A Look at History in the Contemporary Landscape

Re-Placing Atlanta

Re-Placing Atlanta encourages a closer look at what is historically woven into a contemporary landscape. New or recontextualized work by Sheila Pree Bright, John Dean, Jody Fausett, “Panorama” Ray Herbert, David Knox, and Marcia Vaitsman present a thoughtfully composed imagining of Atlanta to Atlanta. These artists approach the theme with diverse and distinctively individual aesthetics, materials, and points of view. Whether pursuing culturally and historically significant neighborhoods and landscapes or threatened pieces of Atlanta architecture, each artist uses the photographic medium as an invitation to contemplate layers of history in the vernacular environment through images which respond to local scenes and structures in which the past is hidden in plain sight.

The exhibit has been extended through December 1, 2013.

NEW Gallery Hours
November 12-16, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Saturday, November 17, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
November 19-21, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
November 26-30, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Saturday, December 1, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
and by appointment 404-688-3353 ext. 11

 

The Atlanta Preservation Center (APC) with the generous support of curators Constance Lewis and Jerry Cullum will present Re-Placing Atlanta from October 5 – November 9, 2012 in the Drawing Room Gallery at LP Grant Mansion, 327 St. Paul Avenue SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312. Events during the exhibit include an Opening on Friday, October 5 from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, an Artists’ Talk on Friday, October 19 from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm and a Silent Auction & Raffle from October 5 – October 19 (current bids available here). Proceeds from the Silent Auction & Raffle will support the work of the APC. Gallery hours are Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

The curators challenged these well-known photographers to address issues related to, but somewhat outside, their previous subject matter. Their new works investigate the traces of the past in the present—a past that includes the largely forgotten archives of the late “Panorama" Ray, whose panoramic photographs form a point of departure.

 “PANORAMA” RAY HERBERT

Photographer and painter "Panorama" Ray Herbert Jr., of Atlantic City NJ, was an Atlanta transplant who died in 1997. He earned the "Panorama" nickname from the 1904 Kodak Cirkut camera and over-sized contact prints that he used to make his art. His early career spun from quick-print tourist shots on the Pier to large convention work. Eventually settling in Atlanta, he built a professional photography and printing studio. He had already acquired his antique camera, but had only begun to realize its potential outside group pictures of corporate congregations. With eyes wide open - receptive and passionate - Herbert began capturing Atlanta's rapidly changing landscape within a frame that was undeniably his own. He illustrated the escapades of his new neighbors in Atlanta's mill village Cabbagetown, invented mythologies, and made ordinary folk into fantastical heroes. When the 500 ft rolls of twelve inch film became cumbersome, a similarly shaped plank of wood and paint could suffice to replicate his own work. He found Atlanta, fell in love with it and had a vision for it. And, much like his work, everything was happening at the exact same time.

SHEILA PREE BRIGHT

The Parcel: Cemetery
77” x 13" Chromogenic Print

Sheila Pree Bright is a photo based artist based in Atlanta who was awarded a National Graduate Seminar Fellowship at the Photography Institute in 2002 at Columbia University in New York and received her MFA in photography from Georgia State University in 2003. Her large-scale works combine a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary culture while challenging perceptions of identity.

Bright received national attention after winning the Santa Fe Prize from the Santa Fe Center for photography in 2006 for a series of work entitled Suburbia. Recently, Bright has embarked on one of her most ambitious projects to date called the Young Americans which was underwritten by a grant from the Aetna Foundation and premiered as a solo exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in May 2008 and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in September. She has been featured in numerous publications, the recipient of numerous awards and in private and public collections to name a few; Library of Congress, Washington DC, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, and the Oppenheimer Collection, Kansas City Missouri.

Her choice of subject matter for Re-Placing Atlanta came both from the curators and a conversation with APC Executive Director Boyd Coons about the perception versus the complex nuanced truth of Atlanta’s racial dynamics. New Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church has been at its current site since 1872 and its cemetery has graves that date from 1889. Located at 2012 Arden Drive NW, this church is located in what was once a rural area but now is an  in-town neighborhood, Buckhead.

The Parcel: New Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church
30” x 40" Chromogenic Print

JOHN DEAN


John Dean holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography/Art History from the University of Arizona in Tuscon and an MFA in Art Photography from Tyler School of Art of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied photography with the internationally recognized artists Todd Walker, William Larson, Esther Parada and Larry Fink. Since the late 1970's, he has studied and worked in various avenues of art photography, including the Center For Creative Photography. His personal imagery has been influenced by the American photographers Frederick Sommer and Harry Callahan, as well as the New Topographics genre of urban landscape imagery and architectural theory.  Dean has worked in the architectural and still life applied photography world both for himself as well as for other established advertising photographers in Philadelphia and Atlanta. Since the late 1990's he has embraced the creative side of high stability photo pigment printmaking and has continued to work with and teach the transitions of expression and craftsmanship made possible with these new tools, materials and methods. He started his business Dean Imaging in Atlanta, Georgia in 2001, and for over a decade has used his significant experience in traditional analog photography to inform his own experimental work that exists within the rapidly emerging possibilities of today's digital milieu.

Like most American cities, Atlanta bought heavily into the concept of the "urban renewal" of the 1960s and 70s. During this period much of America's hand crafted legacy was systematically replaced by the idealized geometric "international style" of architecture. Any public buildings that celebrated ornamentation, human scale and stylistic references to the past were threatened by the chopping block, or neglected. Most of them were targeted for demolition which usually meant erasure from public memory. Dean speaks of his work as follows:

“My photograph for this exhibition contains elements that refer to the little known legacy of Atlanta's pre-modern architectural landscape. The fact that the Atlanta Preservation Center has saved these remnants from all of these buildings of our past to spark our imaginations is a rare accomplishment worth celebrating in itself. The three Atlanta buildings referred to in this piece from fragments of their original composition that I photographed and combined are:

“The Equitable Building was built in 1892 and demolished in 1971 to make way for the Suntrust Building. The Equitable Building was one of the finest examples of the very first form of "skyscraper" construction created by the Georgia born John Welborn Root and his partner Daniel Burnham. Their work celebrated both the new technology of iron construction and height made possible by the new inventions of the elevator and air conditioning, but also expressed a lush textural stone facade that reflected the human scale of the street.

“The Carnegie Library was built in 1902 with money provided by Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Foundation, perhaps as a vehicle for improving public relations, funded hundreds of libraries all over America - including 24 in Georgia alone. The Atlanta library was the most ambitious of these. It was one of the grandest local examples of hand-crafted late 19th century stone work detailing and textural complexity of which this era was known. Unfortunately, it too was erased to make way for something else. In this case its replacement is a "brutalist" building by Marcel Breuer.

“The Grant Mansion is the third detail referenced in this photograph by a pile of the original fragments of stone left behind during the remodeling of the home in Atlanta’s Grant Park.. Fortunately, much of this original rare example of pre-Civil War Atlanta architecture has been preserved and restored, unlike the two buildings referred to above.”

Originals
40” x 60" Carbon Pigment Print

DAVID KNOX

 

For nearly two decades photographer David Knox has lived in the Southeast and documented the region's landscapes and people. His work combines 19th, 20th, and 21st century photographic processes in single image and collage and is exhibited in galleries in Atlanta and New Orleans. He has taught photography for the past 14 years in Georgia and completed his MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2005.

Mr. Knox’s piece is representative of Lemuel P. Grant's contributions before and during the Civil War, most noteworthy being the railroads and fortifications for the City of Atlanta. Also the work references those things that remain in contemporary Atlanta, the words and imagery that speak of the dire consequences suffered by the City after a prolonged siege and the ultimate collapse of the fortifications.

Palisades contains the following elements; archival pigment prints of a reproduction of an 1865 map of the fortifications that L.P. Grant designed to protect Atlanta, copies of original glass negatives from The Battle of Atlanta [(diptychs) top showing the fortifications and palisades, bottom showing General Sherman overlooking the City], Atlanta maps from the Civil War, and images photographed by the artist in West View Cemetery of Grant's grave stone and also from the Civil War headstones at Oakland Cemetery.

Palisades
33" x 40" framed - photo collage - archival pigment prints on metal with glass, varnish, tar and oil.

 

JODY FAUSETT

 

Jody Fausett was born in 1973 in Dawsonville, Georgia.  He studied photography in Atlanta, Georgia at the Art Institute of Atlanta and later moved to New York where he found work in fashion and portrait photography.  In 2004, he returned to Georgia to focus on his personal art. Fausett’s photographs have been in various group shows in New York, New Orleans, Oregon and Washington, and he mounted his first solo show at the University of Southern Illinois, Department of Motion Picture and Film in Chicago.  His work has appeared in numerous publications including Surface, Tokion, Oxford American and Photo District News.  His first book, Second Place, was released in 2007 through GHava Press and, that same year, Creative Loafing chose him for Critic's Pick as Atlanta’s Best Photographer.

Goodrum
24” x 36” Archival Pigment Print

He was chosen by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles as one of Atlanta’s top ten tastemakers of 2009.  Fausett’s photograph Baby Powder was the cover of Contemporary Annual, a British journal surveying photography around the world. His work was also included in a lecture, Out of the Ordinary: A Survey of Photographic Work by Atlanta-based Artist at the High Museum of Art in 2000. In early 2011, the Museum of Modern Art Georgia recognized Jody Fausett as an up-and-coming local talent, and his work was shown in the corresponding Movers & Shakers: MOCA GA Salutes the Rising Stars of the Georgia Arts Scene at MOCA GA.  Possible Futures also selected Fausett's work for Atlanta Art Now's first book, NoPlaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape, which explores the ways in which local Atlanta-based artists are tackling ideas of place in a complex world. His work is on the cover of the literary journal The Chattachoochee Review and Oxford American which has picked him for one of the top “New Superstars of Southern Art”.

Stack of Drape
24” x 36” Archival Pigment Print

As was the case with multiple artists in this exhibition, their choice of subject matter came from a lengthy conversation with APC’s Executive Director, Boyd Coons. In this conversation, Philip Trammell Shutze came to the fore. Shutze, whose career spanned more than 60 years, is one of Atlanta’s most important architects. His works include the Swan House, the Temple and the Academy of Medicine. Shutze designed the home that is the site of Mr. Fausett’s work for Mrs. James J. (May) Goodrum in 1929. Shutze used the artistry of his most talented colleagues for this home and the home was nicknamed the “Peacock House” as the home was one of Shutze’s favorites. The home is currently undergoing extensive and careful renovations led by its owner the Watson Brown Foundation. Mr. Fausett, whose surreal juxtaposition of taxidermy with North Georgia architecture has won him considerable acclaim, approached Goodrum House in a similar spirit of innovative looking and dreaming. This led Fausett to use taxidermied birds as a motif amid construction debris in a house being reinvented for the twenty-first century.

 
MARCIA VAITSMAN


“What you will see is a montage of the antennas on water drops, on mountains (view from my window) and their lights everywhere, as their information waves are everywhere. The second image brings the column of the Atlanta Carnegie library [gone forever] and an image of it (from an old post card) on the same water drop. I am inspired by the notion of galaxies colliding and getting born, and weather balloons (all as reference to the perception of time).

“In the moment I moved to Atlanta from São Paulo, Brazil, my pre-conceived idea of it as an up to date southern American city, a media-transportation hub, got directly transferred and stuck to the image of 18 of these antennas that I can see from my window. Ironically, one of my favorite antennas in Midtown was dismounted some months ago and replaced by a high building, a new hotel. In my short experience in town I have already felt the way the city constructs and dismantles itself. As Caetano Veloso wrote about Sao Paulo, ‘it is all about the money that builds and destroys pretty things.’

“I am reluctant to see this installation as an apology or vindication for these objects. I am aware of the debate surrounding electro smog as well as the dispute for the spaces that these antennas occupy in the heart of the city. I cannot, however, detach myself from a certain feeling of beauty and curiosity for them. An outsider --hypothetically deprived from contemporary cities, which are media complexes--knowing that these huge upright objects eject to the sky a massive amount of human expectation and meaning (both private and collective), could interpret them as a metaphysical allegory. Here I contextualize them as totemic entities.

“Concepts related to photography such as credibility, memory, desire, and communication were considered here. Some of these are also structural concepts of history and identity: what are the images we will choose, as a collective agreement, to convey in the future the idea of ‘Atlanta in 2012’?”

Landscape of Trust: Permanence/Impermanence [#1 and #2 (diptych)]
12.6’ x 7.1’ Archival pigment print

 

 


 

 

Landscape of Trust (site specific video installation)
video NTSC, 5 minutes,
Available for viewing at the Grant Mansion Sculpture Garden during the Opening, Friday, October 5, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm and the Artists’ Talk, Friday, October 19, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

 

CONSTANCE LEWIS

 

Constance Lewis was raised in Mississippi and Atlanta. She received a Fine Art degree in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied under photographer Henry Wessel. She considered San Francisco home for the better part of 19 years and spent three in France, learning photographic conservation under Curator of Photography, Bibliotheque de France, Philippe Arbaizar. Her curatorial projects include the founding of Opal Gallery, an Atlanta based artist collective, and exhibitions in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta and Mississippi. Her most recent publication, Oraien Catledge: Photographs (University Press of Mississippi) was released August of 2010.

 

JERRY CULLUM

 

Dr. Jerry Cullum has curated or co-curated art exhibitions for venues ranging from the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia to the Amerika Häuser in Germany and other institutions in Europe, and has served as visiting critic in cities ranging from Shreveport, Louisiana to Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

His essays on art and culture have appeared in scholarly and popular journals including Art in America, ARTnews, boundary 2: a journal of postmodern studies, and GSD Review, the professional journal of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Over the course of a quarter century, he has also written art reviews regularly for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and served in various capacities at Art Papers magazine. He currently writes frequently for the art reviewing websites burnaway.org and artscriticatl.com and infrequently for his own two weblogs.

His poems, paintings, conceptual art and electronic music collaborations with composer Dick Robinson have appeared in local exhibitions, national magazines and self-published books and CDs. In 2010 Dr. Cullum won the inaugural Nexus Award from Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. He co-authoring (with Cinqué Hicks and Cathy Fox) the inaugural volume of the bi-annual publication Atlanta Art Now.

Re-Placing Atlanta, which reflects the Atlanta Preservation Center’s mission to promoting preservation in Atlanta through advocacy and education, is in the Drawing Room Gallery which is located in the 1856 Lemuel P. Grant Mansion, itself a site of hidden history.  The site was purchased by the APC in 2001 and has undergone extensive restoration. It houses the APC offices and, since the spring of 2012, has boasted a 650-square-foot, professionally lit visual art gallery.

"Panorama" Ray Herbert's work shown courtesy of John and Katherine Dirga. Our thanks to the Dirga's for the donation of one of Mr. Herbert's photographs for raffle.
 

This exhibit is sponsored by ARTIFACTS picture Framing, 478 Boulevard SE, Aanta, GA 30312, 404-624-3020.

This exhibit is in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2012.

The Atlanta Preservation Center thanks the curators, artists and sponsor for collaborating to produce this unique exhibition.