Wendy Ewald »
Exhibition: 24 Apr – 14 Jun 2003
Yossi Milo Gallery
245 Tenth Avenue
NY 10001 New York
The Second Floor Gallery will feature large-scale 30" x 40" Gelatin Silver Prints from Ewald's collaborative works with children, including work from a project entitled Black Self/White Self, as well as works from Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. For almost thirty years, Ewald has explored the visual imaginations of children and adults around the world in a sustained and evolving artistic project. Starting as a documentary investigation of places and communities connected to teaching, Ewald's project has evolved over the years to focus on questions of identity and cultural difference. In all of these projects, Ewald partners her observational and creative skills with her subjects' visual inventions, encouraging them to use cameras to create portraits of self and community, to articulate their own personal fantasies, dreams, and hopes, and to work directly with her in visual and verbal collaboration. Ewald herself makes photographs, sometimes giving her negatives to collaborators to mark and write on, mixing the images in such a way that it is challenging to know who actually "created" a given image. In blurring the distinction of individual authorship and throwing into doubt the artist's identity, Ewald crosses the line that separates the photographer from the subject and creates a new artistic form. The Third Floor Gallery will debut new works utilizing her "Literacy Through Photography" art-making process. Fascinated by her son's developing reading skills, Ewald became a member of a Providence, RI classroom, in which most of the students struggle with reading and writing. In a makeshift studio in the literacy coach's office, Ewald set out to see the student's physical reactions when they tackled a new book. By rigging a bicycle helmet with a tiny video camera pointed at the students' eyes, Ewald recorded the students as they were reading. The result is On Reading, a 16-minute wide-screen video in black-and-white and color, composed of multiple streams. The images are close-ups of the students' eyes, mouths, and hands tracking words on the page. Accompanying the video is an installation of black-and-white stills rendered as digital carbon prints. These prints are interspersed with web-like, diagrammatic drawings by the students defining their relationship to reading.