30 episodes

The podcast from Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York — Support this podcast by treating yourself or a loved one to something at www.lightwork.org/shop
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Light Work Podcast Light Work

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

The podcast from Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York — Support this podcast by treating yourself or a loved one to something at www.lightwork.org/shop
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    Clifford Prince King: We Used to Lay Together

    Clifford Prince King: We Used to Lay Together

    Clifford Prince King is a self-taught queer Black photographer from Arizona. The images in this exhibition focus on King’s life in Los Angeles. In his work, King’s lifestyle and experiences are starting points to explore desire, intimacy, and day-to-day life with HIV. King’s images chronicle himself and others located in lamp-lit domestic settings. We see a brotherhood of men enacting moments of domestic bliss, nude bodies in the moments before or after a sexual encounter, and the side effects and routine of living with HIV. After King’s diagnosis, he focused anew on understanding the legacy of the AIDS crisis and the artists who responded to it. He took refuge in the words and images of those who once shared an experience like his own, and his work evokes that history while developing a language all his own. In talking about his practice, King returns time and again to the life-affirming aspects of his relationships. In We Used to Lay Together, King has compiled a body of work that explores affection in all its varieties―the simple parts of intimacy, often overlooked but universal.
    cliffordprinceking.com

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    Music: "Backed Vibes Clean" by Kevin MacLeod

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    • 9 min
    Meryl Meisler: The Best of Times, Worst of Times

    Meryl Meisler: The Best of Times, Worst of Times

    Meryl Meisler: The Best of Times, Worst of Times
    March 22 - July 23, 2021
    Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
    In Light Work’s early days, during the 1970s and 80s, many artists arrived for their month-long residency with no specific plans for using their time. With only a camera and a vague idea of exploring, they walked the streets of Syracuse, open to the synchronicity of what might happen. Incredible photographs ensued and the artists often called them gifts. Grateful to land in the right place at the right time, they discovered images on their contact sheets that startled and delighted them. But they also saw photography as more than random luck. It was both a collaboration and a conversation. They saw themselves as witnesses.
    Over the same decades, Meryl Meisler was photographing her life in and around New York City with the same sense of exploration and possibility as those pioneering Light Work AIRs. Retiring from decades as a public-school art teacher, Meisler began to unearth and rethink her own archive. Part time capsule of the 70s and 80s and part memoir, Best of Time, Worst of Times is an invitation to join her for a wild ride—disco nights, punk bars, strip clubs, Fire Island, family, friends and neighbors, and suburban Long Island. Her exuberant celebration of human connection is particularly poignant now, when we can take none of these gatherings for granted. Meisler clearly celebrates with her subjects. These are her people: she is not an outsider but a participant. She depicts our own shared humanity, humor, and joy.
    “I want to show you who I am,” she says now. “My identity as a woman, Jew, lesbian, middle- class teacher, Baby Boomer, New Yorker, liberal, American—and so much more—influences how I perceive and create art about the world around me. I’ve only just begun revealing my huge photography archive. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!
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    • 14 min
    Aaron Turner: Black Alchemy, Backwards/Forwards

    Aaron Turner: Black Alchemy, Backwards/Forwards

    Aaron Turner: Black Alchemy, Backwards/Forwards
    January 25 – March 4, 2021
    Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
    Light Work will exhibit more than 20 works by Arkansas–based photographer Aaron Turner in its first main gallery show of 2021. Aaron Turner: Black Alchemy, Backwards/Forwards will be on view in the Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery. In the solitude of the studio, the artist is never alone. Quite the contrary for Aaron Turner. Sidney Poitier, Martin Luther King, Marvin Gay, Frederick Douglas and others all move up and through the layers of cut paper and projections. The artist handles, arranges, touches both objects and beloved figures, seeking, listening, directing, and responding. Some of these juxtapositions seem random, fluid, almost falling through space, but this is precisely the process Turner invites us to witness.
    Aaron Turner’s Arkansas delta community and family taught him to know and understand African American history, honor its heroes, and respect his elders. The simple and profound gift of this upbringing has allowed him to pursue the role of Black artist and activist in our culture with unapologetic, single-minded intensity. Turner is in many ways acknowledging, standing on, and building from this foundation in his work. With deep affinity for the formal qualities of black-and-white photography, Aaron Turner uses his large format camera and the alchemical darkroom process to move back and forth between abstraction, still life, collage, and appropriated archival images to literally take apart and then reconstruct his photographic images. The color black itself has a presence in this work—infinite, elegant, unknowable. Turner is also a painter; his use of large swaths of black is both a metaphor for race and related to abstraction and its emphasis on process, materials, and color itself as subject.

    Besides his studio practice, Aaron Turner is a teacher, curator, writer, founder of the Center for Photographers of Color (CPoC) at the University of Arkansas, and host of the CPoC podcast. Active in the photo and contemporary art community, he often uses these platforms to discuss his primary muses: other Black artists and activists. Bring a pen and notebook, because Turner is a name dropper in the best sense and you will want to look up these painters, sculptors, photographers, athletes, and activists whom he reveres, some hallowed and some obscure (for now). His generosity reminds us of artists like Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, and Zanele Muholi, who all—understanding art and power—have made it their business to bring a community of artists along with them through the doorway and into the spotlight. He too arrives en masse: perhaps his greatest tribute to his elders in the Arkansas delta.
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    • 9 min
    Alinka Echeverría: Heroine

    Alinka Echeverría: Heroine

    Alinka Echeverría: Heroine
    October 26 – December 10, 2020
    Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
    With great pleasure, Light Work presents Heroine, a solo exhibition of work by Mexican-British multimedia artist and visual anthropologist Alinka Echeverría. Heroine is the culmination of the artist’s extensive research into the representation of women and femininity since the origins of the medium of photography. “With few exceptions, the place of women was before the lens, not behind it,” she acknowledges. As Echeverría immersed herself in the colonial archives of the Nicéphore Nièpce Museum in France, work she embarked on in 2015, the aesthetics of the fetishized and exoticized depiction of women both intrigued and appalled her. Directly referencing the “inventor of photography,” Nicéphore Niépce, Echeverría titles this work more broadly as Fieldnotes for Nicéphora (incorporating the “a” at the end to feminize the name that he had adopted for its meaning: victorious)—thereby explicitly reframing the legacy of this white, male pioneer of photography to a feminist and postcolonial perspective.
    We are mindful of installing the exhibition amidst an ongoing global pandemic, as we all work to reimagine how physical gallery spaces exist (or don’t) and perhaps expand how works on walls may take on new forms. With that in mind, Echeverría has opened up the ways in which she would normally exhibit photographic work in a gallery. She revisits past collage work innovatively, re-adapting stills from a video piece as large-scale photographic prints and pages from a photobook project, brought to life here as a continuous stream of images wrapping around three of the gallery walls.
    Echeverría reframes the photographs to examine how she can alter their purpose both through their context and materiality. “As a link between the past and the present, the photographic archive makes time resurface by way of stored visual forms,” Echeverría explains. “In my view, an active reframing allows them to acquire a certain contemporaneity with the new interpretations brought by our contemporary gazes as practitioners and viewers.” Echeverría’s works in Heroine are both visually arresting and profoundly thoughtful—urging viewers to investigate the complexities of the photographic object itself as well as the ways in which its creation, reproduction, and distribution has been problematic since the early 1800s.

    Alinka Echeverría is a Mexican-British artist and visual anthropologist working in multiple media. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, 2004 (Erasmus exchange, Università di Bologna, 2003). After working on HIV prevention projects in rural East Africa, she completed a post-graduate degree in Photography from the International Center for Photography in New York in 2008. She has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at Arles’ Les Rencontres de la Photographie, The California Museum of Photography, Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Preus Museum (Norway’s National Museum of Photography). She is the recipient of the 2020 MAST Foundation for Photography Grant and in recent years she has received the BMW Art & Culture Residency at the Nicéphore Niépce Museum, as well as FOAM Museum’s Talent award, and the HSBC Prize for Photography. The Lucie Awards voted her International Photographer of the Year and she was a finalist for the Musée de l’Elysée’s Prix Elysée for mid-career artists. Several public collections and institutions hold her work, including BMW Art & Culture France, FOAM Museum, Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, LACMA, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée de l’Elysée, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, and the Swiss Foundation of Photography. In 2017 she was the presenter for a three-part series for BBC Four called The Art That Made Mexico.

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    • 11 min
    Matthew Connors: General Assembly

    Matthew Connors: General Assembly

    August 24 - October 15, 2020
    Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
    Online Artist Conversation: Friday, September 25, 5pm
    Light Work presents Queens-based artist Matthew Connors’ General Assembly. This exhibition comprises 650 portraits that span the first year of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in New York City. An expansive project that pairs individual black and white portraits within a tightly formatted grid, General Assembly borrows its title from the movement’s term for its horizontal decision-making process. Connors made these black-and-white portraits in the charged atmosphere of Zuccotti Park, elsewhere in New York City at direct actions and during more contemplative moments before and after working group meetings.
    We encourage you to visit Light Work exhibitions online and to check out our catalog of artist videos, including an interview with exhibiting artist Matthew Connors.
    When Connors first arrived at Zuccotti Park in September of 2011, he had no intention of making photographs. He first gravitated to the congregation of protesters who occupied Manhattan’s Financial District out of simple curiosity. But as he observed Occupy Wall Street’s “wellspring of generative social organization,” he wondered how photography could contribute to the historical moment before him. Disturbed by the way that passersby were photographing protesters at a distance, he immersed himself in the activity of the movement and sought to use his camera as a tool of engagement.
    The process of creating the portraits involved lengthy conversations with the participants about their motivations and involvement in the movement. Building on these newly formed relationships, he regularly returned to demonstrations to photograph and offer each person he photographed a print of their portrait. For Connors, this ongoing exchange of images and ideas contributed to the “relational fabric” that Occupy was cultivating. In many of these portraits, the person gazes directly into the camera at the artist—and us—a rare and brave moment of trust and connection. A native New Yorker, Connors had begun to feel that his home was becoming a “city of strangers” pulled apart by gentrification’s economic power and frequent disruption. By distributing political power and reaching decisions more equitably, Occupy Wall Street sought to reestablish that community.

    Matthew Connors received a BA in English Literature from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Photography from Yale University. He has exhibited his work in galleries and museums worldwide, including DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. His awards include the Alice Kimball English Travelling Fellowship from the Yale School of Art (2004), the MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2010), the Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship (2011), and the William Hicks Faculty Fellowship from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design (2012 and 2008). Since 2004 he has taught at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston, where he chairs the Photography Department. He lives and works in Boston, MA, and Brooklyn, NY.
    matthewconnors.com

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    • 8 min
    Pacifico Silano: The Eyelid Has Its Storms…

    Pacifico Silano: The Eyelid Has Its Storms…

    March 23 – July 23, 2020
    Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
    Gallery Talk: Thursday, March 26, 6pm
    Reception: Thursday, March 26, 5-7pm
    Pacifico Silano’s The Eyelid Has Its Storms… borrows its title from a Frank O’Hara poem. O’Hara’s musings and observations about everyday queer life inspired Silano’s artistic practice. “The eyelid has its storms,” the poem begins. “There is the opaque fish-scale green of it after swimming in the sea and then suddenly wrenching violence, strangled lashed, and a barbed wire of sand falls onto the shore.” O’Hara’s deeply visual poem, like Silano’s work, evokes duality—in memory, in the present, and future, shimmering beauty and umbral violence often occur at once.
    Through the appropriation of photographs from vintage gay pornography magazines, Silano creates colorful collages that explore print culture and the histories of the LGBTQ+ community. His large-scale works evoke strength and sexuality while acknowledging the underlying repression and trauma that marginalized individuals experience. Born at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Silano lost his uncle due to complications from HIV. “After he died,” says Silano, “his memory was erased by my family due to the shame of his sexuality and the stigma of HIV/AIDS around that time period.” Silano set out to create art that reconciled that loss and erasure. Silano’s exhibition somberly contemplates such pain and photography’s role in the struggle for queer visibility, while celebrating enduring love, compassion, and community.
    In collaging, Silano decisively fragments, obscures, and layers images that he has rephotographed from these magazines. He reassembles and ultimately recontextualizes these images, removing the overtly explicit original content. “These new pictures-within-pictures are silent witnesses that allude to absence and presence,” says Silano. He sees them as stand-in memorials, both for the now-missing models as well as those who originally consumed their images. Silano meditates on the meaning of the images and tearsheets that he collects over time. What continually excites him is precisely the “slipperiness” of representation and meaning in photography as our culture shifts. “The lens that we read [images] through today gives them new context and meaning,” he observes. “In another 30 or 40 years, they might very well mean something completely different.”

    Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist born in Brooklyn. He has an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. His group shows include the Bronx Museum, Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City, Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and Tacoma Art Museum. His solo shows include Baxter ST@CCNY, The Bronx Museum, Fragment Gallery in Moscow, Rubber-Factory, and Stellar Projects. Aperture, Artforum, and The New Yorker have reviewed his work. Silano’s awards include the Aaron Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize, and First Prize at Amsterdam’s Pride Photo Awards. His work is in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. Silano participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 2016.
    pacificosilano.com

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    Music: "Dawn Line Approaching" by Blue Dot Sessions
    Music: "Vela Vela" by Blue Dot Sessions
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    • 6 min

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