Artist-In-Residence Trudi Lynn Smith sets up a Portable Camera Obscura with Lafayette students during her residency.
Debbie Grossman visited Lafayette College the week of October 19th to give a lecture on her projects, critique the work of the photography honors thesis candidates, and work on her upcoming project. Grossman’s lecture was centered on her most recent project, My Pie Town in which she edited and recontextualized a series of Russell Lee photographs that depict a small farming community in 1940. Using image-editing software, Grossman removed all traces of men from the photos, reimagining the town as community of strong and proficient women. Grossman’s Pie Town conveys a sense of female empowerment that is absent in Lee’s original images. Grossman also discussed the difficult balancing act of working as an artist while maintaining a full-time job and raising a family.
During her visit, Grossman also met with the four photography honors thesis candidates to discuss their yearlong projects. The artist encouraged the students to leave their artistic comfort zones and explore difficult topics and new techniques including the usage of appropriated images. Her insight contributed to the direction of the students’ projects.
Photographer and digital artist, Debbie Grossman will be visiting Lafayette the week of Oct. 20 for an artist residency. She will be giving a talk on Wed. Oct. 23 at noon in Williams 108, free and open to the public. She will also be meeting with Honors students and talking to various classes.
Learn more about Debbie’s work: www.debbiegrossman.com
This semester we had the pleasure of hosting Deanna Lawson . Lawson’s work focuses on the psychological, personal, political and historical experiences that are expressed through the body. Lawson brought a diverse and refreshing energy to Lafayette College.
During Lawson’s visit she met with senior thesis students and helped critique the progress of Digital Photography III students. The students loved Lawson’s advice, insight and most importantly, her honesty. This candor sentiment translates in her work, which she presented during her artist lecture. When she was not interacting with the students, Lawson worked on printing her own images from a recent trip down South.
The large format photos paired with a large print medium, allows for us to appreciate the detail in her vibrant portraits. Her images are beautifully constructed and tell the stories of the working class. During her artist talk she spoke about the process in which she chooses subjects to photograph, “I approach people in every day life that look interesting to me.” She approaches potential subjects and exchanges contact to schedule a photo shoot. Lawson’s process is unique in that she photographs her subjects in their own space. This intimacy reflects in her family portraiture, which is personalized and genuine, despite her subjects being strangers. Lawson is currently back at Lafayette shooting the local residents of
Easton, using the same selection process.
Deana Lawson is a photo-based artist born in Rochester, NY. Lawson received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. Her work focuses on the psychological, personal, political and historical experiences that are expressed through the body. Lawson is a recipient of the 2008-09 Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant and a NYFA Grant in 2006. Publications include Time Out NY, Contact Sheet, and Photography Quarterly. Lawson’s work has been exhibited widely, and she has held artist residencies at Light Work and Visual Studies Workshop.
Lawson refers to the subjects of her photographs as “her family.” Although she is not related to them by blood—in fact, they are nearly all strangers—the pictures are remarkably intimate. Lawson composes almost every element, often sketching scenes out on paper before working with the camera. Reflecting Western and African portraiture conventions, the works examine “the body’s ability to channel personal and social histories, drawing on the various formal and informal languages of the medium and its archival capabilities,” the artist says. The result is a collection of body compositions portraying humans’ limitless variety. Lawson currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Deana will be at Lafayette from Feb. 27-March 4 working on the creation of her own work. While here, she will meet with advanced art students and give an artist talk on Thur. Feb. 28 at 4:10pm in Williams 108.
Local photographer Theo Anderson will be giving an Artist Talk in conjuncture with his exhibit at the Williams Center Gallery. The talk will be held Monday Feb. 4 from 4:10-5:30pm in Williams 108. The exhibit runs until Feb. 10.
When artist, Isidro Blasco finished his piece for Lafayette, I had the pleasure of sitting down with him and discussing his work. He constructed a 3-Dimensional structure of the NYC skyline and placed graffiti in the sky. The work is quite interesting as it captures your attention. When asked what inspired his work, he replied, “ I have no inspiration.” He said he has the same idea in all his work, which is to capture the way we look at life. His response surprised me, but he then went on to say, “ I like to have many layers to a project.” Blasco feels that art should have some depth to it, but then later retracts his statement and says, “Actually, art just needs to be attractive because art is a spectacle.”
I had never thought as art as a spectacle of such, but it is true, you want the viewer to walk past you work, but also feel an inclination to look back and examine it. Blasco’s city sculpture does just that and when asked why he put the graffiti in the sky, he replied, “ It is a characteristic or New York City and adds a historical context.” He is right, NYC is well known for unique graffiti murals around the city and the beauty of Blasco’s structure is its subtle use. Despite Blasco’s handywork and technical knowledge, he insits that “if you try to teach art, you end up destroying it.”
His advice to the Lafayette students is to “look for things that you really like, don’t listen to any body. We are all different and you have to compete with so many other forms of expression. If your work is not different, you will not be good and the only way it can be different if it comes from you.” Isidro Blasco is humorous, incredibly talented and inspirational. His work transcends traditional photography and sculpture and pushes boundaries while creating new ones. Isidro Blasco’s only request was ” I hope my work does not end up as bathroom art, I saw some art in the bathroom and I dont want it to be mine”
We promise you Isidro, it will not.
I was first introduced to Isidro Blasco last week when he gave a talk to the sculpture and Photo II classes. Although he is a world-renowned artist, having showed in China, Australia, Madrid and New York City, he is still humble and personable. When asked if he considers himself a photographer, he replied, ” I just have a good camera, go and shoot and hope for the best.”
In his formal artist talk on November 15th in the Williams Art Center, he showed us some of his most famous work. His latest piece is an Architectural Installation of a deconstructed lane-way showing in Sydney, Australia. The installation is the same size as the buildings it surrounds and fits in quite perfectly with its environment. Although it is not a perfect reconstruction, in terms of the placement of the photographs, it is so beautifully crafted and executed that the imperfection ironically adds a realistic element.
We also had the honor of seeing his film entitled “Elusive Here” which is a dream dramatization that references his life and career. He describes the film as “a narrative of my transitional moments.” He uses his deconstructive method to provide the viewer with different perspectives of a single event or idea. I believe one of the most intriguing and interesting parts of the film is when he “sees” his ex girlfriends from Spain, in women he encounters in the MoMA in NYC.
The beauty lies with a disconnect of the woman from the place he has met her. So the viewer is hearing the narration of how these women relate to his past lovers, but the scene is a solo shot of this new woman standing in front of a white wall. As the narration continues, she stands in character, unaware of the story being told. Periodically an image appears on the white wall behind the woman that is parallel to the narration. Blasco’s use of deconstruction, tells his story in such a beautiful and memorable way.
Isidro Blasco is the true definition of a versatile artist. He has found his strength and applied it many art forms. From his sculptures, to his films, to his architectural installations, he seems to be an artist of no boundaries.
We are proud and honored to have Isidro Blasco as our Third Street Artist- in- Residence and excited to see what work he does here at Lafayette College.
Isidro Blasco will be coming to Lafayette as an Artist-In-Residence from Nov. 8-16 to meet with students and to create art. While here, Isidro will be creating a project with the help of Lafayette students and faculty. Students will be given the opportunity to work with a practicing artist and to participate in his artistic process. Isidro will also be giving a lecture on Thursday November 15, 2012 at 12:00pm in Williams 108- free and open to the public.