James Henkel first came to Penland in 1971 with a scholarship that, he says, made him “a photography student and a proud dishwasher.” Since then he has served as studio assistant, core student, resident artist, faculty, and neighbor. At Penland he met Debra Frasier, his wife of 37 years. In 1991 they bought a small cabin near the school where they began spending summers. And their daughter, Calla, now an artist working in Berlin, was a founding member of Penland Kid’s Camp. “That one act of generosity— a Penland scholarship in 1971—has nourished me artistically for fifty years,” Jim said.
“My work begins with finding and collecting objects. These curiosities are then used to generate pictures that touch on the relationship between our ideas about beauty, function, and the meaning of objects in our lives. With the choice of an object for a photograph, I am leaning into a sense of shared familiarity with the viewer, but changing the perspective by introducing the unexpected within the frame.”
Jim is professor emeritus at University of Minnesota and a long-time Penland instructor. He now lives between Asheville and his Penland house/studio.
Learn more about Jim and his work in the short video above.
On February 2, a special exhibition will open in support of Penland’s new photography studio. An Expansive Vision: Photographers Working for Penland will culminate in a live auction of a wide-range of works by photographers with Penland connections and affinities. Absentee bids are encouraged.
Dan Gottlieb’s photograph taken in a terminal ferry in Istanbul (above), is one of the works included in An Expansive Vision. About the photograph, Dan writes:
This piece is part of a long series of (non)documentation of places of deep immersion—in this case, Istanbul. Small cameras act as an extension of my body’s movement, recording not conventional information but my own presence moving through time and place. Light, like memory and time is bent and blurred. The frame is my own design (patent pending), as a way to ‘preserve’ the immaterial in a sort of Riker Box.–Dan Gottlieb
The exhibition and auction will be hosted by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus at their Chapel Hill, NC residence, gallery and residency space, Cassilhaus. If you’re in the Triangle area, an opening reception featuring a gallery talk by Robin Dreyer (whose work is included in the show) will take place on Sunday, February 2, at 2:00 pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Frank Konhaus directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Below are a few more of the works (and statements about these works) provided by the artists for An Expansive Vision:
This piece was shot in the summer while I was teaching a workshop at Penland. I had Morgan house to myself one afternoon and looked around for inspiration. The nautilus shell was borrowed from Evon Streetman, the pods and the beetle I found near the porch steps. For me this work symbolizes the beauty and inspiration I often find at Penland. It was printed in the darkroom: it is a black and white silver print. The insect is hand-painted with enamel paint.–Alida Fish
This photograph is part of the Altered Landscape series. About a dozen workshop participants helped set up sparklers in a cornfield near the home of photographer Martha Strawn.–John Pfahl
This photograph was made in the desert along Highway 59, the main North/South highway in Mexico near the city of Matahuala. I saw this young girl with the raven lying on the ground sleeping, the raven tied to a stick next to her. I asked her mother if I could make a photograph and she agreed. Juana stood up and held the raven. I made several photographs. Later in the darkroom, I could see that the resulting photograph was quite startling. Innocence and innocence lost all at the same moment, the heroic face set against a hard world. She touches people in ways that they have not plumbed. She brings out the goodness in people here.–David Spear
An Expansive Vision: Photographs Working for Penland’s Future features work by Kyle Bajakian, Courtney Dodd, Chris Peregoy, David Spear, Ralph Burns, James Henkel, Benjamin Porter, Jim Stone, Shane Darwent, Russell Jeffcoat, John Pfahl, Evon Streetman, Robin Dreyer, Keith Johnson, Brook Reynolds, Harry Taylor, Dan Estabrook, Naima Merella, Holly Roberts, Sarah Van Keuren, Alida Fish, E. Vincent Martinez, Linda Foard Roberts, Caroline Hickman Vaughan, Lisa A. Frank, Elizabeth Matheson, Alyssa C. Salomon, David H. Wells, Dan Gottlieb, John Menapace, MJ Sharp, John Woodin, David Graham, Jeannie Pearce, and Jerry Spagnoli–and is sponsored by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus, Jefferson Holt, Light Art+Design, Barbara McFadyen and Douglass Phillips, Kaola and Frank Phoenix, and Allen Thomas.