Adam Neese was raised in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas. Along with photography, he also has experience as a migrant farmer, a land surveyor, and a photographer’s assistant. Adam’s projects examine his childhood history within the North Texas landscape, the intersection of geography and photography, and commodification of the land. He holds his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, he is an MFA candidate at The University of North Texas, which he will receive in May of 2013.
I’ve been to properties with notices posted since 1998, walked though gates with layers
of cobwebs, & entered abandoned homes experiencing what is left behind – the day a
family & children were evicted, the day the owners ran out of funds to complete
construction, the day the owner died & the family neglected to clear the home of the
deceased’s belongings. I’ve captured images of a home 15 years forgotten & now
surrounded by mansions; held my breath in a house that is a historical site, splattered with
feces; & opened a never-ending sea of unlocked doors. However, I have also witnessed
what others have built with their own hands, resourced from other people’s garbage. I’ve
met people & listened to their stories about how they ended up taking over an abandoned
home; picked up a nomad with her fishing pole to visit her train station house & met a
woman who built her home around the base of a tree, from found objects.
What you see here is Chicago from 2009 and Chicago from 2012. Each Diptych has their own story, like each one of us. Here is where another nature is being formed, and hopefully a dialogue for acknowledgements and change – a chance to grow in this world.
Insideout is one word–There is no delineation between what happens being closed doors, and what is communicated to the outside world.
This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….
Born in Krakow, Poland, Ursula Sokolowska studied photography at Columbia College and compled her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I first saw her Constructed Family images a year ago at Filter and I was happy to see the continued progression of the series. Ursula will be exhibiting her work at the JDC Fine Art Gallery in San Diego, opening on December 7th, running through February 23rd, 2013. I am featuring work from two series, both incorporate projection, are deeply personal, and both explore the idea of separation of the body from consciousness and objectification.
Her photographs can be found in many public and private collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Tanqueray. Selected exhibitions include The Travelling Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, Saatchi Gallery, Zoo Art Fair, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom, Minnesota Center for Photography, and Schneider Gallery, Chicago, IL. Her work has appeared in CameraArts magazine, Light & Lens: Photography in the Digital Age, and featured in the Chicago Tribune.
The Constructed Family series examines the trauma and uncertainty carried from childhood. In particular, I am referencing my own upbringing as a Polish immigrant. There is an undercurrent of helplessness and misdirection linked to a sort of schizophrenic parenting, excommunication, and constant movement. Typically, the perception of children handed down by my elders was that children did not have a choice. Frequently, I heard a Polish equivalent of the phrase “Children should be seen not heard”. I am attempting to give these children voices.
These photographs are projection-based installations.
The models are mannequins and their faces are projections. The faces of the children are slides that my father took of me when he was still involved in my life. The other slides are present day images that I have shot of my mom, my dad, and myself. My goal is to reconstruct my own childhood, empowering the past for better or for worse. The result is a troubling recreation of events that may seem disturbing but are far less in context to the real events that transpired.
Untitled Series:The images presented pose several questions towards the societal view of gender as related to the biological roles that exist. By using the flower as the reference point, we see the inequality and the taint that is applied to a supposedly natural and beautiful inevitability. These human plant-life carry their own baggage that spews out of every orifice and drips moistly from their painted skin. Their reproduction is marred by the inner psychological turmoil as related to the divisions between sexual identity and biological reality, quite unlike their floral counterparts.
The flower represents a self-sustaining sexual organism, one of which is free from divisions of sexuality and role yet forced by design biologically. When we admire what we see, staring at its naked form, we are free from imposing predisposed notions of sex and gender. Yet when we see human form, we cognitively associate our own psychological issues with role, gender and biological fulfillment subconsciously. With the flower there is no revolt against being more than what it was created to be. It exists to be seen and to reproduce year after year. It is perfectly content being an object to be admired on a singular level.
The question remains why are we any different? By combining a seemingly natural and innocent vision of a flower and juxtaposing it with provocative cues, we explore the seemingly inevitable chain to biology that humans fight consistently. The fight to be more than just a sexual being content with reproducing itself and the psychological frustration that ensues. Each subject has his or her own issues with their design. These hopes and fears are explored by facing the possible truth that we may be nothing more than pretty flowers, waving their prospective parts in the open for all to see.
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.
Growing up in rural Maine, Caleb Charland spent much of his childhood helping his father remodel their family home. These experiences instilled an awareness of the potential for the creative use of materials, and the ability to fabricate his visions. Charland earned a BFA in photography with departmental honors from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2004, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Trustees Fellow in 2010, and was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in the Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Progressive Collection, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Charland currently lives in Maine and works at the Maine College of Art as an artist in residence.
Over the past month, I shared the work of photographers who attended Review Santa Fe in June. Review Santa Fe is the only juried review in the United States and invites 100 photographers to Santa Fe for a long weekend of reviews, insights, and connections.
Aspen grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, holds a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and graduated with an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2006, she was awarded a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship for study in Cape Town, South Africa. More recently, honors include a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Chile, Santiago. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
Just days before one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded devastated central Chile in 2010,
I arrived in Santiago to begin a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Chile’s Astronomical
Observatory. I used an abandoned darkroom at the Observatory for my studio, and it was
against this backdrop of destruction that Sun Ruins was conceived. During my residency, I had
access to rejected prints, negatives and ephemera from the lab’s archive, and Sun Ruins brings
together two series that I created from this material. Both components call into question the
expectation of photography as a documentary and categorical medium and each explore—to
different ends—the visualization of knowledge in both studio art and observational practices.
To create the series Punched out stars, I used a hole punch to physically remove each prominently-visible star from twelve found silver gelatin prints of unknown dates (and various dimensions ranging from 15.5” x 11.75” to 4.25” x 6.5”). The photographs are thus rendered non-informational, and the circular hole-punched shapes become the index for the missing celestial objects. The photographs are literally made fragile from this intervention, as new and unforeseen constellations are revealed from folds on the paperʼs surface. Metaphorically, the very notion of classification as a human endeavor is likewise destabilized. In some prints, the night sky is reversed (seen as white), a typical printing method employed by astronomers in order to view individual stars as black and therefore more discretely measurable points.
The Sun 1957 is the collective title of 25 silver gelatin prints that depict the Sun from a mid-century international survey of sunspots. Finding the film negatives separated from contextualizing logbooks and labeled only by month and the year 1957, I loosely followed this organizing principle by making contact prints of the negatives in grids. The prints were all made onsite using vintage paper (11.5” x 15.5”) that I found in the darkroom, and the unpredictability of the expired paper resulted in splotches and artifacts on the print surface that call to mind the sunspots themselves. The prints are assembled chronologically by month into a larger grid to formally suggest the shape and structure of a calendar. The internal logic of such a calendar creates an encompassing yet mysterious picture of the Sun for that year. Some months are represented by numerous negatives (and therefore prints) while other months are recorded by far fewer images. There is no record of November.
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.
Jennifer Greenburg is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Indiana University Northwest. She holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from The University of Chicago. She was an artist in residence at Light Work, Syracuse, in 2005 and is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Grant and two Community Arts Assistance Programs. Her work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Light Work, and the National Gallery of Ontario. Recent exhibitions include the 2011 International Lishui China Photography Exhibition of Distinguished Curators and Infinite Mirror, both of which will be traveling until 2016. A full-length monograph, The Rockabillies, was published by the Center for American Places in 2009. She is represented by Martha Schneider Gallery, Chicago, JDC Gallery, San Diego, and WallSpace Gallery, Santa Barbara.