Tag Archives: Syracuse University

Review Santa Fe: Jay Muhlin

Review Santa Fe participant Jay Muhlin is a Philadelphia photographer with a focus on artist books. His work explores themes of loss, intimacy, comfort, anxiety, and masculinity. What
results are multivalent narratives, visual threads that not only “define his subjects with empathy,
but also seek emotional truth.”

Jay received a BFA in Photography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts  and recently completed his MFA in Transmedia/Art Photography at Syracuse University. His work has appeared in various editorial publications worldwide and he has recently completed residencies at the
Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester NY, The Millay Colony for the Arts in
Austerlitz, NY and at Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy NY.
Jay teaches courses at Syracuse University, Salem Community College and
was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in 2011.

 His current project, a book titled Guilty Pleasures, looks at finding comfort during winter. The images speak through visual pun and metaphor. Muhlin often takes diaristic liberties and embraces serendipity, building images that refer to something other than what is named or described in the frame: something intangible such as longing, intimacy, and solitude. Strung together are lists of simple comforts and tactile groupings which all contrast with the harshness that winter serves. 

Relief is offered through humor as it transforms coping into a joy that makes moving forward more meaningful. When this work is exhibited Muhlin uses an installation format, creating a quasidomestic space. Images are hung salon style in gaudy white frames with numerous different dimensions. The artist’s couch is available for sitting and viewing his book dummy, draped with a quilt embroidered with a wintery image from the project. Greeting cards, newspapers, and balloons- all ephemera to be given away, distributed, disturbed, or forgotten.

Review Santa Fe: Jay Muhlin

Review Santa Fe participant Jay Muhlin is a Philadelphia photographer with a focus on artist books. His work explores themes of loss, intimacy, comfort, anxiety, and masculinity. What
results are multivalent narratives, visual threads that not only “define his subjects with empathy,
but also seek emotional truth.”

Jay received a BFA in Photography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts  and recently completed his MFA in Transmedia/Art Photography at Syracuse University. His work has appeared in various editorial publications worldwide and he has recently completed residencies at the
Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester NY, The Millay Colony for the Arts in
Austerlitz, NY and at Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy NY.
Jay teaches courses at Syracuse University, Salem Community College and
was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in 2011.

 His current project, a book titled Guilty Pleasures, looks at finding comfort during winter. The images speak through visual pun and metaphor. Muhlin often takes diaristic liberties and embraces serendipity, building images that refer to something other than what is named or described in the frame: something intangible such as longing, intimacy, and solitude. Strung together are lists of simple comforts and tactile groupings which all contrast with the harshness that winter serves. 

Relief is offered through humor as it transforms coping into a joy that makes moving forward more meaningful. When this work is exhibited Muhlin uses an installation format, creating a quasidomestic space. Images are hung salon style in gaudy white frames with numerous different dimensions. The artist’s couch is available for sitting and viewing his book dummy, draped with a quilt embroidered with a wintery image from the project. Greeting cards, newspapers, and balloons- all ephemera to be given away, distributed, disturbed, or forgotten.

Sarah Zamecnik, Untitled

Sarah Zamecnik, Untitled

Sarah Zamecnik

Untititled,
Syracuse, New York, 2010
From the Town & Country series
Website – SaraheZamecnik.com

Sarah Zamecnik (b. 1981), received her MFA from Syracuse University in 2011. She has been a recipient of a variety of exhibition awards and research grants and her work is part of the permanent collection at the University Wisconsin-Madison. Her Town & Country series beholds a sense of place and order, exemplifying a backdrop of the American heartland. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Bloom: A Project for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center

This isn’t new work, in fact this installation was created in 2003, but I just discovered it and thought I’d share this remarkable achievement. Artist Anna Schuleit created the project, Bloom, to create a “community remembrance in honor of the former life of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a building that has continuously operated for 91 years. It was an installation that would allow former patients, employees, staff, students, and the public to re-visit the building before it’s closing.”

Bloom is a reflection on the healing symbolism of flowers being given to the sick when they are bedridden and confined to hospital settings, with the astounding, persistent exception of long-term psychiatric patients, who receive few, if any flowers during their hospital stays. Walking through the hallways of an institution, still to this day, one cannot find any flowers in the rooms. Bloom is created in the spirit of offering and transition.


One of the longest axes of the building: white mums and orange tulips on the first floor

Bloom encompassed thousands of square feet of historic indoor space that was being left to abandonment. Bloom existed only for four days. Afterwards all the flowers were donated to surrounding hospitals, state institutions, half-way houses, and shelters.

Anna has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Bogliasco, Blue Mountain Center, The Hermitage, Yaddo, Banff, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and a visiting artist / guest lecturer at Brown University, MIT, Smith College, Harvard, The New School, Brandeis, University of Michigan, McGill, RISD, Boston University, Pratt, Bowdoin, and Syracuse University. In 2006 she was named a MacArthur Fellow.


The basement of the building was covered with 5,600square feet of live sod, which was raked and watered throughout the day, and continued to grow.


The connecting hallway between the historic part of MMHC and the research annex was covered in blue African Violets.


Orange begonias leading to the doctor’s offices.


Treatment rooms on the first floor, with orange tulips.


Pink Heather in one of the patients’ waiting rooms. These flowers had traveled the farthest to be part of ‘Bloom’—from California.


One of the tiny offices on the third floor, with orange tulips at mid-day.


The Child Psychiatry unit with white tulips.

When the Personal Turns Political: LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Whitney Biennial

From the outset of her career as a young artist, LaToya Ruby Frazier has always found inspiration at home. In thoughtfully constructed black and white photographs she began, in her teens, to document herself and her family life in Braddock, Pa.

“What’s the most intimate thing you can portray? For me, it’s myself,” she says.

The work Frazier has featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York City, which starts Thursday, builds on the classic documentary work she studied while in college at Syracuse University. Over time, the photographer, now 30, began to incorporate staged narratives and self-portraiture meant to challenge viewers with questions about the artist’s objectivity and representation, and that of her loved ones.

She was inspired by the famous work of the Farm Security Administration photographers like Dorothea Lange, but questioned those images. “We all remember Lange’s photograph of the migrant mother but how many of us remember her name?” she asks. “I felt social documentary can only go so far and I started to think, ‘What if the subjects of the Depression-era images photographed themselves?’”

The work featured in the Biennial leaves the confines of her family home and addresses the larger history and representation of Braddock, Pa.—yet it’s all inextricably linked back to Frazier’s life. The first series, called Campaign for Braddock Hospital (Save Our Community Hospital), began when she discovered in her research that the history of Braddock had omitted all the black families that lived there, including that of her own grandfather, who was a steel worker. It didn’t help when the clothing company Levi’s began using Braddock’s industrial history as the inspiration for a major advertising campaign. In one ad, the denim company calls for the “New Pioneers” to “Go Forth” to new opportunities in Braddock and invigorate the town’s growth.

Frazier was left stunned by what she saw as the irony and greed of the ads and eventually repurposed those images in her artwork. The series is made of two parts: first she begins a process of “copy editing” the ads with comments from members of the community, and photographs them. Then she made documentary photos of an actual protest to save the town’s hospital. All the images were made into black and white lithographic prints referencing both turn-of-the-century advertising and social documentary of the 1930s.

In a second series debuting at the Biennial, called Homebody, she created a set of narrative self-portraits in her step grandfather’s now-abandoned apartment in Braddock. The work is a more personal complement to the Campaign series and records a place steeped in memories for Frazier, memories of her deceased grandmother Ruby. The images document a performance in front of the camera as she moves throughout the empty, decaying environment. The Homebody photos expose a fragility that’s often apparent in her work: in an earlier series, The Notion of Family, she had recorded the end of her Grandmother’s life. Frazier herself, her mother and grandmother have all suffered chronic illnesses. Her portraits and self-portraits, she says, “are meant to be factual records of those things and are reflected in the collapsed landscape that is modern day Braddock, Pa.”

“I’m archiving history thats been erased,” she says. “I’m showing what the media is not showing—moments in the town that have been omitted from history and not just African American history, but the working class people I’m speaking about.”

“Braddock started to fall apart when I was born. I’m interested in how I contextualize myself,” she adds. The collapsed interiors and old blankets depicted in the Homebody series don’t provide comfort, only the feeling of whats been lost for Frazier, in a town that’s struggling to move toward an American dream that faded generations ago.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work is currently on view in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York City. She has previously exhibited her work at The New Museum, MoMA PS1 and The Andy Warhol Museum. She was featured last fall on the PBS program Art 21. To see more of her work click here.

Remembering 9/11: Carla Shapiro

We have all processed the horrific events of 9/11 in our own ways. We certainly can remember where we were when we heard the news and how it impacted those we knew and loved in New York and Washington, but also those we didn’t know. Manhattan-born photographer Carla Shapiro processed her own grief through a powerful project that allowed her to connect intimately with each person lost to the event.

After receiving her BFA from Syracuse University, Carla has created bodies of work about woman, aging, 9/11, beauty and decay for the past 25 years. She has received awards The Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Golden Light Awards at Maine Photographic Workshops, New Jersey Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, (2 times), NYFA SOS Grant, The O’Conner Foundation and Pratt Institute. Carla teaches at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York.

Obituaries to Prayer Flags: Four hours a day for five months I hand copied from the New York Times 2500 obituaries from 9/11. I hung each hand written piece of paper in lines across the stream in my yard to weather away as the sun faded the writing and the rain and snow washed it away. The words faded little by little as I photographed this installation to tell a story of “Obituaries to Prayer Flags”.

blowing in the wind

smoke


streaming sun

wet

17 wisp of sno






















black tears






















dripping light






















reflection in water






















spider print















wet print















clothes pins

Remembering 9/11: Carla Shapiro

We have all processed the horrific events of 9/11 in our own ways. We certainly can remember where we were when we heard the news and how it impacted those we knew and loved in New York and Washington, but also those we didn’t know. Manhattan-born photographer Carla Shapiro processed her own grief through a powerful project that allowed her to connect intimately with each person lost to the event.

After receiving her BFA from Syracuse University, Carla has created bodies of work about woman, aging, 9/11, beauty and decay for the past 25 years. She has received awards The Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Golden Light Awards at Maine Photographic Workshops, New Jersey Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, (2 times), NYFA SOS Grant, The O’Conner Foundation and Pratt Institute. Carla teaches at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York.

Obituaries to Prayer Flags: Four hours a day for five months I hand copied from the New York Times 2500 obituaries from 9/11. I hung each hand written piece of paper in lines across the stream in my yard to weather away as the sun faded the writing and the rain and snow washed it away. The words faded little by little as I photographed this installation to tell a story of “Obituaries to Prayer Flags”.

blowing in the wind

smoke


streaming sun

wet

17 wisp of sno






















black tears






















dripping light






















reflection in water






















spider print















wet print















clothes pins