Works from fellowship award winners, Photolucida, and HCP’s Collaborations program
The Houston Center for Photography, one of the state’s leading photographic arts organizations, will present four new exhibitions opening on May 9. These exhibits represent a broad range of eclectic subjects and artistic expression —from visually stunning photographs of constellations to hauntingly somber black and white tintype images.
- Robin Myers, Unknown Constellation
- Keliy Anderson-Staley, On a Wet Bough: Contemporary Tintype Portraits
- Collaborations, Deceiving Reality
- Photolucida presents How One Thing Leads to Another
Opening Reception: May 9, 2014 – 6-8pm
Artist & Curator Talks: May 9, 5:30pm
On View: May 9, 2014 – July 6, 2014
This year’s HCP Fellowship Recipient, Robin Myers, has combined her fondness for scientific discovery with her photographic expertise to produce the series Unknown Constellation. Her fascination with star systems began early, at the age of 8, when she perused through Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos. Since her discovery of Sagan’s book, Myers took on a different perspective about knowledge and reality and sought to visually interpret her vision through photography. “I can find a constellation of light fixtures on a chapel ceiling, the Fibonacci sequence in hands and hair, a linoleum continent poised to drift over the edge of the world,” she states. Myers is able to translate her unique understanding of the world into dramatic visual statements and she wants her images to acquire a deeper meaning. “Through photography, I want to make visual the connections between our scientific understanding of the world and our human experience of it.”
Robin Myers was born and raised in Houston, Texas and holds a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the recipient of the 2014 Houston Center for Photography Fellowship, resulting in her solo exhibition opening this May. In addition to HCP, her work has recently been exhibited at the Humble Arts Foundation’s Small Prints exhibition at Flash Forward Festival in Boston, Aviary Gallery in Boston, and Danforth Art. 2014 exhibitions include Wild and Woolly and The Flash of an Instant, both at the New Art Center in Newton, MA. Robin currently lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.
2014 Carol Crow Membership Fellowship winner Keliy Anderson-Staley’s series On a Wet Bough: Contemporary Tintype Prints features images created using wet plate collodion. Using this unique chemical process, period brass lenses and wooden view cameras, Anderson-Staley produced a diverse collection of thousands of portraits that represent a broad swath of urban America. Each subject is identified only by their first name and they defiantly gaze out of the image, asserting their individuality, self-hood and agency. “It is crucial that they stare back as I see each portrait as a collaborative effort, with the sitter shaping the image that represents them.” Anderson-Staley uses a long exposure of 30 seconds and during this time “the sitter becomes deeply aware of the image they are projecting of themselves.” Within this 30-second window, the individuals have ample time to harness their expressions and comfortably choose what persona they wish to portray to the camera.
Keliy was born in Maine and received a B.A. from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. She currently is an Assisant Professor of Photography/Digital Media in the School of Art at University of Houston, and has used the collodion process for about a decade.
Elizabeth Biondi, an independent curator based in New York and former Visuals Editor for The New Yorker for 15 years and Director of Photography for Vanity Fair for seven years was the juror for both fellowship exhibitions.
HCP’s educational program Collaborations will present Collaborations: Deceiving Reality. The Collaborations program teaches students from Houston-area high schools how to create an exhibition from start to finish. This year features works from 29 students from 10 local high schools. Juliana Forero, HCP’s Director of Education, says that the young artists in this exhibition wanted to “emphasize that photography has the power to deceive reality and that, as artists, they as individuals also have the ability to harness that power to expose a truth.” This has been an ongoing issue—as old as the medium itself—regarding image manipulation and its effect on the truth. And for these students, the issue has called attention to some important facts. “Our culture is often influenced by an individual’s (or the media’s) choice to publish a certain image. Are these images representative of that person or event? Or, is it a mask?
Participating student artists include Ameenah Anderson (Episcopal High School), Kylie Blattman (Cypress Ranch High School), Austin Cullen (Cypress Ranch High School), Bailey Dischler (Cypress Ranch High School), Claire Dorfman (St. John’s School), Sarah Fairweather (Cypress Ranch High School), Karina Filipovich (Cy-Fair High School), Nate Freeman (The Kinkaid School), Helen Galli (St. John’s School), Karolina Gonzalez (KIPP Houston High School), Madison Halvorson (Cypress Ranch High School), Logan Hamilton (Cypress Ranch High School), Syndey Janda (Duschesne Academy), Lillian Lee (St. Thomas Episocal School), Cooper Lydia (KIPP Houston High School), Juan Martinez (Cypress Ranch High School), Keyln Mejia (KIPP Houston High School), Jacob Moffett (Cypress Ranch High School), Kate Moger (St. Agnes Academy), Natalie Mulin (St. Agnes Academy), Eva Nip (The Kinkaid School), Katie Okhuysen (St. Agnes Academy), Jade Partain (Cypress Ranch High School), Lindsey Siff (The Kinkaid School), Sahaj Singh (Cypress Ranch High School), Sarah Stein (The Emory/Weiner School), Kristina Valladares (Cypress Ranch High School), Grace Wang (The Kinkaid School), Collins Yeats (St. John’s School).
Each student artist represented in the exhibition will have a chance to speak about their work during a group artist talk at HCP on Tuesday May 13 at 6:30pm.
Photolucida Presents: How One Thing Leads to Another builds upon last year’s competition, Critical Mass, which brought together over 200 curators, publishers, and other professionals to critique works by 200 photographers. Based on the scientific theory of critical mass (the amount of material needed to sustain nuclear fusion), Critical Mass is also used a metaphor for human behavior and popularized through the concept of the tipping point—a point at which, by achieving critical mass, change is inevitable. In Photolucida’s competition, the aim was to expose a large number of photographers to large number professionals in the field, with the hope that such critical mass would reach the tipping point, creating change and opportunities for these emerging artists.
For this year, How One Thing Leads to Another will take one photograph from each of the fifty winning series submitted to last year’s Critical Mass competition and pair them together. Each photograph will be paired with a photograph from a different winning series. According to Jessica Johnston, the Assistant Curator at Eastman House and curator of the exhibition, “the pairings were chosen by identifying compatibilities in subject, color, composition, or balance, and sometimes, alternatively, because of an incompatibility between these elements.” With these unique pairings, the exhibition hopes to elicit one of the medium’s most compelling features, which is the ability to change the viewer’s perception of an image by taking it outside of its original context.
“By encouraging the photographs to be perceived outside the context of their respective series, the pairings help to heighten the impact of each single image, perhaps leading the viewer towards an old memory, a new idea, or another time and place entirely.”
For more information about the four exhibitions, visit www.hcponline.org.
ABOUT HOUSTON CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
Founded in 1981, Houston Center for Photography is a nonprofit organization offering year-round exhibitions, workshops, publications, outreach programs, lectures, classes, and home to an on-site library housing more than 2,500 books on photography as well as a state of the art digital darkroom. HCP’s mission is to increase society’s understanding and appreciation of photography and its evolving role in contemporary culture. HCP strives to encourage artists, build audiences, stimulate dialogue, and promote inquiry about photography and related media through education, exhibitions, publications, fellowship programs, and community collaboration. HCP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving as a resource to its members and the community with programs that have regional and national impact.
HCP is located at 1441 West Alabama in the Museum District of Houston. Gallery hours are: Wednesday-Thursday, 11am-9pm, Fridays 11am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-7pm. For more information, please call 713.529.4755 or visit www.hcponline.org.
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