Available in a limited quantity only at Light Work, purchase The Lottery and receive an 13×19 print for $250! Pre-orders will ship at the end of July, 2023
A wild, insomniac cousin to her somnambulist classic Dive Dark Dream Slow, Melissa Catanese’s The Lottery reads like a work of speculative fiction: a glimpse into an anxious human civilization suspended between uncertain futures and the aftermath of its distant and recent past. Seamlessly combining her own recent photographs with anonymous vernacular photos, press images, and NASA archival imagery, Catanese’s intuitive editing re-animates the images’ dormant surfaces, evoking the mob mentality and tribalism of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” as well as the cosmic indeterminacy at the heart of our unfolding present. Throughout the sequence, we see catastrophic forces and events punctuated by archetypal scenes of serenity, tenderness, and fragility. Crowds gather to gawk, passively entertained by unseen horrors. Lone figures claw, swim and bend, haunted and creaturely, isolated and immersed in primordial landscapes. Brief fragments of text from Virginia Woolf hint at a tentative meaning to the madness, a glimmer of hope for regeneration.
Catanese is the author of Dive Dark Dream Slow (The Ice Plant, Los Angeles, 2012), Dangerous Women (Spaces Corners, Pittsburgh, 2013), Hells Hollow Fallen Monarch (Spaces Corners, Pittsburgh, 2015), and Voyagers (The Ice Plant, Los Angeles, 2018). Her work has been exhibited in the Mulhouse Biennial of Photography, No Found Photo Fair in Paris, and at venues such as Aperture Foundation in New York, Cleveland Museum of Art, Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, and Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh. She is currently a full-time lecturer at University of Pittsburgh and visiting faculty at Image Text Ithaca MFA at Ithaca College, Hartford Art School Photography MFA, and International Center for Photography. She is the founder of Spaces Corners, an artist-run photography bookshop and project space located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.