Schneider Gallery is pleased to present new works by Nancy Newberry and Kelly Kristin Jones. These two photographers adroitly examine ritual and tradition in American youth. Looking specifically at high school and college students, the photographs illustrate the “rites of passage” among these two distinct groups. The images act as documents of these formative experiences, but also amplify each individual within a much larger social network.
Newberry’s series Mum depicts a custom that is unique to her home state of Texas, the ornamentation of elaborate corsages worn by both male and female students attending homecoming events. Through her specific lighting techniques and intricately staged portraits, she pairs carefully arranged moments to construct chaos. This reflects the complex relationship between self and culture. Newberry points her camera at those who wear the mums as a way to investigate how custom and ritual can unite a community and shape those within it.
Jones’s Sorority Girl Project examines what is normally a prohibited space, the sorority house. Questions of identity arise as we examine these images: is identity preformed for the camera? How does the perception of sorority life cohere or collide with the daily lives of these women? Jones’s photographs are imbued with traces of history and legacy, along with what it means to be a member of the sorority community in the 21st century, “a community where young women live under tremendous and contradictory pressures.”
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