Radial Survey at Silver Eye Center of Photography
Silver Eye Center for Photography is delighted to collaborate with Lenscratch to share work by the artists of our third regional biennial survey: Akea Brionne, Larry W. Cook, Alanna Fields, Marissa Long, Eduardo L. Rivera, Shane Rocheleau, and Lisa Toboz.
Radial Survey first began in 2019 to showcase work by artists making exceptional work within a 300-mile radius around Pittsburgh–deliberately excluding the art centers of New York and Chicago. At the project’s inception, it aimed to serve as a counter-narrative to the big museum biennials and question how living in this region can inform and sustain a creative practice, lead to meaningful connections and community-building, and shape our unique relationships to place and each other. This foundational ethos remains, but selectors and Silver Eye curators shape each edition in response to innovative new directions in expanded contemporary photography and debates around its roles in our lives.
This third edition, Presence, includes seven artists selected by Silver Eye’s curators from a longlist of artists nominated by Radial Survey Vol.2 artists. This theme was established after months of enriching studio visits and discussions with this edition’s exceptional artists. Akea Brionne, Larry W. Cook, Alanna Fields, Marissa Long, Eduardo L. Rivera, Shane Rocheleau, and Lisa Toboz create work that invites us to explore the relationships between presence, visibility, and absence. Recontextualizing family and found photographs, reimagining genres, and affirming their unique subjective experiences, these artists create visually compelling languages that recognize and subvert forces larger than ourselves. In doing so, they question learned ways of seeing and how these affect our contemporary experience.
Leo Hsu, Executive Director, Helen Trompeteler, Deputy Director of Programs
Curators, Radial Survey Vol.3
silvereye.org | @silvereyecenter
All images: Courtesy of the artist
Radial Survey Vol.3 is generously supported by The Leonian Foundation and Henry Simonds.
“This work is one of the first steps I took to solidify my existence in landscapes that are otherwise void (at least on the surface) of bodies that look, think, and maneuver like mine. I’ve often been in spaces existing as THE “other.” It can truly be exhausting to always have to be “on.” When I started to accept that being in a state of social and cultural isolation wasn’t going to change, I started to connect to my environment in a way that brought me a peace I’d never thought I had a right to feel. Then one day, I felt at home.”
Akea Brionne is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist, exploring the relationship between history, social geography and post-colonial identity politics. Working at the intersection of lens-based media and textiles, her work analyzes the impact of colonialism on the African Diaspora, primarily within American social constructs, and its impact on landscapes, cultural storytelling, memory, and assimilation.
“I find this selection of works important because they bridge together two bodies of works that symbolize the breaking through of veils while pointing to the complexities and limitations of visibility. In the selected works from Audacity and Mirages of Dreams Past, the presence of wax shifts in opacity, symbolizing layers being lifted from the veil of invisibility. Meditating on memory, vulnerability and intimacy, each work focuses the lens to every-day representations of Black queer desire and sensuality in the 1960s and 1970s vernacular photography. The work demands the viewer acknowledge Black queer life formally as the aesthetic choices in clothing, posture, and gesture shift the conversation of coded investigation to one of audacious declaration.”
Alanna Fields is a mixed-media artist and archivist whose work unpacks Black queer history through a multidisciplinary engagement with photographic archives. Fields’ work has been exhibited across the United States and been featured in The New York Times, Aperture magazine, FOAM magazine, and The Atlantic amongst others. She received her MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute and is a Lecturer of Photography at Howard University.
“For over a decade, I have made images with my family and community to contemplate the personal histories that ripple through my childhood home a few hours north of the U.S.-Mexico border. In thinking about my family’s history, my personal history, and our connection to this ever-changing desert landscape, I’m looking for ways to consider the present through images and stories of the past to add something visually evocative to the dialog of the American Southwest. I think about the medium of photography as a conduit that functions between memory and speculation and consider time, belonging, and the significance of light as threads woven throughout the fabric of my work.”
Eduardo L. Rivera is an artist from Phoenix, Arizona. He has exhibited widely and his photographs have appeared in Aperture, Capricious, Der Greif, and The New York Times. Eduardo received a BFA in photography from Arizona State University in 2011 and an MFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art in 2016. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Residence at RISD and an Adjunct Professor at NYU Steinhardt.
“This work reflects my interest in landscape and the perceptions of space, liberty, and belonging. This work pays homage to prison photographers and the importance of prison vernacular images. Preserving this history and recognizing its contribution to contemporary society is essential. My archive of prison snapshots serves as source material for engaging with themes of freedom, family, and agency. I’m interested in how artist-driven archives are concerned with more than just facts but possibilities.”
Larry W. Cook is an interdisciplinary artist working across photography, video, and mixed media. Cook received his MFA from George Washington University (2013) and his BA in Photography from SUNY Plattsburgh (2010). His work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums, Baltimore Museum of Art, and other institutions. Cook is currently an Associate Professor at Howard University.
“Photography serves to record the physical world, but Victorian spirit photography, at its most emotive, aimed to record the immaterial and unknown, which in turn, helped the living cope with unbearable trauma and loss. During my year-long battle with lymphoma, I found curiosity and comfort in spirit photography, which used photo manipulation to capture the spirits of loved ones after they had passed into an ephemeral existence. Ghost Stories is a visual metaphor for uncertainty, fear, wonder, and unexpected beauty that suggests an alternate survival space when reality is in chaos.”
Lisa Toboz is a self-taught, Pittsburgh-based artist with a background in writing and literature. Her work explores self-portraiture and creativity as a form of healing using various Polaroid cameras and film. Her photo books include Dwell (Polyseme, 2020) and The Long Way Home (Static Age UK, 2018). She has exhibited internationally, and her Polaroid photography can be found in various publications including Polaroid Now (Chronicle Books, 2021).
“The works included here share themes of obfuscation, transformation, and loss, and represent an expansion of my practice from photography into sculpture. What at first felt like a wild leap to a totally different medium eventually revealed itself to be a natural deepening of my practice—pulling out many of the same themes I’d been photographing for years to be examined from additional angles. It’s given me a clearer view of my engagement with photography—a better understanding of what I was trying to do with it, and a desire to magnify that in future images.”
Marissa Long works across a range of media including photography and sculpture. Long alters, interrupts and recontextualizes familiar objects, transforming them into signifiers for human emotion; Long challenges a viewer’s expectations by subverting expected outcomes, thereby shifting the focus from the imagery itself to a viewer’s complicated perception of it. Long holds a BFA from Corcoran College of Art & Design (2006).
“I grew up knowing and spending time with my neighbors. I now look askance at too many of them, and too many return the gesture. It hurts. Physical communities are disintegrating, but maybe that’s because the foundations of this nation were built on chattel slavery and genocide? Americans of all colors and creeds are suffering, bent by the weight of both economic inequality and hegemonic propaganda designed to pit us all against each other. As a person whose politics are—by American standards— considered “radically leftist,” I need to find a way to understand and even commune with the person I’m loudly and clearly told I should demonize.”
Shane Rocheleau (MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University) confronts the endemic position of toxic masculinity and white supremacy within the American experience. Rocheleau has exhibited extensively internationally and his three monographs – You Are Masters Of The Fish And Birds And All The Animals (2018), The Reflection In The Pool (2019), and Lakeside (2022) – are published by Gnomic Book. Rocheleau is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow and lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.
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