From June 7-28, 2019, New City Arts presents make / shift, an exhibition of work by Mary Lamb, Amanda Wagstaff, and Erin O'Keefe.
make / shift consists of work by three Charlottesville artists—Mary Lamb, Erin O’Keefe, and Amanda Wagstaff—whose manipulated found photographs, boundary-less prints and paper, and embellished textiles explore self-identity. Each body of work imagines an existence in a slightly distorted reality—an unknowable past, an unnecessary threshold, or an exaggerated attention to detail. These artists challenge us to look at work, place, or ourselves in unfamiliar ways through the use of something artificial (stories, boundaries, instructions/patterns) applied to a familiar object, place, or image.
MEET MARY LAMB
Mary Lamb is a librarian and photographer. She studied photography at the College of Santa Fe, art history at Virginia Commonwealth University, and archives management at Simmons College. She lives, works, and walks her dogs in Charlottesville, Virginia.
My recent photographic work involves both curation and creation. Drawing upon an artificial archive of strangers collected from estate sales, auctions, and second-hand shops, vernacular photographs are informed and complemented by self-portraits as I navigate, reconstruct, and reimagine an unknowable past.
Ideas of discovery, photographic representation, performance, memory, and manipulation emerge as I explore the ways in which women engage with photography to develop a sense of self, claim space, and tell the story of their lives.
MEET ERIN O'KEEFE
Erin O’Keefe is a recent University of Virginia graduate who specializes in printmaking and handmade papermaking. She was a summer artist-in-residence at Azule in North Carolina and recently completed the Aunspaugh Fifth year fellowship at UVA, during which she explored new mediums and techniques like photography and photopolymer intaglio printing. Her work investigates the complex relationship between the maker’s body and the materials it engages with. Erin recently accepted a printmaking studio assistantship at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado and will afterwards be completing a residency at Herekeke Arts Center in New Mexico.
My work is an investigation of the body and the formal image, and how the two are constantly taking from one another, becoming one another, melting along the edges of their definitions. In my abstract woodblock prints I attempt to cultivate a sense of mystery and space that is made visceral by the skin-like quality of the handmade paper I use, while in my photographic work the handmade paper or fabric sculptures allow me to abstract my body and its boundaries. As I move between two types of printmaking, I remain inspired by ideas of transformation and adaptation. My artistic practice is a metaphor for the ever-changing relationship between my corporeal form, the environment in which it exists and the image that captures its various manifestations. It questions our existence-in-transition; how do we find ourselves on the threshold? Where can a placeless body go?
MEET AMANDA WAGSTAFF
Amanda Wagstaff is a visual artist who uses sewing and a variety of textiles practices to extract meaning from ordinary objects, like clothing, dishtowels, notepaper, and receipts. Her fixation on everyday objects began at William & Mary where she studied observational painting, grew at UNC-Greensboro where she incorporated elements of time and tedious labor into her thesis work, and transformed during her research fellowship in Dublin, Ireland where she studied the history of writing, monastic practices, and pilgrimage.
Amanda grew up on a dairy farm in Red Oak, Virginia and comes from a family of makers. Now, she maintains a studio in her home in rural Albemarle County. She also has a full-time day job, and has reluctantly accepted that her art ‘work’ is slow work, and unfolds over long stretches of time, interwoven with and influenced by all the minutiae of daily living.
The ordinary materials that are part of our daily lives are latent with personal and cultural meaning. I choose to use common, familiar materials and household items as the elements of a language that can speak about human experience and knowledge.
Textiles are particularly potent.
Textiles and textile practices – like hand sewing, mending, spinning, weaving, and dying – are associated with a range of connotations, from menial labor and commonplace objects to romanticized feminine industry and luxury goods.
They tell contradictory stories.
I choose to use these materials and methods as a physical and visual way of confronting these contradictions. To resist contemporary notions of productivity, efficiency, and value. And to examine my own feelings of sensitivity, vulnerability, and uncertainty.
Artwork images courtesy of the artists.
This Welcome Gallery Exhibit Opening Reception is sponsored by Lisa Hogan and Mark Giles and supported by an Enriching Communities grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. As always, this exhibit opening reception is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.
Located at 114 3rd St. NE, Welcome Gallery is downtown, storefront art space in Charlottesville, VA, run by New City Arts Initiative, a non-profit community arts organization. This same location houses NCAI staff offices and a studio space.
NCAI is proud to promote these artists but accepts no responsibility for the content of their websites or any harm or injury resulting from the use of their websites.