Working the Land… and Curating

2/7/16
In September I began working on an idea for an exhibition to have in February for PhotoTapas – Arizona Photography Month! Generally, I have found with curating I go through phases of meeting people or looking at their work, and naturally I begin drawing connections between ideas and artists, based things I have already been thinking about.

For the past few years, I have been fascinated with the new food movement to grow your own, responsibly source, eat organically, and just plain give a shit about what you put in your body! It is pretty impressive to me that most people (in the US) now care, at least a little more than they did before. You go to other countries where quality and tradition are the most important aspect of food, rather than the emphasis on a bulk of production. Here, that has never been the case – we have no history or ancient traditions, just the aspiration of prosperity.

Lucy for Web

Image by Jill Ison

 

One of the artists who really made me take a closer look at the idea of how each person can change food, is Jill Ison. She is a mother and incredible photographer who I’ve known for a few years now, and she is especially gifted when it comes to photographing her family and in portraiture. Her father purchased a farm several years ago and is invested in growing the best possible food, because it is more to him than a paycheck. Mostly he grows organic oats and ancient grains, which are delicious by the way! The idea of reviving ancient grains, and recovering lost strains of food, is really cool in my nerdy brain. Jill has been visiting her father’s farm regularly and photographing every aspect of the operation, as well as shooting her three beautiful daughters in their day-to-day activities there.

Scott T. Baxter_Working the Land

Image by Scott T. Baxter

Another artist who I have been working with for some time at Art Intersection to make prints, also got me thinking about the history of food, farming, and ranching. His name is Scott T. Baxter and for Arizona’s centennial in 2012, he completed a 10+ year project titled 100 Years 100 Ranchers, in which Scott spent a lot of time alongside ranching families who had been operating in the state for at least 100 years. He made beautiful portraits of them, while also photographing what was happening throughout a typical day in their boots. This project and his experience with it made him a tremendous cowboy photographer, and it sheds light on the incredibly hard-working men and women who still move cattle, and work with the animals we usually only see packaged in the meat section of our supermarkets.

Scott lives and works at an amazing facility called Cattle Track, which was established by Philip C. Curtis, one of the founders of the Phoenix Art Museum. This facility is an artist compound with local businesses, residential units, operating artist studios, and an art gallery, of course. The gallery, which I had visited many times, seemed like the perfect funky place for the show I had brewing.

Ken & Cattle_DeGideo

Image by Gina DeGideo, with original photograph by Marvin Morrison

To flesh out the show, I included the work from my Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison project, which was an insider’s view of farming life photographed by an actual farmer, shooting literally out in the field. I also invited well-known Western photographer Jay Dusard to show some work from his collection of esteemed images he’s made over the years. In the gallery hangs two gigantic black and white cowboy portraits from Jay, and also a colorful grid of action shots he made while photographing commercially.

Jay Dusard_Working the Land

Image by Jay Dusard

Our exhibition Working the Land: Arizona Farming and Ranching Families is up now through February 14, 2016, with a Closing Reception on Sunday, February 14, from 1 – 4pm. It is free and open to the public! In the end, I feel this is a well-balanced and intimate show, invested in the lives of the people who are still doing the things we might think of as being from the wild wild west and times past.

This exhibition is also part of PhotoTapas: Photography Month in Arizona! To learn more about all of the February events happening around the state in February, visit phototapas.com.

phototapas logo b&w

 

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

A History of Fresh Food in the Desert

2/1/14

Kenneth and Cattle by Gina DeGideo, with photograph by Marvin Morrison

Kenneth and Cattle by Gina DeGideo, with photograph by Marvin Morrison

I am happy to be showing a portion of my work from the series Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison at Modified Arts in Phoenix, AZ. The exhibition, curated by Kimber Lanning, focuses on the history and evolution of growing food in the desolate landscape we live in. The exhibition, open now through February 15th, 2014, also features work from Heather Gill and from the extensive collection of Jeremy Rowe. Join us for the closing reception on Friday, February 7th during First Fridays!

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

Save the Date… for ART!!!

2/25/12

You’re invited and I hope you can make it to the opening reception on

Tuesday, March 6th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Gallery 100 in Tempe, AZ

I have definitely been slacking on the blogging lately, but never fear all, I still have a big mouth and a lot to say and explore! The reason is because of my upcoming show CLICK!!! My BFA in Photography show is happening next week. I’m a little stressed, but definitely excited about the culmination of my work for the past year. This project centers around my Utopian Landscape project and I am excited to finally share some of it with the world. The group show will feature a variety of photography and video projects and will not disappoint… see you there!

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.

Angela Ellsworth at Lisa Sette Gallery

12/28/11
Over the weekend I visited Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. This quaint gallery space lies in the heart of the Art District of Scottsdale. As I walked up I immediately saw the bright and colorful images filling the wall space and the odd stand-alone objects viewable through the glass walls enclosing the gallery. The gallery was light and airy. The beautiful off-white aged wood floors complimented the work’s contents nicely. The show on display through December 31, 2011 is the work of contemporary interdisciplinary artist Angela Ellsworth. The exhibition title is they may appear alone, in lines, or in clusters.

Ellsworth is an accomplished artist in the fields of installation, drawing, and performance. Currently she is exploring her cultural and religious background in her work the Plural Wife Project. Ellsworth recreates the emotions and lives of women in her Mormon ancestry by focusing on a series of multimedia pieces revolving around the life of her great, great grandfather’s 9 wives and their experiences. As a child, Ellsworth was raised in the Mormon lifestyle in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her great, grandfather was the 5th prophet and the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and practiced plural marriage. Although the Mormon Church no longer endorses Polygamy, it is rooted in the religion’s history and was a way of life for some members in previous generations.

On display at Lisa Sette Gallery

When I entered the gallery, Ellsworth’s Seer Bonnets and c-prints immediately reminded me of the Warren Jeff’s fiasco made public in 2007 and the chaos surrounding the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church. The photographs that hung on the walls featured the repeating image of a woman (Angela Ellsworth) in a light pink dress and bonnet reaching from what appears to be the heavens. She is delivered as a romanticized version of how a typical FLDS plural wife would appear in some specific sects of the religion. Her flowing drapery against the cloudy backdrop seems somewhat ridiculous, yet communicates a dramatic iconic representation of the Virgin Mary. The woman’s shadow on the backdrop enforces the idea that this is unreal. The idea of this set-up prop is again re-enforced on the North gallery wall where Ellsworth backs out of the shot to reveal the foot pedals and podium she stands on for the photograph.

"Seer Bonnet" on display at Lisa Sette Gallery

The most striking visual pieces were the Seer Bonnets generously spaced throughout the room. The 3-dimensional objects were exquisite! Their gorgeous pearl embellishments drew me in for further investigation. Intricate spiral designs and floral patterns adorn each unique headdress. Excessively long pearl-lined straps dangled from the bonnets to the floor. An unexpected twist to the beautiful bonnets, are the sharp silver pins lining the undersides of the garment. The artists used pearl-tipped corsage pins for this result. Lisa Sette Gallery describes Ellsworth’s objectives in these pieces as being intentionally individualized, while unexpected and confronting at the same time, but I see something much deeper. These bonnets evoked a sense of severe pain when I viewed them. For me, the bonnets are a powerful statement of Ellsworth’s view on the immense pain and pressure that would have been put on the wearer’s of these hats, the wives. Perhaps this is also revealing an idea of concealing true torture with pretty clothing.

The method by which Ellsworth creates these unique bonnets exemplifies the domestic lifestyles of the woman she is examining. The headwear is displayed on posts of varying human heights scattered through the space. Their positions were set as they would be worn; only their bills were downward-facing. This arrangement creates a representation of actual people being seen, rather than just floating bonnets in space. The repeating shape and color emphasize similarity and togetherness. Ellsworth also uses the bonnets’ straps to make relationships between pieces. Two bonnets can be seen together. A slightly lower height bonnet is positioned looking upward towards its taller counterpart, while the linen straps are connected to one another. This engagement reminded me of a mother-child interaction, but in the context of the work, this may also serve as a “sister wife” bond. The bonnets are attractive and command the attention of the viewer within the space.

Further back in a small corridor of the gallery a video of the angelic woman from the photographs is played. In slow motion she poses and moves through the space, taking on different personas with each gaze. She subtly emulates different characters and emotions, from godly and strong, to seductive, to scared and lost; all of these identities portrayed in successive moments of film. She appears to be falling as well in some seconds of the looped clip. Here Ellsworth conveys the emotional uncertainty and instability these women must have faced. An odd camera shot moves right past the woman, through the fabric of her shawl, fully zooming onto the painted background. Through all of these emotions, the woman is ultimately looked right past as if invisible. This begins to address issues of gender and power within the religion.

My analysis of this show was in part influenced by some of the other work of Angela Ellsworth which I had only seen small parts of, but most of it was visual. The white walls, bright lights, open spacing, and facial expressions presented in every direction are void of any explainable emotion. An eerie sense of conformity and disillusion is felt in the space. With no artist statement to be found, interpretations are mostly left to the viewer. My conversation with a gallery worker led to the discovery that the color photographs on the walls were stills from a performance piece Ellsworth did this year. He also let me know that another part of the project is still on display at the Phoenix art museum, which I will gladly visit in person as soon as possible.

This work is embedded in the past, but remains relevant. It can relate activities and emotions of the current FLDS wives and their lifestyles to others outside of the faith. Plural marriages and their mystery have been a hot topic for the past few years. With events like the Warren Jeffs trial and popular reality shows like Sister Wives popping up, this work adds as an essential layer to the conversation. People are judgmental of these lifestyles, but are still curious of their dynamics. Angela Ellsworth’s creativity in bringing these stories to life and speaking for the women who can’t is a fascinating way to re-discover her ancestry and to address women’s issues.

For videos of live performances in the Plural Wives Project, please visit Angela Ellsworth’s website: http://aellsworth.com/works/solo_sisterwives.html

Find Lisa Sette’s information to go see the show IN PERSON: http://www.lisasettegallery.com/a-ellsworth.htm

Join me at the Phoenix Art Museum for more on this project: http://www.phxart.org/exhibition/Campbell-Ellsworth.php

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.

Plan for Success!

Whoever said artists make plans? Well I guess we do
sometimes, it’s just a matter of actually sticking to them! I often plan to go
shooting at 5:00 am, but when 7 o’clock comes around and I haven’t managed to take
the babe to Nana’s yet, I don’t feel defeated instead I roll with the punches
and usually just end up getting a little more sweaty than I had intended.

My philosophy for life is a bit the same. Plan for success…
and be prepared for everything else! Ideally I wish to be a well-recognized
artist who has an impact on the world’s ways. Aside from making photographs, I
have a passion for design, curating, and cooking so an equally ambitious goal I
have is to own a photography gallery where friends can gather to enjoy art!
Contributing to the world through art is my main objective in life.

For now I hope to make it through ASU’s photography program
with some sort of mini masterpiece and to take a curatorial or other art-based
position to gain more knowledge and experience. I am also preparing my past and
current works for exhibition. I will be showing my work as much as possible in
the coming year. If you see my work here or at GinaDeGideo.com and feel it
would be a great fit for any exhibit you are having, please contact me and I
would love to talk with you more about putting together an amazing show!

420 at NSAA!!!

My first indoor gallery exhibition opened 4/20/11 at NSAA (New School for Arts & Academics) in Tempe, AZ. It was exciting and I was happy it all came together. Thanks to the other 5 artists involved in the show, Kathryn Lew, Virginia Martinez, Glory Shim, Valerie Echeveria, and Margaret Hernandez. I think we rocked it!

Also especially THANK YOU to my supportive family for coming to see the work you are all a part of.

Reminence of Home

This work was very personal for me and dealt with the loss of my childhood home and the visual memories I still have connected to this place I’ve always considered “home”.
Check out my artist book Home published at Blurb.

Bookmaking is a fun and very creative process I look forward to learning more about during my stay ASU. Sometimes though, it is nice to let someone publish it for you… this is where Blurb.com comes in. What a great resource for writers and art enthusiasts. Make your work tangible!