Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present Projects, 1994-2002, an exhibition by Wendy Ewald. The show will be on view in the Second and Third Floor Galleries from Thursday, April 24 through June 14, 2003 with a reception for the artist on Thursday, April 24 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
The Second Floor Gallery will feature large-scale 30" × 40" Gelatin Silver Prints from Ewald's collaborative works with children, including work from a project entitled Black Self/White Self, as well as works from Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. For almost thirty years, Ewald has explored the visual imaginations of children and adults around the world in a sustained and evolving artistic project. Starting as a documentary investigation of places and communities connected to teaching, Ewald's project has evolved over the years to focus on questions of identity and cultural difference. In all of these projects, Ewald partners her observational and creative skills with her subjects' visual inventions, encouraging them to use cameras to create portraits of self and community, to articulate their own personal fantasies, dreams, and hopes, and to work directly with her in visual and verbal collaboration. Ewald herself makes photographs, sometimes giving her negatives to collaborators to mark and write on, mixing the images in such a way that it is challenging to know who actually “created” a given image. In blurring the distinction of individual authorship and throwing into doubt the artist's identity, Ewald crosses the line that separates the photographer from the subject and creates a new artistic form.
The Third Floor Gallery will debut new works utilizing her “Literacy Through Photography” art-making process. Fascinated by her son's developing reading skills, Ewald became a member of a Providence, RI classroom, in which most of the students struggle with reading and writing. In a makeshift studio in the literacy coach's office, Ewald set out to see the student's physical reactions when they tackled a new book. By rigging a bicycle helmet with a tiny video camera pointed at the students' eyes, Ewald recorded the students as they were reading. The result is On Reading, a 16-minute wide-screen video in black-and-white and color, composed of multiple streams. The images are close-ups of the students' eyes, mouths, and hands tracking words on the page. Accompanying the video is an installation of black-and-white stills rendered as digital carbon prints. These prints are interspersed with web-like, diagrammatic drawings by the students defining their relationship to reading.
Images from this exhibition are also included in a major retrospective of Ms. Ewald's work entitled “Secret Games: Wendy Ewald Collaborative Works 1969-1999”, which is concurrently on view at the Queens Museum of Art until June 8, 2003. Since 2000, “Secret Games” has traveled to museums in Switzerland, Denmark, Scotland and the United States, including the Corcoran Gallery of American Art in Washington D.C. Whereas the retrospective includes work from 1969-99, Ms. Ewald's recent video, On Reading, was completed in 2002 and will be shown for the first time at Yossi Milo Gallery.
In addition to her current retrospective, Wendy Ewald has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York (1978 & 1993); Centre for Photography as an Art Form, Bombay; Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam. In 1997, Ms. Ewald's work was included in the Whitney Biennial. Her work appears in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, International Center of Photography, and Detroit Art Institute.
Ms. Ewald has had several books published including Magic Eyes: Scenes from an Andean Girlhood (Bay Press Seattle 1992), I Wanna Take Me a Picture: Teaching Photography and Writing to Children (Beacon Press 2001), and Secret Games: Wendy Ewald Collaborative Works 1969-1999, (Scalo 2000). In 2003, Scalo is scheduled to publish another book, entitled American Alphabets.
A percentage of every print sold is donated to the collaborators who make many of Ms. Ewald's projects possible. By using monies from Ewald's work, teachers in North Carolina have set up a fund to pay for photography projects in their school system. These proceeds have also been used to finance schools for girls in Pakistan, and to initiate the art program in a Cleveland inner-city school that previously had no money for art supplies.
Ms. Ewald has received several fellowships and grants from many sources including a MacArthur Fellowship (1992), The National Endowment for the Arts (1976, 1978, 1988, 1992, and 1996), a Fulbright Fellowship (1982), The Andy Warhol Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and The Kentucky Arts Commission (1980, 1981, and 1983). She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and a Senior Research Associate for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Born in 1951, Wendy Ewald studied photography at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Minor White (1970-71) and received a B.A. in Art at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio (1974).