Stephen Chalmers: Unmarked

Stephen Chalmers: Unmarked
Exhibition Dates: March 22–May 29, 2010
Gallery Reception: April 1, 2010, 5:00–7:00pm

Light Work is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition Unmarked, featuring photographs by Stephen Chalmers. Contact Sheet 156 will be published concurrently with the exhibition.

The large-format landscape photographs in Unmarked connect remembrance and the land by investigating the locations where serial killers abandoned the bodies of their victims. Photographing these places in a deliberately generic manner, Chalmers presents beautiful but ambiguous landscapes that seem to conflict with our veritable knowledge that something terrible ended at these sites.

By inviting viewers to gaze directly on the sites of untimely and tragic deaths, Chalmers gives them courage to confront their fears about the end of life and its remembrance. The sites are referred to as dumpsites, a term made popular by both law enforcement agents as well as television crime dramas. By acknowledging these dumpsites and the people who died there through his images, Chalmers lifts a stigma that unceremoniously draws a line of remembrance between those who died by intentional acts of violence and those who did not.

While Chalmers treads on sensitive ground as he explores and documents dumpsites in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, he hopes to exchange sensational headlines and the inevitable scandal tied to such sites with something more meaningful. Instead, he offers an elegant memorial that shifts the viewer’s gaze away from infamy and back to the humanity of the victims. Chalmers writes, “As a latecomer who has visited these sites months or years after
the event and the associated media coverage, one is immediately struck by the absence of spectacle, the beauty of the sites, and their silence and stillness.”

Chalmers received his MFA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University, and a BA in Fine Art Photography and BS in Psychology from the University of Louisville, KY. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at Sushi Center for Urban Art in San Diego, CA; Center for Photography at Woodstock in Woodstock, NY; Shift Gallery in Seattle, WA; and the Pingyao International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China; among many others. His work is featured in permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL; J. Paul Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, CA; and the Polaroid Collection in Waltham, MA; among others. He has received numerous awards and grants, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Light Work in 2007.

Light Work will host a gallery reception on Thursday, April 1, 2010 from 5–7pm to celebrate this exhibition.

Also on view at this time is Downstream: Encounters with the Colorado River, featuring photographs by Karen Halverson. 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 the Marion Parking Lot and Booth 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 Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or
**Digital press images and image information for this exhibition are available upon request.

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