New Works #11

New Works #11

© Kesha Bruce, Secrets in the House (Re)calling and (Re)telling series
© Adriana Katzew, untitled Y se repite series
© Donald Daedalus, Maya If I Were Beautiful and Symmetrical Too series
© Myra Greene, untitled Character Recognition series

New Works #11

Kesha Bruce • Adriana Katzew • Donald Daedalus • Charlie Grosso • Myra Greene • Esther Hidalgo • Wanda Acosta 
Juror: Melissa Harris, Editor in Chief, Aperture Magazine

May 23 – July 30, 2008
Hosted by Taller Boricua/The Puerto Rican Workshops
Opening Reception: Friday, May 30, 6:00-9:00pm
Come meet all the artists! Free and Open to the public
Artist Talk: Saturday, May 31, 1:00-3:00pm
with Kesha Bruce, Adriana Katzew and Donald Daedalus

El Taller Boricua Galleries
The Julia De Burgos Cultural Center
1680 Lexington Avenue @ 106th Street
New York, NY 10029

MODERNAGE Custom Digital Imaging Labs
May 13-July 31, 2008

Modernage Custom Digital Imaging Labs
1150 Avenue of the Americas @ 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

Although this year’s winners and honorable mentions in En Foco’s annual New Works program employ divergent working processes and represent a multiplicity of ethnic backgrounds and sensibilities, there is a common thread to their considerations. Each of them, one way or another, is addressing issues of personal history and along with this, in most cases, the intertwined concept of identity.

At times, this is manifested very literally in the work, and in other cases more metaphorically, but the sense of the photographer attempting to come to terms with some sense “otherness“ is pervasive.

Whereas Kesha Bruce’s mixed media digital project, “(Re)calling and (Re)telling“ conceptualizes cultural and ethnic identities and histories, Donald Daedalus’s “If I Were Beautiful and Symmetrical Too“ looks at cultural appropriation and issues of beauty in terms of the Western concept of symmetry. The third winner, Adriana Katzew, explores Mexican identity on both sides of the border in “Y se repite“ (And it Repeats Itself), a project which, in its blurring of the past and the present, considers Mexican migrant workers, and their sense of isolation.

The honorable mentions, Wanda Acosta, Myra Greene, Charlie Grosso, and Esther Hidalgo continue in the examination of identity. Acosta does so via an avatar, “Starlette Van Dyke“, in her digital photo journey through virtual worlds, while Greene’s “Character Recognition“ questions what people see when they see her, doing so by looking at ethnographic classification and other categorization techniques, and manifesting her findings through ambrotypes. Less involved with the specifics of identity based in ethnicity, Grosso engages with how we live our lives, and issues of memory and childhood in terms of how they inform who we are. In “Wok the Dog“, she examines the commerce of markets in Taiwan (the source of childhood fears) weighing the livelihood of the vendors against the food source that supports them – the animals who must die for them to survive financially. Finally, in “…En el idioma…“ Esther Hidalgo deconstructs the notion of the family photo in order to understand the notions of cultural memory, and then reclaim cultural history.

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to look at the work of these photographers, and all of the others who submitted to New Works # 11 – I am grateful to En Foco for the privilege. -Melissa Harris, Editor in Chief, Aperture

—— En Foco’s New Works Photography Awards is an annual program selecting three to seven U.S. based photographers of African, Asian, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander heritage through an open call for submissions. Acting as a creative incubator, it enables artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, while providing an honoraria and infrastructure for a professional exhibition in New York.

New Works is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA). We are grateful for additional support from Casa de VinosBogenLoweproPrint FileFuji Film and Modernage Custom Digital Imaging Labs.