The States Project: New Hampshire: Kiera Reese
Kiera and I met online in a critical theory group where we did academic readings and talked about art and artists. She was starting to explore new directions in her work and the work has developed into an ongoing series she is showing off here. Kiera is extremely skilled in post production, and she pushes photography in less-than-traditional directions. She is also a portrait photographer and recently showed off her fine art work at McGowan Fine Art Gallery. http://www.kierareese.com/
Kiera Reese experiments with the process of photography to compare and better understand mechanical and emotional measure of time and space. She earned MFA from Lesley University of Art and Design and BFA at New Hampshire Institute of Art, magna cum laude. Reese’s process includes digital manipulation, inkjet printing on non-traditional substrates, such as untreated fabrics, and glass transfers. Reese’s work plays with the intersection between the analog and the digital, and the physical and ephemeral.
Recent group exhibitions include Dialogues: Medium and Materiality in Massachusetts, Contemporary Landscapes in New York, and In-Sight Photography in Vermont. In 2016, Reese was honored to be included in the Lumen Prize for Digital Art Long List, and the corresponding international tour. She also received the Juror’s Choice Award in NHIA Alumni Exhibition at Kimball Jenkins (2014). As technology becomes an unavoidable part of daily life, Reese continues to create bodies of work the utilize photography as a tool for exploring the tension between the digital and physical world.
Digital technology affects our perception of time and space, dislodging the sense of linear progression of time and creating an experience where the past and present continually collide. When I started making New Places, it began as an exercise in combining imagery from my personal photos. Like puzzle pieces, I look to fit things together based loosely on subject, color, and form. Some of these digital collages create a more naturalistic space, while others deliberate clash planes of pictorial space against each other. These images explore digital space as a façade.
My process starts very intuitively. I look through my photo library images of taken over the years and select ones until I sense a theme. From there, I will begin to narrow my search through my images more specifically. In this series, I began with pictures in nature and slowly moved to incorporate architecture. Recently, I am drawn to using ornate architectural styles, in part because of the splendid details, but also because they create such distinct clashes when combined. Once I have an idea of what I want to do with these images, I start to collage images together digitally. I give attention specifically to how images blend together. Formal qualities of an image can lead to a harsher transition between images. More organic transitions occur as well, obscuring where one image ends and another image begins. This part of the process relates closely to my background in painting. Often I use a digital paint brush to create seamless transitions between images. The most time-consuming part of the process, I allow myself to become very obsessive with detail. I fill the space, and when needed, I make the space. If new media refers to digital technology, New Places as a namesake for this work refers to the spaces created in this digital process.
With the series, I work narrow format that I often orient as a vertical panorama. I prefer using this format because my photos don’t automatically fit into it. It makes the collage process more challenging and helps me work through some of my compositional choices. When displayed digitally, it causes the viewer to scroll, especially on mobile devices. The final display large format print, usually 2 x 6 feet. This format is roughly person size, and reads differently across the room than it does when viewed more closely Digital composites of several images create a photograph of something that never physically existed. New Places manipulates photographic images so that the image no longer documents a single time or place, but merges both into a post-narrative jumble. These images examine our digital space and delight in it. This results in fantastical displays of possibility while questioning the superficial reality created.
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