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Ag Works Artist Collective at Melwood Gallery

June 24, 2010

The purpose of the Ag Works artist collective is to provide a cooperative environment in which artists can share work, learn from one another, and ultimately grow as artists. They started as a group of Filmmakers photography alumni, but now also include artists working in a variety of media. They are currently exhibiting works in a show called Interstitial at the Melwood Gallery.

Each artist has his own vision, and there are a great variety of styles, messages and moods to be seen in the exhibit. Many of the works focus on the phenomenon and manipulation of memory or on identity. The show starts out with the works of Matt Robison, whose untitled works depict the contrast between rustic and industrial symbols, and which accentuate the shapes of everyday objects.

Julia BoduraOpposite Matt’s photos are the works of Julia Bodura, personal pieces about transformation. They are entitled Photosynthesis: Seeing the Light, and consist of pictures of people superimposed on autumn leaves. They range from the roots, the dream, the conflict, and the epiphany to the awakening, each growing more personal and each showing a subsequent stage in the transformation of the artist.

Laura Jean Kahl’s piece, The Onerous Nature of Oneself, is deeply personal, and it shows the artist’s process of trying to discover how she is perceived by other people. Each picture shows Laura, at first clothed and wearing a mask that was originally intended to be a self-portrait, but proved to be unrecognizable as such to viewers. In subsequent photos, she undresses and removes the mask. At the end she is in her basement, naked, cutting her hair, and thus greatly altering her physical identity.

Bryan ConleyBryan Conley’s works are psychological in nature. They explore how memories are manipulated by the brain, which warps, blends, and often loses information. His photos represent this phenomenon in their use of lines, shadows, blurred faces, almost unrecognizable forms, ambiguous shapes, and shadows.

mandy kendallMandy Kendall explores what she calls our “collective childhood,” that orange hued vision of odd and remarkable plastic creatures to be found at carnivals and theme parks. She used a tricolor gum bichromate process to produce dreamy, colorful, sepia-ish images of a clown, a lion fountain, a jack-in-the-box, a chicken, and the shoe of old-lady-who-lived-in-a-shoe fame. It is reminiscent of Zippy the Pinhead and his living in a state of perpetual nostalgia.

Magali Duzant also focuses on nostalgia, but in her case it is “a nostalgia that is not the artist’s own.” Our memory is often superseded by the images others have put before us, especially in film. She refers to this process as “appropriation of memory.” Her photos pose people as if they were in movies, and there is a moody and purposeful placement of objects.

Interstitial will be at the Melwood gallery through August 1st.


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