06 Jun Re-Context: An Exhibition About Appropriation
Exhibition Dates: July 1 – 30, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, July 8, 2016, 6 – 8 pm
Appropriation in art addresses issues of originality, authenticity and authorship. The intentional borrowing, copying or alteration of the images of others is often a commentary on consumerism, popular culture, society or even the art world itself. Some artists famous for working with appropriation in the world of photography are Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Shepard Fairey.
No image ever began as a meme. Rather they are created in context, defined by the moment/event in which they are made, the particular imaging technology that was used, and the specific purpose their author applied While tethered to a range of narratives including cultural, geographic, historical, personal, and political ones, the image’s identity is forged but not cemented. From the very moment it leaves the grasp of its maker, it belongs to a broader audience with whom generations of meaning form.
The artists in Re-Context are driven by a fascination with a photographic image’s extended life. Culling images from popular culture, family albums, scientific research, the internet and more, they add, subtract, collect, disrupt, expose, inhabit, isolate, layer, mimic, pair, and re-photograph their source material. They embrace appropriation as a strategy to form new aesthetics and narratives, address the bright invisible, and create a contemporary through the reconsideration of the ‘original’.
With a magician’s grace they commit acts of sleight of hand that both enthrall and bewilder the viewer. Yet each work purposefully has a reveal – a glitch in their matrix that keys us in to the borrowed nature of visual material we are looking at which causes a double take and a deep enriching form of engagement.
I would like to extend my thanks to all who submitted their work for consideration for inclusion in this exhibition. There was something notable in each and every entry that was submitted and the commitment each of the applicants has to their work deserves commending. I am deeply grateful to Samantha Johnston and the staff at CPAC for all their help on this exhibition and their commitment to enriching the photographic community in Denver and beyond!
Ariel Shanberg is a curator, educator, and writer with over 17 years experience working with artists. From 2003-2015 he was CPW’s executive director. Under his leadership, CPW received numerous accolades including the 2009 Spotlight Award for significantly altering the landscape of photography from the Lucie Foundation. In addition to overseeing group and solo exhibitions at CPW, Ariel has been curated exhibitions at the Light Factory, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, the Islip Art Museum, the Dorsky Museum, FotoFest, and the Houston Center for Photography. A frequent panelist/juror for artist grants and related opportunities and a sought-after portfolio reviewer at events including FotoFest, Review Santa Fe, and Photolucida; Ariel has lectured at Bucknell College, Parsons, SVA, Syracuse University, and the University of the Arts. His writing has appeared in monographs, exhibition catalogs, and publications such as Aspect: The Chronicle for New Media Art, Contact Sheet, Exposure, Nueva Luz, and Photograph. Ariel is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Photographic Education.