About TPS National Photography Award
Friday, March 23: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Gallery talks by the Artists:
Friday, March 23: 6:00pm
About the Artists
Laura J. Bennett
Dames of Anatomy
Laura Bennett earned BA degrees in journalism and studio art from Humboldt State University and an MFA in photography from the University of Houston. As a college educator she has taught photography, photojournalism, photo history and history of women artists. Dames of Anatomy was awarded first place in the portrait category of the 5th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Bennett was the recipient of the Mylio Grant through Luminous Endowment for Elsa Johanna, an emerging body of work about the life of her grandmother, a Finnish immigrant. She attended a SÌM Artist Residency in Reykjavik in September of 2017. Her image Memory Best Forgotten won first place in Soho Photo’s 5th Annual Alternative Process Competition. The same image was also on the cover of SHOTS Anniversary issue in the summer of 2011. Her work has been published in View Camera Magazine and The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, by Christopher James. Much of Bennett’s work stems from her experience of being the mother of nine and addresses the complexities of the female condition. She uses an old Gundlach 8×10 camera and an early version Hasselblad. In addition to traditional silver gelatin process and alternative processes, Bennett also scans antique glass negatives, film, objects, old medical illustrations and ephemera for transformation in the computer and for creating digital negatives.
“Dames of Anatomy” is an ongoing project that addresses the complexities of the female condition and challenges cultural norms. Old glass negatives of anonymous women are scanned and combined with antique medical slides, ephemera and my own selected images. They are peppered with satire, but there is an underlying presence of struggle and submission. My life experience as a woman is a far lonesome cry from any fairytale I ever knew as a child. I tell my daughters, “You are your own prince charming, so saddle up and find yourself.”
Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2004. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at: Art13 London, Art Basel Miami, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Center for Photography Woodstock, San Francisco Camerawork, Newspace Center for Photography, Columbus Museum of Art, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, and metropcs gallery L.A., among others. In 2013 Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books published Krajnak’s first book South Sound and it was named one of the best photobooks of the year by Time Magazine and Indie Library. Krajnak received grants from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Vermont Council for the Arts, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her work has appeared in both print and online magazines including L.A Review of Books, Nueva Luz, Camerawork, F-Stop Magazine, and Killing the Buddha. Krajnak had a solo exhibition in 2017 at the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, PA. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. She taught previously at Cornell University and the University of Vermont.
“The late cultural theorist Stuart Hall has written that identities emerge as “unfinished conversations,” formed “at the unstable point where personal lives meet the narrative of history.” SISMOS79 (derived from the Spanish word for “earthquake”) is a long-term project that examines the particular sites of intersection between my own life and the turbulent period in the history of Lima, Peru circa 1979. 1979 was a time of seismic changes in Peru’s capital, a transitional period between the military dictatorship of the 70s and the onset of the Shining Path’s guerilla war in 1980. The city’s population swelled and was transformed by a massive influx of rural migrants from the highlands and eastern jungles; and my birth mother was among them, one of many young women uprooted during that tectonic demographic shift. That’s almost all I know about her. Like her peers, she was vulnerable in a city that was a violent, dangerous place. 1979 was a year that created orphans. In SISMOS79 I set out not to recover some stable, “authentic” identity hidden by the circumstances of my birth and adoption, but rather to pull together archival materials, found photographs, untold narratives, and images in an effort to patch together, reclaim, and invent something like a psychic history of that year, and locate myself within it.”
TPS National Photography Award Competition
Texas Photographic Society recently announced a new award program for artists residing in the United States who have a consistent body of photographic work. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize, an exhibition at a Participating Space during a FotoFest Biennial, and international exposure in the photo community. All photographic-based art is welcome, including digital, silver and alternative processes. The current exhibition is the result of the jurors’ selections for this award.
Texas Photographic Society, founded in 1984, is a non-profit organization that celebrates the photographic arts, inspires creative development and provides opportunities to engage with the community.
About the Jurors
Professor of Photography at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
Assistant Curator of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona
Jurors Martina Lopez and Andrew Kensett shared the time-intensive and challenging task of reviewing more than 1,400 images for this competition. Upon finalizing their selections, they co-wrote the following about the award recipients, “The act of photographing has become intimately tied to our lives. It has the potential to alter our understanding of the world and even amend our memories of the past. Laura Bennett and Tarrah Krajnak are two artists whose work is intensely personal while also exploring a broader set of issues surrounding the social function of photographs, past and present. Although the two artists’ works represent distinct working methods, both blend conceptual sophistication, personal vision, and mastery of the medium. And while both bodies of work are aesthetically and conceptually unique, the artists share striking affinities. Both Bennett and Krajnak investigate their family roles in their work. Krajnak as an adopted daughter, Bennett as a mother of nine. Each artist submitted work that exclusively depicts female subjects. Both turn to the photographic objects of the past to weave history into contemporary narratives. Each addresses subjects’ individuality while situating them within larger systems: socio-political in the case of Krajnak’s work, scientific and art-historical for Bennett. And each offers a view into the human psyche that often reveals something of ourselves and our lives.”
About the Curator
Diane Griffin Gregory
Independent Consultant and Curator, Houston, TX
Diane Griffin Gregory is the organizer and curator for “TPS National Photography Awards,” the next exhibition for Red Maple Gallery Houston in conjunction with FotoFest 2018 Biennial. Gregory, through Diane Griffin Gregory Consulting, and previously Caslin Gregory & Associates, has been in business since 2005. She has a B.A. in French and a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. From 1992-2000, Gregory was employed at Art League Houston and held various positions, including interim executive director. She was administrative director at Houston Center for Photography from 2000-2005. Her partnership with Jean Caslin spanned ten years and included numerous co-curated exhibitions as well as participation as reviewers in FotoFest biennials from 2006-2018. Gregory is an experienced career consultant, grant writer and independent curator working both with individual clients as well as organizations such as Houston Methodist, Houston Community College-Central Art Department, Spring Street Studios and Summer Street Studios at Sawyer Yards, and Art League of Baytown and Sterling Municipal Library, Baytown, Texas.