Join us at the Griffin Museum of Photography to learn about three very fresh photography projects by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) 2019 Photography M.F.A. graduates.
Stephen Foster presents The Eyes Beneath the Oak:
The Eyes Beneath the Oak, a multimedia project, features a collection of mixed media artworks that speak to, without defining, the American black experience. These artworks bring to the foreground the deliberate and systematic exploitation of black bodies, especially pertaining to the legacy of slavery and its relationship to mass incarceration. Bondage and economic exploitation have long been hallmarks of white supremacy, and this project offers a unique look into the world of prison trade shows, monuments of slavery turned into tourist attractions, and the commercialization of incarceration through the bail bonds industry. One of the most pernicious aspects of our prison system is how it renders people invisible and inaudible so that their stories are hidden from our collective understanding. This allows the perpetuation of exploitative and abusive systems that disproportionately affect people of color, as their experiences are systematically hidden from view.
Viktor Hübner presents The Americans I Met:
The Americans I Met is a photographic and oral history project that collects portraits of, and conversations with, people Viktor Hübner encountered during a series of hitchhiking trips across the United States. With only a camera, audio recorder, and a few provisions, he covered 41 states and over 16,000 miles made over a period of two years. Throughout his travels, Viktor embraced chance encounters and relied, every day and every night, on the hospitality of the people he met. As a result, and because of his status as a foreigner, he became an eye-witness to the practical and spiritual lives of many Americans, and a bearer of many confidences. This document focuses on the people, their words, their experiences, and, by extension, a view on the ‘Trump era’ in which they live.
Izabela Jurcewicz presents Body as a Negative:
In this work, I return to traumatic memories and experiences that I endured as an inter-organ tumor patient. My situation was one of 300 cases worldwide where science had few answers to the cause and how to proceed. The medical procedures performed upon my body during the initial nine-hour surgery lives as photographic negative in my life. This deep somatic memory is called to visibility in this work, externalised through the photographic surface.
By returning to the memories and re-performing them under controlled studio conditions, I transform them on a cellular level, so my body can regain balance. In this act of return, I replace the invasive surgical instrument with my camera as a receptive device to register, merge and enable a ritual of healing. It is this process of empathic engagement that brings dimensionality to the body and self again, and grows a capacity to join with the su ering of others. From this work I than see my father, supporting him through his own cycle of trauma, as he has four- th-stage cancer.
Stephen Foster is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in photography, with interests in video, installations, music, digital fabrication, sculpture and performance. His recent work combines sounds and music with visual media to tell stories of mass incarceration and reconciliation within urban communities. Stephen has participated in the Steinhardt Summer Studio Residency at New York University in 2018. In 2019, Foster presented and performed at the Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. He has been invited as a visiting artist at Boston University, and Michigan State University, and Brown University. Stephen holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2019) and a BA in Studio Art from Michigan State University (2015). He is a recipient of the 2019 Snider Prize from the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the T.C. Colley Award for Photographic Excellence. Stephen has recently taught in the Department of Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Viktor Hübner is a German photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island. His documentary style unites a natural curiosity for other human beings, history and current affairs. He feels the urge to look at both the detail level and the bigger circumstances to move closer to a complete picture – even when he himself can only contribute one piece of the puzzle. Because of that, comprehensive research is very important to him; politically, historically, and socially. Crucial here, in my opinion, is to really listen to the people at the heart of a story or event without distorting the picture too much with my own presence and point of view. In 2014, Viktor hitchhiked for his project “Distanz” (Distance) from Jordan, through Israel, back to his home town Nümbrecht in North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, traversing nine countries in 82 days. He is a graduate of University of Applied Sciences in Mainz (Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication) with his bachelor thesis „Das Leben ist für uns.“ (Life is for us.), based on a visit to the Kurdish PKK in Northern Iraq and the war against ISIS in 2016. He received a Fulbright scholarship in 2017/18 and is currently an MFA candidate in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Izabela Jurcewicz is a Polish photographer based in New York City and Providence, RI. Izabela uses personal perspective to approach issues regarding identity, body, memory and health/disease. She is a graduate of the International Center of Photography, University of Arts in Poznan (bachelor from Photography at Multimedia Department) and Warsaw University (master’s degree in Sociology). Izabela’s photographs have been exhibited in numerous exhibitions, including the International Center of Photography, Baxter St CCNY, School of Visual Arts Flatiron Gallery, Affirmation Arts in New York, MONA Museum of the Newest Art in Poznan and RISD Museum. Her works were presented during such international photography festivals as Month of Photography in Bratislava (OFF), 12th Fotofestival in Lodz, 8th Biennale of Photography in Poznan. She was an artist-in-residence at the School of Visual Arts and her works were included in publications by International Center of Photography, University of Arts in Poznan, Arsenal Gallery in Poznan and BlackBox Gallery in Portland. Izabela is currently an MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design.
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