New Midwest Photography presents the work of ten artists who use their cameras to make sense of the people and places that inspire them, blending personal observation and regional knowledge to produce photography that uniquely reflects this place. Curated by Andy Adams of FlakPhoto Projects, it includes work by Clarissa Bonet (Chicago), Jess T. Dugan (St. Louis), Tytia Habing (Watson, IL), Jon Horvath (Milwaukee), Julie Renee Jones (Dayton, OH), Dave Jordano (Chicago), Nathan Pearce (Fairfield, IL), Barry Phipps (Iowa City), Jason Vaughn (Milwaukee), and Lindley Warren (Iowa City). Join us at the opening reception on September 7 to meet Adams and several of the artists. Afterwards, we'll stroll over to Madison Public Library's BUBBLER to hear Barry Phipps discuss his new book of Midwestern photographs.
We invited Adams to guest curate New Midwest Photography because of his passion and eye for great images, and because he's got his finger on the pulse of photography in our region. Adams has sparked and nurtured a remarkable online community through FlakPhoto, a digital channel dedicated to contemporary photography and visual culture. Launched as a website in 2004, FlakPhoto has matured into a multifaceted online resource for artists, curators, publishers, and enthusiasts around the world, connecting people through social media, blogs, and digital exhibitions. Adams is also sought-after as a lecturer on internet photo culture.
Here's how Adams describes his experience with FlakPhoto and his approach to this exhibition:
Like many people, I genuinely believed that you had to live on one of the coasts to find creative success. I grew up in rural Wisconsin, and for most of my childhood I was certain that someday I would move far away, to a big city, to “make it.” For a variety of reasons, I stayed, and, though it’s taken me a while to realize it, I’ve come to see that the Midwest is actually a perfect place to make a creative life.
Part of what led me to this conclusion was a photography website I launched in 2004 called FlakPhoto. Publishing the site connected me to hundreds of image-makers from around the world and gave me a creative outlet to promote their work to a worldwide audience—all from a one-bedroom apartment in Madison. Where I had struggled to find a photo scene here in Wisconsin, in just a few years, I had organized a global community of photographers on the Internet.
FlakPhoto changed my life and the way I think about where I live. My fourteen years of hosting this online community has led me to some incredibly talented artists based right here in the Midwest. So, when the James Watrous Gallery approached me to curate a photography exhibition I knew immediately that it should focus on image-makers who had decided to put down creative roots in this part of the country. Our goal with New Midwest Photography is to showcase a variety of artists currently living in our midst, to look at and celebrate their work, and to recognize this part of America as a vibrant hub of photographic practice.