The Curator Exhibit at Milk Gallery, New York
‘The Search for Outstanding and Undiscovered Fine Art Photography’
July 7th-17th, 2011
Now in its second year, The Curator supports nine artists in nine artistic categories paying honour to their skill, creativity, ability and individuality. Each artist received recognition in their individual practices. This year, the nine artistic categories were selected to encompass the following: Portraits/Nudes, Installation/Still Life, Abstract/Mixed Media, Nature/ Street Photography, Photo Essay/Reportage and Student Work. Between July 14th and 17th, Milk Gallery exhibited a selection of the winners’ works from each individual category. The Judges on the panel for the competition included: Brian Paul Clamp (owner and director of ClampArt), Gravette Pierre (founder of +Kris Graves Project), Julie Grahame (editor-in-chief of aCurator.com), Ariel Shanberg (executive director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock), Jeff Dunes (fine-art and commercial photographer) and Michael Zideis (landscape photographer).
The following nine artists were accredited the title ‘Most Outstanding and undiscovered fine art photography’:
Sophia’s portfolio focuses on her portrayal and exploration of the figure of ‘the dandy.’ In her pieces she located the dandy as a versatile source of creativity, as Sophia states: ‘The dandy is rather a space of creative possibility where men and women can perform a persona in ways which reach beyond the narrow binary constructs of masculine and feminine.’ The figure of the dandy can thus be regarded as performative. According to Sophia, the dandy’s ‘power and danger lies in the aestheticized androgyny’ which it delivers to its interpreters.
Klea’s submitted project catalogued a selection of photographs she took of an installation of paper airplanes. Her interest in her chosen subject matter stemmed from her research and fascination with the careers of WWII air force soldiers. She attempts to capture the experience of ‘watching planes fly over the horizon and across the sky all day and night’ by shining light through her paper installation at different levels of intensity and at different angles. The installation includes a collection of 40 light sensitive paper airplanes which she exposed to the sun from dawn to dusk from a WWII anti-aircraft look-out post at Tennessee Cove, California. The resulting images produce a panoply of luminous abstract images and shapes.
The inspiration for Jane’s series of photographs arrived from her observation of prairie burns; a process which she goes on to draw connections with the diagnosis and treatment of her sister’s ovarian cancer. As Jane explains: ‘I was drawn to the quality of the moment when life and death are not contradictory but are perceived as a single process to be embraced as a whole. The parallels between the burn and chemotherapy were revealed. Both reduce invasive, unwanted growth.’ Her photographs are resultantly poignant, highly perceptive and symbolic; a mixture of fire and smoke clogging up the landscape in the process of deconstructing shadowy remains and branches of trees.
In his vibrant, colourful and nature-focused installations Klaus utilises leaves and other forms of greenery and vegetation to construct portraits and masks. Having researched his idea thoroughly, Klaus stumbled upon the work of artist Giuseppe Archimboldo, who construed similar creations in his paintings 400 year ago. He first created Giuseppe’s work and then began working on his own constructions. He plays continuously on the fact that many people don’t often recognise the works as portraits by experimenting with different objects and forms.
Focusing on the marginalisation of the black community in Mississippi’s Baptist Town, Greenwood, where ‘the neighbourhood of 500 people is cut off on all sides by train tracks and where 50.9% of the black residents live below the poverty, as opposed to 16% of the white community,’ Matt’s goal in producing his photo essay series was to remind people that racism still continues to impact people to this day in ‘persistent and pernicious ways.’ An additional purpose was to ‘foster understanding amongst the community […] by introducing the two communities as neighbours in order to dispel uncertainty and fear.’
Christopher’s increasing interest in photographing interiors lead him to focus more specifically on exploring and recording mural wallpaper. He backs up his series of photographs by revealing: ‘I feel the murals say a lot about the spaces they live in and remind us that paradise is never too far away!’
Event Photography by Jeffrey Gamble exclusively for XXXX Magazine