February 23, 2016

Cornell Student Artists Depict “Identity and the Global Lens” in Group Show

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“Group Show: Identity and the Global Lens” — an art exhibition on how contemporary culture is visualized and affected by global interpretations of self — opened Monday in the Olive Tjaden Gallery.

The exhibit will feature analog photography work by seven students, completed as part of a course in the fall, Art 3601: “Photography: Identity in the Global Lens.”

The photographs present a visual interpretation of how identity in contemporary culture is visualized and affected by global interpretations of self through race, gender and geography, according to the exhibition detail.

The students’ use of analog photography is the precursor to today’s digital photography, according to the Prof. Jean Locey, art, the class lecturer. The photography was shot with manual film cameras, then processed in the dark room.

“They’re shooting with medium format using 120 film and produce large negatives that make beautiful enlargements,” Locey said.

Within the class, students explore of this type of photography as both an art form and a representation of self.

“My photography has so far been about unusual or slightly uncanny imagery, so how I decided to deal with identity was to photograph these uncanny representations of the human form in a somewhat deadpan way,” said Alli Plache ’18, one of the student artists featured in the exhibition. “The forms photographed are simultaneously living and nonliving, artifacts of society that signify how people perceive their own forms and identities.”

Working with analog photography, students said they learned about black and white exposure as well as exploring color.

“It’s kind of like an Instagram filter,” said Larissa Castellano Pucci ’18, another student from the class. “It’s the old way of doing it. It really makes you understand color.”

Castellano Pucci, originally from Italy, said her background influenced her work shown in the gallery, for she was not used to the large volume of consumerism here as compared to Italy.

“I remember my first experience shopping in America at Walmart and how I saw an endless row of cereal,” she said. “It both amazed me and terrified me. In my photo exhibition, I tried to show windows and products, and how it is so ingrained in American life.”

The students said they spent the past two weekends piecing together the exhibit, giving them firsthand experience into the process of preparing for shows.

“Each student had to decide which photos to use, how to arrange them, how to curate,” Locey said. “Once they had decided which photographs to use, then, the group had to determine how to install the work and which images work best next to each other, content wise and color wise.”

Plache pointed out that when piecing together the exhibition, the all-female classroom influenced her resulting art work.

“Interestingly our class this semester was all female, and that perspective was very present at all of our critiques during the semester, so that probably has something to do with why all my images ended up portraying female forms,” Plache said.