By Jessica Vento
Meant to evoke profound thoughts and emotions, Rider’s first exhibit of the academic year, “Landscape: Social, Political, Traditional,” brings together four documentary photographers: Josh Brilliant, Annie Hogan, Joshua Lutz and Wendel A. White.
“The documentary style is the thread that connects each work to the other,” said professor and gallery director Harry Naar. “They diverge in their interpretations and their vision of a social and political aspect that serves as an overlay to their art.”
These artists were selected for how their vision is directed toward the landscape, and the theme is how selected images presented in a very particular way can move the viewers’ ideas away from thinking about the landscape as a pastoral image. Their interests are concerned with land and buildings as strong metaphors for experiences related to racial segregation, loneliness and tragedy.
The exhibit is guest curated by Aubrey J. Kauffman, photographer, teacher and gallery manager for the Mason Gross Galleries of Rutgers University. His photographs have been widely exhibited in venues such as The New Jersey State Museum, The Noyes Museum, The Newark Museum, The Allentown Art Museum, and the Enfoco Street Gallery in New York City. In 1990, his work was shown at Rider alongside the highly respected photographer Louis Draper.
“The works fit into a genre that conveys a conversation about landscape being more than just a romantic or scenic journey,” said Kauffman. “The politics and the social implications of how the artists depict the subject lead to the discussion and exchange of ideas amongst viewers.”
Brilliant received his bachelor of arts in film and media arts from Temple University, his master of arts in museum studies from Syracuse University and master of fine arts in studio art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. His art has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Rodchenko School of Photography Annex in Moscow, and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. Brilliant currently teaches at The College of New Jersey and is the education coordinator at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
An Australian photo media artist and graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hogan exhibits her work nationally and internationally. Her works are held in major Australian collections and also in private collections in the United Kingdom and the United States. Hogan is a visiting assistant professor at the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University. She was formerly assistant professor and area coordinator of photography at East Carolina University in North Carolina.
Lutz, a graduate from International Center of Photography and Bard College, received his master of fine arts in photography in 2005. He received best editorial awards from both Photo District News (PDN) and Communication Arts, and was also named one of PDN’s top 30 emerging photographers in 2004. Lutz’s work has been featured in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times and Newsweek. He has taught at various colleges including Bard College, The International Center of Photography and is currently at Pratt University.
White has received various awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography. He earned a bachelor of fine arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a master of fine arts in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White taught photography at the School of Visual Arts, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the International Center for Photography and Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently a distinguished professor of art at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
“We tend to think of photographs and photography as the be all and end all about reality,” said Naar. “I hope that viewers ‘refocus’ their perceptions and observations about reality when looking at natural versus invention photographs.”
All of the artists will participate in a gallery talk on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. and the exhibit will be on display until Oct. 12. The art gallery is open Tuesday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Printed in the 9/24/14 edition.