Jennifer Garza-Cuen and Odette England: Past Paper//Present Marks: Responding to Rauschenberg
Past Paper // Present Marks: Responding to Rauschenberg (Radius Books 2021) celebrates the photograms that resulted from the collaboration of Jennifer Garza-Cuen and Odette England during their 2018 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency in Captiva, Florida as a result of being part of the Critical Mass Awards, through Photolucida . The photographs are immediate and gestural. The process is guided by elements of chance as the sun, moon and water become equal collaborators. These photographs were printed on unused, expired Agfa Brovira paper from the 1970’s found in Rauschenberg’s darkroom. They experimented with his expired chemicals and developed the photograms in his swimming pool.
Robert Rauschenberg rejected conventional boundaries, providing a foundation for art making that continues to shape contemporary art. Not only do Garza-Cuen and England share in Rauschenberg’s collaborative approach to art, but also in testing possibilities of material, escaping convention and finding inspiration within the unexpected.
In 2018, Jennifer Garza-Cuen and Odette England spent a week at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency in Captiva, Florida, collaborating on a series of nearly 200 photograms. The images were made in Rauschenberg’s swimming pool, using expired 1970s gelatin silver paper found in his darkroom. The two artists ‘activated’ the paper by piercing or slashing the bags and envelopes using pens, scissors, or knives; folding the silver paper at odd angles; or layering them inside the bags. Some sank to the bottom of the pool, while others floated on top or by the filtration units. Exposures were made overnight and throughout the day, allowing different levels and intensities of sunlight, moonlight, and water to penetrate the paper.
Jennifer Garza-Cuen is Assistant Professor of Photography at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi; she is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Photography, the Light Work Residency Award, and Photo Lucida’s Robert Rauschenberg Residency Award; she received her MFA in Photography with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BA summa cum laude from the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
@odetteengland @deadpanphotography @radius.books @photolucia @rauschenbergresidency @rauschenbergfoundation
Odette England is the Visiting Artist-in-Residence at Amherst College, a resident artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program in New York, and director of the Winter Garden Photograph project, for which she received a grant from the Mellon Foundation; she received a four-year fully-funded Research Training Program Scholarship to complete her PhD at the Australian National University in 2018, and has an MFA in Photography with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design.
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