The Trouble with Flesh: New Work by MFA Candidates

November 1 – December 16, 2016
Jeffrey J. Hoone Gallery
Reception: Thursday, Nov 10, 5-7pm

Best of Show: Adrianna Bianchi
Honorable Mention: D’Angelo Lovell Williams

Light Work is pleased to announce The Trouble with Flesh, juried and curated by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, featuring new work by MFA candidates from the Art Photography program in the Department of Transmedia within College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.

The exhibition will be on view in the Jeffrey J. Hoone Gallery from November 1 through December 16, 2016. A reception on occasion of the 2016 Transmedia Photography Annual and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa: All My Gone Life—on view in Light Work’s Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery—will take place on Thursday, November 10, 5-7pm. Refreshments will be served; the event is free and open to the public.

Exhibiting students include: Courtney Asztalos, Adrianna Bianchi, Shouyu Stephen Chen, Evan Deuitch, Antone Dolezal, Rachel Fein-Smolinski, Michael Hicks, Todd Irwin Francis Lauther, Jacob Riddle, Fei Taishi, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, Nydia Blas Williams, and Luxin Zhang.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, photographer, writer, and editor of The Great Leap Sideways, served as curator and juror to select images for “Best of Show” and “Honorable Mention.” “Best of Show” went to Adrianna Bianchi, and “Honorable Mention” went to D’Angelo Williams. According to Wolukau-Wanambwa:

Artists have wrestled with the pitfalls of form since art was first conceived as Art. They have struggled with the way form shapes thought, and thought shapes action, and they have wrestled with the continual difficulty of finding a place from which to begin. The graduate work submitted for this exhibition is marked by an acute concern for the slipperiness, the diffidence, the delirium, the ecstasy and the entropy of the image. The work reveals a particular sensitivity to the photograph’s unusual mode of contact with the world. The images are riddled with allusions to death and desire, to distance, delight and disarray. They raise a timely question about the virtues and pitfalls of encountering the world, and each other, through the prism of the camera’s lens. Whether in an exploration of memory, of identity, of familial relationships, whether in an exploration of form generated by the accident of chance, or in a mode of pastiche formed from a combination of science and the melodrama of high commerce, these are images that reckon with the difficulties of contact with those people and things that surround us—works that engage our present trouble with the simple fact of flesh.

No body of photographic work can be appropriately summarized in three images. This means that the challenge of submitting for an exhibition with such restrictions becomes one of ruthless reinterpretation. Such stringent limitations compel artists to assess their practice as though it were comprised of simple elements that can quickly add up to complex compound statements. The two artists selected for Best of Show and Honorable Mention seemed, to me, to have the greatest success at this task. But that success is no reliable measure for the depth and complexity of the work they are making, or equally for the work of all those artists who participated in the show.

Adrianna Bianchi (Best of Show) produced three images that seem rife with secrecy, and with intimations of an incipient threat. These portents are veiled in domestic spaces, or in the muteness of shadow, but simultaneously unveiled by her cooly inquisitive lens. D’Angelo Williams (Honorable Mention) produced a series of images that are at once bold, playful and deeply vulnerable—images in which the plasticity of the photograph is counterposed to the rigidity of our conceptions of race, sexuality and gender. In the work of both artists there is an unfettered thrill at the vividness and immediacy of photographic description, which is complicated in their work by the image’s insufficiency at embodying the broad and complex contours of interior life.

Light Work’s close partnership with the Department of Transmedia provides Art Photography students with full access to our production facilities, lectures, and workshops. Many students have worked with Light Work throughout their undergraduate careers, and have become an integral source of the energy, passion, and excitement that defines our organization. The Light Work staff and community congratulate all of the seniors on their accomplishments, and wish them the best in their bright futures within the field of Photography.

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Art Photography attracts students who have established a strong body of work and are committed to further their engagement with contemporary photographic practices. Students work closely with faculty along with distinguished scholars throughout Syracuse University to further their artistic research. Through an intensive study that includes tutorial and group critique along with courses in history, theory, and criticism, students benefit from an intense and passionate learning environment that emphasizes contemporary art and practice.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is a photographer, writer, and editor of The Great Leap Sideways. He has contributed essays to catalogues and monographs by Vanessa Winship, George Georgiou, and Paul Graham, written for Aperture magazine, and is a faculty member in the photography department at Purchase College, SUNY. Wolukau-Wanambwa participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in May 2015.