Residency Projects Part 1
Kala Fellowships are awarded annually to eight innovative artists working in print media, photography, book arts, installation, video and digital media. Fellowship artists are selected from a competitive field of applicants from the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. Recipient artists receive a financial award and up to six-months residency at Kala’s studio facility followed by an exhibition of their new work. The Kala Gallery is proud to present the first of our four-part exhibition series, Residency Projects, featuring work by our 2007-2008 Fellowship artists.
Bayeté Ross Smith utilizes the photographic medium as a means to investigate racial and cultural perceptions, stereotyping and societal interactions. For Residency Projects I, Bayeté is presenting work from two photographic projects that involve a unique approach to portraiture. Taking AIM features a series of portraits presented as shooting range targets that include an overlay of bull’s eye markings covering the face of each subject. These “portraits” evoke America’s obsessive love affair with firearms, entertainment and recreational violence while reminding us about victims and perpetrators of genuine criminal gun violence. The second portrait series, titled Our Kind Of People, examines the ways in which skin tone, clothing and personal style affect our ideas about identity, personality and character. Devoid of any context for assessing the personality of the individual in the photograph, the viewer becomes aware of his or her own cultural biases and tendencies towards stereotyping as each portrait is presented for the viewer’s scrutiny. Both of these portrait series explore challenging questions about who controls the photographic imagery that is used to define people and cultures in contemporary society.
Prague-based artist Petra Vargova is well-known in Europe for her conceptual works that involve elements of virtual reality and Play-Station game technology with audio-kinetic objects and installations. Petra created two new works during her studio residency at Kala including 25 35, a pair of digital drawings. The first drawing in the series was digitally created when the artist was twenty-five years old and living in Europe. The second drawing was created this year when Petra turned thirty-five during her residency at Kala. She drew a red circle for every month of her life starting with the diameter of 1cm for her first year and added one cm with each consecutive year. The randomly placed red circles correspond to the artist’s age while the overall scale of the drawings reflects the actual dimension of her body measurements in regards to height and width. This digital drawing project remains open-ended with a plan to create a new drawing every ten years. Petra’s second work in the exhibition is titled My Neighborhood (SOMA, San Francisco), an observation of the neighborhood she lived in during her studio residency at Kala.This conceptual/sculptural workexamines San Francisco’s street patterns and how they vary from the ancient layout of European cities.
The next presentation in our Residency Projects exhibition series will feature a one week gallery installation involving performative works by Kala Fellowship artist Malcolm Smith. Residency Projects II runs from July 12 – July 19, 2008.
Exhibitions are free and open to the public.