As It Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work

April 7 – December 31, 2008
Robert B. Menschel Gallery

Related exhibitions:

As it Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work
March 16 – June 12, 2009
Jeffrey J. Hoone Gallery

As it Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work
December 18, 2009 – February 11, 2010
Palitz Gallery, Syracuse University Lubin House, New York, NY

Featuring work by artists Barry Anderson, Stephen Chalmers, Kelli Connell, Lucas Foglia, Cristina Fraire, Tony Gleaton, Sonya A. Lawyer, John Clark Mayden, Suzanne Mejean, Peggy Nolan, Christine Osinski, Lisa M. Robinson, Kerry Skarbakka, Amy Stein, Krista Steinke, and Marla Sweeney.

One of the most important ways we support emerging artists at Light Work is by providing them with the time and space to make new work. Our residency program offers unconditional hospitality with no lectures, workshops, or exhibitions required, and encouragement to use their month at Light Work in any way they see fit. The artists are free to explore, refine, innovate, and create. As It Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work features the photographs of sixteen artists who have participated in the residency program over the past few years, and whether they come to print or shoot, or both, the artists have the full support and expertise of the Light Work staff. We try to accommodate all their needs for assistance—recent requests have included scuba diving equipment, ten pairs of crutches, trampolines, dead bugs, medieval costumes, and a human skeleton, among many others.

Over the past several years we have seen a major shift in the residency program, with many artists interested in printing their work digitally. This exhibition has beautiful examples of large scale digital prints, many of them printed in our lab. The richness, quality and size of the prints is stunning, and you can easily see why an artist would be drawn to this medium. These large prints can be difficult to handle, frame, store, and ship, but the artists are undaunted. Our staff works closely with the artists, teaching and collaborating with them on decisions about color management, selection of paper, size, and installation and framing issues. Our darkrooms are currently being renovated to enlarge the digital lab and printing facilities in response to the needs of the artists.

Peggy Nolan photographed the artist apartment and random scenes of Syracuse during her month-long residency. Her images embody the quiet, contemplative retreat that the residency can provide. Nolan’s work addresses the issue of time as she photographs mundane objects caught momentarily in a ray of sunlight. She states, “It is quite possible that the secrets of life are lodged in ordinariness, so disguised that we pass them by in a great hurry to get somewhere, and miss the good stuff.”

It is the precious gift of time that we can offer to emerging artists, a profoundly important gift that is perhaps even more valuable than the state-of-the-art facility, expertise of the staff, the stipend, or the publication in Contact Sheet. The artists continue to refer to their month at Light Work as a turning point, a blessing, cathartic, a new beginning, and a much needed acknowledgment and encouragement to continue. It’s exciting and satisfying to play a part in the creative process of so many artists and to witness the creation of new work. This exhibition is a great opportunity to step back, enjoy, and reflect on what we continue to accomplish each year at Light Work.

All of the images included in As It Happens were generously donated to the Light Work Collection. There are currently over 3,000 works of art in the collection, including color and black-and-white photographic prints, alternative processes, as well as computer generated imagery, collages, artist books, and installation pieces.

Mary Lee Hodgens,
Program Manager, Light Work

This exhibition was curated by Light Work’s Program Manager Mary Lee Hodgens and Josh Brilliant, who received his BA from Temple University in film history and production in 2008, and is currently working toward his MA in Museum Studies at Syracuse University. As an intern at Light Work in the fall of 2008 he was asked to curate an exhibition of photographs from the Light Work Collection focused on the theme of the Artist-In-Residence program.