Maximizing the camera’s possibilities, an image gardener maintains a prolonged involvement with its subject or medium in order to realize a photograph. In opposition to Susan Sontag’s theory that photography is a voracious way of seeing, image gardeners employ photographic seeing as a means of cultivation, preservation, and collaboration.
Inspired by the McEvoy Family Collection’s extensive holdings of portraiture and women’s representation, Image Gardeners assembles singular examples of modern and contemporary photography, spanning eight decades, to probe a wide spectrum of femme aesthetics. Early portraits by Diane Arbus and Vivian Maier demonstrate the modern woman’s access to the mechanics of the camera and the tools of self-representation. Barrier-breaking practices of collage, reconstruction, and appropriation are employed by artists Lorna Simpson and Stephanie Syjuco to conceal and conserve the often-objectified body. Newly commissioned presentations by Bay Area-affiliated artists Marcel Pardo Ariza, Carolyn Drake, and Chanell Stone respectively reflect on the process of becoming, from female to male, with trans kin; reframe symbols of domesticity within a matriarchal southern American community; and resist the erasure of Black histories and bodies. Together, the images on view nurture new visions of “womanhood” and challenge our collective understanding of how identities are assigned, communicated, and understood.
Image Gardeners is organized by McEvoy Arts exhibitions and public programs curator Sara Wessen Chang. seen only, heard only through someone else’s description, a related program of short films by and about women and non-binary artists is on view in the Screening Room, guest curated by Gina Basso.
SELECTIONS FROM THE MCEVOY FAMILY COLLECTION
Mary Ellen Bartley
Lynn Hershman Leeson
Image Gardeners is organized by McEvoy Arts exhibitions and public programs curator Sara Wessen Chang.