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Light Work Podcast

Today's Artists. On Photography.

The podcast from Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York — Support this podcast by treating yourself or a loved one to something at www.lightwork.org/shop
3/22/2022

Melissa Catanese: The Lottery

Season 1, Ep. 33
Light Work presents "The Lottery" a solo exhibition of new works by Pittsburgh-based photographer Melissa Catanese. In "The Lottery," Catanese turns her attention to the tense and confusing state of contemporary politics and culture. Her images bring together large groups of people, barren caverns, natural forces, physical exertion, and eruptions both crude and colorful. The accumulated manic puzzle shifts the viewer from crowded street to darkened cavern. Along the way, we see a geyser of oil, streaks of lightning, veins of molten rock, and cooling craters. Punctuating these natural phenomena are people in states of glee, pain, confusion, and anguish.Catanese borrows the title from literature. In Shirley Jackson’s famous short story, a village casually embarks on a yearly ritual of selecting an individual and then stoning them to death. Catanese’s "The Lottery" teases out similar themes regarding ritual, culture, and the diffused accountability of a mob.Melissa Catanese’s work blends anonymous photographs, press clips, and images from NASA’s archive with her own. Single images resemble sentence fragments that Catanese completes with her sequences. Sometimes seamlessly blending in, Catanese’s own images also act as punctuation throughout the work. This creates a sensation of call and response between the archival material and Catanese’s own images that brings to mind the Chauvet Cave in southeastern France. There, brilliant cave paintings date back 37,000 years. Over this enormous stretch of time, additional visitors added their own marks to the cave murals, sometimes with gaps of more than 5,000 years. The idea that collaboration can reach across time, decoding or willfully rethinking, is present throughout "The Lottery."melissacatanese.comMusic: "Pacing" by Blue Dot Sessions —Special thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
1/11/2022

Pixy Liao: Futari (Two Persons)

Season 1, Ep. 32
Futari (Two Persons) is an exhibition of photographs depicting the ongoing relationship between the artist Pixy Liao and her Japanese partner and muse Moro. Liao met Moro at the University of Memphis in 2005 while attending graduate school, where she invited Moro, who is five years younger, to model for her. In some ways, this served to reverse expectations that women seek older and wiser men. From the beginning of their collaboration, Liao took the role of the director, arranging and posing Moro, so that together they challenge traditional heterosexual roles. For fourteen years now, Liao and Moro have continued to explore ideas of control, dominance, gender, and sexuality through photography.—Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Liao has participated in exhibitions and performances internationally, including Asia Society (Houston), Fotografiska (New York City), Museum of Sex (New York City), National Gallery of Australia (Sydney), and Rencontres d’Arles (Arles, France). She has received honors that include En Foco’s New Works Fellowship, Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award, LensCulture’s Exposure Award, NYFA Fellowship in photography, and Santo Foundation’s Individual Artist Award. Liao was a Light Work Artist-in-Residence in 2015. Her other residencies include Camera Club of New York, Center for Photography at Woodstock, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pioneer Work, School of Visual Arts, and University of Arts London. She holds an MFA in photography from the University of Memphis. Chambers Fine Art in New York City represents her.pixyliao.com—Special thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.orgMusic: "Oh My," "Little Curry Man," and "Mimoku" by PIMO Band pimoband.com
3/25/2021

Meryl Meisler: The Best of Times, Worst of Times

Season 1, Ep. 29
Meryl Meisler: The Best of Times, Worst of TimesMarch 22 - July 23, 2021Kathleen O. Ellis GalleryIn Light Work’s early days, during the 1970s and 80s, many artists arrived for their month-long residency with no specific plans for using their time. With only a camera and a vague idea of exploring, they walked the streets of Syracuse, open to the synchronicity of what might happen. Incredible photographs ensued and the artists often called them gifts. Grateful to land in the right place at the right time, they discovered images on their contact sheets that startled and delighted them. But they also saw photography as more than random luck. It was both a collaboration and a conversation. They saw themselves as witnesses.Over the same decades, Meryl Meisler was photographing her life in and around New York City with the same sense of exploration and possibility as those pioneering Light Work AIRs. Retiring from decades as a public-school art teacher, Meisler began to unearth and rethink her own archive. Part time capsule of the 70s and 80s and part memoir, Best of Time, Worst of Times is an invitation to join her for a wild ride—disco nights, punk bars, strip clubs, Fire Island, family, friends and neighbors, and suburban Long Island. Her exuberant celebration of human connection is particularly poignant now, when we can take none of these gatherings for granted. Meisler clearly celebrates with her subjects. These are her people: she is not an outsider but a participant. She depicts our own shared humanity, humor, and joy.“I want to show you who I am,” she says now. “My identity as a woman, Jew, lesbian, middle- class teacher, Baby Boomer, New Yorker, liberal, American—and so much more—influences how I perceive and create art about the world around me. I’ve only just begun revealing my huge photography archive. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!merylmeisler.com—Special thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org