By David A. LEWIS
We live in an age saturated by printed photographs, motion pictures, broadcast media, and digital displays. A constant stream of photographic images variously delight, confront, and perplex us.
In many ways, this imagery shapes our very understanding (and often misunderstanding) of the world in which we live. Moreover, the photographic image, arguably, has become the most pervasive art medium of our times; and as such, it presents both opportunities and challenges for the contemporary artist. New technologies and new venues in virtual galleries make it possible to quickly place imagery before the public. However, the vast numbers of contemporary photographers and their seemingly boundless productions, also make it difficult for any of them to reach an increasingly jaded—even numbed—viewing public. And yet, our collective fascination with photography persists, and the expressive potential of the photographic arts is far from reaching a point of exhaustion.
In the past few decades, artists have concerned themselves with several aesthetic, philosophical, political and social concerns that have profoundly determined the course of photography. To name but a few of the more consequential: 1) the questioning of photographic truth in quest for meaning in a contemporary context; 2) experimenting with photography and transmedia; 3) using photography as a means of constructing new realities: creating altered states and points of view, entangling humanity and environmental transformation, and/or exploring Postmodern themes of irony, subtext, and re-textualization; 4) developing new Photo-aesthetics in interaction with Pop culture and a new vernacular of the commonplace; 5) rethinking traditional, alternative, and digital photographic production in the face of 6) the ubiquity of photo-media; and 7) the socially and culturally significant consequences of that ubiquity, which might be called a fragmentation of audiences. To one degree or another, the artists represented in this exhibition explore such ideas and concerns in their individual practice, and as such, this exhibition well exemplifies these aspects of contemporary photography.
Thirteen Young Contemporaries:
Mauro J PELLEGRINI
Excerpt from the book curated by the author: Fotografia Italiana Ora / Italian Photography Now: Thirteen Young Contemporaries, 2013, Stephen F. Austin University Press.
About the Author
David A. Lewis holds MA and Ph.D. degrees in Art History from Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Lewis is currently a Professor of Art History at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), where he teaches courses in Modern European and American art as well as the history of photography. Dr. Lewis has organized over thirty exhibitions, including retrospectives of watercolors by the English Vorticist, Dorothy Shakespear Pound (1886-1973), paintings and drawings by the American expressionist Rico Lebrun (1900-64), among others. Prof. Lewis curated and wrote the monograph for the traveling exhibition, John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal, 1932—1948. He was the curator for two recent exhibitions of contemporary photography: Rastlin’, a Southern Survey: Photographs by David McClister, and Frank Dituri: Of Things Not Seen. Dr. Lewis is currently organizing an exhibition of Contemporary Texas Visionary Photographers for the Arezzo Fotografia Bienale (2014). He is also conducting research for a monograph on the British sculptor, Vernon Hill, to be co-authored with Michael T. Ricker (anticipated 2015).