Monday, May 23, 2016

Ewa Doroszenko

Ewa Doroszenko -- Doctor of Arts in Fine Arts, a graduate of the painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She tests various ranges and scales of artistic expression: from traditional photography to multimedia installations, also in the field of Internet art. Recipient of many scholarships and beneficiary of residency programs: Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz (Austria 2016), The Island-resignified in Lefkada (Greece 2015), Kunstnarhuset Messen in Ålvik (Norway 2015), Fundació AAVC Hangar in Barcelona (Spain 2014). Her projects were presented during arts festivals: FILE 2015 Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo, Biennale of Digital & Internet Art nfcdab in Wroclaw, 7th Incubarte International Art Festival in Valencia, ISEA - 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, 9th IN OUT Festival in Gdansk, GENERATE! Festival for Electronic Arts in Tübingen. Amongst others, she exhibited at Kasia Michalski Gallery in Warsaw, Historic Centre of Athens, Centre of Contemporary Art in Torun, the Stark Family Foundation in Warsaw and Fait Gallery in Brno.

Artist Statement: The Promise of Sublime Words

photography | 2016

The project I started whilst the course of doctoral studies, when I was preparing to the final exam in art history. During my research I discovered many old and obsolete books with popular sculptures from Antique to Classicism. To spice the process of spaced repetition, I began preparing photographs connected with discussed topics. I tried to confront myself with photographic reproductions of varying quality and scale, which depict stone sculptures, illusionistic spaces, portraits, etc. My aim was to show my favourite statues as objects, which arouse ambiguous associations. I tried to distort the usual view of sculptures and finally destabilize a natural sense of order. The appropriated images, deliberately trimmed to remove some details, are hard to decipher. I created new equivalences and relationships – the internal juxtapositions are far detached from the original context of images.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Harrison Walker

Harrison Walker was born in Huntsville, AL where he received his BFA in studio art at the University of Alabama Huntsville. Walker received his MFA in Photography at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA where he currently lives. Walker is interested in imagery that references the otherworldly and the perception of time and their relation to the physical and chemical reactions in printmaking and photographic techniques. Recently, Walker has shown at Soho Photo, New York, NY; City Hall, Philadelphia, PA; American University, Washington, D.C.; and Pop Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

Artist Statement: Portals

The only way to truly understand is through experience.

I create prints and/as objects that embody the physical layering of time through tactile processes that evoke feelings of lived experiences. By working intuitively through the process of search and discovery, I employ the visual alchemy of printmaking, drawing, and photographic materials to create forms that evoke an experiential and emotional viewing—a sense of awe; a sense of the sublime; a sense of absence and loss.

My work explores connections with time, memory, and history through imagery that references the otherworldly and the non-present. I am interested in the way we perceive and consider time throughout the span of our life. How do we think about, navigate, manipulate, and represent time? Our experiences and memories affect how we think about the past, present, and future; they affect the decisions we make and the associations we have with visual imagery.

Portals is an investigation of chemistry made of fifty-nine variations of a repeated form – showing similarities and differences of color and surface through printmaking and photographic techniques. Similar to a Rorschach test, Portals is intended to explore how the viewer perceives variations in texture, surface, color, image, and time. Most of the prints in this series are stable and will last many years, however, there are certain variations that will continue to change over the course of time.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Caroline Waterman

Caroline Waterman is a photographer that explores memory, loss, place, and family. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Photography at UNCC. Caroline specializes in Silver Gelatin Lith and Platinum Palladium. Caroline grew up in Dublin, Ireland, moved to the United States in 1986, and lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and three children. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Photography at UNCC. Caroline specializes in Silver Gelatin Lith and Platinum Palladium. Her work deals with the themes of memory and loss and she has drawn on her connections to family, heritage and place as inspiration. She has conducted workshops on Lith printing at UNCC, at Appalachian State University and at the Light Factory. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as the University Hilton Hotel in Concord, NC, UNCC and The Photo Place Gallery in Vermont. In 2017 Caroline will be exhibiting her work in a solo show at Through This Lens Gallery in Durham NC.

Artist Statement: Pieces and Transitions 

Pieces and Transitions documents my children and my surroundings in a series of photographs printed as Silver Gelatin Lith Prints. A memory is almost like a dream, at first strong and vivid, but becomes faded and blurry. People, places and things, once present in our lives, eventually are cast to our memory and will go in and out of focus with the passing of time. As I watch my children grow and change I am aware that they too are passing through my life, and their childhood will, as with my own childhood, become a memory. There is a sense that they are present but somehow not fully there, as though they have already begun to move away from me. All life is just passing through the world, but a presence is left behind.

The images depict my children as a presence, but this presence is at times unfocused and unclear. The use of the lith developer gives an old and grainy appearance, with soft white —underdeveloped highlights. It is a slow process, developing the image gradually, like an old memory coming back into focus.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Artist-on-Artist: Deedra Baker

Deedra Baker is a photographer and book artist currently residing in Denton, TX. Her creative work is based on source material that includes the research of historical and contemporary photographic processes, bookmaking, papermaking, and literature and explores themes of gender, self-identity, and sexuality via self-portraiture. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011, from Washburn University in Topeka, KS and will receive her Master of Fine Arts with a photography concentration and intermedia secondary concentration at Texas Woman's University in May 2016. Deedra is the recipient of the Charles and Margaret Pollak Award and Sibberson Award from Washburn University and the Chancellor’s Student Research Scholar Award from Texas Woman’s University. Selections from her body of work have been featured nationally in exhibitions and publications including, Chowan University National Juried Exhibition, Light Leaked, PhotoSpiva National Photographic Competition and Exhibition, and Voyeur: Repositioning the Gaze.

Artist-on-Artist Interview conducted by Christine Zuercher. Check out Deedra's interview with Christine here:

Artist Statement: Ties That Bind 

Ties That Bind explores the nexus of my family through three generations of females. Through portraits, environmental still lifes, and landscapes, this series examines the interconnectedness between my mother, three sisters, two nieces, and myself. As an extension of the traditional family archive of snap shots, the work consists of color photographs, video, and a one-of-a-kind artist’s book to explore the relationships between the women of my family through our traditions, rituals, and the connection to a homeplace – the central or family home.

For the females within my immediate family and myself, the experiential and historical bond centered around the idea of a homeplace greatly influences and informs our identities. In her curatorial statement Not My Family Values, for an Art Photo Index Exhibition, Dr. Rebecca Senf states, “Family is at the heart of how we identify ourselves.” To create this work, I examined ways that my female family members’ identities interweave and manifest as a result of experiences together at our family home on 66 acres of land in rural Kansas. Intimate portraits capture the emotional, experiential, and physical bond found between we women, while environmental still life and landscape images made within my family’s house and land reflect the visceral connection between the females and the land, home, and familial keepsakes and objects.

Christine Zuercher: Your photographs often focus on very personal, quiet moments with your family. What experiences inspired you to make Ties That Bind?

Deedra Baker: Over the last couple of years I found my interests shift in regard to my work. I moved to Texas from Kansas, away from my family, and started a new journey in graduate school. I went from making self-portraits to appropriating family snap shots to photographing my preteen niece as a stand-in for myself. It was then that I realized my interest in photographing the females in my family. I have always been interested in the female form and the symbols that we carry through our keepsakes and personal treasures that we pass down through generations. My maternal grandmother passed away in March of 2013, just before I started graduate school, so I have been thinking a lot about the role of women in my family and the influences women have on the collective home. My separation from family also made me that much more in tune with our relationships and dynamics as I made trips back to visit. My father plays an important role in the family and has provided unconditional love and support to us, but it is truly we women that bind the family together.

CZ: This series shows a progression of seasons and people over time. What role does the passage of time play in your work?

DB: I have truly enjoyed making this work over the last two seasons. That is one thing I love about the Kansas landscape – there are four distinctive seasons. The passage of time is very symbolic for this work because it references the three generations of females present in the family. As I continue to create this work, the passage of time will only become more important as the photographs start to show the aging of the women, especially my nieces who are only fourteen and three years of age.

CZ: What are your thoughts on including your family, the land and animals in your exploration of place?

DB: Landscapes of the homeplace establish a connection between the women and the land that is the center for our relationship. In The Lure of the Local, art critic and writer Lucy Lippard, states, “The search for homeplace is the mythical search for the axis mundi, for a center, for some place to stand, for something to hang on to.” Ties That Bind documents the central or family home and its significance in the physical, emotional, experiential, and historical bond between three generations of women. The animals are very much a part of our experience with the land, as well.

CZ: What do you hope your audience will understand about your work and/or your family with Ties That Bind

DB: While this work is autobiographical and tells my family story, is also a universal exploration of familial connections and influences. Ties That Bind invites viewers to examine their own hereditary relationships and the influence these connections have on their own identities. Photographer Edward Steichen said, “The people in the audience looked at the pictures, and the people in the pictures looked back at them. They recognized each other. A Japanese poet has said that, when you look into a mirror, you do not see your reflection, your reflection, sees you.” The imagery from Daughters will act similarly, as a reflection to prompt memories for the viewers.

CZ: What role does the female play in your understanding of the traditional family and what female artists have inspired you to make this work?

DB: I think more than anything the female plays a significant role in the understanding of my own family. I know on a broader sense that everyone has experienced this notion of family in different ways, in which there cannot really be a tradition stated for the structure of family. A loving mother and father brought me up with three sisters on a ranch of 66 acres (or more at times). My father worked hard 365 days a year to provide financially for his family, but never missed a single one of our ball games, plays, or concerts. Yet, when I was thinking about my family and the work I wanted to create, I was most interested in the difference in dynamics between each sister and my mother – about the difference in relationships we sisters have with each other, and how now there are two third generation girls (my nieces).

Several historic and contemporary female photographers have influenced Ties That Bind, including: Julia Margaret Cameron, Gertrude Käsebier, Sarah Christianson, and Blake Fitch. Julia Margaret Cameron was inspired to photograph her family and friends in her studio; these subjects were a part of her daily life and therefore readily available to pose for Cameron. She was especially interested in photographing her niece, Julia Prinsep Jackson (Schirmer). Cameron’s portraits of women are intimate in their close compositions, soft focus, and dramatic lighting. Gertrude Käsebier’s subject matter was often her own family, children, and friends. Her interest in creating portraits of people stems from her longing “…to make likenesses that are biographies, to bring out in each photograph the essential personality that is variously called temperament, soul, humanity.” Through Sarah Christianson’s Midwestern upbringing, she developed a curiosity concerning the landscape of the Great Plains and is greatly affected by the sense of place found there. In her body of work, Homeplace, she documented her family’s 1200-acre farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota (Christianson). Christianson photographed the farmland and family home, and combined her images with family archive documents and portraits. Blake Fitch’s photography has focused on themes of identity, rites of passage, civil rights, and belonging. In her body of work, Expectations of Adolescence, Fitch photographs her sister Katie and cousin Julia over a decade as they mature from adolescence to young adulthood.

CZ: How did you go about making your technical choices? Is there a connection between your use of visual aesthetics such as natural light, color, and the ideas you hope to share in this series?

DB: In making this work I knew I was going to be shooting digitally with a full-frame camera, so that I could have high-quality imagery. I also knew I wanted to use a shallow depth of field as often as possible to romanticize the figures, objects, or land. It is important to me to create this work in color because it reveals the specificity of my family, homeplace, and keepsakes. In general I am attracted to the aesthetic of beautiful natural lighting in photographs, so I was drawn to use a similar aesthetic in this project. Although, I must admit to using a fill flash a majority of the time for the indoor photographs to maintain a fast shutter speed and low ISO setting.

CZ: Your past work is primarily self-portraiture- what led to your change in focus? Do you consider this work self-portraiture?

DB: I have always found myself gravitating toward autobiographical content in my work. In the past, my work expressed my psychological and physical self through a literal portrayal via self-portraiture. Over the last two years, I became interested in turning the camera around and photographing my female family members to tell our collective story. I still think that Ties That Bind is extremely autobiographical, but tells a much broader story of my mother, sisters, nieces and self through our bonds around the homeplace.

CZ: What is next for you after you graduate?  Congratulations Deedra!

DB: Thank you, Christine! This is definitely an exciting time for me, which I am sure you can relate to that! I feel like I have so many opportunities and possibilities ahead of me. In the fall, I will be teaching three photography courses at Texas Woman’s University as an adjunct instructor. I am also now a gallery coordinator for Art Room Gallery, which is based in Fort Worth, TX. I am looking forward to teaching, working with fellow artists, and promoting Ties That Bind!

Deedra's thesis exhibition is currently on view at Texas Woman's University: