of many notable awards such as the Juror’s Selection Award given by Christopher Rauschenberg at the Center for Fine Art Photography, two prizes from the Paul Sack Architectural Photography Contest, and an award from William Jenkins, who curated the seminal New Topographics exhibition. Daniel’s prints have been exhibited at the Marin MOCA, MPLS Photo Center, Sea and Space Explorations in LA, UC Berkeley, and at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in NYC. He has also been featured in solo exhibitions at Center Gallery in Wichita, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and has an upcoming show at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland. Daniel received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from the University of Michigan. He teaches photography at the University of Missouri.
The world premiere screening of Lens Culture’s International Exposure Awards winners from 2011 will take place in San Francisco at the San Francisco Art Institute this Friday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m. We’re thrilled that the presentation of this award-winning work will be the opening act for the San Francisco PhotoAlliance 2012 Lecture Series.
The fast-paced, inspiring video presents very diverse winning works in Multimedia, Photography Portfolio, and Single Image categories, as well as examples from 25 honorable mention winners. The winning entries represent some of the best contemporary work (in all genres) submitted from 48 countries.
If you’re in San Francisco, don’t miss it. The PhotoAlliance photography lecture series is one of the best in the world. tv kantine . Photographer David Hilliard will present a mid-career retrospective of his work in an engaging talk just following the screening. Everyone is invited to stay after the presentations for some wine and lively conversation.
From San Francisco, the projection will travel to arts institutions, festivals, galleries, museums and photography schools around the world. steviapoeder . Cheers, again, to all of the winners it’s remarkable work!
Lex Thompson’s work focuses on manifestations of hope, failure, and irony in the American landscape. Trained as a historian at New College of Florida, he furthered his education at Yale University, obtaining a Masters of Religion with a concentration in Visual Arts. He continued his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he received a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. He is Assistant Professor of Photography at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. He is recipient of a 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photographers, a 2008 & 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and was selected as a 2009 Flash Forward Emerging Photographer. His artwork is included in collections at the Getty Research Institute, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Stanford University, University of California Los Angeles, and Yale University, among others.