Celebrating Light Work Artists

In its thirty-five years of artist support, Light Work has had the privilege to work with some pretty fabulous artists. Most of them were emerging or underrepresented when they came through our doors, and many of them have gone on to become household names in the arts (think Cindy Sherman, Renee Cox, and so forth). What we like best is for artists to come through our residency or exhibition program and go on to do great things, and we like it when other people notice them.

Here are just a few recent accomplishments: Light Work exhibition Ollin Mecatl: The Measure of Movements by Don Gregorio Antón (AIR 2006) was selected as one of the top best exhibitions in Syracuse in 2008 (Post Standard newspaper). The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA is currently featuring Pull of Gravity, an exhibition with Emmet Gowin (LW Grant 1977)  and Elijah Gowin (AIR 1998). The Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, CT is featuring the exhibition Suite Niagara by Keith Johnson (AIR 2005). The Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco and New York City is opening the exhibition Connections in early February, featuring among others Gerald Cyrus (AIR 1995), Deborah Jack (AIR 2003), Sonya Lawyer (AIR 2007), Gordon Parks (LW exh 1995), Hank Willis Thomas (AIR 2005), Carrie Mae Weems (AIR 1988), and Carla Williams (AIR 1997). LACMA in Los Angeles held a video screening event for Suzanne Mejean (AIR 2007).

On the publishing front, Emmet and Elijah Gowin just published a beautiful book, Maggie, through Tin Roof Press. Aperture has published Hank Willis Thomas‘ book Pitch Black and is about to publish the monograph All the Days and Nights by Doug DuBois (LW Grant 2000 and 2005). The documentary film Born into Brothels by Zana Briski (AIR 1998) not only won her an Oscar but spilled into a breathtaking volume with the same title. KayLynn Deveney (AIR 2006) published her gentle book The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings through Princeton Architectural Press. And not long ago Lisa Robinson (AIR 2006) published her book Snowbound through Kehrer Verlag.

Light Work has a rich history of supporting artists through exhibitions, our Artist-in-Residence program, the Light Work Grant, publications and our public access workspace, Community Darkrooms. Our long history was recently summarized in a chronology and artist index in the anniversary issue of The Light Work Annual, CS147.

If you are a Light Work artist, please let us know about your recent achievements. Send us an update to blog@lightwork.org. We’d love to sing your praises and celebrate your exhibitions.

Image: Sonya Lawyer, Ivory M094

Rita Hammond's Gift to Remember

Light Work’s friendship with Rita Hammond spanned many decades, so when we were gifted a substantial number of prints and 3-D collages from her, we were honored. It is only now that we can share this work as generously as we had always hoped, by making all of the nearly 900 pieces available for viewing through our online collection.

Rita was a prolific worker, whose commitment to her work inspired others to equally lend their support. Over the years, many people have come together to make sure that Rita is not forgotten. Most notably, Julie Grossman, Ann M. Ryan, and Kim Waale edited the book A Due Voci: The Photography of Rita Hammond in 2003; and Gina Murtagh edited the book Images of a Girl. Images of a Woman in 2008. Both monographs were published by Syracuse Press. Much more of Rita’s work remains largely unexplored, yet is now available for those who are looking. Rita was a woman of quick witted humor. It is all too easy to imagine her beckoning with a glass of wine and inviting us to dig in.

Image: Untitled (with drawn arm), from the series Self-Portraits

Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis: Embracing Eatonville

Embracing Eatonville
Exhibition Dates: February 1–May 29, 2009
Artist Lecture—Deborah Willis: April 8, 2009, 4:30pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the Embracing Eatonville exhibition, featuring the work of photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis, on view in the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery in Syracuse University’s Schine Student Center. The exhibition was featured in Light Work’s main gallery in 2003, then proceeded to travel to various galleries throughout the country. In celebration of diversity, Light Work has decided to show this meaningful exhibition again in conjunction with a lecture by Deborah Willis to be held in April. A limited re-issue of the Eatonville Portfolio, which offers four exquisite signed prints will also be offered for sale from Light Work.

Embracing Eatonville is a photographic survey of Eatonville, FL, the oldest black incorporated town in the United States, and place where celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston lived and worked. Beginning in January 2002 Bey, Graham, Weems, and Willis spent time in Eatonville taking photographs in an effort to provide a meaningful reflection of the town’s spirit and character, while concentrating on its social, political, and cultural landscape. In response to the unique character of the community and its history, these artists produced a diverse portrait of Eatonville using both traditional and interpretive documentary methods. The special project that enabled these artists to go to Eatonville was created by Light Work and sponsored by the CNY Community Foundation.

Deborah Willis, one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture, will visit Syracuse University to talk about the importance of preserving the history of African American communities in Syracuse through a photography archive. She will speak on April 8 at 4:30pm in the Maxwell Auditorium. Willis’ presentation, sponsored by the South Side Initiative, Light Work, and the Onondaga Historical Association, is free and open to the public. Funding was provided by Syracuse University’s U.Encounter Grant.

Dawoud Bey received his MFA from Yale University School of Art, and is a professor of art and photography at Columbia College Chicago. He has received numerous awards and fellowships over the course of his artistic career, and is currently represented in the United States by Rhona Huffman Gallery in Chicago. His work is included in permanent collections throughout America and Europe, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery London, among many others.

Lonnie Graham is the founder of the African/American Garden Project, a physical and cultural exchange program. He has exhibited his work internationally, and was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, one of the largest grants for an individual artist. He is presently a professor of Fine Arts at Pennsylvania State University and an instructor of special programs at the Barnes Foundation in Marion, PA.  He acts as a visiting instructor of Graduate Studies at San Francisco Art Institute, and is formerly a visiting professor at Haverford College in Philadelphia, PA. Graham’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA; the Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI; the Delaware Museum of Art in Wilmington, DE; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philadelphia, PA.

Carrie Mae Weems received a BA from the California Institute of the Arts and an MFA from the University of California at San Diego. She is an internationally recognized artist, and has won numerous awards and fellowships, including the 2005–2006 Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize Fellowship, and the Pollack Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, and the Whitney Museum, among others. Weems’ work can be found in various permanent collections, such as at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Deborah Willis received her BFA from Philadelphia College of Art, her MA from City University of New York, her MFA from Pratt Institute and her PhD from George Mason University. In 2005 she was a Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow. She was a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. She is a professor of photography and imaging at the Tisch School of Arts, New York University. Her work has been exhibited nationwide, including at Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum in Scottsdale, AZ; Hand Workshop Art Center in Richmond, VA; and the Frick Collection in Pittsburgh, PA, among others.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information about any of these exhibitions, please contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or jhheckma@syr.edu.

**Digital press images and image information from this exhibition are available upon request.