On View Now –
Personal Politics: Artist as Witness, Memory Keeper & Social Conscience
Through March 26, 2016
Curator’s Statement: Whether you actively engage in the political process or quietly volunteer your energies towards activities you consider personal interests, each of our actions, our voices, and our memories lay the foundation for future generations.
We invite you to critically assess the current state of affairs and identify the “issues” that move you to witness, remember, envision the future, and act. When you look closely, the political is personal and personal is political.
In light of the Black Lives Matter Movement, government’s increasing infringement on civil liberties, the continued inequality of women in our society and around the world, the economic gap, and the growing alienation of society from the natural world, I have invited eleven artists whose work addresses this wide breadth of topics to exhibit together.
Each artist’s personal interest contributes to the larger societal discussion that shapes our world. The works resonate with one another to provide a rigorous visual dialogue and food for thought.
– Jerushia Graham
Personal Politics Curator
About Our Curator: Jerushia Graham is an Atlanta-based artist who exhibits both nationally and internationally. She earned an MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and BFA degrees in Fabric Design and Printmaking from the University of Georgia in Athens.
Graham is currently the Education Director for Atlanta Printmakers Studio. She also teaches for Kennesaw State University and the University of West Georgia.
Graham has developed arts programming for The Hudgens Center for the Arts, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, the Fabric Workshop & Museum, Spiral Q Puppet Theater and several Fulton County community arts centers.
She has taught a variety of audiences, and consults on arts programming. Her most recent endeavor has been the 2016 curatorial programming for the Zora Neale Hurston Museum in Eatonville, FL.
Birds in Portrait: Photographs by Joel Conison
Through April 23, 2016
Artist’s Statement: The photographs included in this exhibit capture the natural beauty of birds in an unnatural environment.
All of these birds are taxidermic specimens.
On one hand, the taxidermic specimens allow me to work with, approach, and handle them in a way that living creatures would not tolerate.
On the other hand, the process of taxidermy, by definition, has removed the very essence of their fleeting existence. Without a doubt they have become objects, and yet there remains something elusive.
I realize that as a photographer I can’t treat them as I would wild birds in nature. Indeed I didn’t want to treat them as birds at all but rather in terms of a statement on the human interaction with nature – first in terms of my own interaction with these object/animals and second as a more encompassing commentary.
I chose to create portraits of these creatures not as a type of anthropomorphism but in keeping with Aristotle’s statement that, “the aim of art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality.”
I have photographed them in portrait form, similar to how I would have photographed a human subject. Their gaze meets the viewer’s directly and without hesitancy; they are as nature has created and also as mankind has altered.
As humans expand their presence on earth it remains incumbent on us that we preserve a place for animals. It is our responsibility as ‘care taker’ to provide such a space and place.
– Joel Conison
About the Artist: Joel Conison was a commercial photographer for over twenty years before returning to Pratt Institute in order to earn an MFA. After teaching for five years at the college level, he has continued to work on his own photography as well as to teach at Spruill Center of the Arts and give private instruction in Photoshop. His work has been exhibited at the local, regional and national level.