May 12, 2009 staff reports Uncategorized
The 35th Annual Light Work Grants in Photography were recently awarded to three Central New York residents. The selected artists are Karen Brummund, Laura A. Guth and Stephen Shaner. The Light Work Grants in Photography program is a part of Light Work’s ongoing effort to provide support and encouragement to artists working in photography. For the past 35 years, Light Work has awarded grants to photographers, critics and photo historians who reside in Central New York. The grants also aim to foster an understanding and appreciation for photographic arts in the area.
The Light Work Grant is a fellowship that includes a $2,000 cash award, an exhibition at Light Work and publication in The Light Work Annual.
Light Work announced this year’s grant recipients:
Karen Brummund, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Brummund creates time-based drawings of architecture, which are then used to create photographic and video art. She creates drawings of buildings, which are then enlarged digitally to the size of the building. The drawing is then printed in sections on small sheets of paper and attached to the front of the building, thus creating, in Brummund’s words, “interlacing layers of the real and represented.” Brummund then creates photographs and videos of the performative installation, which capture the exchange between the materials and buildings, and changes to the installation over time. Brummund is a visiting lecturer at Cornell University and a professor of studio art at the University of Rochester. She received her M.F.A. from the University of East London in the United Kingdom, and her B.S. from Taylor University in Upland, Ind. Her work has been exhibited internationally.
Laura Adams Guth, Manlius
Guth’s large-scale color photographs closely investigate the macabre beauty and extreme detail of collectible, dolls such as those sold on television shopping networks like QVC. Her curiosity about this subject stems from the polarity with which these dolls are generally regarded–while many express finding them decidedly creepy, others feel strong endearment toward them. Her objective is to illuminate this difference of opinion by skirting the boundaries amid beauty and unease, adulation and deviancy. Guth is a photographer, multi-media installation artist and educator. She earned her M.F.A. in photography from the University of Oklahoma and B.A. in art history from the University of Maryland, European Division. She has exhibited internationally and has received numerous awards, including a fellowship with The Photography Institute. Guth currently lives and works in Manlius and teaches photography at Cazenovia College.
Stephen Shaner, Syracuse
Stephen Shaner’s images are the result of the process of recollecting traces of remote incidents. In December 1981, during the Cold War, nearly 1,000 people were brutally murdered in El Mozote, El Salvador. It was the largest massacre in Latin American history. One of the few survivors, Rufina Amaya, accused an abusive Salvadoran military, partly trained and supported by the U.S., for the massacre, but was ignored. In 1992, just after El Salvador’s civil war had ended, a team of forensic archaeologists began to find evidence of and expose the slaughter. At that point, approximately 70,000 people had lost their lives in the decade-long conflict, and so this single incident garnered less interest, and therefore resulted in little justice for the dead.
Images from Shaner’s El Salvador: Faded Scars series, as well as his other work from other countries, strive to capture selected world events that may once have been viewed as catastrophic, but have since begun to fade. According to Shaner, “Long after the nightmare act has occurred, or is even acknowledged, I choose to inventory and recover a past in these places where trauma and death is but the fragment of a memory.” Shaner is a freelance photographer and an instructional designer for ProLiteracy Worldwide and World Education. He received a B.F.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology and an A.A.S. from SUNY Morrisville. His work has been exhibited nationwide.
The judges for the 2009 Light Work Grants competition were Richard Gray, Gina Murtagh and Demetrius Oliver.
Gray is associate professor of photography in the Department of Art, Art History & Design and director of the Center for Creative Computing at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. This past year he has been a visiting professor and coordinator of the M.F.A. program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Gray’s artwork explores the relationship between photography, technology, and human identity, with an interest in the role science plays in redefining the contemporary self. He has taught photography and exhibited his photographs internationally for 25 years.
Murtagh is a freelance photographer, curator and arts educator. In the past she has served as assistant director of Light Work and as executive director of Sculpture Space in Utica. Since leaving Sculpture Space, she has been an adjunct professor at Cazenovia College, Utica College and Pratt at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. She edited the book images of a girl, images of a woman, featuring the work of photographer Rita Hammond, published in 2008 by Syracuse University Press. Since 2002, Murtagh has been working to catalogue, exhibit and preserve her mother’s serigraphs.
Oliver creates images in response to specific domestic environments, combining prosaic materials, such as coal, light bulbs and sometimes food, to reinterpret our perceptions of photography and also of the objects and spaces that we think of as everyday. His work ultimately occupies a space between sculpture and photography as it tempts the viewer to discover the unexpected in the mundane. Oliver’s work has been exhibited widely, and he has participated in residencies at Light Work, Steep Rock, the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museum of Fine Art, Houston.
About Light Work
Light Work is a nonprofit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. For more information, contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 443-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.