Beyond the Surface: The Photograph as Object
Beyond the Surface: The Photograph as Object, will open Thursday, January 9th at 4pm at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo University Gallery in California. A big thank you to educator and artist Lana Caplan, Assistant Professor of Photography and Video at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for the wonderful opportunity to curate this exhibition for Cal Poly. For that past several years, I have been interested in artists who intervene with the surface of a photograph and I am thrilled to share a variety of artists and approaches as part of this exhibition.
The artists include Diane Meyer, Christopher Russell, Sandra Klein, Joe Rudko, Adriene Hugues, K.K. DePaul, JP Terlizzi, Marina Font, Liz Steketee, Bootsy Holler, and Natalie Obermaier.
Beyond the Surface:The Photograph as Object Curator’s Essay
As the practice of photography moves farther away from the tactile process of winding film through a camera and long meditative hours spent in the wet darkroom, the contemporary digital photographer is now experiencing an entirely different relationship to the image. With the proliferation of digital capture, with Photoshop replacing the darkroom, and instantaneous digital printing at the push of a button, photographs are now equally a product of the mind and technology, with the ability for limitless reproduction.
In response to this loss of the evidence of the artist’s hand, a number of artists are reconsidering the potential of an image with a move towards making rather than taking photographs. By using vintage and contemporary photographs as a starting point, artists are creating physically layered works of art that result in a handmade one-of-a-kind object, expanding the notion of what we consider photographic art. The exhibition Beyond the Surface features a variety of interventions and investigations that include collage, sewing, cutting, weaving and embroidery, all interrogating the material qualities of the physical photograph as an attempt to recover the magic of the photograph-as-object. As artist Maria Font describes, “My hands intervene with each work manually, and through this intimate, performatic ritual, the embodiment of the photograph becomes the common ground where the familiar and the foreign meet, as an individual attempt to blur the lines between the internal and external spaces of the body. The construction of these mental maps evokes diverse psychological states and emotions with meanings that are in constant flux, never fixed, just like our identities.”
Artists in the exhibition work in two ways, using imagery that they have created in camera or by using found or familial vernacular photos. The image is then punctured, deconstructed, or cut apart and reborn as a work of art, separate from the original image. Many of the artists explore themes of growing up, family, and memory; others use contemporary imagery to consider self or culture. Artist Liz Steketee states, “I use my life and family as material for my work. By doing this, I am able to explore the complexity that exists in the everyday and the richness found in the mundane. Through the use of montage, collage, and purposeful juxtaposition of photographs, it is my intention to examine the “truth” in life.” Artist Joe Rudko cuts and reorganizes found photographs to “break the illusion of the pristine image and suggest a variety of interpretations it can have. Working with analog methods in a digital era places these snapshots in dialogue with the present moment.”
Revisiting photographs with an Exacto knife or sewing needle provides a new way of examining, organizing, and interacting with more than just the image on the page. This reconsideration opens the door to limitless possibilities of creation, inspiring us to look more deeply at the potential of photographic imagination. – Aline Smithson
Diane Meyer received a BFA in Photography from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts in 1999 and an MFA in Visual Arts from The University of California, San Diego in 2002. She has been living in Los Angeles since 2005. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester; the 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica; AIR Gallery, NYC, The Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City; SPARC, South Pasadena, the Granary Contemporary Art Center, Ephraim, Utah as well as an upcoming solo exhibition at Klompching Gallery in New York. She was recently part of a two person exhibition at Pictura Gallery, Bloomington, Indiana.
Her work has also been shown in numerous group shows in the United States and abroad including at the George Eastman Museum, Rochester; Robert Mann Gallery, NYC; Regina Anzenberger Gallery, Vienna, Austria; Klompching Gallery, NYC; The Brattleboro Museum of Art, VT; Burrad Arts Foundation, Vancouver; Kunstagentur Dresden, Germany; Große Rathaus, Landshut, Germany; the Diffusion International Photography Festival, Cardiff, Wales; Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica; the Laband Art Gallery, Los Angeles; ABC Treehouse, Amsterdam; Fototropia, Guatemala City; Schneider Gallery, Chicago; Field Projects, NYC; China House, Penang, Malaysia; Galerie Huit, Arles, France; Project 42, Alkmaar, The Netherlands; Große Rathaus Galerie, Landshut; The Clarinda Carnegie Museum, IA; The Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY, Susan Laney Contemporary, Savannah; and others.
Her work is in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum, the Clarinda Carnegie Museum, the Hood Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and the. University of Maryland.
Christopher Russell received his BFA from The California College of Arts and Crafts, and his MFA from the Art Center College of Design. He has presented a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He has been featured in group exhibitions at the Tokyo Institute of Photography, The Norton Museum, Armory Center for the Arts, White Columns, De Appel Arts Center (Netherlands,) Berkeley Art Museum Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J.P. Getty Museum, among others. He has published numerous critical articles in Artillery Magazine and Art US, in addition to being a featured subject of positive review by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, Artillery, Frieze, and ArtForum, among others. Russell also produces his own unique books in addition to his ‘zine Bedwetter. His first novel is Sniper, and other books include Budget Decadence (2nd Cannons Publications), Pattern Book (Insert Blanc Press) and Landscape (Kolapsomal Press) which was included in Phaidon’s The Photobook: A History Vol 3 edited by Martin Parr. His work is included in over two dozen museum collections including the Brooklyn Museum, J.P. Getty Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Los Angeles County Museum, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Hammer Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
Sandra Klein is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. Her work, whether captured with a camera or composited, portrays a layered world which, though filled with anxiety and trauma, still is rich with joy.
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Sandra received a BFA from Tyler School of Fine Art in Philadelphia and an MA in Printmaking from San Diego State University. Her work has been shown throughout the United States and abroad, including exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Lishiu and Yixian Festivals in China, and the A Smith Gallery in Texas. She was the recipient of the Lorser Feitelson Grant jointly with artist Betye Saar.
Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Lenscratch, The Boston Globe, A Photo Editor, What Will You Remember, Musee Magazine, Beta Magazine and Diffusion Magazines, and is held in public collections.
Joe Rudko received his BFA from Western Washington University and has shown broadly in both solo and group exhibitions throughout the Northwest including exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, PDX Contemporary Art and Greg Kucera Gallery, as well as Von Lintel Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and Davidson Gallery (New York, NY). He has been the recipient of the Future List Award and two Art Walk Awards from City Arts Magazine as well as the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship Award and the Facebook Artist in Residence program. His work is featured on the cover of indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie’s album Kintsugi and is included in the permanent collections of the Portland Art Museum, F5, Fidelity Investments, and the City of Seattle. His work has been published in Artforum, Art in America, New American Paintings, Humble Art Foundation, Fukt Magazine for Contemporary Drawing, The Stranger, and The New York Times.
Liz Steketee lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children where she maintains her own art practice. For over a decade, Liz was a member of the photo faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute where she specialized in digital imaging, compositing, mixed media, and the handmade books. In 2005, Liz completed her MFA at SFAI where she received the prestigious John Collier Award of Excellence for her thesis project. The project was based on the turbulent circumstances surrounding the birth of Liz’s first child, Emma. After completing her graduate studies, Liz dedicated her work fully to art practice and teaching. In 2017, Liz moved into a full time studio practice. Liz’s personal work focuses the notions of photography and its role in family life, memory, and our sense of self. Her most recent work explores mixed media; particularly the combination of textiles, book arts, sculpture, and photography.
JP Terlizzi is a New York City-based visual artist who uses photography to explore themes of memory, relationship, and identity. Drawing inspiration from his personal experiences he captures moments that convey narratives—whether the story is a framed moment that reveals something about family and home, or a poetic interpretation of a fading reality, the feeling of belonging and connection are recurring themes in his work.
Born and raised in the farmlands of Central New Jersey, JP currently lives in Manhattan. His career spans thirty plus years as creative director for a boutique agency specializing in retail design. He earned a BFA n Communication Design at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and has studied photography at the International Center of Photography in New York and Maine Media College in Rockport ME. His work has been exhibited widely in galleries across the United States and internationally including solo and juried shows at The Center for Fine Art Photography, Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver, Soho Photo Gallery in New York, The Griffin Museum, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Tilt Gallery, Panopticon Gallery, Candela Gallery, The Los Angeles Center of Photography, The Texas Photographic Society and The Berlin Foto Biennale, Berlin, Germany, among others.
JP has received many honors and recognition including being named as a 2018 Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 recipient for his series Descendants. The series was also selected as winner of the 2018 International Portfolio Competition and awarded a solo exhibition at the Soho Photo Gallery in Manhattan. In addition, he was a 2016 and 2015 Critical Mass Finalist with his series Mother and Hunter’s Calling. His work can be found in both permanent and private collections and has been featured in PDN, Photo Emphasis, All About Photo, L’oeil de la Photographie, All About Photo, The Photo Review, F-Stop and Abridged Magazine.
Adriene Hughes is a San Diego based fine art photographer with an MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University. She is a multi-media artist whose current body of work is based within the genre of grand landscape and the effects of global warming on the environment through the use of infrared technology, photography, and video installation.
Hughes’ photography has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including an upcoming video installation during Venice Biennial at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia, curated by Zuecca Projects and PhotoPhore. Recent exhibitions include Klompching Gallery, New York, The Center for Fine Arts Photography at Ft. Collins, California Center for the Arts, San Diego Arts Institute, Sawtooth ARI Tasmania, Microwave International New Media Festival Hong Kong, and Simultan Festival Romania. Her photographs have been featured in many publications including Wired/USA, Wired/Japan, Harper’s Magazine, PDN, Phroom Magazine, German Foto, Humble Arts Foundation, Don’t Take Pictures, Lenscratch, PhotoPhore, FeatureShoot, and Crusade For Art. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Rhonda Wilson Award with Klompching Gallery, and 2018 Critical Mass Top 50 recipient. Public Art includes San Diego International Airport and the Boston Convention Center. She has recently installed a 144 ft. large-scale photographic mural project at the San Diego International Airport, as well as an environmental infrared video installation of the Southern California landscape.
After graduating magna cum laude from Philadelphia’s Drexel University with a degree in Photography, L.A. based artist Natalie Obermaier moved to Seattle where she worked alongside acclaimed photographer, Jock Sturges. Working in the darkroom five days a week for three years under his guidance, she mastered the craft of black and white photographic printing, while also acting as his studio manager and model. Following this intensive immersion into large format black and white photography, she traveled extensively, discovering her own voice as an artist. Her early bodies of work in black and white film are soulful and classic, showing a natural and deep connection with the people she photographs. In addition to her black and white work, in 2012 the artist began taking a photograph every day for 365 days of the year, using multiple formats, from film to iPhone. The results were printed and exhibited at the end of each year for three consecutive years as immersive installations. Currently Obermaier has turned her attention to hand-cut collage, sourcing her materials primarily from the glossy pages of women’s fashion magazines. When she isn’t lighting sets for Mark Seliger, David La Chapelle and other commercial photographers, she continues to explore her own visual vocabulary and exhibit her work around the country. In 2019 she will be artist in residence at the Bush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, the artist lives and works in Venice, CA.
Artist, Photographer, Educator, and Gallery Director, K.K DePaul brings a multi-faceted background to her extensive career in the arts.
Kim’s award-winning work as a collage artist and photographer has received national and international attention, Her work has been published in Black+White Magazine(UK),
EyeMazing, Diffusion, and PhotoWorld(China), as well as exhibitions in the US, Paris, UK,
Barcelona, and Edinburgh. She was the recipient of the 10th annual Julia Margaret Camer-on Award in 2017.
In addition to her solid exhibition record, Kim has recently been expanding her interests to include alternative process photography, mixed media, filmmaking and book design.
Marina Font was born in Argentina in 1970. She studied design at the Martin Malharro School of Visual Arts, Mar del Plata, Argentina. In 1998 she studied Photography at the Speos Ecole de la Photographie in Paris and earned an MFA in Photography from Barry University, Miami in 2009. Since then she has exhibited extensively at galleries, museums and cultural institution in the US and abroad. Her work is present in various public collections such as the MDC Museum of Art+Design, Miami, the Boca Ratom Museum of Art, the Frost Art Museum at FIU, the LOWE Art Museum at The University of Miami, FoLA, Fototeca Latinoamericana, Buenos Aires, Argentina, The Bunnen collection in Atlanta , the Girls’ Club collection in Fort Lauderdale and various private collections throughout the world.
Her photo-based work explores ideas about identity, gender, territory, language, memory and the forces of the unconscious.
Marina is happy to announce her latest collaboration with Minor Matters Books and Dina Mitrani Gallery: Anatomy is Destiny, her first monograph, published on April 2018.
She currently lives and works in Miami Beach.
Bootsy Holler’s is an intuitive artist creating art that examines the nature of identity, the reimagined family and the deep secrets we all keep.
She has been a working photographer for over 25 years in art, music, editorial, and advertising. Best known for her remarkably sensitive style of portraiture, she has been noticed and awarded by the Society of Photographic Journalism (SPJ) and Association of Alternative News-media (AAN).
She received her BA with a concentration on Textiles from Western Washington University, Bellingham. After a career as a freelance Art Director, and Photographer in Seattle she relocated to Los Angeles and focused on fine art.
Bootsy has exhibited in 17 solo shows and over 30 group exhibitions at institutions such as The Center for Fine Art Photography, Ogden Museum, Benham Gallery, The New Space Photo Center, Photo Center Northwest, and Fotofever, Paris. Her fine art has been featured in publications including PDN, NPR, Lenscratch, Rangefinder, Fraction Magazine as well as Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, Santa Barbara News-Press, and Real Simple Magazine.
Her Visitor series was selected for Critical Mass Top 50 in 2011. She has been commissioned by commercial companies to design and produce art for their creative spaces and has work in the Grammy Museum permanent collection, as well as in private collections around the world. In 2019 she published her second monograph TREASURES: Objects I’ve known all my life.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Mexican Week: Cannon BernáldezFebruary 6th, 2024
Lucia Engstrom: Lovers & Dreamers at the Von Lintel GalleryJanuary 27th, 2024
Amy Lovera in Conversation with Douglas BreaultJanuary 23rd, 2024
Sarah Hood Salomon: ScratchedJanuary 20th, 2024
Collective Week: Eye LoungeDecember 15th, 2023