As part of the lecture, I talked about the culture of the southeast, the culture of Selma, the project as a whole and how it fits into the work I've done as an artist. The students were genuinely interested in the project and had some great questions.
The previous day, with the help of the Art Department, Doug and I (working through inclement weather that had caused most of Alabama and Georgia to shut down) installed the show in the McCrary Gallery on campus in the Art building.
We worked through the storm to install the show and I was actually able to create some on-site work that complemented the portraits. Before leaving for Macon, I had been working on a large fabric piece for the show and once at the gallery, realized that I needed to rework the piece to fit better into the space. I separated the large quilt-like piece that I had been working on over the last few weeks into smaller individual pieces and was able to create two collages out of the fabric pieces. I am pleased with how it came out and you can see a little bit of the piece behind me in the image below. My hope is that this piece continues to grow and evolve as the project as a whole evolves.
I am so thankful that the art department at Macon let me be flexible and spend some time in the gallery working with the portraits to ensure that they were placed properly and that the fabric piece complimented the project as a whole.
The sound collage that I created resonates within the space and fills it with life. The sound adds another dimension to the work and allows those who are in the space another way of connecting with the portraits. I want visitors to the space to feel as though they know the faces on the wall and connect with the portraits.
Wesleyan art professors Dennis Appleby and Frances de la Rosa had an ingenious solution for how the audio could be integrated within the space--they brought in wifi speakers that are cordless. They worked perfectly!
Doug and I set up for a demo earlier in the day so that when the students arrived, the demo was ready to go. We used a similar set up to what I've been using at The Selma Portrait Project so that students could get a good idea of how I work with a person who has come in for a portrait.
I was happy that the students were extremely engaged with the demo and I was very excited to hear a collective "ahhh" when Fernando's image came up on the plate. It's truly a magical thing to see an image appear on a plate! I always think that this is one of the greatest aspects of photography--seeing the image come up on the substrate. As digital technology continues to integrate into our lives and visual information can be sent around the world in an moment, magic like an image appearing in a darkroom starts to become kind of quaint. I hope that the demonstration peaked their interest in analog processes and imagery in general.
I was so excited to see that once we were leaving campus, the college created a beautiful sign promoting the show and placed it in front of the Art Building--I couldn't have asked for anything more!
We're looking forward to returning to Macon in a couple of weeks to take the show down and spend some time with old and new friends!