Monday, April 20, 2015

Zachary McCauley

from the series Sometimes This Can Be Difficult 

Zachary McCauley's work primarily explores ideas of identity, family, ritual, and interpretation through photography, video, audio, and performance. He received his BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in photography from Jacksonville State University in 2011. His work has been exhibited across the nationally and published in national magazines such as Aint-Bad Magazine and PDNedu. Most recently Zachary was honored to receive the grand prize in the Fine Art/Personal Work category in the 12th annual PDNedu Student Photography Competition. Zachary lives in Ruston, LA with his wife Hannah Cooper McCauley, also a photographer. Both are pursuing an MFA in Photography at Louisiana Tech University.


Artist Statement for still images: Sometimes This Can Be Difficult

Growing up in the American South, I have always been surrounded by a notion that the region is one of magic, pride, family unity, and rich history. My own experiences with the region have been less than this ideal. The poverty of my youth and an immersion in drug culture during my late teens and early twenties have granted me access to a side of the South that is not often praised - one where magic is replaced by hot languor, beauty is found in squalid homes and damp alleys, and litter becomes a landmark to the unseen and the forgotten.

I find that the often overlooked or banal moments in everyday life are what connect the various segments of the South as a culture and as a region. While each partition of the landscape is home to local customs, it is the ever present, everyday nothing of the background that ties people and the region together.

This collection of images represents the camaraderie and love that I share with displaced or forgotten spaces, moments, and objects found during my recent period of uprootedness within the South from one state, both geographically and emotionally, to another. I hope to find hints of who I am as an individual, as well as within Southern culture through these explorations, but sometimes this can be difficult.

  Video Piece, "NONE SHALL MOVE WITHOUT THE OTHER" from Zachary McCauley on Vimeo.

  Video Piece, "Repeater" from Zachary McCauley on Vimeo.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stephanie Shively

Stephanie Shively, a native New Yorker, earned her BFA in Photography from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Shively’s work is fueled by her personal experiences and innermost fears, which she transforms into a universal visual language through hand bound photo books. She has taught photography at the Santa Fe Boys & Girls Club in New Mexico, the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington, and the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. Shively is passionate about book arts, pushing the boundaries of photography, and nonprofit outreach that focuses on youth and the utilization of art as a mechanism for social change. She currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and son, where she is working towards her MFA in Studio Art at the University of South Carolina.

Artist statement: Motherload

Motherload is an exploration of the growth and overwhelming change that manifests when expecting. Pregnancy, despite being awkward, uncomfortable, and stressful, presents itself with certain expectations. We imagine the ideal couple entering this phase of life to be full of joy, smiling carelessly while creating a baby registry and caressing a lovely round belly. Any doubts, worries, leaky nipples, and urinary incontinence should be ignored and kept private. Pregnancy is certainly a beautiful experience, but it scales a complex emotional gamut that is not honestly represented in our culture. These photographs capture the complexity of my own pregnancy and its impact on my relationship with my husband, Tim.

In conjunction with Motherload is an edition of five hand-bound photo books housed in handmade clamshell boxes along with four beeswax covered pigment prints.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mateo Gómez García

Mateo Gómez García was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1988. In 2007 he moved to Buenos Aires to study cinema and photography but after 5 months he decided to dedicate himself only to photography. He met there his mentors Juan Travnik, Ataulfo Perez Aznar and Alberto Goldstein. In 2009 he returned to Colombia where he has dedicated himself to develop documentary projects around the Colombian culture from a perspective removed from the stereotype of violence and drugs, focusing in cultural and psicological aspects native to the colombian culture. His work has been feature in Little Brown Mushroom and Vice Mexico among others. He has also exhibited his work in Foto Fever Festival and Arles Open Salon.

Artist Statement: A Place to Live 

“Small and modest things disappear, as well as small and modest images” 
Wim Wenders, The Urban Landscape

There is an ideal place to live. However, there's a conflict between ideal and reality. The city assumes the ideal position by offering work, cultural and intellectual diversity, but at the same time the reality is costlier, impersonal, routinary, controlled and accelerated. That is the reason many prefer to live in the suburbs and outskirts of the city in order to have the benefits of both the tranquility of the country and the opportunities of the city.

Bogota proves to be in unstable territory as the city grows rapidly. In 1930, the population stood at 300,000 people while today, it extends to 8 million inhabitants. The periphery of the city is always a place with development potential. It is always expanding and the continuous appropriation of space is inevitable. One's behaviour changes with landscape and the city imposes a domestic stereotype of a better life that can only be defined as controlled; the contradictory hope of progress. For 11 years, I have lived in La Calera, one of 18 districts on Bogota's savannah.

La Calera acts as a familial weekend destination to visit the countryside, eat the famous fritanga (a tray with blood sausage, potatoes, chorizos, steak and more) or to visit a mirador (view point) to look at Colombia's chaotic capital. Things have changed with the passing of time. New residential projects, country clubs and shopping malls have invaded this beautiful rural environment causing a social and environmental disequilibrium. Water is becoming scarce and what one once saw as beautiful valleys are now residential projects.

After seeing these drastic changes in such a short time I felt the need to produce a photographic record not only of La Calera but of some other neighboring districts which are suffering the same fate, if not worse. Part of my interest in this project is to propose an illusion of progress and development, the happy family and an unpromising future from an ironic and pesimistic point of view.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Christa Bowden

Christa Bowden was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her MFA in photography from the University of Georgia and a BA in photography and film from Tulane University. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Washington & Lee University, where she started the program in photography in 2006. Her work explores the use of a flatbed scanner as a camera, as well as alternative photographic processes and the integration of encaustic and photography. She lives and makes work in Lexington, Virginia.

Artist Statement: Roots and Nests

Three years prior to the inception of this project, I moved with my husband and young son from urban Atlanta, Georgia to the tiny, rural town of Lexington, Virginia. This move refocused our world to be almost entirely centered around our small band of three, and building our home far away from our extended family and friends.

Like many in our area, I began planting a vegetable garden in the summer. With this came the task of many hours spent pulling weeds. This was usually a meditative activity for me, requiring physical rather than mental effort, and therefore freeing my mind to ponder other things. At one point during this seemingly endless job, I paused to evaluate the root structure of a weed that I had just pulled. I was suddenly amazed at the complicated, vein-like system that delivered sustenance to the plant. With our recent relocation in mind, I began to think of roots in a larger sense, as a metaphor for family and home. I started to explore other visual symbols of these ideas. Nests, as well as more subtle metaphors such as twisted muscadine vines and cocoon-like leaf fragments, became a part of the project. A second son joined our family, and as we continued to establish our roots and build our nest, I continued to seek a visual way to express this process.

These images are constructed and photographed using a flatbed scanner as a camera. The prints are often broken up, and brought back together in diptychs, triptychs, and quadrants of panels. I am interested in how an organic line is broken by a geometric edge, then continued, as the viewer’s eye attempts to complete the image. The prints are also layered with encaustic wax. With this, I hope to create a sense of a protective layer around the ideas of family and home, almost like encased precious objects. I attribute this to the need to express my maternal instincts and desire to protect my family in a visual way. Finally, a number of the roots have carved marks in the wax, with blood red oil pigment rubbed into the line work. I hope that through this, the viewer can further connect the metaphorical representation of roots to the idea of family, as well as see the visual connection between blood vessels and root structures.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Michelle Bablitz

Michelle Bablitz is an artist working predominately in the fields of photography and writing. Bablitz received her MFA degree in Imaging Arts & Sciences from Rochester Institute of Technology, and she has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions across the United States. Her photographic work largely encompasses the motifs of memory, loss and self-actualization. Bablitz resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she actively writes, photographs, and runs the artist agency SAINT LUCY Represents.

Artist Statement: I could go with you.

The series I could go with you. is the fragmented narrative of an internal struggle following a traumatic event. The series’ narrator is unable to come to terms with memories that are overwhelmingly painful. While attempting to navigate daily life and regain a sense of normalcy, she is afflicted with repressions from the past emerging in her present-day world. The images obscure the possibilities of the narrator’s future with a permanent state of loss in her past, collapsing the confines of time and space. Her fragile retrospective sentiments, as well as the fractured chronology, are examined through glass etchings.

I could go with you. is an investigation into how text and image work together to communicate a story, while challenging the credibility of memory. In many ways a photograph is eternally fictional and unattainable; one can never look upon an image and revisit the same scene or moment that was tangible only for a fraction of a second to the image-maker. A photograph transports its viewer to a scene that can be infinitely reinterpreted, but never truly revisited. However, once text is written, or etched onto glass as it is in this series, it has factual and constant points of entry that conjure unique images and reference points to each reader/viewer. Text and image communicate a disjointed narrative that mirrors how memory and trauma function in the human psyche when combined in this series.