January 11, 2010

Exhibit expands meaning of home

Photo: Paul Mueller

“Home” is the first word that came to Jason Francisco’s mind when asked to suggest a theme for the inaugural juried exhibition at the Visual Arts Gallery.

“With juried shows, the trick is to find an open-ended topic that doesn’t result in an incoherent exhibition,” explains Francisco, a juror for “Picturing Home: Friends of Emory Visual Arts Juried Photography Exhibition,” now on view through Jan. 29.

“The success of this show is not just that we received many insightful photographs, but that the pictures seem to expand in their meanings toward one another. The images work with one another in nuanced ways, so that global and national dimensions of home become aspects of the personal and emotional aspects of home, and vice-versa.

Francisco, associate professor of photography and chair of the visual arts department, and Julian Cox, curator of photography at the High Museum of Art, selected 30 photographs and two artist books from more than 700 submitted images representing the work of 134 photographers from within the Emory community to places as far-reaching as Turkey and Thailand.

Michael Marfione of Staten Island, N.Y., received first prize for his portrait of a woman and a baby that calls forth both art historical references and immediate questions; Paul Mueller of Oakland, Calif., was awarded second prize for his book “Surgery,” an intimate story of his family’s journey through their daughter’s surgical procedure and recovery; and Don Chambers of Atlanta took third prize for three arresting portraits of homeless people. Joshua Dudley Greer of Athens, Ga. received an honorable mention for “Bedbug,” a playful image of his niece frolicking on an unmade bed. 

In addition to a cash award and a subscription to the photography journal Aperture, all prizewinners will be featured in an upcoming issue of the online Journal of Family Life, published by the Emory Center on Myth and Ritual in American Life.

The first in an ongoing series of shows culled from the Friends of Emory Visual Arts, “Picturing Home” was conceived by the Visual Arts Department as a way to examine a topical subject as interpreted by a broad range of artists, while boosting membership in their Friends group, whose donations foster the mission, programs and growth of the gallery.

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