Bay College Announces Artist Talk/Panel Lecture: Photography; Through a Woman’s Lens

Bay College in celebration of Women’s History Month announces the Artist Talk/Panel Lecture discussion and Reception on Thursday, March 22, 2018 at 3 pm for the exhibition, Photography; Through a Woman’s Lens, photography by Kristine Granger, Corey Kelly, Rebecca Nolan, Christine Saari, Rachel Storck and Aimee Tomasek.  The Artist Talk/ Panel Lecture discussion will be in the Besse Theater. Rachel Storck’s photographs are exhibited in the Hartwig Gallery and she will participate in the Artist Talk/Panel Discussion.
Image of Kristine Granger
Photo caption: Kristine Granger

Artist Statement:
The series of photographs, poetics of space, are inspired by my experience of the sensorial. It is the overlap of memory, of time, of sense and the vastness of intimacy that I explore in this work. I find myself in these spaces, I become the light, fill the corners, I am part of the shadows and the imprint of the existence of my being that is left behind.
Kristine Granger is an interdisciplinary artist who investigates memory. Granger’s artwork invites the viewer to reflect on the indelible recollections that define our own realities. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree and Women’s Study Certificate from Stony Brook University, NY in 2010, completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, focusing in Photography, from University of Oregon-Eugene, School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 2005. Granger also received a Certificate of Completion from The Paris Fashion Institute in Paris France in 1986 and an Associates of Science in Fashion Design from Plaza Three Academy in Phoenix Arizona in 1985.  She is Art Faculty and Fine Arts Coordinator for Bay College in Escanaba MI. She is also owner of Rock Street Studios and lives in Marquette, MI.
 Image of Corey Kelly
Photo caption: Corey Kelly
Artist Statement:
I pursue storytelling through cinematic imagery that borders a line between the mundane and the fantastic. As children we turn every corner, open every door, and check every wardrobe anticipating that we might catch a bit of magic. I try and capture those elusive moments by constructing ambiguous narratives. Every, door, window, or in my case lens, should be an opening for the wondrous to occur. I take inspiration from local history, folklore and my childhood memories. By employing bits of truth, while mixing them with grandeur and imagination, I invite the viewer to interact with my image as a child interacts with a storybook. A narrative is suggested within the image, but it is ultimately left open to the observer to decide what is going on.
Corey Kelly, is a visual artist who pursues storytelling through cinematic imagery that borders a line between the mundane and the fantastic.  She grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula surrounded by woods and water. Kelly graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Photography with a minor in History. The landscape of her home and that characters that populate it often serve as subjects or influences in her work. Kelly currently lives and works in Marquette, MI.
Image of Rebecca Nolan
Photo caption: Rebecca Nolan

Artist Statement:
American Byways
These photographs are about place, culture, society, environment, and how these concepts influence us as individuals. I have been documenting the transformation of the American roadside since 1999. Going from here to there, I travel the back roads, frontage roads, business routes, and older U.S. highways. By avoiding the expressway, I am able to explore visually a place as the locals might. Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to photograph all of U.S. Highway 80 which starts just east of Savannah Georgia and ends in San Diego. The road titled the “Dixie Overland Highway” and the “Coast to Coast Highway” is 1032 miles and was completed in 1926. There is the potential for insight into the community and its individuals who have shaped a region and created the character of a place. The environment is loaded with evidence from the past that is now layered with subtle indications about the future.
Rebecca Nolan grew up in a rural community in southeastern Wisconsin. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a Master of Fine Art from the University of Oregon, Eugene. Nolan has moved to six different states living in communities ranging from small rural communities like an Island in Lake Michigan with a year-round population of five hundred to downtown Chicago. The longest period of time spent in one place has been the past fifteen years residing in Savannah, Georgia. Influenced by her wanderlust of America, Nolan's work deals with the ideas of place, culture, society, environment, and how these concepts influence us as individuals.
Image of Christine Saari
Photo caption: Christine Saari

Artist Statement:
The work in this exhibit employs a variety of alternative processes, which I continued to apply in my largest body of work, the Family Album. Alternative processes are exciting to me, because they allow to expand straight photography hung in a wall and can create less representational imagery. I started working on my Family Album project in 1993 and completed a major part of this body of work in 1998/99, after receiving an ArtServe/ Michigan Council for the Arts Creative Artist Grant. The work continued for 20 years, contains over 40 pieces and is installed in a private Gallery on the Austrian mountain farm where I grew up and where much of the subject matter originated. The art works (two and three dimensional, mostly mixed media, as well as books) are based on family photographs, documents and artifacts, especially letters. Despite the personal nature of the material universal issues are addressed. They include generational turnover, migration and displacement, continuity and change of family tradition, war, childhood memory, socialization. Technically, the work employs a variety of photo transfer processes (transfer on fabric, polaroid image and emulsion transfer, acrylic transfer, heat-release or chemical transfer of color copy images, photo transfer on metal or glass), as well as hand-colored, infrared and digital images. Fabric pieces are combined with bead work and stitchery. Handmade paper is used for book pieces. I frequently use boxes, which become “shrines” or “reliquaries” for treasured objects.       
Christine Saari grew up on an Austrian mountain farm and immigrated to the United States in 1964. She has lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since 1971. This is where she discovered photography, which she explored through classes at NMU, photo workshops in Minneapolis (Eva Rubinstein) and New York (Mary Ellen Mark) and as a member of a women’s photo collective.  After early b/w documentary work and delving into alternative processes, she embarked on her 20-year-long mixed media project Family Album, examples of which are featured in the current Bay College exhibit. Saari is a member of WOW (Women of Washington), a working artist studio in Marquette and The Marquette Artist Collective. She exhibits regularly and her work is in private and public collections in Austria and the United States.
Image of Aimee Tomasek
Photo caption: Aimee Tomesak

Artist Statement:
4-H Portraits
From the series, I won a blue ribbon at the county fair. My first photographic essay was a 4-H photography project that was exhibited and won a blue ribbon at the Polk County Fair. The essay was a set of six color pictures
mounted on bright green tag board with blue letters stating the title, “How to Butcher a Rabbit. I spent ten years in 4-H, going to the county and state fairs as an exhibitor and spectator. There were a variety of projects I pursued ranging from beekeeping to photography. I loved everything about the fair, and still do! I have been making photographs of the fair for several years and also take part in the Porter County Fair as a volunteer trolley driver, open class photography judge and 4-H photography judge. I have spent the past 15 years loading and unloading a variety of fairgoers on and off my trolley, visiting with many of them and learning why the fair is important to each of them too. These experiences afford me the opportunity to truly digest both the details of the county fair and the entirety of the event. The day before the fair opens, a frantic but euphoric attitude hangs in the air. The grass is still green around the fair grounds and everything is fresh. Projects are being judged and the last-minute touches are being added everywhere. A few vendors are set up in the food concession, but it is the 4-H moms and fair board woman that make sure all the judges and volunteers are fed between judging. It is the last meal that will include fresh vegetables for many of us for ten days. 4-H Portraits are part of the larger series entitled, I won a blue ribbon at the county fair. The series is six years in the making with the end goal to be a minimum of ten. My photographs examine character, explore culture and symbolize what is familiar to my own history. Everyone I photograph is generous.These 4-H kids pose for me: standing still, trying to control their animals, keeping their chins up and smiles bright, and all in between judging, cleaning their animals and trying to have fun at the fair. They show me all of their fair entries, many times walking me from building to building so I can view these projects. The 4-H members take the time to explain what they made in detail and show a willingness to be photographed. I witness each of these young people winning and losing. I have seen them get stepped on by animals that weigh as much as a small car and not cry. I have also seen them sobbing after the livestock auction because their project is getting shipped to the butcher in the morning. 4-H’ers start out as 9-year-olds with parents and grandparents in tow. These family members and neighbors are watching, coaching and helping every kid alongside their own. Watching the 10-year 4-H members helping the beginners is beautiful; as they pass on tricks and teaching skills, this mentoring is nothing less than impressive. The county fair is a rich educational environment. This community that comes together for the fair is spectacular. The last day of the fair is a bittersweet experience as an exhibitor and as a trolley driver. Everyone is tired and ready to go home; the exhibitors, the vendors, the volunteers and the remaining animals. The carnies are packing up decadent features of the midway, leaving a stripped but functional assortment of rides and games for the last day. The 4-H’ers have moved their animals out. Food entries have melted or molded, vegetables and flower entries resemble elements of a compost pile. Patterns of wear in grass are everywhere and dust is covering everything that has not been hauled away. The volunteers are sunburned to a crisp wearing wet towels on their heads to shade themselves and the ‘Manure Only’ dumpsters are full. Is the Porter County Fair really the ten best days of summer?
Aimee Tomasek (MFA University of Kentucky) is an Associate Professor of Art at Valparaiso University and serves as the Art Department Chairperson. Tomasek is a documentary photographer; addressing visually the social and cultural relationships between industry and regionalism along with more personal institutions such as faith, ethnic foundations and a sense of community. Major projects she is involved with and has exhibited include; “I won a blue ribbon at the county fair”, “Hot Idle; LTV Steel, Indiana Harbor”, “Down it comes, Up it Goes: Co-°©‐Alliance, Malden Elevator,” and “Mardi Gras, Celebrating With the Saints and Sinners”, “Crying with the Saints and Sinners”, and “Krewe”. “Another Beautiful Day in Paradise”, “Every 8 Miles” and “Good Cooks; Portraits from the Church Cook book” are portfolios I am currently involved with.
The exhibition of their work can be viewed from February 28- April 4, 2018. Bay College Arts and Culture and the Diversity Committee in celebration of Women’s History Month sponsor these events.
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