The CENTER Awards: The Curator’s Choice Award 3rd Place Winner: Stephanie Taiber
Congratulations to Stephanie Taiber, for her Third Place win in CENTER’S Curator’s Choice Award for her project, Natural Order. The Choice Awards recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter. Images can be singular or part of a series. Winners receive admission to Review Santa Fe portfolio reviews, participation in a winner’s exhibition at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe,
Juror Marina Chao – Assistant Curator, International Center of Photography shares her insights:
It was a tremendous honor to be invited to judge the CENTER Curator’s Choice award, but I had no way of anticipating just how much of a privilege it would be to review this year’s submissions. In the midst of a pandemic, we are all learning to cope with new realities and are grappling with dizzying feelings of fear, compassion, grief, and gratitude. In the face of so much turbulence and uncertainty, it was a gift to spend time with the work of over 250 artists and see such a wide variety of approaches to photography, ranging from projects that confronted the most pressing social issues of our time to others that explored the most enduring of human emotions to those that took the medium itself as material and conceptual inspiration. In the end I was left more in awe than ever of the intelligence, vulnerability, and generosity of artists. Thank you to everyone who shared their work.
The strength and diversity of the projects made it difficult to select just three finalists, but as the impact of the pandemic and experience of social distancing were naturally never far from my mind, the projects below stood out and stayed with me.
In Natural Order the artist relates the fragility of even our closest family bonds to ideas of domesticity and the incompleteness of photography. Palpable feelings of tenderness and loss pull us through the intimate spaces of a home as Taiber constellates rephotographed pictures, images of the natural world, and photographs of personal objects into a meandering, speculative family album. – Stephanie Taiber
Marina Chao is an assistant curator at the International Center of Photography. Most recently she curated the exhibition Multiply, Identify, Her (2018), which featured the work of ten contemporary women artists, and contributed to the publication Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self (Aperture and ICP, 2018). She is currently working on a project exploring various intersections between image, language, and technology, for which she was awarded a 2019 Curatorial Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Prior to joining ICP, she was a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In “Natural Order” I explore the relationship between family dynamics, natural forces, and entropy. I construct images that build a connection between an inherited family archive and the contemporary photograph as an object in order to better understand the processes of love and loss and to call attention to the problematic nature of photography as a means of documenting both time and memory.
I see the delicate nature of attachment within and across generations of family as tested not only through the irrevocable reality of death, but also through the inevitable experience of growing apart. The resulting tension I feel around balancing the different roles of daughter, wife, and mother guides my understanding of both togetherness and separation within the everyday intimacies of familial life. I use objects which assume fragments of memory along with rephotographed works that together highlight gestures indicative of the changing nature of connection. In this way, I build a collection of contemporary imagery rather than traditional family portraits. Treating old and new images as artifacts I create a family album unbound, suggesting that the dynamics of relationships are subject to the laws and forces of nature, forming and eroding over time and under circumstance.
Stephanie Taiber is an artist based in Chicago, IL. She holds a BFA in Printmaking and Photography from the University of Arizona. Stephanie’s art practice explores the tension between internal and external constructs of female identity, taking special interest in the role relationships and memory play in shaping self perception. Themes of attachment, privacy, and trust converge in Taiber’s unconventional approach to photography, as she re-photographs and collages her own work to create introspective narratives.
Stephanie has exhibited nationally and internationally, and has been featured on several online photography platforms including Fraction Magazine, Photo Emphasis, and Aint-Bad. Recently, Stephanie was selected as a Top 100 artist for Aint-Bad Curator’s Choice 2018, a 2018 Review Santa Fe 100 Photographer, a Top 20 Finalist for Brighton UK’s Open ’18, and was a Top 10 Finalist for Klompching Gallery’s 2017 Summer Fresh Exhibition in New York.
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