Melissa Catanese

November 2020

Melissa Catanese makes artist’s books and installations from photographic images, both personal and anonymous. For some years, she has been editing images from Peter J. Cohen’s photography collection of more than 30,000 vernacular and found anonymous photographs spanning the early to mid-twentieth century. Catanese combines photographs from her own archive with Cohen’s found images to create elliptical narratives. In doing so, she questions photographic authorship and the apparent transparency of the photographic image’s meaning. Her readings become personal, intuitive, and openly poetic. She is the author of Dive Dark Dream Slow (2012), Dangerous Women (2013), Hells Hollow Fallen Monarch (2015), and Voyagers (2018). Catanese holds a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design (2001) and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art (2006). She has exhibited work at Aperture Foundation (New York City), Cleveland Museum of Art, Mulhouse Biennial of Photography (Mulhouse, France), No Found Photo Fair (Paris), and Pier 24 Photography (San Francisco). Catanese is the founder of Spaces Corners, an artist-run photography bookshop and project space in Pittsburgh. Her teaching appointments include, most recently, the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained our ability to physically host artists in Syracuse, Light Work has responded innovatively to offer continued support in the form of remote residencies. The remote residency experience support artists in developing their artistic practice from their home or designated studio space. In addition to the stipend, artists will benefit from technical, professional, and creative support, as well as the extraordinary freedom to determine their own residency’s shape and timing. Our AIR participants can use their month to pursue their projects: photographing, scanning, printing, editing for book projects, and working closely with our staff for feedback and conversation.