“In the face of great loss we all become mad. My particular madness manifests in a spiraling obsession to interpret the present photographically; to give everything around me a slice of immortality and immutability. The catalytic experience of losing my mother at a young age has lead to a practice of image making that is a strange combination of fear, love and curiosity.
My gaze has now turned to my father, whose madness takes root in the maintenance of 91 Grassmere St., the small cookie-cutter suburban structure that our family has called home. Over the past five-going-on-six years since he quit his job, my father has filled his days with a variety of domestic improvement projects. His present preoccupation is with the front lawn, the mood ring of suburban living. He is consumed with the appearance of order. We are both consumed with appearing to be okay.
This project is an attempt to construct a portrait of my father in all his complexities, analyzing his idiosyncrasies and details with the detachment of an anthropologist. Through the act of collaboration in creating images together, we are drawn closer. The camera acts as a mediator, allowing us to express ourselves without the limitations imposed by the appearances we both assume, creating a space for vulnerability and communication which has been absent from our relationship. Together, we are both trying to cultivate a physical, evidential record of our healing, our growth, our survival. Our lives, without her.”
Julia Hopkins is a Boston-based artist and photojournalist originally from Warwick, Rhode Island. She received her B.A. in Studio Art from Boston College in May 2019. She makes photographs surrounding the themes memory, family, and identity and frequently works in the book format.
Mitchell Hurst is a documentary and landscape photographer who lives and works in central Missouri.
“This work began from a draw to photograph the American West. After a few trips west, and nothing to show for it, I decided to look at the Mid-Western landscape that I am familiar with. Missouri’s obvious history as an origin of expansion and trade was what inspired the first images I made. I began to notice a landscape that was ripe with remnants of early American prosperity and exploration. The states early economic success was based on the confluence of the two longest rivers in the US. Once these French and Osage Indian trade routes dried up, due to dwindling demand for beaver pelt, Missouri started to take shape. Natural features reflect the history of the Union slave state where caves were used as bunkers and hideouts during the civil war. Resources changed the landscape over time by near extinction of beavers drastically altering rivers and wetlands, granite and limestone becoming high commodities, the transition to soy as the major cash crop, and booming demand for livestock. These changes also shaped the lifestyle and culture of the state. The residue of that past is seen through decay which time and industry eroded, and the landscape that attempts to defy change. Countless small towns and family farms across the state struggle to endure the migration to cities and the takeover of large scale farming. What is left loosely pieces together the narrative of a place flush with middle American History”.
To see more of Mitchell’s work, visit his site: mitchellhurst.com
& check out his Instagram: @mitchell_jhurst
Mairi McCormick is a photographer from the northeast of the United States, and is currently based in Boston, MA. Having moved every two to three years since she was twelve, she finds herself increasingly intrigued by landscape elements of memory, and time. Mairi is due to graduate from the New England School of Photography in June.
What Happened Here is a project shot by Mairi McCormick in rural Vermont. It is a landscape she knows intimately as a resident. This project begins in the dead of winter. Over several months she has watched the seasonal transition from barren harshness to one of new life.
As she drove through the state, at times aimlessly, she thought of the capricious nature of life as it affected her family. Mairi was processing loss, sudden and gradual, as well as the glow of birth. She was drawn to places in the landscape where disruptions occurred: a tree growing in an old silo, a controlled fire in the middle of a snow storm, blood on the road for miles with tracks running through them. Elements of weather and light also play an integral role in communicating somber emotional ties to the places she investigates.
Throughout Mairi’s project, she is confronting the idea of discomfort; the uncertainty of what lies ahead, and the possibility of hope or its absence.
When I was about 10 or 11 years old, my Dad was driving Dan and I up to an ice fishing tournament on Lake Colby in the town of Saranac Lake. We probably left on a Friday night after school, so by the time we got close it was late at night. It felt like we were the only people alive as the truck continued down the black roads. It started to snow and I vividly remember the way that the wind blown snow streaked across the headlights, each flake building up into the white wall before us. I was proud of the late nights and early mornings that it took to be an ice fisherman. We would leave the single story motel before dawn to head over to Stewart’s where Dan and I would perform the ritual purchase of Pop-Tarts and Gatorade. The winters were long and cold in the mountains; the ice was roughly a foot and a half thick. It was more than enough to support the truck, but I always held my breath during those first few seconds. You can get hypnotized by the spin of the auger as shaved ice flows out and piles around the hole; you’re brought back to reality when the water comes bobbing up. Dan and I felt like men as we entered the tournament shack to register the trout we had caught. We didn’t talk much, but our ever present bonds did not need to be addressed.
Family and the landscape are inseparable in the photographic work of Kevin Williamson. Through the documentation of his family’s relationship to the natural world, Kevin has built an intricate narrative of human intervention in nature. Made throughout New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, these photographs aim to reveal the complexities that come with human relationship to the land. Inside this larger story, there are intimate moments of contemplation and grace. They repeatedly inquire, “how do we decide what is right”?
Exist is an ongoing project taken over the span of nearly a decade, depicting many changes in season and place. The focus of this work; animals, nature and passing moments can be seen as a metaphor depicting the nature of a human soul.
Nature holds the power to reflect messages or moods back to the viewer, to touch the part of one’s being which it mirrors. Photography holds the power to seize in an instant an energy that is timeless and omnipresent. These images show an invisible line between my own existence and the subjects; two energy fields meeting to become one, even if only for that moment. This is a phenomenon only a camera can make possible. The images turn present to past with the click of a shutter; yet allow the past to live on in the present.
Through the frame of a still image, the capture of pure energy and emotion can become a lasting visual and tangible experience. Exist shares seemingly ordinary, daily moments in order to reveal their extraordinary nature. By taking the time to pause an ever moving and changing existence, what is revealed is the eternal, fleeting nature and spirit found in a single moment.
Roslyn Julia is a photographic artist. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in 2013 and is currently based in Ithaca, NY.
Shown here, are selections from two ongoing bodies of work Imagined Traditions and Trinity/Primer. Cronin approaches issues of disconnect, fracture, and absence through reimagining spaces, both interior and exterior, that have been altered by humankind. Crafting lies to tell a truth, Cronin doctors his images using both analog and digital methods. He may physically overlay negatives or combine parts of found photographs in Photoshop to reconstruct the strangeness and stillness of places that are uninhabited, but have been touched (scarred, rearranged) by the human hand.
Matthew Cronin is an artist living and working in Austin, Tx. He received his BFA with departmental honors from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and is currently an MFA candidate at University of Texas at Austin. His work has been shown throughout the United States and Canada in cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Vancouver.
Garrett Gould is an artist living and working in Boston. He is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA and concentration in Sculpture. He has a studio in the South End down the street from the SoWa district in Boston. He is exhibited nationally with recent exhibitions at The Aviary, Jamaica Plain, MA; Elevator Mondays, Los Angeles CA; Seymour2017, Los Angeles CA; How’s Howard?, Boston MA; FJORD Gallery, Philadelphia PA; and Lens Gallery, Boston MA. He also runs European, a project space in the 4th floor bathroom of a studio building in the South End. The space hosts two artists for each exhibition. The project’s program will focus on the relationship of the two artists, their work, and the intersections between private and borrowed space.
Garrett Gould’s work is interested in the gaps through which sensations, realness, and familiarity enter and exit his practice. He believes these elements necessary to a respiration that articulates his practice, a process of objects leading sculptures and sculptures following objects. He has made a diagram to help himself and others see this process in more detail (Seen to the left, last image of gallery). Gould wants his work to move forward through the path laid out in the diagram while moving in and out of sculpture, offering the viewer a form that maps one’s sense of familiarity and realness when looking at the work. As a maker, he wants to make forms that push and pull on these gaps.
Garrett’s work employs themes such as humor, violence, and illusion to retain the shape of memories that characterize the form while simultaneously undermining the expectation of the function and purpose within it. This subversion highlights discrepancies between one’s sense of realness and familiarity. The ability of these themes to retain the shape of memories combined with legibility of the intuition behind the work introduces the possibility of the eventual union of those two senses. Can one laugh and also understand? Can it be used and also disappear? Can moves themselves disappear?
These questions allow the forces of evocation and illustration to push inward and outward along the passage of time. This inward and outward movement is a process that disrupts the course of naming the graphic and sculptural decisions in the work. This results in an inability to fully map them as cultural marker and leaves the work in a state of constant suspension. Scale, replication, surface treatments, and faux-ness are tools Garrett uses in his process that reveal the space between naming and meaning in which the work is suspended. This encourages ambiguity in both the identification and interpretation of the form. The work becomes both like and unlike itself through a back and forth between an impression and a subversion. The persistent and fluctuating unease from this disorientation requires the viewer to resolve incongruities between what was evoked through making and what is illustrated from memory.
Casey Bennett (b. 1980, Grand Forks, British Columbia) is an urban landscape / contemporary fine art photographer currently based in south-central British Columbia, Canada. His clean photography of urban and semi-urban spaces is about exploration of places where architecture, landscape, portraits and the built environment intersect and a human presence can be felt around the corner. His work is also about transience, and ideas of change being brought in our surroundings and environment.
The project Hub City focuses on life in Williams Lake, British Columbia, an area of the province that has gone through significant cultural and socioeconomic transformations. Located in the Central Cariboo Interior, where individuals’ collective livelihoods and lifestyles have been, and are, currently heavily dependent upon certain industries–particularly the logging and mining industries. Generations of families have committed their lives and passed on an “identity” of working these jobs, becoming culturally bound to these careers. Bennett’s photographic project hopes to instill a visually compelling collection of images of this specific place in time and the prospect for insight into the community and its individuals who have shaped a region and created the character of a place. The environment is loaded with evidence from the past that is now layered with subtle manifestations about the inevitable future.
Aptly titled Hub City, this refers to Williams Lake as the central location that sits in the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 20, leading major routes to cities and points of interest like Kamloops (south), Bella Coola (west) and Prince George (north).
Huang Lucang was born in China in 1990. He earned his BA from Renmin University in Beijing and studied Architectural Design at Kyushu University in Japan. He also earned his MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Over the past seven years, Huang has lived in Beijing, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Shanghai and Boston as a research scholar and an artist. His works explores the idea of illusion in imagined landscapes and spaces through the use of camera and computer. The fundamental contradiction contained in his works provokes questions about the relationship of imagery to the physical world, and exploring the ineffable nature of reality. Huang's work is included in private collections and has been exhibited throughout the United States.
Lucang’s works focuses on the abstract shapes created by shadow, or computer graphics that appear in the form of imaginary landscapes. They are perceived by our common senses, but go beyond the perceptual territory by being titled and reformed. He aims to explore layers of the binary in this project: The light against shadow, a sense of place against a sense of nothingness, the outside against the inside, reality opposed to illusion.
“There are all these people here I don't know by sight or by name. And we pass alongside each other and don't have any connection. And they don't know me and I don't know them. And now I'm leaving town and there are all these people I will never know.” - Carson McCullers
These photographs began during a period of transition as Knudsen moved from northeastern Massachusetts to New York City. The highway became his refuge as he traveled between his home and this new uncharted territory, often escaping one for the other. With this body of work he stitches a narrative of landscapes, people, and their markings to explore notions of isolation, rapture, and the longing for connection.
Alex Knudsen is a photographer working in Massachusetts. In 2014 he graduated with a BFA in photography from MassArt. His photographs and books have appeared in various exhibitions and publications in the US and Europe.
The horror film genre is generally guilty of the objectification of women through the use of cinematic language which presents them as desirable clichés. The victim featured is often portrayed as promiscuous and then targeted by the aggressive male because of her sexuality. When the genre defies this rule, it is generally because women are portrayed in the opposite manner: as virgins free of sexuality. These two exhausted portrayals of the female character - virgin or whore - rely wholly on issues of sexuality to define the character’s development.
The repetitive use of these characters shapes how women are viewed in society today and this cultural memory affirms behavior. Through manipulation of archival photographs by scanning or collaging, Meghan Braney removes the image from what it was, similar to how repetition of the portrayals of women removes us from the reality. In doing so, her work calls attention to the connections between crimes against women in the horror realm and mistreatment of women in society. This body of work begs the question: are these films and media based on reality or does society mirror them?
Meghan Braney is a fine art photographer currently studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design to earn her BFA in photography. She grew up in Northbridge, Massachusetts and currently resides in Boston.
Dru Hetrick’s American Colors series – utilizes the artist’s interest in older film cameras to study how the physical elements of an American era she never experienced before is connected to the America we experience today. When Dru thinks of ‘Americana’, she think of bright blues, colorful neon, and fresh white picket fences in front of newly painted houses. But in the context of today, where architectural materials favor more minimalist metal, concrete and marble, these older colors take on new meaning much like the dreams of the people and country who made them.
The creation and breakdown of the American Dream over the course of the twentieth century and beyond is fascinating to Dru and she hopes to explore physical remnants of this theme through this series. Some images reveal a golden age long gone – relics of the bright commercial age of the ‘50s and ‘60s – while others gain a new identity within the context of a new time. Dru acknowledges she will never get to live within the era in which many of the subjects of her photos were made new, so what’s left for her to experience is their decay – their fading colors.
Dru Hetrick is an analog film photographer originally from NYC and currently based in Boston, MA. Hetrick delved into the medium through personal documentation, travel, university study at Emerson College, and music photography. Upon discovering her favorite film format – 6x6 120mm – she started projects that studied the color of the urban landscape around her, while also carrying cameras with her to serve as a diary of the subtler beauties of her daily life. Dru is continually adding to her American Colors and Snapshots series.
Within Shawn Rowe’s work, a quiet repose emerges, where moments of introspection grow long while light and atmosphere become tactile. Landscape imagery punctuates this self-portrait, serving as metaphor to discuss the symbiosis between nature and the body. V characterizes this relationship as both internal and external, with each body leaving marks upon the other. The power structures that support this dialogue manifest as visual interruptions in the intervening space between reflection and perception. In this work, Shawn creates a space to discuss a range of definitions of masculinity, sexuality and gender in order to articulate acceptance and resolve.
The title V describes the ambiguity of the project itself. In ancient times, V was used interchangeably with the letter U. V is the Roman Numeral for five and embodies a downward pointing arrow. For this work, the two lines that create the letter V intersect where the body and the environment exchange forces. These images represent a visualization of this conversation. Like the letter V, Shawn asks the viewer to bring their own associations and meanings to the images and the body of work as a whole.
In the face of great loss, how do we form meaning? Privately, we grapple with the event, we feel the sting and the irony of loss all at once. We always knew this was coming even though we didn’t know when. Publicly, we seek. Our minds become spiritual, there’s a vision in every parking lot, down every hallway. Every bird we hear is singing the song so and so used to whistle. Somewhere in these symbols we are meant to find solace. Yet the journey towards healing that we’ve embarked on feels more and more like a rat race, looping its wheel over and over until we exhaust ourselves back to normalcy.
In this ongoing project, Amy Fink works in contention with her family’s grief since the loss of her mother. This irreversible rupture changed everything, for all of them: how they see the world, how they consume their days, how they interact. While these motivations are not opaquely addressed in this body of work, these factors culminate and reveal themselves photographically to communicate broader themes of entropy, maternal care, nostalgic tendencies, and- in tandem, the folly involved in the impossible fight for control over it all.
Amy Fink is a fine arts photographer who received her BFA in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2018. She was born and raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and currently lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently the Interim Director of Exhibitions at Aviary Gallery.
“It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” -Beckett, Halloween (1978)
It’s our favorite time of the year over at Aviary Gallery: Halloween! We’ve selected our favorite submissions based on fright and folly, scares and skeletons, spiders and slasher films.
Featuring work by Meghan Braney, Caitlin Brookins, Alexa Cushing, Juliet Degree, Amy Fink, Ross M. Kiah, Maxwell Labelle, Tanya McGee, Joni McGinley, Amanda Parlier, Evan Perkins, Kiera Renz, Joseph Ritchie, William Sears, and Nolan Smock.