Year’s End Looming

It is absolutely crazy how quickly this semester has gone. It seems like I’ve barely spent any time with my black and white photography students, and suddenly there are only 4 weeks of class left! Not that they (and I) haven’t been working like crazy. I think I just forgot that is how it feels for a once a week class. But I’m proud of the work they’re starting to produce and I think I can expect great things as we gear up to the final project.

I am also excited to announce that I am listed on an Art Appreciation class for the Spring semester at BCC. I’ve never taught a class like this before, so it should be a learning experience. And even though I’m pretty sure I’ll always prefer studio classes, I am looking forward to what that new experience will bring. I am also hopeful that another Black and White Photography class will open up at BCC, and supposedly an online class that I proposed for Rutgers is going to be listed as well. Right now I’ve just started a 6 week online class training course using Blackboard. All this to say, if all of this goes through, I’m up for a busy next semester.

Recently I’ve been putting in a little time towards figuring out where I could apply for my next residency. I’ve been checking out the residencies offered in various national parks across the country and have decided to apply for a few. The first one (which I’ve already submitted) is for Rocky Mountain National Park’s centennial celebration. I’m also considering applying to Mesa Verde and Isle Royale, along with a couple others that seem like they could be a good fit. Wish me luck.

Finally, I’ve recently been in a exhibition with some fellow Moore Alumnae at the MC3 Gallery in Blue Bell, PA. It is an awesome space and I was really excited about being able to show some of the work from my Toronto residency. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the opening, but they’ve sent a few shots that hopefully give a little sense of the gallery and my work.

Mildly Successful

I’ve had a few nice things happen recently that are nice little shots in the arm that make me at least feel like I have at least mild professional success.
First, today I had a phone interview with Moore Magazine, from Moore College of Art and Design. I am to be included in their fall issue which will focus on careers. It is of course an honor to be included (they put out a fantastic publication) but it was especially nice to essentially brag a little about myself. I realized somewhere in the middle of the interview that I’ve had a pretty good year professionally. So good, in fact, that it was hard to keep all of my various pursuits in mind. It’s always nice to be interviewed and actually be excited to share what’s going on. As a side note, I’ve also confirmed that I’m a terrible phone interviewee (I’m a “pacer”, seriously, I probably walked a couple miles), so no promises on the quality of the article that will result, though I have faith in their editors.

You can view past issues of Moore Magazine on their site.

I also am excited because I was hired as an adjunct professor of photography at Burlington County College. I actually just returned home from their new adjunct orientation event. I’ll be teaching Photo 1 in the darkroom (which I have taught before at Camden County College). I’m glad to be back in the college setting after a little break and looking forward to a great semester in the darkroom. What Fun! Now I just have to set up my syllabus and figure out how I’ll organize my semester.

Finally, I was accepted into an exhibition at Yell Gallery. I’ll be showing a piece I made a couple years back but never exhibited. It is always such a positive feeling when your work is accepted, I hope that never gets old (and of course, that it continues)

“Christina”, from the Social Portraits Series

Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission Gallery

Just a small update about my first show as curator at the CCC&HC gallery (new name pending, hopefully). It was my first experience being directly involved in a show that scale, 150 works of art, and it was also the first where I got to be involved in every aspect of what goes on behind the scenes in an open call type show. For now I’ll just post some photos and leave you with one impression I had.

So, one insight I had through the process of the show has to do with the jurying process of open call shows. I’ve submitted to many similar shows on various themes, and whenever I’ve had work not accepted it is tempting to think that the jurors either had some predisposition against the work or that they simply didn’t give a very detailed analysis of the work. I am happy to say that, at least if the jurying process I witnessed first hand is any kind of standard, neither of those could be further from the truth. The two jurors (David Sipple and Carol Taylor-Kearny) spent hours pouring over one piece after another (remember, all 150 of them) and it was obvious by the care and seriousness with which they approached their job that they really wanted to select work that they not only liked, but that merited recognition in the larger context of the show. All that to say that it reassured me for the next time I enter an open call that the work receives fair consideration.

CV Update

Nothing more exciting than a resume update, right?! Hopefully you’re sensing the sarcasm here, although, in this case I am rather proud of what the updates are. As you may be aware, I just finished up my residency with the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, so that was item #1 that I needed to add to my “Residencies & Visiting Artist Engagements” section.

Second, my application to the Artscape Toronto, Gibraltar Point residency was accepted (I’ll be going this summer). I’m really looking forward to having some dedicated work time. Artscape does have a darkroom and in my proposal I said I’d be working on large-scale cyanotype prints. There are still a lot of details to figure out, but it should be an awesome experience, and so I’m preemptively adding it to the same section on my CV as above.

The Residency is on an island in Lake Ontario, only connected to Toronto by ferry.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, I am adding a new line to my “Professional Experience” section. I was recently contacted by the Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission and hired as the gallery curator. The gallery does several shows a year, mostly open calls, and uses space in one of Camden County College’s buildings in Blackwood. It will start out with a lot of organizational stuff, collecting work and then of course working with jurors and lots of hanging. Most of the shows are repeated annually, but hopefully at some point I’ll get a chance to really form an exhibit from scratch. But no matter the case, it is an awesome opportunity and I’m excited to be filling out my skill set in this area.

I’ve got 4 or 5 shows that I plan on submitting work to on the horizon, so hopefully I’ll be adding more to my CV shortly.

Discouragement vs. Perspective

You know those times when you feel like you should be getting your stuff together and it just isn’t happening? That’s how I’ve been feeling recently. I won’t bore you with the details, but it felt as though bright things were just around the corner but then, alas, opportunity slipped through my grasp (yet again it seems). So, I get depressed, or at least depressed for me which just tends to be a bit lethargic. But, one thing I’ve learned is that the only way out of paralyzing, pity, lethargy is to find proper perspective. So, I managed to find a little, though it was unlooked for at the time.

I was out to first friday in philly alone (no one else could make it, disappointing) wandering, exploring, and generally trying to be inspired. There was some good work, good enough to make me really stop and sit with it for a while, but the best for me definitely came from the Locks Gallery.

Simon Lee: Wintergarden, 2011, 3 channel HD video, 36:00 minutes

Simon Lee’s work straddles the line between photo and video elegantly, while also using internal framing and paired but mismatched realities. It was a show I went into knowing noting about and yet it still grabbed me. The stories being unfolded captured my attention and imagination through their subtle layering that doesn’t happen often for me.

So getting inspired always helps one feel better about one’s own work, but then the flip side of the coin is you see how successful their work has been and then look at the inadequacies of your own pile of misfit toys as it were. Not and ultimately good place to end up. The night went on, saw some other interesting work, and still more “bleh” stuff that I had nothing to say about. But what really lifted my spirits was actually the people I ended up seeing. None of my classmates were able to make it out this month, so I walked the streets alone. But I ran into and had some short conversations with 4 of my former professors from both Rutgers and Moore. It may sound insignificant, but it really made me think that out of a whole city out and about on a friday night, I actually ran into some that know me. It made me feel like just maybe I actually do have a bit of a network forming, people that will vouch for me, people that have their own networks that I am actually a member of in some way.

I don’t know, maybe that sounds crazy, but that’s what it took to get me on the way out of the blues; some much needed perspective. Things may not always feel like they’re going well, but that slow steady process of building connections (and maintaining them) and being present in the world of art is happening in the background regardless, and that is a good thing indeed.