Main Exhibition

The exhibition “Collective Experiences” investigates the inspirations of artists who question notions of place, memory, identity, and consequence. These artists merge the personal and political as they look at their past, present and future. The artists selected vary in their technical approaches and subject matter. Photographic methods exhibited include alternative process, re/constructed imagery, analogue and digital process.

 

This exhibition curated by Patricia Lois Nuss, which will be featured within the 2017 Chiang Mai Photography Festival, is a collaboration of international ties and features the works of contemporary fine art photographers working professionally within the United States.

 

Talbot Easton Selby

Bluesland

 

Photographic Interpretations: The Culture and Geography of the Delta Blues is a collabo- rative documentary between photographer Easton Selby from Coastal Carolina University, photographer Armon Means from the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC, photographer Josh Vincent from Mississippi Delta Community College, and historian Dr. John Strait of Sam Houston State University. This collaboration examines the forgotten aspects of the blues–the people and the landscape that inspired the music. Dr. Strait’s research on the geography of the Mississippi Delta Blues inspired this examination of place. Bluesland is a selection of Easton Selby’s photographs from the cumulative body of work. Spanning over 6,000 square miles, the alluvial plain that is the Mississippi delta birthed the rhythmic backbone of the American South–the Mississippi Delta Blues.

 

The music was born from a mergence of black and white cultures and speaks to the hardships of southern life. From the hellhounds to the heat the imagery that the music projects is as dense as the soil that haunts the farmland. What is it about the landscape that drives this music? When people think or talk about the blues genre the focus is primarily on the individual musician; very rarely is the discussion the influence. Bluesland is a series of photographs that investigates the, often neglected, elements of the Mississippi Delta Blues (locations, people, landscape) that continually influence this music.

Shannon Johnstone

Landfill Dogs

These are not cute pictures of dogs. These are dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at Landfill Park, a former landfill converted into a public park.

 

The backdrop of Landfill Park is used for two reasons. First, the dogs will end up in a landfill if they do not find a home. They will be euthanized and their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. Below the surface at Landfill Park there are more than 25,000 dogs buried. I think of this park as a burial ground. These photographs offer the last opportunity for these dogs to find homes. The second reason for the landfill location is because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value; homeless cats and dogs are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash that has been transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.

 

As part of this photographic process, each dog receives a car ride, a walk, treats, and about 2 hours of much-needed individual attention. My goal is to offer an individual face to the souls that are lost because of animal overpopulation, and give these animals one last chance. As the project continues, we see the landscape change with the seasons while the constant stream of dogs remains the same. So far I have photographed 164 dogs. 131 have found homes or been sent to rescue, 7 are still waiting, and 16 have been euthanized for various reasons.

Shane Booth

Nebraska

As a child growing up in central Nebraska it was easy to get lost in the land and the stories it told. With every thunderstorm that rumbles across the fields, to the never-ending winds that scar everything they caress, I have always been enamored by its emptiness and ferociousness.

 

 

As I take everything in, I can see ghosts working the land, hands stained black from its rich soil blowing in the wind. Visions of black bonnets bobbing in the fields while monumental horses pull plows breaking lines of sod. If only the isolated trees that sit in the middle of fields like guardians tall and strong could tell their stories.

 

This body of work is a celebration of Nebraska and her landscape. Each photograph tells a story. Some may be happy, others sad, while others evoke the strange and supernatural. Nebraska is a mysterious and magical place that has seen generations of my family come and go.


“Let your fiction grow out of the land beneath your feet.” - Willa Cather

Patricia Lois Nuss

Mo(u)rning

 

Mo(u)rning documents aspiring models in the nightwear they slept in the evening before. The women are photographed at sunrise, shortly after they woke, in landscapes near their homes. The models, who have never met me before, agreed to be photographed in this intimate manner only after responding to a casting call posted online. In a reference to art history, each woman becomes her own version of a Venus figure. While photographing, I kneel in a praise-like stance below her and center the frame. She stands with strength in a classic contrapposto and confronts the viewer with her gaze. A memory of my own estranged mother in her nightwear was a personal revelation in this series.  

 

This image, while captured far before the current U.S. political climate, was chosen to be included in this exhibition as a comment on the 2016 American election, wherein Americans were asked to choose between the two most unpopular candidates in recent history. The 2016 election brought attention to the faults in the United States electoral system, the apparent misogyny prevalent in our culture, and left many citizens questioning, where do we go from here?

Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman

Geolocation: Tributes to the Data Stream

 

We use publicly available embedded GPS information in Twitter updates to track the locations of user posts and make photographs to mark the location in the real world. Each of these photographs is taken on the site of the update and paired with the originating text. Our act of making a photograph anchors and memorializes the ephemeral online data in the real world and also probes the expectations of privacy surrounding social networks.

 

 

Twitter estimates there are over 550 million tweets daily, creating a new level of digital noise. Clive Thompson uses the term ambient awareness to describe this incessant online contact in the New York Times Magazine article, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy.” According to Thompson, “It is. . . very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye.” Our collaborative work is a means for situating this virtual communication in the physical realm. We imagine ourselves as virtual flâneurs, ethnographers of the Internet, exploring cities 140 characters at a time through the lives of others.

M. Laine Wyatt

Interiors

 

In photographically navigating interior public spaces, I’m attracted to the generic yet rich quality of detail to be observed. A sort of theatre of the ordinary, there is often a melancholy emptiness, which is easily overlooked. We find clues about our own lives as well as clues to the identity of our region. These spaces, which are uninhabited by any people and the ‘cultural artifacts’ which are juxtaposed within, together propose a kind of public mythology that has a Pompeian quality. The ‘recent’ presence (of persons) points to an absence which encourages us to scrutinize and assign new and perhaps more poignant significance to these ‘remnants’

 

I want to see what has been left behind in these spaces. I’m interested in how the juxtaposition of objects and their spaces connotes values, belief systems and priorities. I want to see if we can find ourselves in these places or if we find something more peculiar – or more interesting. I’m also concerned with creating images that raise questions about our perceptions of our values, our priorities and ourselves.
 

I am intrigued by how these spaces, in their ordinariness, are arrestingly beautiful and simultaneously strange. I record them because they exist in these ways only momentarily. They are curious and commonplace and invisible.

Meg Griffiths

Casa de fruta y pan

 

I traveled to Cuba for the first time in 2011 to start a project that explores domestic life at the edge of capitalism. The families I stayed with as I traveled across Cuba host tourists in their private homes as a means of income.

 

After the collapse of the communist bloc in 1989, many families opened their doors to travelers in order to supplement their state-regulated source of earnings. Thus, the casa particular, literally, “private house,” was born. These photographs represent a modest cross-section of Cuban casas particulares throughout the country. They attend to a way of life where the previously private home becomes a business, and moreover, mark a transition from a purely communist country to a hybrid one at a key point in Cuban history—the waning of an outdated political and economic model as well as Castro’s rule over Cuba.

 

My intentions, as I have returned to Cuba over the past several years, has been to push past preconceived notions and the prescribed experience to gain a fuller and more intimate view of domestic and familial culture. These families have graciously provided a means of entrance into personal, yet public space. Like so many inquiries we must travel inward to come out again with fresh eyes. As Amelia Weinreb so succinctly put it “one must go—as anywhere, but particularly in Cuba—into private space” to re-emerge with new understanding. And I come to find the interior landscape of Cuba is transformed, both figuratively and literally—as am I.

Marivi Ortiz

Between then and now

 

Between then and now centers on the private lives of sexual abuse survivors who have rebuilt their lives after violence. The portraits are meant to communicate the ways in which each individual relates to the spaces that they have created for themselves. This is a series in progress.

Margaret Hiden

Kodachrome

 

Margaret Hiden's practice and interests evolve from an archive of familial Kodachrome slides and the possibilities these histories present. Mining and reconstructing discarded pasts present a possibility for new narratives and significance. With a fascination of reinvention, metamorphosis and states of transition, she presents a dialogue between representation and abstraction and a tension between connected-ness and unfamiliarity.

Laurie Schorr

Stories from the Sea

 

“Stories from the Sea” is a series of photogravures created over the past several years. The photogravure process itself is a journey into the history of printing, and relies on the direct involvement and imperfection of the artist's hand. I began with collecting old glass bottles and filling them with bits of dirt, sand, pieces of photographs and maps from personal journeys. To me, each bottle was like a time capsule possessing unique character and holding a chapter to a long lost story. These bottles were scanned to capture detail, and printed as digital positives. The positives were then etched onto polymer coated plates, and the plates were inked individually by hand and printed through a press. This contemporary method of the photogravure process ultimately produced prints rich in detail; the bottles, and their stories, seem illuminated from within.

Jim Ramer

Qualifiers

A 2015 Crime Prevention Research Center survey estimates that there are 12.8 million current concealed carry permits in the US. Qualifiers, examines target tests from more 500 persons who obtained concealed carry permits in Arkansas. Each of these targets represents an individual who now has the legal right to carry a firearm in public.

 

The target is the single quantifiable document that evidences a shooter’s abilities during the process of qualifying for a permit. On close examinations of these documents, we can determine many things. First, was the shooter able to hit the target? We can identify the caliber of weapon used. It tells a story of concentration, hand eye coordination as well as muscle strength and tone... An aesthetic has emerged from the marks made by those who have mastered the skill. This aesthetic appreciates force, velocity, pattern and grouping. From these marks, we can determine a shooter’s proficiency under the prescribed controlled conditions.

However, when we examine and compare the ever-increasing number of these documents from people who seek to qualify, other questions begin to emerge from the marks made. Who are these people? Where do they live? Why do they need a weapon? How would their marks change if shooting under stress? What motivates their quest to carry a weapon? Who truly has the right to bear arms? How does race affect this individual right? How did this personal arms race come to be? These marks provoke questions about the fabric and construction of contemporary American culture and the individual’s position and self- perception within it.

Jess T. Dugan

Every Breath We Drew

 

Every Breath We Drew explores the power of identity, desire, and connection through portraits of myself and others. Working within the framework of queer experience and from my actively constructed sense of masculinity, my portraits examine the intersection between private, individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others. I photograph people in their homes, often in their bedrooms, using medium and large format cameras to create a deep, sustained engagement, resulting in an intimate and detailed portrait.

 

I combine formal portraits, images of couples, self-portraits, and photographs of my own romantic relationship to investigate broader themes of identity and connection while also speaking to my private, individual experience. The photographs of men and masculine individuals act as a kind of mirror; they depict the type of gentle masculinity I am attracted to, yet also the kind I want to embody. Similarly, the photographs of relationships speak to a drive to be seen, understood, and desired through the eyes of a another person; a reflection of the self as the ultimate intimate connection.

 

By asking others to be vulnerable with me through the act of being photographed, I am laying claim to what I find beautiful and powerful while asking larger questions about how identity is formed, desire is expressed, and intimate connection is sought.

 

Courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery.

Jayanti Seiler

Of One and The Other

 

The series of photographs, “Of One and The Other”, which began in 2013 seeks to inspire consideration of the complexity and depth found in the relationships between animals and humans from all points along a spectrum that spans the chasm from lifesaving to exploitation. The images are a critique of the paradoxical framework of our relationships with non-humans; wherein there is the desire to coexist harmoniously, yet control, consume and rule. In the last decade there is a growing consciousness in Western culture towards animals as sentient beings and the work advocates for this essential animal regard.


The wellbeing of animals has been a lifelong passion of mine, which initially compelled me to apply my craft to explore the myriad of disparate ideations versus the actual treatment of animals I observed across innumerable venues in which humans and animals interact. As participant, observer and storyteller, I spent time among people from a very broad scope of human-animal engagements ranging from falconers that capture and release birds of prey, 4-H youth that auction their livestock for profit and slaughter, owners of exotic big cats, animal sanctuaries that care for abused domestic animals, traveling safaris, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers, taxidermists, and encounters for profit. I immersed myself in the commonalities and conflicts of interest between neighboring groups to call attention to the ill- defined slippery notion of borders and boundaries and how they are either honored or crossed. “Of One and The Other”, is an acknowledgment of the myriad contradictions, and the unresolved and intricate borderlands shared by contemporary life and the undomesticated world of nature. I portray, that irrespective of our own biases, within every interaction and encounter, there deserves to be further understanding of our obligations and impact.

Jane Fulton Alt

Between Fire and Water

These photographs are an extension of a series begun in 2007 when I observed my first controlled burn. I was immediately struck by the burn’s visual and expressive potential, as well as the way it evoked themes that are at the core of my photographic work.

 

A controlled burn is deliberately set; its violent, destructive force reduces invasive vegetation so that native plants can continue to prosper. The elements of the burn—the mysterious luminosity, the smoke that both obscures and reveals—suggest a liminal space, a zone of ambiguity where destruction merges with renewal.

 

 

These images of regenerative destruction have a personal significance—I photographed my first burn at the same time my sister began a course of chemotherapy—yet they constitute a universal metaphor: the moment when life and death are not contradictory but are perceived as a single process to be embraced as a whole. Between Fire and Water represents a dreamlike reality where water and fire co-mingle.

 

This image has taken on a different meaning for me since it was constructed last Summer, when the world was filled with hope and promise. Now I feel like I’m drowning in the post 2016 election reality. The water fits with the environment and climate change issues confronting our world. What do you see?

Eliot Dudik

Still Lives

 

Born of ill-informed misconceptions about the motives behind reenactments of the American Civil War during the 150th anniversary, my interest developed in the mentality of the weekend actors who caravan a web of routes to re-perform the actions of war on surrogate battlefields. My initial contact with a re-enactor involved driving through woods on a golf cart, while the driver wept and recounted the stories of all his ancestors killed or wounded in conflicts dating to the Civil War. I have since learned that the motivations compelling re-enactors are incalculably complex, but generally address themselves to the preservation of history and appropriate honor for the fallen.

 

 

My deeper curiosity and exploration began after hearing a re-enactor say “I don’t die anymore.” I learned that he invoked this privilege on the strength of his years of service in the community. But the idea of controlling one’s death, choosing when and where to perform and re-perform one’s demise, says something powerful about our relation to historical representation—about our need for it, and about its conditions and limitations. These portraits provide a sense of the diversity of actors existing in this community, many of whom devote their lives to this performance, and strive to immortalize them in a fabricated state of tranquility as they hover above the ground they fight for.

Dawn Roe

Mountain Field Study

 

I use the camera as a tool that isolates experience from representation, its image unable to hold more than a semblance, or a glimmer. In recording my response throughout the home, studio and landscape, these residual fragments are all that remain. My process combines a documentary approach with direct intervention and simple fabrication. Constructed scenarios are presented alongside seemingly ordinary views, calling the authenticity of both into question. Isolated instants join together, transformed into discrete events that are both particular and transitory, with each slivered frame adding to the collective image of what once was, and what no longer is. Stressing the fragmentary nature of perceptual response, sequential and composite photographic images are situated amongst one another, depicting similar or identical subject matter as imperfectly contiguous. This structure purposefully unravels the act of presentation, emphasizing the common yet incongruous nature of these forms - and by extension, our struggle to orient ourselves within a social and environmental space that is rapidly transforming.

 

Unable to seize either instance or moment, I contrast the presumed stability of stands of trees; ground and sky; plastered walls, polished floors and tabletops with the subtle yet incessant fluctuation of atmospheric and material environment – clouds and mist surrounding rolling hills and mountain peaks; suspended twigs, weeds and leaves; undulating folds of fabric, screen or foil; sunlit collections of dust, dew and debris. At once banal and metaphoric, these elements share a type of impermanence, briefly capable of producing a unique situation within the space of their reflection. This earthly presence is distinct from the seemingly stable, reproducible image - one that persists, suggesting that all matter is sound enough to endure the world's relentless shifts, however benign or catastrophic.

David Emmit Adams

Conversations with History

As long as people have been in the American West, they have found its barren desert landscapes to be ideal for dumping garbage and forgetting. I was born in Yuma, Arizona in 1980 and I have never known this landscape without the forgotten debris of urban sprawl. Today, the notion of land untouched by the hand of man is so foreign it might as well be make-believe.

 

The deserts of the West have special significance in the history of photography. By the time I became an adult I began to see that the Arizona desert was far different from the scenery once photographed by Timothy O’Sullivan in the 1860s. I have explored this landscape with an awareness of the photographers who have come before me, and this awareness has led me to pay close attention to the traces left behind by others.

 

I collect discarded cans from the desert floor, some more than four decades old, which have earned a deep reddish-brown, rusty coloration. This rich patina is the evidence of light and time, the two main components inherent in the very nature of photography. For this body of work, I manipulate these found objects through a labor-intensive 19th century photographic process known as wet-plate collodion. I create images on their surfaces that speak to human involvement with this landscape. The results are objects that have history as artifacts and hold images connected to their locations.

Bridget Conn

Gestures

 

These images are chemigrams, which are made with no negatives, no enlargers, pulling color out of black and white gelatin silver paper by applying an oil resist and then alternating the paper between developer and fixer, and back again. I rely on the potential inherent to a piece of gelatin silver paper, and my own hand, to make these images. I have always been drawn to mark-making, repetition, calligraphy, ritual, but less drawn to allowing an art medium to take the wheel. Given the ever- present “right answers” available on the device in my pocket, it has become rare and beautiful to temporarily exist in a space of unknowing, of curiosity — to take pause and explore a medium in which I am not exerting full control. Similarly, the marks I make are not premeditated, but spontaneous, displaying a secret language and timeframe that I can read by each line, color, value and shape that results from the chemigram process.

Ashley Kauschinger

Questions of Origin

 

Questions of Origin investigates searching for female identity in the mother figure. The series reflects upon mythology, family dynamics, domesticity, and shared human experiences. The work takes form through color, large format, constructed narratives between the artist and her mother and still lives within the landscape and domestic spaces.

Anh-Thuy Nguyen

Boat Journey

I am interested in exploring and documenting my and other people’s socio- cultural and physiological behaviors. Using my Vietnamese history and my experiences as an immigrant as resources, my work investigates personal and cultural identities. My ongoing concerns address the complicated relationships of family of origin, ethnic background, cultural rituals, and symbols expressing visual manifestation of gain and loss.

 

My background is photographic lens-based media, and in most of these works, I stage scenarios based on my experiences being a Vietnamese person in Vietnam and in America and document my spontaneous responses to them. A dual tension of the impossibility of full assimilation in a new land and the difficulty of returning and reintegrating in one’s own culture gives me the idea for Boat Journey, an ongoing photographic project, which focuses on a quest for a place where we, immigrants, seek to belong.


This project is as relevant now when thousands of migrants find ways to flee to the European Union from war- torn Syria and Iraq as it was then when flocks of Vietnamese exiles sought refuge from the American War in late 1970s

Armon Means

The New Black Face

 

This body of work seeks new methods to explore the contemporary African – American portrait. This final series merged the conceptual works of photographer Armon A. Means and painter Derrock Burnett. As artists both addressing a new visual representation of black identity while using images that reference stereotype and cultural appropriation we seek to create images from within the culture (and subcultures) we're addressing.

 

The history of African – American imagery is rich in symbolism and an exploration of materials and cultural appropriation, particularly where it refers to the use of the figure. From adapting traditional African images to the combination and adaptation of a western aesthetic, the influence of Outsider Art, the images have continued to transform. As we deal with more contemporary issues the materials become reflective of that aspect as well, they address concerns of physicality, scale and accurate translation of image to concept. Painting and photography mirror much of that same dichotomy as they have sat on opposite ends of the artistic spectrum for much of their existence constantly addressing the traditional idea of the “high vs. low” arts. Within all of these aspects, stereotype and assumption play important roles of how a viewer relates to the world around them.

 

The secondary role of this work is to examine the nature of evolving perception as it relates to race and gender, particularly ideas of perceived superiority. Overall the goal of the images is to positively empower or tear down stereotypes (depending on the image) thereby giving dignity to the figures within the images by the way they’re handled while confronting the viewer in a new way.  In the end this confronts the viewer with a new way of seeing and asks them to reconsider the manner in which they address stereotypes of race, gender and the barriers they create.

Cassi Alexandra

We Are Family
Examines the acceptance of violence and recovery process a community goes through after a mass shooting in America. It aims to bring understanding, of a community overwhelmed by grief, address the idea of what Americans have accepted as normal in our culture and elevate consciousness about this damaging legacy we are leaving future generations.

 

These images were made in reaction to the biggest mass shooting in modern US history. On June 12, 2016, a gunman targeted the LGBT community at Pulse Nightclub and took 49 lives. This happened in Orlando, FL, a city that has been labeled one of the top 10 friendliest LGBT cities in America.

About this Photograph: The Siblings: ELYSE and ARTURO

 

Elyse Ugalde and her brother Arturo Ugalde are first-generation Cuban-Americans. Elyse first became an advocate for the LGBT community once she witnessed people openly expressing hate for a group of people for the first time in High School after moving from Miami to Orlando as a teenager.

 

Elyse: I don‘t think you need to be directly related to or connected to a queer person to care about their safety and rights… It‘s like, the community is so proud of itself for coming together and whatever, you know, donating blood, donating money, and those things are really great, but it doesn‘t really change the reality of day-to-day life for people who are actually in danger for who they are. Those people aren't changed, like, those people still exist. They still live here.

 

Arturo: I don‘t think Orlando can heal because it‘s othering, which is like, a term in education. When you call out a student, you‘re like, “We can‘t go to this because I‘m waiting for Timothy to stop talking,“ you‘re othering him. Now everyone knows Timothy‘s different. We‘ve othered the queer community. People who aren‘t queer are like, “Okay, well, I gave my blood. Done. Helped out the weirdos.” Until it stops being othered, it‘ll keep happening. I can‘t say the word gay in front of my students. I have gotten in trouble. I can‘t acknowledge that the word gay is a word. I have a tattoo on my hand of a pulse. I‘ve been told not to explain it to my students. Not to even mention that it has anything to do with gay issues because we don‘t even want children knowing that gay people exist.

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About Patricia Lois Nuss
 

Patricia Lois Nuss recently completed a semester serving as a Guest Lecturer on the topic of Alternative Photographic Processes at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Following this term she was invited to return as a Curator for the 2017 Chiang Mai Photography Festival. Nuss teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona Beach, FL where she teaches Advanced Digital Photography, Digital Fine Art, and Advanced Editorial, History of Photography, Beginning through Advanced Digital Photography and Darkroom Photography courses. Nuss will be teaching a Chiang Mai University again in Spring 2017, and then completing an Artist Residency in Bangkok at the March Photography Studio.

 

Nuss contributes as the Program Development Manager for the social enterprise Lensational, a program that brings digital cameras and photographic training to marginalized women internationally. She established and continues to work on the Thailand Lensational Program with Karen tribe women. Within the U.S., Nuss consistently contributes to the Society for Photographic Education as a caucus exhibition coordinator, panel organizer, and conference peer reviewer.

 

Her work has been exhibited nationally, including the Corcoran College of Art and Design, PhotoNOLA finale exhibition, Select Art Fair during Art Basel Miami, Maryland Institute College of Art and Design, the New Orleans Photo Alliance, the Florida State College Museum of Fine Art, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, among others.

 

Patricia Lois Nuss received her BFA in Photography in 2008 and her MFA in Emerging Media in 2011, both from the University of Central Florida. Her own artwork is focused on the comparative territories of human emotion, concentrated on the communities and relationships women create cross-culturally and the roles those relationships play in improving individual well-being and gender equality internationally.

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