The Photograph as Representation and Reflection of Cultural Objects
by Fabian Goncalves Borrega
Excerpted from Fourth Annual Curators’ Incubator, Maryland Art Place,
September 19 – October 21, 2006.
This exhibition features the work of ten contemporary photographers who exemplify the use of objects as representations of culture. This is achieved by understanding culture as an accumulation of several facts, emotions and feelings as well as the subjective stories, either learned or inherited, that are associated with these objects.
The work included in this exhibition seeks to explore both subjectivities: that of the artist and medium combined; and how the selection and use of different techniques, and the purpose of selecting, communicates the artist’s idea or intention.
…A photograph, as both a technique and a medium, can be manipulated as part of the creative process. Kathryn Dunlevie has used this idea to re-create multi-dimensional urban landscapes. By taking photographs from different vantage points, creating more than one focal point and smoothing the transitions with acrylic paint, Dunlevie helps the viewer to see things that are not there. Essentially, she is creating an optical illusion from which only the viewer’s mind can make sense.
The photographs in this exhibition use the representation of cultural objects to communicate a specific idea or to evoke a particular feeling. These objects represent common places, or “contact zones” that the viewer can recognize because they trigger memories or represent that with which we are already familiar. The artists in this exhibition use and re-use cultural objects to convey a message, but it is the viewer who interprets these objects to create his or her own meaning.