Ann Woo is a photographer based between Hong Kong and New York. She received her BA in Design from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and completed a certificate program at the International Center of Photography in 2008.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I originally graduated with a degree in fashion design and then worked a self-taught photographer for almost 8 years before going to New York in 2007. During that time I studied at a one-year program at the International Center of Photography and have started making fine art photographs since.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I would say: I make photographs using analog methods – shooting on film and printing in the darkroom. I photograph things I love looking at, like flowers, landscapes, people, sunsets. I don’t believe in giving meanings to photographs so my photographs always end up having detached, unemotional or dispassionate outlooks.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I shoot on films and print in the darkroom. I have an obsession with telling ‘truths.’ I only photograph things that are real and I use traditional mediums to limit post–production alterations. At times I find the process restrictive and rigorous, since I can’t enjoy the convenience of using digital photography and I do not allow myself to give narrative to photographs. However, I find it hard not to stay only with what is real.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung. Gandhi and Maslow have inspired me to stay truthful to my thoughts and beliefs, to honor these truthful thoughts and not be influenced by convention. Carl Jung has inspired me to reflect from a deep, subconscious level.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? I don’t believe there is any way to control how other people feel and I try not to consider this as an element when I am making my work. I prefer to leave the answer open to the viewers.
Best, worst or favorite reaction someone has had toward your work? Many people have said that my photographs are abstract but I disagree. I photograph things that are real using ‘real’ materials (materials that one can actually physically feel and touch). For example, in my ‘Sunset’ images I photographed only the gradient of the sun–setting sky. Since there is no real object in the picture most people have mistaken them as unreal or digitized. Somehow it is the worst and best comment at the same time since it reinforces my inquiry of ‘truth’ in photographs.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? I spend most of my time alone reading books – mostly self–help books on topics like health, psychology, how the mind works, etc.
If you hadn’t become an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I would be a business person, an entrepreneur. Besides art, business strategies are what I spend most of my time thinking about. I think business is fun, exciting and it can also be extremely meaningful to do. If I weren’t an artist I would definitely start my own business.
If you had one wish what would it be? To be able to be completely focused and living in the ‘NOW,’ with full energy and enthusiasm.
What were you like in high school? I was a loner and an outcast in the classroom. Although my school results were fine I was a serious day–dreamer. My eyes almost always drifted out of the windows and I never remembered my homework. I didn’t quite get along with other people and was never able to keep up with the ordinary standard. Outside the classroom I was pretty athletic – I won numerous medals in swimming competitions; I did life–guarding, coached swimming, went canoe camping, hiking. I also played volleyball, basketball, badminton and rugby. I walked alone with a guide on the Himalayas once.
Jason Lazarus received his MFA in Photography in 2003 and teaches at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is currently being exhibited at Noble & Superior Projects in their show YOU ARE LOOKING AT ART ABOUT LOOKING AT ART.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I make photos, appropriate images/text, write impossible art ideas, and solicit images for ongoing archives.
How has living/working in your Chicago affected your art practice? Making work in Chicago has been fantastic, and it is here in Chicago i made images of Obama’s election night rally, William Eggleston outside of his own retrospective, Jesse Jackson in Daley Plaza, Calvin Johnson of the band Beat Happening, and a self portrait pouring gasoline down the front stairs of the MCA. Also, this year I created a memorial procession on the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death that started in Gary, came to Chicago, and weaved its way throughout the city for five and a half hours…
How long have you lived in Chicago and what brought you here? In 1994 I moved here to attend Depaul University for a major in marketing.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? In Chicago: at Manny’s with a good friend.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? A new archive project I started in May, Too Hard to Keep asks for submissions of photographs that are “too painful to keep and have not yet been destroyed.” There are upwards of 1000 images in the archive and it will keep growing…out of this I curate site-specific installations. I’ll be making photographs/working in the studio over holiday break, as well as working on an exhibition I am curating next year on the theme of motivation, featuring over 30 artists and a number of bands as well!
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Indoor gardening!!!
What were you like in high school? n-e-r-d :)
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I have a big solo exhibition in late February at Illinois State University Bloomington-Normal, featuring work from the past 7 years and new work as well…they are publishing a 72 page catalogue too which is very exciting–to see your work examined in context and in-depth over an arc of time…
Beth Stuart lives and works in Toronto, Canada. She was a semifinalist in the 2010 RBC Canadian Painting Competition and her work was recently shown at The Power Plant.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I’d say that I make paintings. And then they’d say “of what?” and I’d say - "exactly!” But most seriously, I feel like I’m working on some sub-lingual level, trying to still a muttered argument between figuration and abstraction, not understanding either language. Another way to put it is that I’m trying to give some provisional structure to sensation. If someone looked at one of my paintings and said, “Oh, that one’s looks like licking frozen metal!” or “those two together look like a conversation between my libidanally challenged aunt and my randy teenage girlfriend”, I’d be getting somewhere.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I’m doing some craft research into a couple of techniques popularized by modernist textile hero Peter Collingwood. One is an ancient Danish technique called Sprang, and one is called ply-split braiding. Both make braided textiles that contravene the oppositional warp and weft of common woven structures. This seems a lovely metaphorical sideline to my painting’s interest in binding polemics together in awkward truce. Materially the textiles produced are interesting in their own right: stretchy, saggy, lumpy, uneven, prone to holes. They may surface as sculptural works, and/or painting surfaces soon. I’ve also been reading this text by medieval French mystic Marguerite Porete, in which she (in my interpretation) proposes that what we really need is to make love to God, that love, the body and the soul can marry reason in ecstasy.
How has your work developed within the past year? I’ve moved away from larger works that might involve more discreet elements interacting. Instead I’m working smaller on more singular “sensations”. I would liken them in some way to portraits. I am also moving more and more towards making sculpture.
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? I see - especially in the work I most admire - a tendency towards modesty, humility, soft humour and a kind of deliberate tentativeness. Consciously or unconsciously, I think this is in reaction to the more and more intense professionalization of the artist. As if in protest to the kind of aggressive, big, hard, shiny presence needed to breach the system, the best work is embodying none of these traits. People are exhausted with the constant noise, and perhaps finding respite in more quiet, mysterious actions.
How has living in Toronto affected your art practice? Toronto’s art climate is a mirror of its civic climate. A bit conservative, a bit blustery, trying to live up to some fiction of global viability, as if such a homogeneous ideal existed. That said, there are a lot of people working very, very hard to make art happen here. Sometimes, I think, a bit too hard to permit healthy misbehavior and productive accidents. Mostly I find myself swept into the earnest Protestant work ethic of it all, and that’s alright for now; it’s friendly here.
What artists are you interested in right now? Trisha Donnelly, Frances Stark, Charline Von Heyl, Alice Channer, Vincent Fecteau. Some Canadians: Nestor Kruger, Luanne Martineau, Sandra Meigs, Derek Sullivan.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? A couple of years ago in New York there was a big show at the Met of Jasper Johns, which was great, but at the same time there was a small show of his drawings at Matthew Marks that completely blew me away. I can’t put words to it, but there it is.
What were you like in high school? Neurotic, awkward and insecure.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Sometimes I work with my friend Red renovating other people’s - other artists’ - houses. This is amazing, rewarding, learning work. I recently started teaching a bit at the Ontario College of Art and Design. I cook, I read and garden and watch Internet TV. I pet my cat. I’d like to travel more.
Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I have a show in January in Montreal at a gallery called Battat Contemporary. This is good, I love Montreal.
LVL3 MRKT now carrying limited copies of Songs On Conceptual Art
A compilation album of 35 songs inspired by Sol LeWitt’s “Sentences on Conceptual Art"
In 1972, John Baldessari filmed himself singing some of Sol Lewitt’s most well-known statements concerning conceptual art. In response and homage to Baldessari’s interpretation of Lewitt, Crystal Baxley and Stefan Ransom invited 35 artists – including White Fang, Brendan Fowler, Lucky Dragons, Dunes and more – to enter into a unique collaboration. Their task: to produce songs engaging with the statements, one artist per sentence.
The result is Songs on Conceptual Art, a diverse and eclectic grouping of songs. Given free rein to interpret and respond to each sentence, some artists present their assigned text verbatim, some expand upon or alter Lewitt’s original sentence, and some ignore the words altogether, allowing the ideas contained therein to be expressed solely through music. The resulting album is a powerful and unique interpretation of one of the most notable and important texts produced regarding conceptual art.
Songs on Conceptual Art, various artists, 2012 $35
Matthew Northridge is a visual artist living in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BA from Boston College and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown his work internationally and has an upcoming solo show at KANSAS in New York City.
How did your interest in art begin? When I was a kid growing up in New Hampshire, my father would bring me along with him to flea markets and antique shows. I remember being fixated on mysterious objects and ephemera, particularly in large variety and quantities. I didn’t distinguish between these things and something that would be viewed specifically as art. Albums of photos, baseball cards and coins, as well as tins of buttons and stacks of letters come to mind. These are some of my earliest memories of being drawn to a particular aesthetic.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? The foundation of my process is collage. I have a large, ever-growing collection of mostly old reference books that I thumb through and cut from. Each collage, though being its own autonomous piece, also provides the occasion to realize some ideas for sculpture and installation. The materials I use are often simple and pared down, consisting most often of pre-existing material, paper and wood.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Old school commercial design and product packaging, maps of all kinds, and, in the larger world: faded signs, billboards, and architecture (particularly in disrepair). I also regularly search through racks of used books. All these things, through no particular effort, seem to provide a sense of cumulative history.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I’ve been in New York for twelve years now. I was part of an exodus of graduates leaving Chicago after I finished the MFA program at SAIC in 1999. The move seemed, more or less, instinctual.
What’s your favorite thing about New York? My neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’ve lived and worked here since moving to New York in 1999. Whether I’m returning from a long trip or from an afternoon in Manhattan, it always feels good to get back home. Though its one of the most densely populated areas in the country, it seems small and familiar.
What artists are you interested in right now? This list could have been current anytime in the past several years: Öyvind Fahlström, Joseph Cornell, Gordon Matta Clark, Donald Judd, and H.C. Westermann.
Originally from Detroit, Jeffrey Scott Mathews lives and works in Brooklyn. He received his BFA in photography from the College of Creative Studies and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I make process oriented paintings which engage what I would describe as a philosophical approach to formalism.
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? For a little over a year, I have been painting with a material called bismuth which is a heavy metal with a low melting point. The material forms crystals as it cools, which allows for organic growth to occur after the painting gesture. In addition to working with the bismuth I have been working with markers and pigments that soak into the substrate by way of chemical or liquid dispersion, creating a kind of “color-burn”. Almost every process I initiate allows for the intuitive to be disrupted by a phenomenological or natural occurrence.
How has your work developed within the past year? I have been stitching and sewing distressed materials together for the past 6 months in a process similar to quilting. I struggle with finding language for this more recent work, but i think i was inspired by shaker aesthetics and what i suppose could be called formal asceticism. I read an interview with Phillip Guston recently in which he attributed a quote to John Cage: “I believe it was John Cage who once told me, ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio—the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas—all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.” I think this quote aptly summarizes what I am after in general, which is basically trying to find a way to generate work that transcends ego.
How has living in New York affected your art practice? Although I currently live in Brooklyn, I think the post-apocalyptic rust-belt realities of Detroit have given shape to my appreciation of fucked up formalism. I believe in creating work that fosters an appreciation of the beauty of failed (human-generated) systems and the residue they produce. The chronology of the erosion of the urban environ, the eventual flight of the oppressive overclass and the civilian effort to appropriate the industrial shell which is left behind allows for a model of hope after destruction. To me, this narrative exists as a perfect analog to phenomenology in lieu of existentialism; that there is an inherent organization to destruction and decay.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I am working on a proposal for a project space in LA. If the project is realized, I will be re-enacting Richard Serra’s lead throws with molten bismuth.
What is one the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? I think the overt professionalization of the artist has stunted any possibility of a new wave of the avant-garde developing. I am conflicted by the potential elitism of artistic practice and the generation of a privileging discourse that represses any possibility of real empathy. I think we have reached our time-wave zero, omega point or whatever and that we are doomed to a cacophony of cynical behavior acting as progressive ideology. I struggle with how to make works of art in a world where capitalist greed perpetuates wars for corporate profit while creating a permanent underclass and promoting anti-intellectual pride.
If you had one wish what would it be? That I don’t come off as a total pessimistic curmudgeon in this exercise!
What do you do when you’re not working on art? I have been recording music under the name Harsh Terrain for a while and I will be releasing a CD-R at the end of March in an edition of 25. The album is titled Detroit Police and consists of grimy analog synthesizer vibes and weird dark alley soul. You can check out some tracks on my website.
What were you like in high school? In high school I was a trouble-making diplomat, known to many, but close with very few. I wore headphones all the time and ate hallucinogens in woodshop. I listened to obscure underground hip-hop, skateboarded and wrote tons of graffiti under the name POKE-1.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?YOU HAVE BEEN HERE SOMETIME, which is authored by a gentlemanly designer named David John who is based in LA. I love his taste as well as his poetic ruminations. I also loved that he reached out to me for an interview! I always go to MUTANT SOUNDS for obscure music and the subsequent rabbit-hole of a blogroll for myriad postings of outsounds. And lastly, for laughs and general wrongness I visit either Weird Dude Energy or Don’t Dad.
Hayley Aviva Silverman is a visual artist living in New York City. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Interdisciplinary Sculptural Studies. Silverman has recently shown at the Queens Museum of Art, The Art Foundation- Athens, and the Venice Biennial.
How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I was born in NYC and have returned to live here twice since. I keep ping-ponging between Berlin and Chinatown and often visit Providence and Baltimore. I am aspiring towards a good-feeling long term city soon. I have spent the last year working for artists and reality TV.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I have been most taken with my work for Arakawa and Gins, formerly called the Containers of the Mind, then called Architectural Body Foundation, and now referred to as Reversible Destiny. I process information for them- parsing through books and sussing out relevant information in regards to their architectural work. I most recently read Aristophanes and some other ancient Greek comedy that is amazingly clever and absurd.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I have been busy building furniture that uses canes and other kinds of assistance objects. I also finished two drawings entitled Mother and Father. The rest of my projects are left in this sprawling waiting room of text files and email correspondences. I am hoping to collaborate with an Air-trekker for a new video–getting a hold of one has been puzzling!
What is one the bigger challenges you and other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? A big question is: When are we going to start living our fantasies? Some challenges are direct-speak, omnipresence (ambient-intimacy), spirituality in the age of abstract materialism, and a steadfast hold on individual freedom. The later challenge may be re-re-claimed through land ownership or/by metaphorically going West.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I’d like to go to the Atacama Desert in Chile, known for being the driest place on Earth. It’s one of the best places to look up and houses the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
What do you do when you’re not working on art? I attend sci-fi book club where we are currently reading Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic novel from 2003 that touches on biotechnologies, pornography, hacking, class anxiety, and sex trafficking. I am also building a lecture on the topic of Animals in Transhumanist Literature.
If you hadn’t become an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I have many interests outside of art that involve materials science, ecology, and genetics. At the moment, I can see another alternative reality through my younger brother. He stayed close to where we grew up and is now sharing a mansion (owned by a russian ice skating champion) with five other friends, a sort of neo-commune. I think there is an undefined potential in suburbia.
What were you like in high school? I had cornrows and a glued curl that wrapped around my cheek.
More than an art fair, NEXT is a showcase for the world’s talents and an adventure in innovative culture. An opportunity to redefine the relationship between art and its public, NEXT is a platform for established and emerging galleries to promote the work of cutting-edge artists. NEXT is dedicated to the exhibition and advancement of today’s art. NEXT is the catalyst for the exchange of information and experimental ideas aimed at today’s educated collectors.
NEXT includes works from both commercial and non-commercial arts organizations—galleries, project spaces, art publications and key private contemporary collections from around the world.
Fair Hours: Friday, April 29, 2011 11:00am – 7:00pm Saturday, April 30, 2011 11:00am – 7:00pm Sunday, May 1, 2011 11:00am – 6:00pm Monday, May 2, 2011 11:00am – 4:00pm
Joel Dean is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and currently lives and works in Oakland, California.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am mostly a painter, but I participate in other ways too. I currently help to operate a small art project space in my attic called Important Projects.
When and where did your interest in art begin? I don’t recall a specific moment or event that sparked my interest. My parents are art school dropouts and were always pretty adamant that I spend my free time doing something creative. I drew a lot in school, enough to get in trouble. My stepmother kept a small studio in the house I grew up in. She was always very private about what she made, but I think her just maintaining an active studio space in the house may have sparked my interest in pursuing an art practice that went beyond my trapper-keeper.
How has living and working in your current city effected your art practice? I live in Oakland. But I have only been living here about a year. I think the thing that’s affecting my practice the most right now is not being in school and having to work a day job. I am away from the studio a lot more than I used to be, so I end up spending a lot more time thinking about art than I actually spend making it. This has fueled some shifts in what I’m making, and it’s also lead to some attempts at writing about art or art related events. I have a shotgun review in issue 2.4 of Art Practical about a panel discussion that was part of Art Publishing Now.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? Check me out on the web at www.joeldean.info!
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Merchandising, poetry, the internet, the exhibitions/events at Important Projects, black and white documentation, monochromes, fashion, feng shui, belief systems, movies, and the art and exhibitions I see off and on the internet.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with from after seeing your work? I want the viewer to have some kind of an experience.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I just finished a feature length film. It’s called Slow Fade To Black and I was lucky enough to premiere it last Friday in Los Angeles at the first West Coast installment of BYOB. I’ve got a show opening this Saturday (December 4th, 2010) at Monument 2! It’s a collaborative project with Jason Benson that addresses some of the overlapping issues we both deal with in our work. I’m collaborating with Warp Weft Woof on an edition that I am really excited about. Hopefully, we’ll have it ready for a Spring 2011 release. And I am just starting to make work for a show at a space out here in Oakland called Sight School. This will be my first solo project since graduating from SAIC, and I could not have asked for a more exciting venue!
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? The last exhibition I saw in person that stuck with me was a show titled Re-imagine | Re-Build | Repeat by an artist named Kelly Lynn Jones. The show used the format of a “gallery exhibition” as a platform for collaboration and dialogue. Each week Kelly worked towards a new interpretation of the space with a different artist or group of artists. It lasted just over a month and changed over time with a new opening at the conclusion of every week. I actually only made it to two of the openings, so I missed a lot of the objects that were produced. But what I liked about the show was that the actual exhibition was articulated through a series of one-night events. The openings were short silent performances that highlighted the artist’s process as the actual “art” to be engaged with.
Favorite music? For the past few years I have been really into Mariah Carey. She has such a positive sound. But I guess I’m pretty down with rap and R&B in general. I also like a lot of popular grunge and alternative. Current playlist favs are Nicki Minaj. Nirvana, Bush, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, Sebadoh, Pastor Troy, TLC, Gucci, Young Jeezy, The Cranberries, Young Money Crew, Sinead O’Conner. I’m also a huge fan of my dad’s music, my favorite project of his is a band called the The Pillowtexans. Check them out!
What were you like in high school? I was an easier going, more reckless, more athletic version of myself today.
What are your plans for the next year? I want to collaborate more.
What are you really excited about right now? I’m really excited about the postcard Jason and I made for our show at Monument 2! If anyone reading this wants one, just message me your mailing address and I will mail you one! (while supplies last)
David Horvitz lives and works in New York City. He is currently pursuing his MFA from Bard College.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name is David. I was born in Los Angeles in 1980. I live in New York. I travel, and make a lot of projects.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I usually evade answering as long as I can. When I am cornered, I say I am a photographer. When I am pushed more, I say I take “street photography.”
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m doing a Twitter project with Creative Time. Going to tweet on a train from San Francisco to Washington, DC. It relates Twitter and other communication technologies of today, to the invention of the telegraph in the 19th century. The first transcontinental telegram was sent in 1861 from SF to President Lincoln in DC. I’m also doing a project with Fillip Magazine in Vancouver, and something at the photo festival in Arles, France. Oh, want to meet in Chicago in June? I’ll be at the train station for about 4 hours as I wait for the next train. Can you bring me a Chicago Pizza and hot dog with celery salt?
When and where did your interest in art begin? A photo class taught by Uta Barth at UC Riverside when I was 19.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Friends. Always friends.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? I would be completely thrilled if the viewer walked away with the piece itself, whether it was for the taking or not.
What is one the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? I see a problem with artist’s isolating themselves, with their work coming out of a more solipsistic engagement. Artists need to talk to each other and be open… It’s like a relationship! Communicate!
Veronica Rafael is from Los Angeles, California and received her BFA in Photography from Parsons the New School for Design in NYC. She is co-curator of Fjord, and a contributor to MOSSLESS Magazine.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? Well, I just graduated from Parsons a few weeks ago and, like everyone else, I’m hunting for a job that will pay the rent but still challenge and inspire me artistically. Ultimately, I’d like to pursue curating or photo editing for a major publication - having my own gallery is the ultimate goal, but I’m open to anything and everything until then.
What projects are you currently working on? My most recent project In Retrospect It’s Lucid is a disjointed narrative loosely based around a relationship that I was in for a long time. It’s not really a narrative about the relationship itself, but rather an interpretation of what my life was like during that time period. I think the series can be seen as both hopeful and catastrophic, which I’d say pretty much sums it up.
When and where did your interest in art begin? The first time I saw Diane Arbus’s work, I was completely taken with photography. After that, I started taking pictures, ended up at art school and became obsessed with looking at photographs. I’d say that’s pretty much how i spend 50% of my time.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I’m always a bit reluctant to admit my work is always about or influenced by my feelings, but almost everything I do and am attracted to is. I’m also really influenced by what I read. Poetry is a huge influence - E. E. Cummings, Charles Bukowski, Frank O’ hara and Richard Brautigan are my favorites and I relate a lot of their work to photography when putting things together. What artists are you interested in right now? Roe Ethridge, Jackson Eaton, Margaret Durow, Gerhard Richter, Jennilee Marigomen, Egon Schiele, and Todd Fisher.
What is one the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days? Since graduation I think its become pretty apparent to us that we have no clear career paths as artists, which is stressful and scary when there’s rent to pay. But I think we’ll all figure it out as time passes. Until then, it’s a lot of panicking! I also think it’s a little hard not to get caught up in what’s popular in photography and lose sight of your personal vision. I look at a lot of work that just reminds me of someone else’s and it’s kind of a bummer because I think everyone has something interesting to say or share. The more true the work is to ourselves, the better it will be. I think we just have to find that space and be comfortable with it.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Lately I’ve been trying to find a way to get out of the city and explore whenever I can! As much as I love NYC, I really love taking a breather and getting out - even if its just to explore a nearby state. My boyfriend and I took a mini road trip for a concert last night and found ourselves sitting in the back of a pickup truck watching fireflies buzz around in the parking lot of a small town in Pennsylvania. I love that kind of stuff! It’s so satisfying to see new things and share them with people you care about. I’m lucky in that almost all of my loved ones on the east coast are photographers who love adventure time, so I have a few road trips to look forward to this summer!
Jeremy Liebman is a photographer living and working in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been shown by Dazed & Confused Magazine, Vice and Dossier Journal. His book Optimal Enchantments will be released this year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m an artist currently living in Brooklyn, born in Berkeley, California, and mostly raised in Dallas. My work addresses the mechanics of vision and the complication of verbal and nonverbal communication, primarily using photography with some elements of appropriation. Failure and dumbness (as both muteness and obviousness/stupidity) are recurring themes for me.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I just finished a series of photographs called Optimal Enchantment, mostly taken on the west coast in the US and Canada. They’re linked by an anti-Platonic, anti-archetypal celebration of what happens when references fail to refer. I’m publishing a book of the work, which was designed by Landon Metz. I also recently did a project where I took 4" x 5" polaroids of John Cage’s Film One11 off of my TV streaming from Netflix. Cage designed a system by which the qualities of the light (brightness, hardness, direction) and the movement of the camera were controlled by chance. I was interested in the ways in which a string of different codecs would act upon each other in converting an essentially abstract performance of light on a wall to a physical medium and back again, introducing compression artifacts, scratches, and material textures to challenge the abstractness of the source.
What is one the bigger challenges you and other artists are struggling with these days, and how do you see it developing? Personally, I’m always trying to avoid or acknowledge the tropes that are inherent to photography, without creating inaccessible or pretentious work. It’s tempting, especially with photography, to rely on the medium to carry the image, by being a window onto something or an expression of an interior state, but those approaches are both staid and vulnerable to co-option. I’m interested in better understanding the apparatus of reference, specifically how photographs can engage with the actual while avoiding appeals to authenticity.
When did your interest in art begin? My dad used to be a pretty serious amateur photographer in the 70s and 80s so I grew up surrounded by prints, equipment, and monographs. I went through all of his negatives recently to make a book, and saw a lot of similarities in the way we shoot, even with pictures of his that I’d never seen before.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Dallas, 1995 : outmoded internet protocols (IRC, Gopher, Telnet), the decivilization counterplan, and KMFDM.
What are your plans for the next year? I’m spending the summer at a house in upstate New York picking berries, working on a new project and doing some reading and writing. I’m trying to make the most of the time away, and not thinking too far beyond it.
What were you like in high school? I was captain of the debate team.
I Am Not Superstitious: 2/05/11 – 2/27/2011 Opening Reception: Saturday, February 5th 2011 6:00PM-10:00PM
We are all free to do what we want, when we want, in the manner we want. We let our minds wander to create our own problems, fears, and dilemmas. We create our own luck. We are in control of our own future. We can direct our fate, or at least we will continue to act like it. Roll the dice without blowing on them. Spill salt without concern. Create artwork dealing with creation, destruction, the infinite, the dread of ultimately resigning our fate. As LVL3 celebrates its one-year anniversary, it begins this new segment free of preconceived notions from what has come before. Free of superstitions. With an anniversary exhibition of works by Ben Driggs, Veronica Rafael and Hans Peter Sundquist, we view a demonstration of a fearless exploration deep within the mind, and way far out of it, with a few conceptual and abstract curiosities in between. OPEN HOURS:Sunday 1-4pm`