SITElab 4: Will Wilson with Students from the New Mexico School for the Arts
SITE Santa Fe is pleased to present a collaborative project by Will Wilson with students from the New Mexico School for the Arts in its SITElab space. This exhibition features over a dozen large scale photographic prints by seven students and by Wilson, as well as an interactive component. During the week of Jan. 21-25, the public is invited to do an individual portrait sitting with Wilson, resulting in a tintype positive and inkjet prints. These prints will be available for sale, part of the proceeds of which will benefit SITE and the NM School for the Arts. Sign up for Portrait Sittings at the Free Public Opening on Friday, January 17, 5:30-7 pm. Space for this unique opportunity is limited.In the Fall of 2012, Will Wilson began working, as a visiting artist, with select students from the New Mexico School for the Arts. Their project—initially conceived as a response to SITE’s 2012 More Real? exhibition and employing techniques and concepts derived from Wilson’s ongoing Critical Indigenous Exchange Project (CIPX)—explores issues of identity and myth in relationship to representations of the American West, and New Mexico in particular.
Participating students: Sachiko Cooper da Silva, Sarah Jones, Devin Maes, Ben Rosen-Hatcher, Emily Stearns, Emma Steinman, and Alma Valdez-Garcia.
Each student developed a “photographic personae” that they adopted in self- portraits. These “photographic personae” critically engage with New Mexican myths and stereotypes, and reflect on the students’ own self-representations as contemporary young New Mexicans with complex relationships to the region’s history, geography and culture. Some of the staged self-portraits, for example the work of Sachiko Cooper da Silva and Emily Stearns, comment on variations of ethnic and geographical identity. Others students’ work comments on social and historical identity. Senior Devin Maes opted to stage a scene from “La Llorona” a popular legend about a woman who has drowned her own children and whose ghostly destiny is to forever wander in the night, crying for her loss.
The photographs employ the historic wet plate collodion process that Wilson has been using for CIPX. This early photographic method, invented in 1851, and popular from the 1850s until about 1880, was prized for the quality of the beautifully detailed prints it produced and the ease with which they could be reproduced. The process created both a glass negative and a print. Wilson has adapted the process by scanning the plates into a digital format and making archival inkjet prints. While the wet plate process can be done on glass and makes a negative called an ambrotype, he uses anodized aluminum, which gives an instant positive (tintype).
SITElab is an experimental exhibition series presented in a newly configured gallery space located off the lobby of SITE’s building. SITElab will showcase new directions in the work of established and emerging artists and feature new works out of artists’ studios, experimental, interdisciplinary, and community-based projects. This space will allow us to stage short-run exhibitions during the times we would normally have been completely closed for installation, increasing the amount of time that SITE is open to the public.
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