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St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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Confluence by Jerry Ulesmann and The Usual Suspects by Carrie Mae Weems Exhibition Reception @ LSU Museum of Art

Exhibition Reception

Saturday, October 06 - 7:00PM to 9:00PM
5th Fl. Shaw Center for the Arts 100 Lafayette St

LSU Museum of Art

Confluence by Jerry Uelsmann features sixty-five photographs from the artist's recent series of work, produced from 2014 to 2017. 

While the aesthetics of these artworks align with Uelsmann's esteemed and unique imagery, these black-and-white photographs evoke a new conversation, one inspired by an unlikely friendship with European art history scholar, Moa Petersen, Ph.D. Confluence demonstrates the natural flow of Uelsmann's and Petersen's intellectual friendship. Dealing with personal themes touching on the nature of love and loss, inner strength and self-love, this exhibition provides an intimate view of Uelsmann in his current chapter in life.

Uelsmann is renowned for his mastery of images that are visually fabricated silver prints. These photographs start with a camera, but are constructed in the darkroom. With his keen eye, he assembles these works with unrivaled dark room skills. Using multiple negatives and several enlargers, he creates single analog images through the dodging and burning of light and the masking of images from different negatives to make single works. Uelsmann takes pictures and makes new negatives as a catalog of images for future visual montages. No single negative made is to be printed alone; instead, each negative is like a sketch waiting to be realized in an entirely new work. His masterful works are precursors to the electronic manipulation now rendered by computers in photo-shopped images. 

Photography challenged the veracity of paintings in the 19th century and later was seen by American modernist "straight" photographers to reveal "truth" by artists like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. In opposition to that stance, a post-modern Uelsmann manipulates images to seek surreal and poetic "truths." Thematically his photographs explore nature and the human condition.

This exhibition is organized by the University Gallery at the University of Florida, curated by Amy R. Vigilante and made possible by the Gary R. Libby Charitable Trust and Hector Puig.

In collaboration with the LSU School of Art, Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects includes recent photographic and video works questioning stereotypes that associate black bodies with criminality. Images from the All the Boys and The Usual Suspects series implicate these stereotypes in the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police, and confront the viewer with the fact of judicial inaction. Blocks of color obscuring faces point to the constructed nature of our notions of race and how these imagined concepts obscure humanity—here with very real and deadly outcomes. People of a Darker Hue, a meditative compilation of video, found footage, narration, and performance commemorates these deaths.

Selections from Weems' expansive oeuvre will also be featured in several Art in Louisiana: Views into the Collection galleries concurrent with Carrie Mae Weems: The Usual Suspects. Upon entering the museum, viewers will see a large work from 2003's The Louisiana Project that reads, "While sitting upon the ruins of your remains, I pondered the course of history." This quote signals the critical lens Weems' work will inspire as it appears alongside the LSU MOA permanent collection. Inclusion of works from Weems' Slave Coast, The Louisiana Project, From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, and Slow Fade to Black series will broaden—and make explicit—conversations about identity, power, gender, race, and class that sometimes pass under the radar with historic art collections.

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