The exhibition features the work of the ten Crusade for Art Brooklyn members—Liz Arenberg, Mia Berg, Nicholas Calcott, Sean Carroll, Maureen Drennan, Sara Fox, Sara Macel, Minta Maria, Tim Melideo, Charlotte Strode—and explores the theme of constructed identities, defined by the curators as “how we are all influenced by our environments and how the people, culture, and places around us inform and shape our identities.”
I asked three of the artists how their images reflect personal identity.
Slide 1, by Arenberg, is an image from her series “you see me,” a three year portraiture study of her younger sister at the time of her coming out. Prior to this event, the sisters had a tense relationship due to polarizing personalities, admits Arenberg. She states, “I was very open and she had become very closed off to life. This series is a representation of the time we took to redefine and reconnect to who we are as sisters.”
Strode’s image, slide 3, is from a series called “Songs From the Road.” She began the work in 2011 after her father died and she found herself searching for “a simple way of living that feels humble and pure, rooted in a strong sense of place,” a reflection of the values her father taught her. Strode would come home to Louisville, Kentucky from college in the Northeast to drive down favorite roads, visit the river, and photograph her memories. “I began exploring other parts of the South that made me feel nostalgic and connect to place—this specific image was taken in Memphis. Photography became my own exercise of understanding a loss,” explains Strode.
Slide 4 is from a new series Macel is working on called “What Did the Deep Sea Say.” Macel traveled to Hollywood, Florida to explore the town where her grandmother spent time in 1945 just before she was married, setting the course of her adult life. Macel tells me, “This specific image to me is a metaphor of the different paths life can take based on matters of the heart.”
In addition to exhibiting work at Photoville, the artists are creating an interactive element that uses portraiture to further build on the theme of identity. Each Crusade member will have scheduled sessions during the festival where they will be taking Polaroid portraits of visitors. The portraits will be installed as a mural on the back wall of the exhibition.
Macel says, “Crusade for Art Brooklyn is all about engaging audiences with emerging art photography in new ways, and what better way than by making the audience part of the art-making in real time during the course of the festival?”