• In Fall 2010, Culturehall announced its first open call for applications for membership and presented the work of four new members in Feature Issue 58. Inspired by interest in the site from artists around the world, Culturehall opened another call for applications in the winter. From a broad range of talented international artists, we had the challenge of selecting four to feature. Culturehall will continue to offer artists the opportunity to apply for membership each season. Our spring application call opens in April 2011.

    We are excited to share the work of our newest members: Lydia Anne McCarthy, Chris Wright, Brian Gillis, and Matthew Gamber.

    Lydia Anne McCarthy describes her process of photographing people with her reconstructed 8x10 camera in terms of the photographer's personal and subjective experience of perception and desire. By altering the camera's ability to record facts with a magnifying sheet and a homemade shutter, McCarthy explores the possibilities of how distortion and refraction infuse her portraits with soft focus and hallucinogenic color. She chooses subjects who, she says, she desires, but does not know; people who possess characteristics she wants to possess. And she portrays these subjects as not as they really are, but how she imagines them to be. Her photographs are impressions, fictions, even fantasies. They glow, seduce, mystify. The images resonate with tenderness and longing felt by the artist and curiously instilled in us through our own perception. They encourage us to feel and to reflect – to let our thoughts and emotions wander through fields of color and fragments of exceptional beauty.

    In a tradition of psychological realism shaped both by painters and photographers, Chris Wright studies commonplace objects: a takeout bag, a birthday cake, a collection of metal bullets. His elegantly rendered paintings concentrate on the formal qualities of things humble and unnoticeable – things, at first, fascinating only to the artist until we, too, become fascinated by the mysterious grace he reveals through light and color. Harkening back to rooms and streets in Hopper's paintings, Wright's still lifes are simultaneously tranquil and disquieting, lonely and transcendent. His reverence for his subjects draws the viewer inward, evoking states of meditation and wonderment.

    Deploying sculptural, installation, and social practices, Brian Gillis explores the schism between the mediated, icon-based world accepted through archetypes and the often-obscured factual reality. Presented in the display window of a former Woolworth five-and-dime, Gillis' work Now engages the general public and its surroundings in the historic financial district of Tacoma, Washington. A dark amorphic presence, closed circuit security system, and mass of picket signs filled with historical quotes encouraging disobedience and rebellion interruptedly greet passers-by. In concert, these elements touch latent questions of society and structure, not just as global abstracts, but also in the messiness of reality as these concerns manifest close to home.

    Matthew Gamber's recent bodies of work utilize historical or soon to be moribund photographic technologies to explore ideas of capture and representation. In part, these images are a challenge to the Cartesian idea of understanding through observation by asking whether the eye is more than unbiased messenger. Gamber's Bengal Cat on Gone With The Wind Poster from his ongoing series Any Color You Like makes use of the traditional black and white gelatin silver print to release its subject to an ambiguous and distant place. The series finds inspiration from perceiving the world in a colorless state and the space created by misperceptions of cultural icons like the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. Often mistakenly thought of as a black and white movie that was later colorized, Gone with the Wind was originally created in Technicolor, which required shooting multiple black and white separations. Through these disorienting reversals and crystalline absences, Gamber engages us to reexamine our surroundings.

    David Andrew Frey is a New York-based artist, curator and technologist. He founded Culturehall in 2008 as a new way for artists to connect with curators, gallerists, collectors and other artists. David received a MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. He has also studied at the Camberwell College of Art in London, the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. He recently curated an exhibition of Culturehall artists for Ligne Roset in New York.

    Tema Stauffer is a photographer based in Brooklyn and a curator for Culturehall. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received a MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at Jen Bekman Gallery and Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery in New York, as well as galleries and institutions nationally and internationally. She teaches photography courses at William Paterson University and the School of the International Center of Photography, and co-taught a workshop at Toxico Cultura in Mexico City. She also writes a blog about photography, PalmAire. In 2011, she was awarded an AOL 25 for 25 Grant for innovation in the arts.

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