Then & Now – Gilbert, Arizona

9/13/15
Three years ago I graduated from my photography program at ASU and exhibited, for the first time, my thesis project Arid Zone Utopia in the show Click. The work was over a year in the making and was a heavily edited down group of suburban landscapes, from what I thought were unusually designed neighborhoods in Arizona. Of all of the images I shot, those from the Gilbert, Arizona locations worked best in my series, as I found their landscapes most contrasting from the natural desert.

As a result of that exhibition, I partnered with Art Intersection Gallery (of whom I had just finished an internship with at the time) to create a body of work from a family archive of prints and negatives on commission. The artwork and exhibition titled Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison was initially exhibited at Art Intersection in the summer of 2013, after a year of work into the project.

When Howard Morrison (son of Marvin Morrison and patron) and I first spoke about possibilities and scope of this project, we briefly mentioned a future possibility of a “then and now” show, since so many of my photographs are taken in the same locations as his father’s were, only 30-60 years apart.

Shifting Views Postcard Merge_DeGideo copy

The “then and now” of the project has finally taken shape as the exhibition Shifting Views, open now through October 31st at The Gallery at the Gilbert Historical Museum. The entire Morrison project, and nine more of my Gilbert Arid Zone Utopia images are on view, including three images never shown before. I believe the show takes an interesting look at the changing priorities and the booming expansion of this once modest farming town. If you are in the area, pay The Gallery a visit at 10 S. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Shifting Views Show Statement:
On exhibit, are works made throughout different periods of time, with different intentions. The similarities lie in that they were photographed in many of the same locations, 30 – 60 years apart from each other and both edited and printed by the same artist.

When I shot the landscape project Arid Zone Utopia, I was exploring and documenting many suburban neighborhoods throughout the state, but the Morrison Ranch and Agritopia areas were where I was most intrigued to photograph. At the time, being a self-admitted “desert rat”, I did not understand what these landscapes were in my desert world.

After having the fantastic opportunity to work with the Morrison family, sifting carefully through hundreds of images shot by Marvin Morrison, and listening to many family stories, I began to finally connect with the awkwardly beautiful place I had been investigating with my camera for so many years.

The result has been an unintentional collaboration between myself and the late Marvin Morrison, reflecting the changes this land has been through, and glimpse into the past and present.

– Gina DeGideo

My Spirit Animal

12/29/13
I found my spirit animal in the gallery window the other day…

Spirit Animal Pic 2_DeGideo

©Gina DeGideo

Poor little guy, but where would photography be without dead birds? I don’t know, so I did what any other photographer would do and recorded this immediately with my phone.

Collecting Event of the Year – Annual Silent Auction

11/12/13

Narcissus Tresamble, Benabbio, Italy by Gina DeGideo

Narcissus Tresamble, Benabbio, Italy
by Gina DeGideo

Join me and Art Intersection for the collecting event of the year at our 2013 Silent Auction on December 7th, 5-8 pm. This event is held as the annual fundraiser to help keep the doors open and the lights on, aside from helping to bring in world-renowned artist and provide emerging artists with a place to show each year.

The Annual Silent Auction event at Art Intersection is a fantastic opportunity for new collectors to start their collection. With low prices on many highly collectable pieces, you’re sure to find something to fall in love with. This year I’ve donated a limited edition toned gelatin silver 4×5 contact print from a pinhole camera. This is a new print from a series of 4×5 pinhole images I am beginning to shoot and print.

Some of the many notable artists donating:

David Emitt Adams

Kate Breakey

Wynn Bullock

Imogen Cunningham

Binh Danh

Allen Dutton

James Hajicek

Mark Klett

Carol Panaro-Smith

Robin V. Robinson

View the online gallery

Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison

8/19/13

Cotton Stomper, photograph by Marvin Morrison

Cotton Stomper, photograph by Marvin Morrison

My first solo exhibition and biggest show thus far opened last week at Art Intersection. One year in the making, the show featured 17 prints on the walls from scanned slides, negatives, and prints, with creative writing text below them. A hard cover handmade artist book, and a commemorative platinum/palladium print also sit together in a clamshell box set, on display.

DSC_4506

DSC_4535

The photographs are from a local farmer named Marvin Morrison, who passed away in 2007. His son, Howard, came to Art Intersection and to me looking to commission a project and exhibition based on the remaining photos from his father. In an ironic turn of events I found out that in my previous project Arid Zone Utopia I had actually been photographing in some of the exact places Marvin had been, only 60 years later.

When Howard brought the images to me I was struck at the unique stories I felt the images told. For a lifelong farmer who surely would’ve never considered himself a photographer or artist, there were some amazing images! They had a quiet and telling beauty to them. I felt a connection to the intimacy of many of them and decided this could definitely become something great.

I spent the next year gathering stories and memories from Marvin’s sons and wife, June, while learning all of the players in the family dynamic and getting to know the people individually. In doing so I also got to know Marvin, the man I would never meet. In these verbal descriptions of him, being in his lifelong home, and in the revelations of his photographs, I understood who he was.

...It's 5 am on a chilly Fall morning and the dew is just beginning to settle. Father and son plow ahead bailing 100lb packages of cut alfalfa, their machine shooting them out in perfect blocks. The two have been at it since the early morning hours. The son does his work and remains quiet; his shouting wouldn't be heard over the grumbling John Deere engine anyway. He knows his labor will be rewarded by his comrades in the barn later that day. He will rule as king of the Lego brick fort that the gang constructs when he returns with the goods, and it will be glorious...

…It’s 5 am on a chilly Fall morning and the dew is just beginning to settle. Father and son plow ahead bailing 100lb packages of cut alfalfa, their machine shooting them out in perfect blocks. The two have been at it since the early morning hours. The son does his work and remains quiet; his shouting wouldn’t be heard over the grumbling John Deere engine anyway. He knows his labor will be rewarded by his comrades in the barn later that day. He will rule as king of the Lego brick fort that the gang constructs when he returns with the goods, and it will be glorious…

To compliment the edited down images, I created captions based on family memories, and while sometimes channeling Marvin himself and putting myself in his shoes, based on what I’ve learned of him. The lines of text sit just slightly underneath the image and run as an accent to the pale-colored vintage feel of the prints made from his photographs.

The book is perhaps my favorite part of the project. For the past few years I’ve loved book-making and tried to use it in my work when it makes sense to. When looking at Marvin’s photos, I saw a distinct difference between more general farm-life pictures and between family-oriented photos. One of my favorite images is one of all of the women in the family wearing matching nightgowns, obviously homemade gifts from Grandma, and posing together for a picture on Christmas Eve.

Morrison Book-by Gina DeGideo

I knew I had to use these wonderful pictures in some way, which lead me to the reworked family photo album book. I wanted the book to be fun and also to be something that could be displayed in the gallery in a 3-dimensional way, so I chose the accordion style construction. I unified the many different image styles from different eras, from black and white to color, and printed them all digitally with a uniform sepia tonality. I’ve been dying to make an accordion book with handwritten photo captions (like you would see if you turned over an old photograph; yeah, when people still printed them!) on the back for some time now, and felt this was definitely the project to incorporate this into. June was the natural choice to illustrate the captions. Her fabulous cursive scribbles were done in pencil, scanned in, and digitally printed on the backs of the images. I love how this book has become a sort of unknowing collaboration between Marvin’s photos and his wife’s captions.

Morrison Opening 1

In the end, I am extremely happy with the artwork and so glad I had this unique opportunity to create something wonderful from someone else’s found photographs. I can now continue on with more of my personal projects, but I am so thankful for the experience and I’d like to think that Marvin likes it too 😉 .

Morrison Opening 2

Morrison Opening 3

Toscana Travel Photies

7/23/13
Traveling to Italy was an amazing lifelong dream that finally came true for me last month. I couldn’t have picked a better a better group to go with. My lovely mentors and friends Carol and James put together an out of this world program to inspire others to live creatively. For 10 days in the gorgeous Tuscan hills we woke up to church bells ringing from our ancient castle-like home, enjoyed a morning of yoga, fresh-baked bread and espresso, then filled our days with writing, art-making, amazing food-eating, and of course a bit of vino and laughs. This trip allowed me to connect in a deeper way with many others on the journey with me, but most of all truly served the purpose of getting me back into living creatively. My batteries are charged and I have been on overdrive since returning home, but functioning on high speed now certainly wouldn’t have been possible without sweet Italy.
These are some of my favorite photos from the trip…

Benabbio Walking to Dinner

 

Benabbio Flowers

 

Book 1

 

Clouds from Workshop 2

 

Cyanotype 2

 

Wall at the Mill

 

Looking Through Lucca

 

Gato Ferocio

 

Blue Trees of Benabbio

Mill Window

 

Backyard Bennabbio

My Shadoe in Benabbio

 

Boots at Mill

Trees at Mill

 

Parlor Villa San Rocco

GiGi in the Mirror

 

Old Mill

Yoga Studio 4

   Super Moon in Benabbio

 

Glass Floor San Rocco

 

Bricked in Window

Path

…other artwork from the journey coming soon…

Back to (ART)Work

12/11/12
Last week I finally made the commitment to getting my behind in the labs to make some art! I was printing and tying up some old loose ends when I discovered these forgotten little stained men in my drawer!

MUSCLEMEN PAPER NEGS NEW

…getting crumpled and torn, my muscle men have been neglected. This is the third sign this week that I need to return to this project and see its completion. I hope soon I will have more of these little treasures to share. In the meantime, this is an interesting photograph.

Keeping my Eye on the Prize

9/24/12
Back to the motherland… Italia here I come!!! Although my ancestors came from a significantly lower portion of the country (this explains the brownness of my skin after sunlight exposure,) I have almost uncontainable joy for the journey I will soon be on to Bagni di Lucca in Toscana, to enjoy the splendors mother nature has to offer and to reconnect with my inner happy/artist.

This week has been tumultuous and I feel as though the universe is somewhat out of alignment. I have no control, but am trying to keep from spinning out of control. A moderate amount of control, at least over your own mental state is usually a good place to be. At a time when the negative aspects of the world seem inescapable, I am greeted with a reminder that yes, there will be an escape.

The first informational meeting for the annual Italy trip hosted by the spectacular Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek, both artists and teachers, was held last night. They lifted my spirits a lot with the details and pictures of the adventure we will be on together next summer in the hills of Toscana for an enlightening and creative workshop. If only we could leave tomorrow! The meeting last night was such a great reminder to keep your eye on the prize. Although we cannot understand why things work the way they do, it seems there is always a greater purpose and what’s meant to be will be, no matter how hard you fight it.

I cannot wait to feel the breeze on my skin as I stand on the hillside…

Muscle Men on Exhibit

7/27/12

Although this side of me is so vastly different from some of my other styles of working, I find collaging to be an interesting method of making work. I see a similarity between styles of collaging and photography. As the artist, you have to deal with what is present, what is tangible; this takes a certain eye to make connections. Collaging, like shooting through a lens and printing, allows for manipulation of the found objects after the fact.

There I sat bored, flipping through the pages of the school newspaper on campus, looking for inspiration. I was mostly interested in the ridiculous cover story featuring a student who draws similarities between himself and Batman. He was posed flexing his muscles in his dark knight get up. I moved along through the paper and found a feature of a student athlete who just placed in some event, also showing off his guns.

I cut the photographs from the newsprint and cyanotyped them. Naturally, I felt the blue of the chemistry would resonate with their boy-ness. I loved the interaction between the two figures, the oddball and the jock, both in their silly poses. I wanted many more, so I set out in search of found pictures.

In the end I’ve created many of these limited edition prints, which are now on stone tiles. Eventually I would like to get the collection to at least 100. The emphasis on this repeating movement and the connection to gender identities are overwhelming when the little men are all together in a large group. My Muscle Men will be on display for the first time in installation form at Art Intersection in Gilbert from August 4-25, 2012. Join me at the opening reception Saturday August 4, from 7-9 pm.

Happy Birthday Arizona!!!

1/17/12
Arizona is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I was born and raised here and have been exposed to the lay of this land for my entire life. Almost every day I am still in awe of the beauty I find here. It is a spiritual place in which you can be one with nature. I remind myself how lucky I am to be surrounded by pre-historic mountains and gorgeous starry skies.

It is astounding to believe that such a phenomenal place is still only a baby to our country. This year AZ celebrates its centennial anniversary into statehood. In recognition of its 100th birthday, many local artists and galleries are exhibiting Arizona shows. One of which must see shows is Arizona Re-Viewed at Art Intersection in Gilbert.

“Arizona Re-Viewed” at Art Intersection in Gilbert, AZ

This exhibit curated by Carol Panaro-Smith, comes full circle with a variety of Arizona-based art from historical postal productions to stunning contemporary art in the photographic medium. I fully enjoy photographing this unique place myself and truly appreciate work being made about what I consider to be my land. For more information on Arizona Reviewed, visit http://artintersection.com/exhibitions.html.

Welcome to Gilbert!

11/14/11

Art Intersection is a wonderful art space new to Gilbert, AZ. This place is packed with goodies: a large beautiful gallery space, full wet lab dark room, digital photo lab, artist lounge, and lecture room. Art Intersection offers bi-weekly workshops on a variety of techniques such as book-making and digital photography, regular artist lectures, and monthly critiques/discussions for community members. There are also summer programs for children to learn a new art-making technique and to explore their own creativity.

As a member of the East Valley community, I realize that there’s a serious lack of community engagement with the arts here. For the past few years it has been a passion of mine to one day open my own art gallery/lounge/café which also gives workshops for local artists to come together and support each other. This is not something I will financially be able to do anytime soon, but I am thrilled that someone else finally also came to this conclusion. This is the reason I am more than happy to be an advocate for Art Intersection. Everyone, especially people who leave East of Phoenix should be supporting this hot spot! Sign up for their newsletter by visiting ArtIntersection.com.