Begin Anywhere: Paths of Mentorship and Collaboration
SF Camerawork is proud to present Begin Anywhere, an exhibition and accompanying publication about mentorship and artistic collaboration, featuring artists Amanda Boe, McNair Evans, and Kevin Kunishi along with their mentors - Jason Fulford, Todd Hido, Mark Mahaney, Mike Smith, and Alec Soth. Through a series of collaborative projects, shown in tandem with individual bodies of work, Begin Anywhere explores the possibilities and influence of artistic mentorship, tracing the paths of visual thinking exchanged among artists and how ideas are developed and manifested in the process of an evolving artistic practice.
In conjunction with the exhibition, SF Camerawork Publications will release Begin Anywhere, a 96-page companion to the exhibition designed by Bob Aufuldish and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. This collectible hardcover book includes over 60 full-color reproductions and an essay by artist Justine Kurland. Copies of the book are available for pre-sale through the gallery at sfcamerawork.org/store.
Begin Anywhere presents a combination of individual artists’ works along with collaborative projects. At the core of this exhibition is selected work by emerging photographers Amanda Boe, McNair Evans, and Kevin Kunishi. Amanda Boe has been photographing family and friends for the last seven years in Vallejo, a city in California shaped by conformity and disparity. Her body of work Silver Lining bears witness as a younger generation comes of age, their identities evolving and revealing themselves in portraits backdropped by the suburban landscape. For his project Sparkstone, photographer McNair Evans, inspired by the colorful family history of Russian Jewish immigrants, embarked on a journey to retrace their western migration from Montana’s gold fields to Salt Lake City’s urban expanses. Evans’ contemporary images of the landscape explore the loss of home, complex family relationships, stereotypes of masculinity, and the industrialization of the Rocky Mountain region. Kevin Kunishi will exhibit work from his series ʻImi Haku, featuring photographs taken during Kunishi’s return to his ancestral island home of Hawaii. The resulting photographs are a search for home, a collection of cues, markers for navigating the fabricated realities of the island landscape. Ultimately, the photographs becoming a map of his own history, both inherited and imagined, and a reflection on Hawaii’s complex cultural identity.
The artists also executed two collaborative projects with their mentors especially for this exhibition. The first installation is a version of the Exquisite Corpse parlor game, popularized 100 years ago by European Surrealist artists. Participants received a print in the mail, and had a month to send a responding print to the next participant. Unpackaged prints were placed directly in the mail, allowing the delivery process to alter the original work. The second collaboration, a play on the pop-culture word search puzzle, translates letters of the artists’ names into photographic prompts depicting visual intersections. Each participant received a word search puzzle created with the names of all participants. Over the following five months, participants created or curated five images inspired from the words found within the word search puzzle. These two collaborations present accessible models of collaborative practice among artists meant to inspire and demystify the creative process.
Begin Anywhere is made possible through the generous support of LightSource SF, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, Dictionary.com, and Jane Levy Reed.
Amanda Boe (b. 1978) grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and currently lives and works in New York City. Her work has been exhibited nationally and included in exhibitions at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Rayko Photo Center, and Southern Exposure. Her photographs have been published in Der Greif - A Process (2014), Aint-Bad Magazine, Papersafe, and several online features.
McNair Evans (b. 1979) is originally from North Carolina and currently based in San Francisco. Evans is a 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 2015 PDN 30 Award recipient, and 2014 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award recipient. Evans’ work has been featured in many publications including Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal and his photographs are held in public and private collections including those of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Sir Elton John Photography Collection.
Kevin Kunishi (b. 1975) grew up in Oakland, California and is currently based in Oakland and the Philippines. His work has been shown nationally and internationally including exhibitions at The Honolulu Museum of Art, The Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, V1 Gallery, Denmark, and Black & Blue Gallery, Brooklyn. His first monograph Los Restos de la Revolución was released in the Fall 2012 (Daylight Publishing) and in 2011 he was the honorary recipient of the Blue Earth Alliance Award for Best Photography Project.