Midge Wattles: Lineage
Today is our last day focusing on young and emerging artists. I thought it would be a nice sendoff sharing the work of Midge Wattles. Soft with hints of mystery, Lineage follows our intimate interactions with space. These photographs are graphic in structure, and remind me of the alluring moments when you let your sight relax while everything just becomes form and light. Perfect for those of you just waking up, and in no rush to begin your Saturday morning.
Midge Wattles is an artist living and working in New York City. She grew up in Kalamazoo, MI. Midge received her BFA in photography from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 and participated in RISD’S European Honors Program in Rome. Her work is a dialogue between the history of painting and photography and explores the structure of collective imagery. Her work has been in Art in America, Art Annual Online, and Artribune. She has exhibited in New York and Rome.
Lineage is a meditation on the spaces we drift inside of when we know a place intimately. The way a room’s geometry becomes a blank slate for our memory as we return there, day in and day out. It is the cracks, lines, and circles that collect and conceal our time there. We become part of a space when we learn the shapes that will fall into the corners and beams, onto the walls. A rhythm of light and shape, dividing one another in time.
This body of photographs is part of a larger body of work created in If and Wen Space in New York City as part of an exhibition curated by Wen-You Cai in Spring of 2014.
GG: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
MW: I deal with a lot of indecisiveness as an artist and as a person. It can be difficult to move forward and not dwell on details so I keep a note card with me with this hand-written advice from a former teacher: “It takes a willingness to let yourself live with the decision on the one hand, and to let go of that which you decide not to pursue. Accept & let go.”
GG: What are your doubts?
MW: I have doubts about the intention and value of a lot of contemporary art. I see part of this as a continuos and outdated over-emphasis on idea, and not enough on execution, practice, and making.
GG: How does photography fit into the art community?
MW: I’m still figuring out what the “art community” consists of because there are many different platforms for exhibiting or having a dialogue around art. If I single out photography in the contemporary art I’ve seen in museums and galleries in New York City over the last year, I would say it fits in quite well. Although the medium has become increasingly accessible (aren’t we all photographers at this point?), I find this means photographers have to try that much harder to be recognized as artists with an idea, a craft and a unique ability. Rather than seeing this difficulty as a weakness, I see this as photography’s greatest strength.
GG: Are you referring to something specific? Have you been disappointed in a show recently?
MW: No, I’m not referring to a specific show, just more of a disappointment in what I’ve seen more collectively through museums, fairs, and galleries in nyc over the last year.
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Bill Westheimer: The States Project: New JerseyNovember 28th, 2018
Sandi Haber Fifield: Lineations 2November 5th, 2018
Photographers on Photographers: Benjamin Dimmitt on Bridget ConnAugust 11th, 2018
Tama Hochbaum: Over/Time: Imaging LandscapeJuly 17th, 2018