On View in our Galleries
January 12 through February 25, 2024
First Friday reception from 5-8 p.m. on February 2
Art That Touches Your Heart
Various Artists, Main Gallery and Main Hall Gallery
This annual exhibit is curated by the Art That Touches Your Heart Foundation in order to provide inspiration and support to African American art students. 2024 marks the fourth year the ATTYH exhibit has been on view at CityArts.
Various Artists, Boardroom Gallery
Photography is pretty straightforward, right? To the youth, it’s something you do on your phone – maybe they’ve even gotten prints made using some app. Anyone over 35 is probably familiar with the concept of film and may have even shot on it themselves back in the day. But most folks have absolutely no idea of the breadth of the discipline as it is practiced in contemporary art.
Prism Shift highlights just some of the many photo-related practices used by local(ish) artists. The title refers to the prism inside an SLR camera, which flips an upside-down view of the world right-side up, an operation our brains perform automatically. It suggests the way that all photographs are fundamentally different from seeing with our eyes; it’s not a transparent medium as some suggest – there is always artistic intervention. Spurred on by an evolving digital landscape, A.I. innovation, and new printing technologies, these artists demonstrate the expansiveness of the discipline.
Some of these artists, like Cary Conover and Kenna Green, make work that anyone would identify as photography. However, their presentations of these images – Conover’s massive prints and Green’s conceptual installation - mark them as altogether different from the way most of us create and consume tiny digital images. Others approach the medium in a performative or interactive way, as in Amanda Pfister’s serial self-portrait and Kendra Cremin’s gamified piece.
Tim Fey, Abby Ausherman, and Dale Small treat photographic imagery as building material for work that extends off the wall – appropriating and creating it as necessary. Anthony Corraro creates images by screenprinting dust that he has collected and dyed. Abandoning the camera altogether, Irma Puškarević uses a scanner to create letterforms as part of her typographical practice. Lindsay Lion Lord’s cyanotypes rely on light sensitive fabric, creating a direct index of an object laid on its surface. Hugo Zelada Romero’s Zoom Meeting makes pandemic-era, socially distanced video portraits using security cameras at the Wichita Art Museum, while Amie Nioce makes a video portrait in hundreds (thousands?) of jpgs.
Finally, in his series Swipes, Jeroen Nelemans’ photographs of a Vaseline-smeared screen, making visible the interface between human and technology. It reminds us of those miraculous and awful devices in our pockets – the phones that have led to both the flattening and democratizing of the photographic image. Even though headlines like to shout that the medium is dead, artists are ever finding new ways to work with the photographic image, sometimes asserting their power and sometimes conceding their impotence.
Jennifer Ray, Balcony Gallery
Few nations exist without violent pasts; however, the violence – physical, cultural, and psychological – that undergirds the creation of the United States feels fresher than most. Currently, the threat of violence is ever-present, fueled by vicious political rhetoric, 15 years of ballooning gun sales, the rise of extremist organizations, and a breakdown of social trust.
In my project Shouting Fire, I tackle our violent past and present. Working with objects that have been used as shooting targets and left behind, I photograph on Wyoming state land used as a 10-mile unregulated gun range. Though this body of work bears a relationship to traditional documentary, I use lighting and my arrangements to assert particular narratives. I reference memento mori still lifes, episodes in 20th century pop culture, gendered advertising, Manifest Destiny, racialized violence, tropes of masculinity, and alt-right symbolism.
I avoid photographing the shooters themselves, though at times I offer clues to their identities. I want to look beyond simple matters of demographics toward the roots of our nation’s obsession. The title of the project, Shouting Fire, can be read in several ways – as an order to shoot, a description of vehement argument, or, as a reference to what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said you can’t do in a crowded theater.
As a nation, we are angry, fearful, and dangerous. Or at least the loudest voices are. Somehow, it seems the rights of the bully have come to outweigh those of the bullied. The problems embedded in this work are not about individuals; they are about the political, cultural, and economic systems in which we are all implicated, and which we all have the capacity to influence for the better.