“I think that historically, over the last three centuries or so, realism has always been complicated and provisional. In modernity realism is a moving target. Maybe photography, or those with vested interests in it, thought they could freeze realism the way the shutter freezes action. The hegemony of the mass media magazines did that for a while. But their stranglehold on the conventions for realism is over. This makes form much more of a live issue than it once was. Realism does not have a form that can be taken for granted. We must fight for it in the midst of things. This too is a reason why art, where form is always a live issue, is now much more interested in photo-archival impulses and in experimental forms of documentary practice.”
VIDEO: Aspen Mays discusses her current Light Work exhibition Newspaper Rock.
More info at http://lg.ht/AspenMays
JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
ENDIA BEAL: I aspired to be an art teacher.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
EB: I’m inspired by all the women and men who emailed, sent Facebook messages, and shared their personal testimonies about the corporate workspace based on my project, Can I Touch It? These narratives continued the conversation and gave the photographs a new life outside of the gallery.
JC: What are you up to right now?
EB: Right now I’m completing a video I began during my artist residency at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. I had the opportunity to interview 23 minority women about their experiences within the corporate space. I created a fictional narrative based on each woman’s story and together it becomes a communal experience. You can watch the video here.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
EB: Definitely! I received a great deal of support and guidance along the way from artists such as Tod Papageorge, Sheila De Bretteville, Michael Platt, Harrell Fletcher, Shirin Neshat, Jeff Whetstone, Lorna Simpson, Gregory Crewdson, John Pilson, Robert Storr, Collier Schorr, Laurie Simmons, Sam Messer, Juan Logan, Kianga Ford and Ariel Shanberg… to name a few!
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
EB: I’m based in North Carolina. The art community in NC has a history of encouraging emerging artists. I received a great deal of support, including the Regional Artist Grant from the Winston – Salem Arts Council.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
EB: We overestimate what we can do in a year, but we underestimate what we can do in 10 years. The life of an artist is a never-ending journey. Support one another and continue to make work.
JC: If all else fails – what is your plan B?
EB: I don’t have a plan B. I will continue to make work until the untold stories within art are revealed.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
EB: Every artist needs a creative community. It is imperative.
Interleaves, published by Oranbeg Press, 2013
I’m still really excited to have been included in this, amongst great company.
Aspen Mays, Untitled (Fireflies inside the body of my camera, 8:37-8:39, June 26, 2008)
Alejandra Laviada, 2012