The Rudin Prize : Emerging Photographers

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.

Rudin Prize Exhibit / 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.

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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.

Rudin Prize Exhibit / Norton Museum of Art

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!Rudin Prize Exhibit / Norton Museum of Art

Written & Photographed by: Jennifer Carrera Turner

 

Artist Mark Fox : The Norton Interview

By Jennifer Carrera Turner

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL – Last Thursday’s Art After Dark 2016 series at the Norton, had a wonderful presentation that I was so enamored to have been in attendance for. The lecture of sorts titled “Mark Fox in Conversation” was organized by Tim B. Wride, William & Ross Soter Curator of Photography. The lecture was held in an expansive room bathed in a fuschia lighting with countless rows of seating for patrons and observers which soon became occupied entirely. An intimate stage positioned at the front of this room, with chairs for Mark Fox and Tim B. Wride, was back dropped with an illuminated projected screen on the wall surface.  The popular exhibition at this time in the Norton by Artist Mark Fox, was the magnificent high-definition film “Giverny: Journal of an Unseen Garden” created during his three months as artist-in-residence within Claude Monet’s iconic garden in France.

This incredible art installation had been granted to the Norton by the generosity of Beth Rudin DeWoody and of Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo (through the Dorothea Leonhardt Fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas). As if that were not enough, we all then beheld the presence of Mark Fox (who is based in New York City) in our assemblage not only to tell us of his artistic experience in France, but also about his work in general. There was a welcoming introduction of Mark Fox and Tim B. Wride as they entered onto the stage by Adelia Gregory, the Assistant Curator of Education at the Norton.  After complimentary remarks and gratitude for Mark’s presence with us, spoken by Mr. Wride, he further expressed the calm feeling that his art installation bestowed upon visitors – best described reasonably as a “Zen Installation.”

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Mark then began speaking and exhibiting for us through the projected screen behind them, images of the type of artwork he is well known for. He described most of his early work as having enjoyed creating art with the many “pure black ink drops” whether they were accidental or intentional. These ink drops did not remain confined, rather he “collects” them in a way by cutting them out and piecing them seamlessly together. These “pieces” grow and grow connected together into an enormous size of art that is absolutely astounding. His view on using materials and executing his ideas, Mark says “to be open and NOT narrow minded”.

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For some sculptures he would often use “everyday cardboard” – utilizing both their flat surfaces for drawing or painting on – even sometimes peeling the paper away to reveal the commercial ink saturations and leaving those images exposed. The cardboard is also used for the features of its open fluting which adds a different textural aspect and transparent feeling. He would also use enormous collections of individually created drawings, sketches and paintings on paper in which he combines into stacks upon stacks – sandwiching them and creating these large – measured in “feet and not inches” life size sculptures. He often uses objects that are “salt-of-the-earth” to provide support for his large sculptures, for example sawhorses.

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Mark incorporates a lot of text or written words throughout his work, whether printed or cut-out of paper or metals. All of the textual writing have sacred meanings derived predominantly from Catholic Religious beliefs. The use of holy doctrines, references to the Virgin Mary, and religious symbolism are very important in much of Mark’s work. He created a theme such as this using objects that were received from 9/11 Ground Zero for example a sawhorse, dust and religious votive candleholders from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Something that was most comical during the evening, was that Mark shared with us his love of 1970’s disaster films of which he entertained with some brief video clips. The disasters (unusually enough) took place on the grounds of Art Galleries or Museums and were subjected to tornadoes and floods. Ultimately the films conclude with mass irreparable destruction to fine priceless works of art within the building. While explaining his “love” of this type of film (which is a genre I honestly never knew existed) I could hear the silent chuckling throughout the audience as we were all wondering “what must Mr. Wride” be thinking right now? It was an awkward transition most certainly and was a subtle boost in excitement of a different sort.

 The Versailles Foundation’s Munn Artist Award was accepted by Mark Fox in 2010. He was one of the chosen few invited to hold residency at the Monet Foundation in Giverny, France. Unbeknownst to most of the world, Monet’s famous garden had become unkempt following his death in 1926. Fortunately in the 1970’s, a group of philanthropic Americans founded an entire restoration and held the stipulation that U.S. Artists would be selectively invited to spend time there each year. Fox, having been chosen was told upon arrival that he was not subjective to work in Monet’s impressionistic style but rather they had hoped that the “environment would inspire him.” With Mark’s work being so modern, it would be hard to imagine what could he possibly come up with to utilize this incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although not being the requirement by any means. This classic ethereal garden, a place that is known for – seen painted in pastel brush marks on canvas? A mecca for tourists visiting France with the privileges of walking through this lush green landscape of bridges and flowers once occupied by one of the grandest art masters of all time?

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Unlike the rest of the world, when the crowds left as the area closed to allow visitors for the day, Mark had the key and could return and leave as he pleased. And then his idea emerged, he would show the world what Monet was actually never able to see! Under the water. The underneath of the lily-pads, grasses and the life that was taking place beneath them. He submerged his camera while on record mode, beneath a homemade float attached to a fishing line to capture the footage.

His filming took place during the day and was at first experimental and daring. Later he explained his project and was approved to continue his filming by less elusive techniques, otherwise entering the water had been forbidden. So now for the pièce de résitance, “Giverny: Journal of an Unseen Garden”, a five channel, high definition underwater video capturing images beneath Monet’s iconic waterscape is an amazing room filling art installation brought to us by Mark Fox.

More about Mark Fox: Originally from Cincinnati, Fred Conway Art Scholar at Washington University, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 1985, Stanford University, Master of Fine Arts in Painting 1988, Founder of Saw Theater, multi-media performances in New York; extensive list of national venues, public exhibitions in high-end galleries and museums; and international residencies.

In closing, I felt the message conveyed that as an artist he follows “internal suggestions” throughout his creativity, which leads to open doors, and it is best to remain open-minded and determined.

Written & Photographed by: Jennifer Carrera Turner