Feature Articles

January 2011

UNC-Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, Features Works by Richard Mosse and Photography Exhibit

UNC-Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, will present two new exhibits at the Weatherspoon Art Museum including: Richard Mosse: Falk Visiting Artist, on view at The Leah Louise B. Tannenbaum Gallery and The Louise D. and Herbert S. Falk, Sr. Gallery, from Jan. 14 through Apr. 15, and To What Purpose? Photography as Art and Document, on view in Gallery 6, from Jan. 21 through Apr. 8, 2012.

Photographer Richard Mosse has spent the last two years shooting a new series of work titled Infra in the eastern Congo. The artist is known for his restrained and highly aestheticized views of sites associated with violence and fear, such as his 2008 depictions of the war in Iraq, and his large-scale photographs of airplane crash sites and emergency drills.

For his work in the Congo, Mosse used Kodak Aerochrome, an infrared film designed in connection with the United States military to detect camouflage in the 1940s. The film reveals a spectrum of light beyond what the human eye can perceive, turning the lush landscape of the Congo into a bubblegum pink. This hue contrasts dramatically with the severe environment within which the people of the eastern Congo live and draws our attention to the complex social and political dynamics of the country.

Beginning in 1998, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) became the site of the widest interstate war in modern African history, which has claimed millions of lives. Although the conflict was thought to have subsided in 2006, with the first free elections, thousands continue to die as a result of the ongoing conflict, most due to hunger and disease.

Mosse (b. 1980, Dublin, Ireland) received his MFA from Yale University, an MRes in Cultural Studies from the London Consortium, and a BA in English Literature from Kings College, London. He also received a postgraduate diploma in fine art from Goldsmiths, University of London. He has had solo exhibitions at the Fotofest 2010 Biennial, Houston, TX; the Eigse Arts Festival, Carlow, Ireland (2009); and Derby University (2007), among others. He received a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts in 2008. His work is included in the collections of the Musee d’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO.

As the Spring 2012 Falk Visiting Artist at the Weatherspoon and the Art Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Mosse will present a lecture and gallery talk on his work and participate in MFA graduate student critiques.

The exhibition is organized by Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions. Special thanks to Assistant Professor of Art, Sarah Martin, and the 2010/11 Falk Visiting Artist Committee.

The recognition of photography as an art form has been among the medium’s dominant philosophical debates ever since its inception, due in part to its mechanical and chemical nature. Photographs considered documentary have further caused many to question the purpose and artistic merit of such efforts: are documentary photographs art forms or simply straight-forward recordings of the subjects at hand?

While photographs have served as records since the early 19th century - oftentimes to inform the public of crucial issues as a way to promote social change - the perceived distinctions between fine art and documentary images became murky in the later half of the 20th century. Illustrating varying agendas, the photographs in this exhibition draw our interest and capture our attention in ways that differ greatly from other art forms.

To What Purpose? Photography as Art and Document was organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 336/334-5770 or visit (http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu/).

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