By Jennifer Carrera Turner
West Palm Beach, FL – On January 5, 2017 one photographer will be awarded $ 20,000 cash as part of receiving The Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers. The exhibition featuring the four emerging photographers is now on view at the Norton Museum of Art. The photographers were each nominated by world-renowned artists. The nominees were selected based upon their talents of providing exceptional work in a contemporary progressive manner. The photographers are: Clare Benson, Elizabeth Bick, Alexandra Hunts, and Wesley Stringer. The artists who selected these nominees are: Arno Minkkinen, Shirin Neshat, Rineke Dijkstra, and Michael Kenna.
This outstanding award is issued every two years and is the namesake of the late New York City real estate developer Lewis Rudin, and made possible by the generosity of Ms. Beth Rudin DeWoody and the Photography Committee of the Norton Museum of Art. Patrons include The Gioconda and the Joseph King Endowment for Exhibitions.
I attended the November 10, 2016 Curator’s Conversation during Art After Dark to view the opening of this new exhibition. Prior to the tour, I examined the installations myself to gather my own thoughts and ideas while reading and observing each of the photographers biographies and works. I feel that I like to determine my own conclusions prior to hearing the curator’s explanations. I look for the many details in the work and use my imagination as they would and then compare what I learn later to my own thoughts.
As the tour began we were introduced to Tim B. Wride, (William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography) by the lovely Adelia Gregory, Assistant Curator of Education at Norton Museum of Art.
Tim began our tour at the photography of Clare Benson, an award winning photographer and interdisciplinary artist from the United States who is currently in residency in Sweden. Her work is a mixture of media but primarily video and photography. She is highly focused on presenting culture that is of a very rural lifestyle and incorporates much of her family history, a life & death theme, and North American hunting traditions. She focuses on the strengths of women being hunter/gathers in a vintage rustic era much more than that of being nurturing homemakers.
Next we learn about the photography of Elizabeth Bick, American born and residing in New York City. She was a classically trained ballerina who became enthralled with street photography and the capture of “Organized Chaos” as Mr. Wride comments. Her style involves showing people in their natural form but at moments that appear that their gestures relate to dancelike motions – almost choreographed yet remaining unintentional.
The most traditional photographer of this selection is Wesley Stringer, a man after my own heart. Someone whose style I understand completely, especially with the particular photographs I see chosen for this exhibit. According to Mr. Wride it was most difficult to “pair down the selections” for Wesley’s part of this exhibition as “every picture leads to the next” almost like a story or poetry being shown by way of photography. By eliminating photos, could it be that the story is not understood completely? Like something is missing? It was decided to use only what was absolutely necessary without compromise. Also on view in a glass case is a hand bound book of photography and other handmade items using photographs.
And last but most scientifically interesting in a very technical sense is Alexandra Hunts, she is Ukrainian and currently resides in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The photography of Alexandra is a almost like a science experiment shown as proof in photos. She spent months working at a apple orchard using a scale to measure the weight of apples to 1 kilogram at a time until she had a total of 1000 kilograms to amass a total weight of 1 metric ton of photographed apples. These individual photographs of apples with their varying shadows were painstakingly cut with an exacto knife from their cards. The individual cut out tiny apples where then arranged into a hanging sculpture and then photographed as a whole. The cards with their absent apples with only remaining holes and shadows are arranged into their own displayed installation on shelves along the wall. It is quite complex.
I highly recommend visiting this exhibition I believe it to be quite enjoyable. The public is also allowed to place their own votes and will be revealed on the final day as the “People’s Choice” selection. On January 4, 2017 the photographers will be interviewed privately and official votes executed by the Norton’s Photography Committee, which is a combination of the Norton’s Executive Director, photography curator, collectors, and trustees will make the announcement to all during Art After Dark on January 5, 2017. I have cast my vote, now I cannot wait to find out who the winner shall be!
Written & Photographed by: Jennifer Carrera Turner