Fall SOLOS: Meet the Artists Pt. 1
While AAC’s galleries are closed for install, please enjoy this first in a series of blog posts designed to introduce you to our Fall SOLOS artists and familiarize you with their unique ways of thinking and diverse artistic practices.
We hope you’ll join us at the opening reception Sat., Oct. 18 from 6 – 9 pm, and later in the season, at the Gallery Talk on Sat., Dec. 13 from 1 – 4 pm where you’ll hear from and talk with the artists about their concepts and processes.
What artist (living or deceased) is most influential to your practice or way of thinking?
I have been lucky to study photography with some wonderful artists. Eugene Richards was one of those. He had a major impact on my work when I was young, particularly in regards to photographing people. I think an even greater impact however, was made by Constance Thalken.
I studied with Conne in graduate school at Georgia State University. She taught me how to really “resolve” a project. It’s one thing to have a great idea and quite another to push that idea to the point where it is fully resolved. I owe the credit to Conne for teaching me to do that, to the extent that I am able.
What is your favorite late-night studio snack?
Briefly describe a day in the studio:
There are many different layers to my process. There are of course days in the darkroom or digital lab, where I am actually producing photographs. However, before that can happen I have to go out and take the photographs. I have always enjoyed that part of the process the most.
A typical day shooting might involve me driving for hours or walking across a city, consulting maps, talking with locals, all in the hopes of finding something that either doesn’t exist anymore, or that most people don’t even notice. Sometimes I come up empty, but when I do find what I am looking for, the rush is irreplaceable! At that point, if the weather is just right, I start shooting.
Why did you decide to pursue art?
9/11 radically crystallized my priorities in life. I had several friends and family members who lived and worked in and around the WTC. The father of a colleague passed away and not to sound too morbid, but his death is what inspired me to pursue art. I realized that if I could die tomorrow without any warning, I would want to die doing something I love 100%.
The only earthly pursuit I love that much is art making, so after 9/11, I had to figure out how to become an artist. Since then, when I get discouraged in my art making or its professional trappings, the deaths of other close friends have been reminders that the cultural responsibility of an artist is real. Art can speak to the important, universal questions and experiences of humankind in a pure way. I wish I could say beauty is what inspires me to be an artist, but it is the brevity and urgency of life that spurns me to create work.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I hope people can come away from my work realizing they just spent a lot of time looking at something without even realizing it… that this time they spent looking has left them with questions about their existence and the world around us.
I hope my work shifts their perspective in some way and inspires them to contemplate more, to dwell in the mental space that the work opened up for them. This quiet space gives people a welcome breath from the everyday humdrum to pause, even if just briefly, to meditate, and ponder on issues otherwise overlooked.
What elements of pop culture and contemporary life emerge in your work?
In On the Brink, I cut out images and text from magazines and newspapers, digitizing and animating them into my videos. These familiar objects and words reference current events and my emotional associations with them–feelings of chaos, entropy, and stress. Systems of power and industry seem to cycle endlessly.
These collaged images and headlines are relics of mass media that bring awareness to the force and impact of our contemporary lifestyles, and beg the question of how we should respond in its wake.
Each year, 14 artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region are chosen from more than 200 applications for AAC’s semi-annual solo exhibitions. These ‘micro-exhbitions’ take place in one of AAC’s seven separate gallery spaces, or outside on the grounds. This is a key way in which AAC meets its mission of supporting the work of contemporary, emerging artists in our region.
Applications are accepted beginning early 2015, and will be reviewed by a jury of notable artists, critics, curators, and collectors. Check back with us at the start of the new year, or join our mailing list to learn more about applying for SOLOS.