The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Keyword Site Search

← Back to Past Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions 2013

PHOTO ID: March 30 – July 7, 2013

Janice Suhji_web

Photograph by Janice Suhji, from the “Dreams II: High School” series.

This Museum-wide photography exhibition is centered on the theme of identity. Loosely broken into three subthemes: self, social and gender, we present artworks to stimulate reflection and lively discussion.

In the 1st floor Lezin Gallery, we take a historical look at the evolution of the family portrait, showcasing both the tools and products of different time periods. Visitors can take their own group portraits in the style of different time periods in an immersive photo booth activity.

On the 2nd floor landing, there are photographs done by children from Watsonville and Live Oak. These self-portraits are combined with historic postcards and other photographic material in collages representing the students’ relationship to their home communities.

The works in the 2nd floor Solari Gallery reveal artists’ aesthetic, psychological, and emotional relationships to the self and community. Many of these artists explore questions such as:
• Who are we—within ourselves or within our community?
• What do we want to share with you about ourselves?
• If this is a personal examination of self, what will the viewer in turn examine?

Artists in this gallery include: Poppy de Garmo, who presents the newest work from her Santa Cruz “Townies” series; Sasha Yungju Lee challenges the stereotypical Hollywood-imposed standards of ideal beauty in her “EyeCon” series by photoshopping her own eyes onto photographs of iconic starlets; Jim Collum and Joe Ravetz capture poignant moments when they encounter chronically homeless people in their communities; Janice Suhji, who looks at Korean teens and their future societal aspirations, and Cindy Sherman’s 1976 photograph, Untitled (mother embracing children) is a universally understood portrait of motherhood. Telling Stories by Oakland artist Jonathan Eubanks reveals the deep connection and helpful influence non-parental adults can offer when they pass along their stories to children. In his series of humorous photographs of his tongue-and-cheek interactions with his daughter Alice, Maryland artist Dave Engledow espouses his conviction not to become a “checked out” father.

Lesley Louden, Beth Yarnelle Edwards and Laurie Long present interesting views into intimate and intricate relationships. Hedwig Heerschop looks at the social identity of people who emigrate and identify more with their heritage than when they still lived within the culture of their homeland. Cesar Kuriyama, realizing how easy it is to forget the tiny, beautiful moments we expereince, decided to make a video montage of one-second shots from his daily life. Catherine Opie shows us that some families have two moms and Lewis Watts reveals a unique eye in his series of street photographs of Harlem that is compelling and deep. Brian Taylor’s altered photographs reveal self as well as process, thought and aesthetics. Award winning documentary photographer Shmuel Thaler’s joyful image of a group of wet-suited people defines a lot about what we like about living in our über cool community.

The work of Charles Berger, who looks at himself in the harsh light of a seedy bathroom of a local dive bar, is shown with other self-portraits. These artists include Tobin Keller, Chris Felver, Sandra Frank, Sara Friedlander, Tod Gangler, Terri Garland, Susan Hillyard, SJ Hoisington, Claire Lerner, Ann Mansolino, Lester Marks, Drew Miller, Dusty Nelson, M.Sophia Santiago/Michelle Magdalena Maddox and and Chip Scheuer. The world that Thomas Campbell, Mike Brodie and Tobin Yelland inhabit may seem wildly disparate from most of our every-day lives, but they invite us in by sharing stories about what they see and live. In his “Dead Men Don’t Look Like Me” series, Oakland artist Paul Schiek rephotographs mug shots of men who were convicted and sent to their deaths in the 1950s. After the great Wynn Bullock died, Edna, his wife, took up his cameras and became a photographer with her own style. Tony Grant took a photograph of a portrait within a portrait at a family reunion. Robin Laser and Adrienne Pao examine their cultures of origin in their collaborative “Tent Dress Series.” Miguel Angelo Libarnes applies mascara in the shower in a mesmerizing video, and Rosemary Sanders poses ala Cindy Sherman for her self-portrait. New York City artist Lynn Saville takes a photo of an artwork with which she personally identifies, while Susan A. Barnett photographs the messages displayed on the backs of the people she encounters along the way.

Ted Holladay and Instant Magazine led the development of a Camera Phone Photography show on the 3rd floor stairwell and lobby. The images were culled from a large-scale call for photographs taken in the work places of Santa Cruz County community members.

In the Art Forum Gallery on the 3rd floor, themes of gender and social constructs are developed in work like that of Jana Marcus, who shares work from her “Transfiguration” project, featuring photographs of a beautiful young woman who slowly transforms into an even more beautiful man. SJ Hoisington and r.r.jones give us additional perspectives to consider how we look at gender. Mido Lee reverses the male gaze by placing nude men in the same poses that male photographers have often posed women. The photographs of Nathan Gurwitz capture drag queens enthusiastically participating in an annual Gay Pride parade. The work of Peter Merts is a photographic descriptor of what it means to be masculine; in a video and photograph of “Evelyn,” Lesley Louden looks at how we define femininity, and Angelica Muro voices concerns about the concept of beauty and the reality of consumerism within society. Nicholas Albrecht’s work drives home the fact that age does not necessarily preclude still identifying ourselves as sexual beings.

Please join us in “listening” to both the uniquely individual and the shared universal stories of these photographers from Santa Cruz and beyond. Their narratives may be different; they may identify with different philosophies and live in ways we can only imagine, and they may occupy different geographical spaces, but these artists all are in the “now” with us.

  • jocelyn mel

    this sounds so timely and interesting. Can’t wait to get down there !

  • susan pratte

    i really enjoyed this exhibit. timely, indeed–just the kind of healing santa cruz could use right about now. i would like to see more of jim collum’s work.