Light Work Podcast
Wendy Red Star: Baaeétitchish (One Who Is Talented)
November 4 – December 12, 2019
Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery
Gallery Talk: Thursday, November 14, 6pm
Reception: Thursday, November 14, 5-7pm
Wendy Red Star makes art that arises from her Native American cultural heritage and family history, as well as her expansive interest in photography, video, sound, sculpture, fiber arts, and performance. Red Star’s artistic practice involves ongoing research into historical archives and narratives, which she thoughtfully deconstructs to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialism’s unsettling effects on past and present.
Red Star grew up on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana. Her exhibition title, Baaeétitchish (One Who Is Talented), references the Crow name she received while visiting home this past summer. It was the original name of her grand-uncle, Clive Francis Dust, Sr., known in the family for his creativity as a cultural keeper. Clearly, Red Star carries that same spirit as an artist. “By carving out space in the contemporary art world,” says Red Star, “I hope it will make it easier for the next generation of Native women artists to gain access to institutions and opportunities.” Red Star’s powerful exhibition at Light Work brings together four photography-based projects produced between 2006 and 2016.
Through her work, Red Star says she seeks to complete the missing pieces of the puzzle of her people’s history—a history that colonialism has unfortunately interrupted. “The stories have been scattered,” she says. Important for her Crow community, this re-gathering also helps to tell a more accurate story of America.
Wendy Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles. She has exhibited in the United States and abroad at sites that include Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain, Hood Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Portland Art Museum, and St. Louis Art Museum. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Banff Centre, CalArts, Dartmouth College, Figge Art Museum, Flagler College, the I.D.E.A. Space in Colorado Springs, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and Yale University. In 2017, Red Star received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and in 2018 she received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Red Star lives and works in Portland, OR.
Special thanks to Daylight Blue Media
Music: "Crem Valle" by Blue Dot Sessions
Music: "Vela Vela" by Blue Dot Sessions
View all episodes
38. Eduardo L Rivera: The Sun Echoed Like A Song05:02The Sun Echoed Like A Song is an exhibition of photographs made in Eduardo L Rivera’s childhood hometown near the Arizona/Mexico border. Taking inspiration from light and heat, he has been exploring the personal histories of family, community, and environment throughout the last decade.eduardolrivera.com—Special thanks to Daylight Blue Media daylightblue.comLight Work lightwork.org
37. Arko Datto: Shunyo Raja (Kings of a Bereft Land)06:26In Shunyo Raja (Kings of a Bereft Land), Arko Datto’s epic three-part series chronicles the lives of those living in the world’s largest delta, variously known as the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. Climate change has rapidly put this immense region and its inhabitants in danger. Even as the artist summarizes the complexity and scale of the challenges confronting both, he knows his time with this landscape is fleeting.arkodatto.com—Special thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
36. Jenny Calivas: Surface Thing08:18Jenny Calivas' images breathe in photography’s liminal space between intuition and what words can only sometimes convey. Here is a photographer whose practice is consistently curious and rigorous. Her images can unexpectedly taunt us, at once generous and withholding, still and active. In so doing, Calivas wrestles and succeeds with a multitude of ideas—from the spiritual to the feminist to the ecological—and elicits moods that range from the humorous to the existential.jennifercalivas.com—Intro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
35. Guanyu Xu: Suspended Status07:15Guanyu Xu’s Suspended Status depicts an artist caught in a web of red tape. The work on view for this exhibition comprises images from his ongoing series, Resident Aliens, as well as a large grid of images that he calls Suspension. Both bodies of work use visa status in the United States as a means of framing images that depict people who are suspended between countries and cultures. Their futures hang on faceless state agencies in a churning political current. Xu's major influences are the production of ideology in American visual culture and a conservative familial upbringing in China. Xu’s practice examines the production of power in photography as well as the fate of personal freedom and its relationship to political regimes. He negotiates these questions from his perspective as a Chinese gay man. He makes use of photography, new media, and installation, and his work across media intentionally reflects aspects of his displaced and fractured identity.xuguanyu.com—Music: "Agree to Disagree" by Zero VIntro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
34. Samantha Box: Caribbean Dreams06:10Samantha Box’s new body of work, Caribbean Dreams, is a series of complex studio still lifes of personal, familial, and regionally-referenced objects, heirlooms, fruits, vegetables, and plants, onto which she collages family and vernacular images, fruit stickers, packaging, and receipts. A departure from earlier methods and subject matter, the constructed, experimental, and unpredictable compositions of Caribbean Dreams embody Box’s exploration of multiple diasporic Caribbean histories and identities.Box’s new methods pose an opportunity and dilemma: once you seize the freedom to create an image from scratch, where do you begin? With a new camera, family artifacts, and grocery store produce, she embarked on making tabletop still lifes. She cites seeing a forgotten fruit from her childhood, the soursop, in her local green market as what started her down the path of creating images in the studio. Present in all of Box’s constructions is her desire to see her Caribbean identity and history from as many angles as possible. Each new generation of images both invites and prods the viewer to consider the recurring objects with a fresh perspective.samanthabox.com—Music: "Skip Song" by A. A. AaltoIntro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
33. Melissa Catanese: The Lottery08:02Light 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.com—Music: "Pacing" by Blue Dot SessionsIntro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
32. Pixy Liao: Futari (Two Persons)07:21Futari (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—Intro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.orgMusic: "Oh My," "Little Curry Man," and "Mimoku" by PIMO Band pimoband.com
31. James Henkel: Object Lessons05:44In his new exhibition, Object Lessons, artist James Henkel looks back over thirty years of image-making, following a conceptual and formal thread that ties his work together and seems to stubbornly insist on resurfacing.Whatever is discarded, broken, and damaged draws Henkel to it. The objects he collects, assembles, or deconstructs are humble, common, and often no more than the scale of the human hand. Both the patina of wear and the handling that was often the source of the object’s destruction are clearly present. He presents pieces of ceramic pots, bowls, bricks, toys, combs, and well-worn books in their broken fragments. Completely useless now, they remain a testimony to someone’s life. This is what Henkel elevates by photographing these found objects so directly. Tension abounds in his work between the humble and the monumental, between play and decay, between high and low. The artist cross-references grander ideas from art history, painting, and sculpture, while also pointing back to the simpler but profound experience of photographing an ordinary life.Jameshenkelstudio.com—Intro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.org
30. Clifford Prince King: We Used to Lay Together09:15Clifford Prince King is a self-taught queer Black photographer from Arizona. The images in this exhibition focus on King’s life in Los Angeles. In his work, King’s lifestyle and experiences are starting points to explore desire, intimacy, and day-to-day life with HIV. King’s images chronicle himself and others located in lamp-lit domestic settings. We see a brotherhood of men enacting moments of domestic bliss, nude bodies in the moments before or after a sexual encounter, and the side effects and routine of living with HIV. After King’s diagnosis, he focused anew on understanding the legacy of the AIDS crisis and the artists who responded to it. He took refuge in the words and images of those who once shared an experience like his own, and his work evokes that history while developing a language all his own. In talking about his practice, King returns time and again to the life-affirming aspects of his relationships. In We Used to Lay Together, King has compiled a body of work that explores affection in all its varieties―the simple parts of intimacy, often overlooked but universal.cliffordprinceking.com—Intro/Outro Music: Vela Vela by Blue Dot SessionsSpecial thanks to Daylight Blue Mediadaylightblue.comLight Worklightwork.orgMusic: "Backed Vibes Clean" by Kevin MacLeod