Grace Weston: The States Project: Oregon
The first piece I saw by Grace Weston was Heaven Help Us. The image was chosen for the poster for The Clown Show at Froelick Gallery in Portland. I was intrigued and disturbed at the same time. Grace’s work is smart. It is layered with satire of the human psyche. I am the proud owner of Heartworms and have happily contributed props from my studio for her vignettes, one of which is the high ball glass in Happy Hour. It’s a test tube she cut down to less than half of an inch to give an idea of the scale she works in. Grace is currently working on a new/continuum of her staged photography. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
A 2015 Artist Trust Fellowship Award recipient, Grace was nominated in both 2014 and 2012 for Portland Art Museum’s Contemporary Northwest Art Awards. Recently, her work was received with acclaim in her first European solo show at Paci Contemporary in Brescia, Italy. Grace received honorable mentions in the International Kontinent Awards 2013 and Center Forward 2013. She was a finalist in PhotoEspana’s Descubrimientos 2009 and one of the Whatcom Museum 2008 Photography Biennial’s Nine to Watch. The Oregon Arts Commission honored Grace with an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in 2006. Public collections include those of the Portland Art Museum, University of Oregon, Seattle Public Utilities Portable Artworks Collection, Photographic Center Northwest, Portland Community College, 4 Culture King County, and the City of Seattle. She has exhibited widely in the United States, as well as in Europe and Scandinavia. Her work has been featured in print magazines in Italy, Spain, China, and the Netherlands, as well as on many international online magazines. Grace’s work is included in the book Microworlds, published in 2011 by Laurence King Publishing (UK).
Grace has also been commissioned to create her unique style of staged narrative photography in the editorial world, illustrating writings in O the Oprah Magazine and Discover Magazine, and creating the cover imagery for CDs, books and several city magazines, including Portland Monthly, Seattle Metropolitan, Pittsburgh Magazine, and Seattle’s weekly paper The Stranger.
As an artist working in the genre of staged photography, I construct, light, and photograph miniature, staged vignettes in my studio to address the questions and contradictions of life, both large and small. Like other photographers who have staged their scenes, I am attracted to the open possibilities the “blank canvas” offers, using the camera to construct and express my narratives.
Despite the fact that I never depict actual humans in my photographs, the human psyche is undeniably at the center of my work. Our search for meaning and the contradictions of human existence constantly occupy my mind.
In my ongoing series, Short Stories/Tall Tales I employ a detailed, narrative approach in creating vignettes of child-like fantasy scenes punctuated with anxieties common to adulthood: a housewife struggles to manage order in the world, existential questions are diluted in a glass of ice, and perhaps God doesn’t have our best interests in mind. The use of miniature characters, constructed sets and vivid colors allows me to play with weighty issues in a lighter way.
Although still working with miniatures, in my recent series Neo Noir I break away from the tight, detailed work of “Short Stories/Tall Tales” to take a more atmospheric approach to the staged scene. I created this series in response to suddenly becoming a stranger in a new city, grappling with feelings of disorientation and alienation, as if lost in a fog. The work has a nostalgic look, some pieces conjuring up 1940’s film noir and pulp fiction books, or 1960’s spy movies, complete with themes of confusion, mystery, and isolated characters immersed in unspoken thoughts. Again, psychological tension plays a large role in this work.
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ReRuns: Jim Leisy: The States Project: OregonAugust 24th, 2016
Sofia Marcus-Myers: The States Project: OregonJanuary 31st, 2016
Larry S. Clark: The States Project: OregonJanuary 30th, 2016
Ray Bidegain: The States Project: OregonJanuary 29th, 2016
Jake Shivery: The States Project: OregonJanuary 28th, 2016