Penland's 28th Annual Benefit Auction, August 9 - 10, 2013
Special Photography Portfolio
Penland School is in the early stages of planning a new photography studio that will allow the school's photo program to teach contemporary image-making using photographic techniques that span the history of the medium, from daguerreotypes to animated .gifs. To help raise funds for this project, photographer, instructor, and trustee Alida Fish has worked with a group of past Penland instructors - Alyssa C. Salomon, Kathleen Campbell, Nancy Spencer and Eric Renner, Jeannie Pearce, James B. Abbott, David Graham, Michelle Van Parys, and Rita DeWitt - to create a suite of photographs for the benefit auction, most of which have ties to the Penland campus or environs. The sale of these works will go directly toward Penland's new photography studio. Penland is grateful for and proud of the support these artists have shown for the future of the photography program.
These photographs will be part of Penland's 2013 Annual Benefit Auction, which takes place August 9 -10. You may bid by attending the auction or as an absentee bidder by paying a $25 bidding fee (includes printed catalog).
Click here for complete auction information, including reservations and a schedule of events.
Or call 828-765-2359, ext. 30 or e-mail
James B. Abbott, Craft House Porch;
archival ink jet prints, 16-1/2 x 62 inches
Jim Abbott first visited Penland in 1975. He fell in love with the place and ended up staying on at the school as a core fellowship student for the next two years. He has spent many hours sitting on the Craft House porch gazing out over the hills. This image is from a series of panoramic landscape studies he began working on about ten years ago. He used a large view camera and Polaroid positive-negative film that leaves its signature markings along the edges of each image.
Kathleen Campbell, Predator Species (from the series Photographs of Widely-Known, Non-Existent Beings); hand-painted gelatin silver print, 26 x 32 inches
This work is part of a series of created fantastic beings, having metaphorical relevance to our contemporary world. The titles are important to the meaning of each piece. Here, a woman is pointing an arrow made of hawk feathers to her own breast, signifying that we humans are the predator species in this world, and that what we do to nature we do to ourselves. This image was shot, printed, and painted at Penland.
Rita DeWitt, Bather/ Green Drape/ Peonies (from the series Sundered Works);
chromogenic color print, 16 x 24 inches
Alida Fish, Walking with Pygmalion #27 (Venice);
selectively toned gelatin silver print, 28-1/4 x 24-1/4 x 1-3/4 inches
Alida Fish is known for work that combines photographic documentation with hand-alteration. Her collaborations with printmakers, glassblowers, and clay artists at Penland in the early 1970s led to a lifelong love of handmade photographs. This photograph, Walking with Pygmalion #27, merges a relief sculpture from the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa die Frari in Venice with a a shot of a live model photographed at Penland. The image reflects on the obsession that an artist, like Pygmalion from the classical Greek myth, might bring to art making. In this case, through a bit of artistic trickery, stone is transforming into flesh as it becomes the object of the artist's desire.
David Graham, Chimney Rock, North Carolina;
chromogenic color print, 19 x 13 inches
Tirelessly traveling the United States, Graham captures the colorful, sometimes surreal, often bizarre, thoroughly American landscape. He seeks out subjects with celebrate our singular freedom of expression in colorful roadside attractions and general oddities: toys and tromp l'oeil signs found in suburban settings, idiosyncratic sculptures like the California dentist and his mammoth Amazon warriors, and eccentric scenes such as the Dallas hamburger stand that features a life-sized stature of Lenin. Chronicling the American scene with his unique sensibility, and acknowledging popular forms of American photography - the snapshot, the family portrait, the vacation picture - Graham brings a wider relevance to the creativity and dreams of the common man.
Jeannie Pearce, Sunflower Bud;
archival inkjet print, 11 x 14 inches
"I am a collector. It is a combination of passion, compulsion, and habit that my long-term involvement with photography encourages. As photographers we collect our tools and equipment and stash away thousands of images, whether on film or as digital files. Overall, I am interested in how we see and how we interpret the way the camera captures information. It is intriguing how an object or place, combined with traditional or digital processing, can be transformed to suggest a new meaning."
In 2006, while teaching a workshop at Penland, Jeannie was staying at Blue Haze. One morning, she saw a bright green leaf in the distance, isolated by strong, direct sunshine. She placed a telescope in front of her camera lens and photographed the leaf. This single image was the beginning of an extensive portfolio of magnified botanical and insect images that she has entitled Fragments.
Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer, Acupuncture Model (from the series Houseguests);
zone plate photograph, archival pigment print, 20 x 13 inches
Houseguests is the most recent photographic collaboration between Nancy Spencer and Eric Renner. The images are unique manipulated portraits of faces found in the artists' home.
"We have collected many unusual objects for years. We realized there were many faces looking at us in our house and we began photographing them with a digital zone plate camera, a first cousin to pinhole photography. The faces come from a variety of objects such as a cement flowerpot that looks like Ghandi, a numbered acupuncture figure from China, a Louis Armstrong plaster carnival prize, a carved wooden monkey architectural support from Thailand, a carved wooden face on an African chair, and a Central American revolutionary's mask made from a wind screen with painted lips and eyes, to name a few."
Zone plate is a way of focusing light, like a lens, but uses diffraction instead of refraction. Images produced this way have a unique glow, with an impressionistic, almost-painted look. If you're attracted to a certain lo-fi, "old camera" aesthetic, using a zone plate is a way to get it authentically, instead of "faking it" in post-processing.
Alyssa C. Salomon, The Moments That Become Perfect (from The Book of Hours);
van dyke print on antique book page, 9 x12 inches
"I use photography to collect and remake my favorite parts of the world. I print with 19th-century photographic chemistries on handmade surfaces, exploiting my processes' inherent potential for romantic abstraction, physical control, and dumb luck to get at the essence of moments of abandoned exhilaration in being alive. My journey with handmade photographic processes began as a student at Penland more than a decade ago."
This image was made during a 7th-session Penland summer class that went to Celo for a day of relaxation and visual stimulation. The women are students.
Michelle Van Parys, Icicles (from the series Beyond the Plantation: Images of the New South);
gelatin silver print, 14 x 17-1/2 inches
"When I was at Penland, I was tremendously inspired by the natural beauty of the place. I became keenly sensitive to the way development can threaten such beauty. Now, when I am out photographing the regular world, I look for ways that human presence has marred or otherwise altered the natural landscape."