There’s something about the surface of a photograph, how it acts, and about the coherence of photographic illusion that both fascinates and disturbs me. To me, there’s something mysterious about what’s physically there and how it acts on our psyches…how it connects us to some other thing-to a chair, a human being, to a different reference point, a moment in time, and finally, to desire itself.
- Sarah Charlesworth
Borrowing from current political events and policies such as the proposed border wall, attack on women’s rights, and the rollback of environmental protections, By Proxy confronts how our societal values and socio-economics have shaped American politics. After the Women’s March in January, pink yarn has come to symbolize women’s empowerment. After the Charlottesville rally, a Tiki Torch is no longer just a yard light but a symbol of white supremacy. Through various processes of manipulation, these photographs reference mass media and our current political climate. As a way to highlight the problems of representation and power structures, this exhibition of photographs depicts objects and backgrounds as metaphors for events that have taken place over the past year.
Sarah Charlesworth’s work has been influential through her use of symbolic imagery and cultural identity such as her project Objects of Desire, which explores the use of pop culture icons as coded constructions of meaning. Similar to Charlesworth, my project focuses on the photograph as a ubiquitous and self-referential subject. I’m interested in the spectacle of photographs and how we value, learn, and are seduced by them. The experience of learning through such an image-based society has impacted the way I think about the representation of our cultural history. Employing visual techniques such as artificial shadows, highly saturated colors, and digital collage, these works aim to highlight the duplicitous parallels between a coded image and a political event; ultimately provoking how we determine meaning through photographic manipulation.