Keliy Anderson-Staley: [hyphen] AMERICANS

Keliy Anderson-Staley–[hyphen] AMERICANS
Exhibition Dates: August 8–October 14, 2011
Gallery Reception: October 6, 5:00–7:00pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the exhibition [hyphen] Americans, featuring stunning tintype portraits created by photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley. The exhibition title speaks to the multicultural character of American identities (Irish-American, African-American, etc.). Although a person’s heritage might be inferred by looking at their features and clothing, viewers of Anderson-Staley’s work are encouraged to, according to the artist, “suspend the kind of thinking that would traditionally assist in decoding these images in the context of American identity politics.”

According to the artist, “There are so many technical variables in the process, and there can be flaws and defects that enter the image at every stage of the process, and in many ways this makes it a perfect vehicle for portraits—it is truer to the reality of human imperfection. My images are titled only with the first name of the individual, and I very deliberately try not to draw attention to differences like race, because I want to challenge photography’s role in defining difference. At the same time, I want every person I photograph to stand out very sharply as an individual, to be defined as much as possible by the expression on their face.”Anderson-Staley makes portraits with the nineteenth-century wet-plate collodion process. She uses wooden view cameras, nineteenth-century brass lenses and chemicals she hand-mixes according to the traditional formulas. In this series she focuses on just one plane in the face—usually just the eyes. The exposures are long, lasting anywhere from ten to sixty seconds, so the images capture a full moment of thought. Because of these characteristics of the process, there is an introspective quality to each portrait, as if each person has been caught looking at him or herself in a mirror.

The portraits in the Light Work exhibition are mostly individuals from the broader Syracuse community photographed during Anderson-Staley’s residency in 2010. This collection of tintypes, numbering over one hundred, is thus as much a portrait of a diverse community as it is a series of individual portraits.

This exhibition is part of Syracuse Symposium™. Syracuse Symposium™ is presented by the Syracuse University Humanities Center for the College of Arts and Sciences, with a 2011 theme of Identity.

About the Artist
Keliy Anderson-Staley’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally and published widely in print and online. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Puffin Grant. Anderson-Staley has given artist talks at many colleges, universities, and organizations. She received her BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and her BFA from Hunter College in New York, NY.

Also on view at this time is 2011 Light Work Grants, an exhibition of work by the winners of the 2011 Light Work Grants in Photography Competition: Neil Chowdhury, Danielle Mericle, and Ahndraya Parlato.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday to Friday, 10am–6pm, and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in Booth Parking Garage.

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, please contact Jessica Reed at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or

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