Afterimage Vol. 43, No. 1&2


 Special Issue: Visual Studies Workshop

Essays & Features

Dreaming Blue 540D-4: Nick Marshall’s Art of Escape

Tracy Stuber

For artist Nick Marshall, the desire for escape is attractively omnipresent—perhaps inescapable. It is in the air, in the water, and on the walls of our homes. We drink FIJI Water and Jimmy Buffett’s Landshark Lager, then breathe in and sigh, longing for clearer skies. We paint our bathrooms with Gentle Sea S460-2 and attempt, in the words of Sherwin- Williams, to “turn [our] bathroom into the retreat of [our] dreams.” This advertising slogan served as a guiding mantra for Marshall in his 2013–14 series of photographs and paintings entitled _e_scapes. The horizon provides his guideline, as it has for writers and thinkers throughout the history of Western culture

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Scientific Creativity: The Notebooks of Rose Lowder

Tara Merenda Nelson

Merenda Nelson04

I was first exposed to Rose Lowder’s films in 2003, while attending monthly screenings at Pittsburgh’s experimental film focused micro-cinema, Jefferson Presents. The audience for Jefferson Presents typically consisted of artists, musicians, filmmakers, and experimental film enthusiasts. Screenings were loud and lively, and it was uncommon for a film to go by without enthusiastic cheers and jeers from the audience. But when a Rose Lowder film was shown, the room was inevitably silent (as are most of her films), and the audience became fully immersed in an all-engrossing visual experience: red poppies danced in sunny fields traversed by sailboats gliding on shimmering blue oceans; bustling city streets in summer intertwined with empty urban plazas in autumn; peach trees trembled between morning light and evening shade…

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Peter Christensen, Joshua Dubler, and Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge

EVELYNE LEBLANC-ROBERGE: In October 2014, I sent letters to men and women who are serving a life sentence or are on death row across the United States, asking if they would be interested in collaborating with me to produce a book and exhibition project about living spaces. I received several responses to my call for collaboration. Initially, receiving their responses was overwhelming. It was like receiving letters and drawings from another world––a parallel, institutionalized world.

When I started the residency at the Visual Studies Workshop Project Space in November, I felt an urgency to do something with the letters I had received. As I was replying to my new collaborators, I photocopied the original letters, and selected and cut out parts that were inspiring or spoke to me in terms of visual imagery, and installed the fragments in the room. The walls of the Project Space became a mind map to help me process the next steps of the project…

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The Survival of Experimental Film: A Conversation with Light Cone’s Emmanuel Lefrant

Scott Hammen

As old boundaries between experimental film and video and the contemporary art world dissolve, the future of the organizations that have traditionally supported moving image artists is uncertain. One of the most active of these organizations has been the Paris-based cooperative Light Cone, whose director, Emmanuel Lefrant, an active experimental filmmaker himself, sat down with me on February 25 at his office to respond to a series of questions about present and future ways of distributing and viewing the work of moving image artists…

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Metaphor and Memento in Christine Shank’s Our First Year Together

Rebecca J. DeRoo


Christine Shank’s powerful and continually unfolding work, our first year together, is an ongoing series of photographs and edition of two artists’ books, begun in 2009 and exhibited at Visual Studies Workshop in fall 2014. The title suggests the story of a couple or a human relationship. This is reinforced by two images: one showing an anonymous male figure and the other an anonymous female figure. The woman is photographed from behind, with long hair obscuring her features, and the man’s eyes are closed in contemplation, so that the individuals’ identities and experiences remain ambiguous. Instead, photographs of domestic objects, still lifes, and landscapes evoke conflicting emotions, interpersonal dynamics, and various moments in the trajectory of a relationship…

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Unfolding Perception: Materiality and Time in the Work of Tara Merenda Nelson and Andy Warhol

Almudena Escobar López

The first time I visited New York City in 2012, I was anxious to see the Empire State Building. I walked along Fifth Avenue from Central Park and passed by without noticing it. When I realized that I was at Thirty-first Street, I turned around, and there it was. After paying my ticket and queuing, I went to the observatory on the top floor. Images of the building began to unfold and overlay my direct experience, and my perceptual relationship with it began to change. Before, the Empire State was an idea constructed from pop culture. It was King Kong (1933, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack), Empire (1964, by Andy Warhol), and many others. But, now the Empire State has a spatial reference for me. It has become part of my perceptual archive of images; my mind reconstructs it through the recollection of direct experience…

View End of Empire (2015) by Tara Merenda Nelson

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Sean McFarland’s Glass Mountains

Lisa Sutcliffe

The photographs that comprise the series Glass Mountains (2012–present) grow out of and extend from Sean McFarland’s long-standing investigation of the natural world and how it has been represented by photography. McFarland, a California native, has long been preoccupied by the landscape of the American West. Beginning with Pictures of the Earth (2007–12), an earlier series that combined photographs of the Western landscape with his own imagined collages, McFarland’s work has consistently sought to mine the myth of the West itself rather than simply describe it. McFarland received an MFA in photography from the California College of the Arts in 2004, and is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. McFarland showed his newest work, Glass Mountains, at Visual Studies Workshop in spring of 2015…

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Bleu Notes: A Conversation with Warren Lehrer

Tate Shaw

Warren Lehrer is one of only a handful of makers of the past few decades who have consistently created longer-form works claimed as part of the fledgling field that is sometimes called “artists’ books.” His projects might more aptly be described as what Fluxus artist and Something Else Press publisher Dick Higgins called “intermedia”—works of art between media or genre. Lehrer’s works fall between theater and graphic design, fiction and musical notation, and oral history and poetry. “Illuminated novel” is what he calls his most recent project, A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley (2013), published by Goff Books and over the past year Lehrer has been giving performative readings of excerpts synced to graphic animations, video, sound effects, and theatrical lighting. A Life in Books tells the story of fictional writer, designer, raconteur, entrepreneur, and eventual prisoner Bleu Mobley, and the 101 books he created in his lifetime. After reading the novel and attending one of Lehrer’s readings, I wrote the questions below and he responded via email following his two performances as a visiting artist with VSW in late 2014…

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Occupation by Meredith Davenport


I am interested in how news images and narratives enter into our internal emotional lives. I investigate notions of truth in the document, and how news photographs and media stories carry other messages beyond their intended informational content. I like to exploit uncanny gaps in logic by using double narratives that weave together external social and political themes with internal psychological ones. Much of my work originates from my experience working as a news and documentary photographer, where my internal narratives were often mixed with the political and social stories I worked on…

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(In)Voluntary Memory by Alysia Kaplan and Ashwin Manthripragada


While in residence at Visual Studies Workshop in May 2015, I began work on a new series titled (In)Voluntary Memory. Using other people’s words in conjunction with my photographic images, I am exploring the dilemma of divided historical loyalties. The art of collaboration, here, is not a bridge between divided historical loyalties. It is a meeting along a familiar path in an unfamiliar place. The familiar path is recognition; the unfamiliar place is cognition. For instance, when two people recognize each other, their visages cross gazes, and they think, “I know you” and “I see you”; they are noticing a familiar history in an unfamiliar face. As the new face is cognized, their own history is recognized…

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Peepholes, Puppets, and Collage by Laurie O’Brien and Doug Harvey


For this project, I am interested in our world, which is becoming both increasingly more connected and more distant. Since September of 2014, I worked with photographs from the Soibelman Syndicate News Agency Archive at Visual Studies Workshop to create collages that displace time, space, and scale. I collaborated with Doug Harvey, a Los Angeles writer, whom I have never met, but with whom I felt an artistic affinity. Through our email correspondence and exchange of images and text I decided on three areas of crossover—Peepholes, Puppets, and Collage. I sent Doug the themes and several images and in response, he sent me back text. I then chose phrases from his text and this evoked the creation of a new set of images…

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Current Issue, Vol. 45, no. 4

Shrukk (Knot) by Mudabbir Ahmad Tak

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment / Elliott Erwitt: Pittsburgh 1950 by Marjorie Backman

Vol. 45, nos. 2 &3

Citizen by Michael Danner

Shame by Elissa Levy


Image Text Ithaca Symposium

Film as Verb: Documentary Imperfection in the Post-Factual Era by Gabrielle McNally

Speculations and Inquiries on New Participatory Documentary Environments

Toward a Theory of Participatory New Media Documentary

Documentary Untethered, Documentary Becoming

Collaborative Documentary Practice: Histories, Theories, Practices


Silos by Andria Hickey and Matthew Chasney

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